How Long After Bleaching Hair Can I Wash It And Why?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on June 25th, 2022

Exact time frame: 48 to 72 hours

What exactly is hair bleaching?

Hair bleaching is a chemical technique that removes the pigment (color) from hair strands, resulting in lighter-colored hair.

Bleaching Hair

Each hair shade will have a different degree of pigment to dissolve through, which is determined by the condition and type of hair you have and the original color of your hair.

The more time bleach is left on the hair, the more color is destroyed, and the hair gets lighter. Hair with existing blonde tones will be more easily transformed into a platinum color. Still, deeper hues, such as dark brunette/black, would most likely seem yellow or perhaps a heated reddish hue after the first application.

Things to think about before bleaching your hair

When considering lightening your hair using a bleaching agent, various factors exist to create the most realistic and stunning color.

Bleaching hair may be time-consuming, with the usual rule of thumb being that the darker the original hair color, the longer it will take the bleaching chemical to obtain the desired shade.

Bleaching hair may damage your locks, and too much bleach exposure can result in dry, brittle hair strands that are prone to breakage, so make sure you evaluate your hair health before application.

It is well known that bleach works best on virgin, unprocessed hair that is free of heat damage, so keep this in mind while evaluating your hair’s state before application. If you’re unsure whether to use hair bleach, check our frequently asked questions below first:

Is it necessary to wash my hair before bleaching?

It is advisable to avoid washing your hair right before bleaching since washing removes the natural oils that protect your scalp and increases the possibility of scalp discomfort. However, when you wash your hair, read our guide on selecting the finest shampoo for your hair.

Is it possible to bleach oily hair?

The preferred hair condition is greasy hair since your hair’s natural oils are well suited to resist the bleaching procedure, protecting the scalp from chemical harm. We recommend bleaching hair at least 72 hours after washing it for maximum protection.

Is it possible to bleach damp hair?

Although bleach may be applied to damp hair, the outcome is ineffective and best suited for more subtle hair alterations. Applying bleach to dry hair allows the pigment from your present hair color to be removed, revealing a stronger, more brilliant hair color.

Can I wash my hair after it has been bleached?

Hair coloring makes it simple to get desired lighter manes. Using bleach can help you obtain the same look as having your hair professionally lightened. However, it is essential to maintain vigilance while handling hazardous substances at home without much supervision.

In such a case, following the cautious statements and timetables specified on the product is critical.

In general, washing your hair after bleaching means one of two things. On the one hand, it may imply rinsing your hair with water once the bleaching procedure is finished.

On the other hand, it might refer to washing your hair following a bleaching procedure. Each of these meanings has a timeline associated with it, which changes depending on your hair’s current texture and color.

Blonde hair takes only 20 minutes to bleach; dark brown or black hair may take up to 30 minutes. But, again, 15 to 20 minutes should be enough if your hair is finely textured.

However, coarse hair may require 20 to 30 minutes. After this period, you can wash your hair with somewhat warm water. You cannot, however, use shampoo.

After a bleaching procedure, wait at least 2 to 3 days before washing your hair.

When the period is up, they must use a paraben-free shampoo to assist calm the hair follicles that may have been irritated by the bleaching chemicals. Washing your hair before these 3 days will hurt both the color and the health of your hair.

Circumstances of Washing Bleached HairWaiting Time
Washing Blonde Hair (Without Shampoo)20 minutes
Washing Dark Hair (Without Shampoo)30 minutes
Washing Hair With Shampoo48 to 72 hours after bleaching

What happens if you wash your hair after it has been bleached?

When wet, it will feel elastic and sagging; when dry, it will feel and appear dry and straw-like. After bleaching your hair, you will also notice increased hair breakage and split ends. After bleaching, don’t wash your hair for a few days.

Why do I wait so long to wash my hair after bleaching it?

Bleaching is a harsh method of whitening one’s hair. It effectively removes all moisture from the hair follicles.

Shampooing one’s bleached hair right after the session ends can exacerbate the damage done to the hair cuticles. This occurs when your hair cuticles are open after bleaching, allowing chemicals from your shampoo to enter the follicles and further damage them readily.

Allow your freshly bleached hair to relax and restore moisture before washing it with a paraben-free shampoo. Individuals who do not wait at least 48 hours before shampooing their newly bleached hair will have dry and frizzy hair.

This is caused by a lack of moisture in the hair follicles. It will also modify the color of the hair, and one may end up with an unappealing color.

It is also critical that a person washes the bleach out of her hair within 30 minutes after application.

Leaving the bleach on for an extended period might harm your hair by making it brittle and jeopardizing the health of your hair strands. After the 3-day gap, use moisturizing products to replenish your hair’s moisture level.

As a result, while using bleach, it is always preferable to follow the recommendations on the package.

Can I color my hair after a bleaching treatment?

Yes, following the bleach treatment, you can color your hair. It’s a good idea since dyeing your hair seals its cuticles. You may color your hair with any form of dye, permanent or semi-permanent.

Is it possible to leave bleach in your hair for too long?

The straightforward answer is yes. However, leaving the bleach on your strands for longer than suggested might cause harm to your hair. This is why it’s critical to follow the instructions on the box and wait at least 14 days between bleaching treatments.

How Long Should You Leave Bleach on Your Hair?

There is no one-size-fits-all guideline for how long you should keep bleach on your hair. As a general guideline, it’s best to follow the directions with the hair bleaching kit you’re using.

Also, please do not keep it on for longer than suggested.

Several factors might influence how you bleach your hair and how long it should be kept on. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of elements to consider when deciding how long to keep bleach in your hair.

1. Consider the type of hair you have.

Different varieties of hair, such as virgin hair, lighten faster than others because it has never been color-treated or chemically altered. Therefore, First-timers should be extra cautious not to keep the bleach on for too long.

2. The color of your starting point

If you start with a dark brown or black base, you’ll probably need to keep bleach on your hair for longer to obtain the desired lightness. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a dye three shades lighter than your natural hair color. Unfortunately, lightening your hair by more than three shades necessitates using more significant concentrations of peroxide, which causes more hair damage.

3. Your preferred color 

Of course, how long you should leave the bleach on your hair depends on your hair color objectives. The longer you keep it on, the lighter your strands will become, and the more your natural hair color will lift. Therefore, if you want to make a modest alteration, the time required may be shorter than if you want to make a significant transformation, such as moving from a dark foundation to a platinum blonde.

4. The Developer Type

If you’re using a hair color kit, follow the directions on the box, which will include information on how long to keep the bleach on. If you lighten your hair at a salon, your colorist will combine bleach and a developer.

The type of developer used will influence how long the bleach remains on your hair. Developer comes in various amounts, and a smaller volume usually necessitates leaving the bleach mixture on for a more extended period.

When Is It Time to Remove Bleach?

So, how can you know whether it’s safe to wash the bleach away? Set timers and check your hair every so often to see how it’s whitening and whether it needs extra time. Another possibility is to perform a test strand before bleaching your complete head.

This way, you can see how your mane reacts to bleach and how long hair takes to lighten without having to experiment on your entire head. Instead, apply bleach to a few concealed strands from your hair’s underlying layer and how long it takes to lighten.


Bleaching is a go-to choice for most people who want lighter manes because it saves them a trip to the salon. When it comes to bleaching your hair, the general rule is that the longer you keep the bleach on, the lighter your hair will be.

Most product instructions state that people should wait at least 48 to 72 hours after bleaching to wash their manes with shampoo. If one disregards this warning and washes their hair before this time, the bleaching procedure will be terrible, and the individual’s hair quality will suffer as a result.

However, after 30 minutes of bleaching, a person can wash her hair with warm water.


Editorial Staff

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