If you are looking for the best bleach for dark hair at Sally's or Walmart the options seem endless. And endlessly confusing! Unlike lighter haired people who can just bring their hair to blonde with a hi-lift no bleach hair color, dark haired beauties need a bit more work to become blondes. The following list of high quality products are our best hair bleach for black hair choices to help you get started in your journey to lighter hair.
As the bleach removes pigment from your hair, it also removes protein and weakens the bonds that make your hair strong and healthy. The more pigment that there is to lift, the higher the potential for damage. So if you want to go from dark hair to blonde you need to be very careful about which type of bleach you choose.
The best hair bleach for black hair usually is one with additives that help protect and condition your hair during the lifting process. At the same time, you want a fast acting bleach that minimised the time your hair is being processed. If you want to lift several levels in one sitting, such as going from dark brunette to dark blonde or lighter, you want to splurge in a high quality bleach and the right developer. Cheapening will only lead to more hair damage and the need for expensive restorative treatments... or a radical hair cut.
When you ask what level of bleach should you use what you actually are looking at is at what volume developer to use with bleach. Developer is the activator for the lightening powder used to make the bleach mixture active.
Most people will mix bleach with a 30 vol. developer, as that offers the best balance between lifting powder and hair damage. 40 vol. bleach is just too strong and has too much risk, whereas 20 vol. developer will most likely be too weak to seriously lighten black hair.
However, if you opt for going lighter in several sessions, you may be able to use 20 vol. developer on your last and final bleaching step. This will help your hair condition but will only work if the first bleach session got you close to your desired hair color.
Always follow the instructions of the bleach you choose in order to ensure the best performance and less damage to your hair, particularly if you are bleaching dark hair at home and are not an expert colorist.
If you have never bleached your hair, doing a strand test on a hidden strip of your hair is highly recommended. This is even more important if you have a history of hair dyes and hair treatments, straightening, heat damage or very fragile hair. After bleaching your hair shouldn't break and shouldn't feel gummy, if it starts feeling gummy or straw like you may have damaged hair integrity permanently.
If you are serious about bleaching dark hair to blonde, you can't go wrong with the Schwarzkopf BLONDME Bond Enforcing range. Besides being a very high lift (It can lift up to 9 levels, that's from dark brown hair to platinum blonde) it incorporates bond enforcing technology and a ph neutral formula to keep your hair in good condition. It also includes anti-yellowing agents to help keep your blonde bright after bleaching.
You will still need a toner though, as dark hair has a lot of red, orange, and yellow pigments naturally and bleach won't remove all of them. Toner will fix orange hair after bleaching leaving you with natural-looking light hair color.
This bleach is best if you want to highlight your hair, instead of going for an all over color. The consistency once mixed is creamy and it doesn't drip, allowing for very precise application on yourself or others. This is one of the fastest acting, most intense non-dust lightening powders in the market and our top choice as the best hair bleach for dark hair. It works quickly without compromising the integrity of your hair, and that's why many professionals use it at the hair salon.
This bleach is very strong, so do not use it for scalp (roots) application as it will be uncomfortable.
Manic Panic are synonymous with rainbow hair and bright hair color, and so they are experts at getting your hair light enough to make fashion shades bright and clear. Their at home bleach kit includes everything you would need to bleach your hair at home, from the chemicals to the gloves and mixing brush, which makes it a very budget friendly option.
However, it uses 40 vol. developer which is a very strong developer, and as such it needs to be treated carefully. It will get the job done, quickly, but you need to constantly check it (every 10 minutes, less if your hair has never been dyed or lifts easily). It really requires a strand test, mixing only a bit of the developer and the bleach (1 part powder, 3 parts developer) and applying to a strand to see how your hair reacts to it.
If you aren't confident your hair will take it, they also offer a 30 vol. version which has less lightening power but is more gentle on the hair.
Wella Professionals is a top brand for toners and after-bleach care, and their bleach Color Charm powder lightener is also incredibly good. You will need to source the developer yourself (20 vol. is enough) and it only lifts 7 levels at a time but it's a safe, trusted, and true option for going from black hair to blonde minimizing hair damage.
The dust-free formula incorporates an oil system that protects hair integrity and helps keep moisture. It works great with the 20 vol. developer in the same range and is particularly good if you don't mind bleaching black hair in stages to achieve platinum blonde tones.
The Bleach London brand is famous for amazing color transformations and exquisite client support and training, and their drugstore at-home offers pretty much the same philosophy. Easy to use but solid products that deliver, and can transform your dark hair into blonde (or pink, peach, purple) from the comfort of your bathroom.
It includes the bleaching powder and a 30 vol. developer and it's suitable for thick, unbleached hair from dark brown to dark blonde. If you have curly/natural hair or your hair has been processed you may want to opt for a softer, more gentle formulation such as the Plex Bleach Kit, from the same brand. Their included restoring hair mask is a great treatment for bleached hair.
This kit of bleach and hair dye has everything you need to go from dark hair to silvery grey in one go. It contains the bleach and developer, hair dye, shampoo and deep conditioner to leave your hair looking healthy after bleaching it. It uses a 30 vol. developer, which may be too harsh if your hair is naturally very fragile or already damaged. If you have previously relaxed or permed hair, you may want to use a separate 20 vol. developer instead.
If your hair is naturally dark brown or black you may need to bleach twice to achieve snow white hair and then tone using the included silver dye.
Sometimes you want your brows to stand up and sometimes you want them to match your much lighter strands. If that's the case, you will need to bleach your dark brows but you shouldn't use your spare hair bleach as that's dangerous for your eyes. A formula designed to use on your body such as the Jolen Creme Bleach is much safer and suitable.
Remember that bleaching your brows from dark brown to blonde can land you in orange brows territory, so if you aren't very comfortable with the process of bleaching and dying your own brows you should visit a professional.
Going from black or dark brown hair to blonde is a process that can be harmful to hair, and it's not something you should approach lightly. It's also quite difficult to go back from blonde to your natural color so if you are known to change your mind maybe you should experiment with a wig first.
That said, it's lots of fun and I personally think everybody should try at least once to go blonde! Just keep in mind the following before you get started:
Going blonde is a serious commitment in terms of self-image and maintenance, so if you aren't 100% sure you'd love how you look as a platinum blonde you may want to go slowly, lightening more and more in stages. You could start with some highlights, and then add more as you feel more comfortable with your image as a blonde.
Bleaching your hair at home deserves its own article and watching many instructional videos, but before you go shopping for the best bleach for dark hair remember the following.
I would say, categorically, yes. If you care about the health of your hair, want to go blonde quick or have fragile hair, using bleach additives can make the bleaching process much less damaging on your hair.
Bleach additives such as Olaplex Bond Builder, L'Oreal Smartbond and similar products work by protecting or rebuilding the disulfide bonds in your hair that bleach destroys. This keeps the hair in much better condition and allows you to lift hair safely many more levels. Remember the celebrities going from dark brown hair to platinum blonde in one (very long) sitting? That used significant amounts of bleach additives, often only available from salons and for hair and beauty professionals.
Some bleach products also incorporate their own bleach additives to protect and nurture your hair during the lifting process, and they may or not be compatible with bond builders. It's worth checking the brand, as the likelihood of products being compatible increases if they are from the same brand.
Even if it makes the bleaching process slightly slower or more time-consuming, the fact that your hair is less likely to fry is a good reason to use bleach additives when bleaching hair at home. It's a bit of cost upfront to save you lots of restorative treatments and potentially permanent damage in the future.
However, keep in mind that no bond builder or moisture protector will fully stop your hair from being damaged by bleach. When you bleach your hair, the hair cuticles are raised and proteins are destroyed, and it just can't go back to being the same as natural, virgin hair was.
If you are doing your roots, or a full process all-one-color bleach, you will be more comfortable with 20 vol. bleach. Even if it involves doing it over two sittings, and pampering your hair in between. Bleach can cause chemical burns in your scalp if you use high-volume peroxide.
30vol. can be uncomfortable on the scalp, and can damage hair more. If you have healthy hair and are used to having your hair bleached, you should be ok with this volume developer.
40vol. developer should only be used on off-scalp processes, such as balayage, ombre, or highlights, when you need to accomplish a lot of lift in one session. This will cause the most damage to your hair but at the same time is the most effective.
However, when bleaching your hair, effective doesn't always mean best, and given that bleach can actually chemically burn your hair or scalp, being careful and slow is the best idea.
You can read this guide to hair developer levels to learn more about which developer is best for your hair.
Once you have used the best bleach for dark hair, you are left with the aftermath. Bright blonde hair that requires even more love than your natural tresses. Even if you have natural hair and are used to a high maintenance wash and style regime, bleached hair often requires even more, though its requirements will sound familiar.
Your hair will be lacking in protein and have issues keeping moisture. This is great if you had oily hair and were used to having to wash often, as many people will bleached hair can significantly drop the amount of weekly washes. In fact, your second and third day hair will probably look even better and have more volume you are used to.
On the other side, you will need to pamper it and nurture it back to being healthy and strong. Protein treatments and bond builders such as the Olaplex at-home range are priceless here. Many people love doing oil treatments on their newly bleached hair to increase moisture retention, but be careful as some oils can lead to yellowing hair.
Yellow hair, the curse of bleach blondes everywhere. Even just a few days after toning you may be wondering "How do I get yellow out of my hair!" and brassy tones suit nobody. So stock up on purple shampoos and toning masks and enjoy your brighter, blonde hair for longer.