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Is color oops or bleach better?

Welcome readers! In today’s post, we will be taking an in-depth look at two popular hair color removal products – Color Oops and bleach. Whether you’re looking to remove an unwanted hair color or are preparing to dye your hair a brand new shade, properly removing old color is an essential first step. Read on as we compare and contrast these two products to help you determine which is the better option for your hair goals.

How Color Oops and Bleach Work

First, let’s understand exactly how these products work to remove color pigment from the hair:

Color Oops

Color Oops is a color remover that uses a chemical process to strip away permanent or semi-permanent hair dye. The active ingredients are sodium hydrosulfite and sodium dithionite, which break down hair color molecules through a reductive reaction.

This reaction shrinks the artificial dye molecules so they can be washed away. Importantly, Color Oops does not contain bleach so it will not lighten natural underlying pigment.


Bleach contains an alkalizing agent such as ammonia or ethanolamine combined with hydrogen peroxide. It works by a process called oxidation, which breaks apart melanin – the natural pigment in hair.

This lifts color to lighten hair. Bleach can remove artificial dye the same way. The higher the volume of developer used, the more powerful the bleaching action.

Comparing Color Oops and Bleach

Now that we understand how each product works, let’s compare some key factors to evaluate the pros and cons of Color Oops vs. bleach for hair color removal.


When it comes to removing pigment, bleach is stronger than Color Oops. Bleach can fully lift artificial dye and fade darker natural shades lighter. Color Oops can only shrink and wash away artificial dye molecules but doesn’t lighten natural pigment.

Damage Risk

Bleach is more damaging than Color Oops. The high alkalinity and oxidizing action degrade hair proteins and cause dryness, breakage, and split ends. Color Oops is a gentler chemical process that doesn’t leach moisture. However, any chemical treatment can be damaging if overused.

Evenness of Results

It’s easier to achieve even, consistent color removal with Color Oops. Bleach can create splotchy spots if not carefully applied. Color Oops simply reacts with artificial dye, so results depend less on application technique.

Required Aftercare

Hair needs more intensive conditioning and moisture after bleaching. The extensive cuticle damage makes hair more porous. Post-Color Oops, hair may need minor nourishing but not as much rebuilding as with bleach.

Here is a comparison table summarizing the key differences:

Color Oops Bleach
Removes permanent/semi-permanent dye Yes Yes
Lightens natural pigment No Yes
Damage Risk Low High
Evenness of Results High Low
Required Aftercare Minimal Intensive

When to Use Color Oops vs. Bleach

Now that we’ve compared Color Oops and bleach, when is each the better choice?

When to Use Color Oops

  • Removing semi-permanent or permanent dye
  • Want to avoid lightening or damaging natural pigment
  • Need to prep hair for re-coloring quickly
  • Looking for gentle, even color removal

When to Use Bleach

  • Need to fully strip artificial dye from hair
  • Want to significantly lighten natural hair color
  • Don’t mind some damage for dramatic brightening
  • Will invest time into rebuilding hair health afterward

The Best Process for Hair Color Removal

For optimal results with the least damage, consider combining Color Oops and bleaching in a two-step process:

  1. Use Color Oops first to remove artificial dye and prep hair.
  2. Follow up with a bleaching session if wanting lighter results.
  3. Tone hair after bleaching to neutralize brassiness.
  4. Deep condition hair thoroughly and continue nurturing treatments.

Bleaching immediately without prep can be stressful for strands. Color Oops provides a more gentle clean slate for bleach to then work its magic.

The Bottom Line

Both Color Oops and bleach have benefits for removing unwanted dye from hair. Bleach provides striking lightening that Color Oops can’t achieve. However, the harsher bleach requires more recovery time for hair. Using Color Oops as a pre-treatment before bleaching offers a balanced approach to gently lift artificial color before lightening with bleach.

Make sure to patch test and follow all instructions carefully based on your hair type and condition. With some planning and TLC, you can remove dye and get beautiful, healthy hair.

For more hair color tips or to chat about your own hair goals, contact our salon – we’re happy to help!