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What Are the Best Tips for Bleaching Brown Hair?

By Amanda R. Bell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Bleaching brown hair can be extremely difficult and, oftentimes, damaging. Some of the best tips for doing so include using the correct bleach and developer for one’s hair type, applying the product as quickly and evenly as possible, and waiting between applications. Using an extremely moisturizing conditioner or hair treatment after bleaching brown hair can be helpful in repairing damage. In most cases, especially with very dark hair, having a professional do the bleaching is best.

There are a variety of hair bleaches and other bleaching products on the market from which to choose. In most cases, it is best to purchase products from a beauty supply store, as these are salon-quality and offer the most options. Discussing the purchase with a knowledgeable employee at the store can also be helpful. In most cases, a stronger developer will be needed to properly lift the hair color while bleaching, although one that is too strong can severely damage hair during the bleaching process, depending on one’s hair type and its condition. In most cases, those who work at a beauty supply store will be able to recommend products and product strengths after looking over a customer’s hair.

When bleaching brown hair, it is important to not only apply the product evenly throughout the hair, but also to apply it quickly to make sure that the entire head processes at the same time. This is especially important if hair color is going to be applied after the bleach; an uneven bleach job can turn into uneven color. Most bleaching products are activated by heat. For this reason, it is typically best to apply the product to the roots last, as the hair in this location is closest to the scalp, a natural heat source.

Those with especially dark brown hair may need to go through two or more bleaching processes in order to fully lift the color from their hair. The vast majority of people with brown or dark brown hair have significant red tones underneath the hair, even if their natural shade appears to be cool-toned. In order to protect the hair from too-strong products, bleaching brown hair in stages every one to two weeks until the desired color is attained and brassiness or red-tones are eliminated is best.

Bleach not only removes color from hair but also moisture. For this reason, applying a heavy conditioner, leave-in masque, or oil treatment to hair directly after the bleach products have been rinsed or washed out is best. This helps to return some of the moisture and nutrients lost during the process, and prevent hair from breaking in its delicate state.

While bleaching brown hair can be done at home, it is typically best to go to a salon. Stylists usually have the knowledge and experience to monitor hair during the bleaching process, making sure that too much damage does not occur. They can also provide a trim directly after bleaching brown hair, cutting off any dead ends and preventing further damage to the hair.

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Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Sep 07, 2014

The best tip for bleaching brown hair is to go to a salon to do it, unless you're a licensed hairdresser. Does anyone remember what happened to Frenchy in "Grease"? She ended up with pink hair! "I ran into a little trouble in tinting class," she said. I can only imagine what would happen to someone with no experience in coloring hair if they tried it.

Nothing is more unattractive than a poor bleach job. It makes the wearer look cheap and tacky. It is very unattractive. No, I'd rather spend the bucks and have a pro do it, and do it right.

By Pippinwhite — On Sep 06, 2014

Assuming I were even interested in going blonde, there is no way on earth I'd try it outside of a salon. Maintaining the color would be one thing, but bleaching my brown hair myself? No way. That would be a disaster.

My hair isn't even that dark, but I wouldn't ever try to do blonde. I know people who have, so they don't have to color so often to cover up their gray roots, but I'd rather just do my color at home. I wore a blonde wig for Halloween once, and blonde is just not my hair color, at all. I'd have to lighten my eyebrows to match it. Nope. Not for me, thanks.

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