Can you bleach damp hair? (The Answer Might Surprise You)

Can you bleach damp hair?

Can you bleach wet or damp hair? Yes, you can bleach hair wet, but you will get lighter results. There are a few different ways to 'bleach' your hair, and each one will provide you with a different result (hue, lightness).

The most popular type of bleach is peroxide which causes the excessive oxidation of melanin in the hair. Surprisingly, this treatment creates platinum blonde shades when sprayed on dark brown or black hair.

Do you want to bleach your hair but are unsure if it's possible? Then, you can bleach damp hair! It's a great way to get the look you want without having to wait for your hair to dry.

If you have dark or light brown hair, bleaching is an easy way to brighten up your locks and give them that extra pop of color. With just one treatment, you can go from brunette to blonde in no time at all.

Please read our blog post now for more information about bleaching damp hair!

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How long to leave the bleach on wet hair?

It is generally recommended that you leave the bleach on wet hair for 20 minutes. However, this may vary depending on the type of bleaching product you use, as well as your hair type and how many shades you are looking to lighten.

For example, if you have very dark hair, you may need to leave the bleach on for up to an hour to achieve your desired shade. And if you are using a strong bleaching product, it is always best to err on the side of caution and check the instructions carefully before applying.

If in doubt, it is always best to consult with a professional hairstylist who can help advise you on what will work best for your hair type and goals.

Should I bleach my hair wet or dry?

Many experts say that it is better to bleach your hair when it is dry. The main reason for this is that wet hair is more susceptible to damage from the bleaching process.

When your hair is dry, it is easier for the bleach to penetrate the strands and evenly distribute the color. This can help prevent your hair from becoming overly damaged or Brassy.

The difference between bleaching hair wet or dry

The main difference between bleaching wet or dry hair is the effect you'll get: you'll get a less effective result with damp hair.

It is essential only to bleach your hair when dry because you can see how much of the dye you're applying, and you're not wasting time and product you don't need.

So let's say you're out of root touch-up spray. You only have the bleach you've used on your hear to touch up.

With wet hair, you can't see where you're applying it; you'll be surprised when you lift the color in some places, but in others, you leave it darker!

What happens when you bleach damp hair?

If you're before the point of severe dehydration, your hair is still porous and will take up bleach more quickly than it would if your hair was dry.

Rules to remember when bleaching hair:

  1. Avoid applying bleach within 12 hours of washing too often because it can dry out your scalp.
  2. When you rinse after application, use cold water first for 5 minutes, then warm water for the rest.
  3. Avoid using conditioner post-bleach because it can break down the solution and dissolve color deposits in strands.
  4. Don't scrub or brush during the bleaching process; instead, massage with palms only, especially at the root area where chemicals are most concentrated.
  5. Be sure not to leave on for more than 20 minutes, just enough time to create a uniform color.

Finally, don't immediately damage your hair by brushing or washing. It would help if you always used a deep conditioner to restore proteins and follow up with a moisturizing treatment.

Should you bleach hair clean or dirty?

Hair health is important! So, don't wash your hair for two days before bleaching. That will keep the roots of your hair clean and fresh without any residue from harsh shampoos that can damage them over time.

You should start off by applying bleach powder. Don't bother with those designed for hair dyes as they're too harsh and likely to burn your scalp!

Bleach powder is the safest way to go about it because your scalp won't get damaged from chemical burns that may happen from other bleaching methods.

Semi-permanent dye on wet hair

Semi-permanent or fantasy dyes are less aggressive for the hair since they do not include hydrogen peroxide or other oxidants.

They're most popular among people who are still undecided about the color they want to choose for their heads.

Furthermore, I believe you should attempt different options whenever you're in doubt since most major changes necessitate a lot of planning.

Just imagine!

You've always been a brunette, but the mirror has suddenly restored you to your natural platinum blonde. Semi-permanent hair dyes are the best option for you.

You need to apply semi-permanent dye while the hair is wet. It has a lower aggressiveness and works better in penetrating the hair strands.

The disadvantage of this kind of dye is that it fades with washing. The action of the color is to deposit pigments in the hair cuticle, which is why the dye's duration is shorter.

Permanent dye on wet hair

The drawbacks of permanent hair coloration are numerous. For this reason, I strongly discourage wet hair dyeing.

I'm not telling you you can't do it. You can do what you want with your hair, whether it's right or wrong. However, I don't recommend it because doing it on wet or dry hair will not result.

Permanent dyes "fix" more in dry hair, basically due to the ammonia that integrates its composition.

I recommend coloring your hair on dry, unwashed hair because dirty hair has more sebum. And sebum is essential for protecting your hair from damage.

How do you bleach your hair?

Buy a good bleaching powder.

First, you will need to buy a good bleaching powder. You can find it easily in any hairdresser's shop, or you can even make it yourself (using hydrogen peroxide and high-quality cream of tartar).

But if you're not too sure about the final result, you should go for a bleach, specially made for hair.

Brush your hair

Now you will need to brush your hair with a boar bristle brush since you will apply bleach on all of it.

Use gloves while handling the powder.

Use gloves while handling the powder and mix it with hydrogen peroxide (or activator) in a proportion of 1:2. You can also use a tint bowl and brush.

Apply the mixture

Start applying the mixture on your head and you should start from the roots and work outwards gradually! That will help you avoid untidy bleached patches.

Wait for 20 minutes

After you've applied all of it, you must wait until the hair becomes light blonde (about 20 minutes depending on your hair). Then, you can test it with some toilet paper; if you see the paper is not getting colored, you're good to go!

How do you bleach wet hair?

bleaching damp hair

Applying bleach to wet hair can be tricky because you will have to wait for the water to evaporate, and you may not get the desired result, so you must know what you're doing!

  1. Apply a good shampoo. First, you have to apply a good shampoo, and you have to wet the hair. Then, you can brush it if you want to.
  2. Apply the bleach. Apply the bleach until you get the desired result, and you will have to let it work for about 20 minutes. You should take care not to step out in direct sunlight because you could burn your scalp!
  3. Wash it out. When you finish, you can wash it out, and you should apply a good conditioner that will help you close the cuticles of your hair (usually, you would use treatment, but you can also use any regular conditioner).
  4. Dry your hair. Finally, you must dry and straighten your hair because you want to keep the blonde as uniform as possible throughout your head.

Can you dye wet hair after bleaching? After you've lightened your hair, you may want to dye your newly bleached locks. However, this is not a good idea, and you can't do this because you will get different color results every time you try!

Can you highlight wet hair? Highlighting you're hair is another you can't do with you're bleached or lightened locks! If you try to highlight you're hair when it's wet, you will find you get a much more patchy result.

What happens when a hair dries?

Hair is made up of 90% keratin. Keratin is a protein, but you should know that it dries up, and you can see this when you comb your hair, or you let it air-dry. Also, you will notice that you're hair starts to get little hairs standing out (those are the dead hair cells).

When you dye your hair, you will also notice that you stain a strand of your hair, apply the color, take a little strand, and hold it for a few minutes.

When you do this with wet hair, you will notice that the process is faster! So if you want to dye your hair as fast as possible, always start with dry/unwashed hair. You will get a much quicker result!

Benefits of Bleaching Wet Hair

You might be thinking like I did when you first started reading, you know, you can get faster results if you dye your hair when it's wet! A few benefits of dry bleaching hair are:

  • The color will last longer. If you bleach your hair, you have to consider that you're hair has been damaged. The bleach does not repair or "fix" any damage you have. You can only mask it with another chemical.
  • The effects are much more uniform. Since you're pushing your hair, you will get excellent and even result. You won't see odd strands of blonde here and there!

You can choose when you do it! For example, many people dye their hair only in summer because you'll be spending lots of time in the sun and you want to show your excellent golden locks, you know?

Pro Tips For Taking Care Of Bleached Hair

If you've just lightened your hair, you're probably feeling pretty chuffed with yourself at the moment.

You may also be concerned that you now look like you've just spent a weekend in Ibiza or St Tropez. Don't worry; you don't. Instead, you need to give yourself a little TLC, and these pro tips will help you do just that.

Best to work with a trained colorist

The other thing you should know is that you are much better off working with a trained colorist to get your hair bleached. That is because they know more about the products they are using and their effects on your hair.

It's also best to ask your stylist how long you can go between your next salon visit to your hair re-lightened.

Don't wash your hair 24 hours before bleaching.

Before you lighten your hair, you should avoid washing it for at least 24 hours. That will give you the best chance of success with your bleach, and you're less likely to experience any disintegration of the hair.

If you need to wash your hair before bleaching, make sure you use a clarifying shampoo. That will remove you're your excess oils and help you get a better result.

Brighten the ends you might have missed

If you are undecided about your hair color, you can also use your hair bleach to lighten your hair. The only thing you should do is concentrate on the ends you might have missed during your last salon visit.

Give your hair time to adjust.

You need to give your hair some time to adjust to the new lighter color you have made it. So you cannot wash or put any products that contain sulfates on them for a little while.

Also, you may want to look out for any products containing castor oil so you don't find you are attracting any dirt or letting your hair go greasy.  If you use dry shampoo, you can get away with washing your hair less often too.


Bleaching your damp hair is a quick way to lighten your locks. However, you have to be careful because it can cause your hair more damage.

If you want to bleach your damp or dry hair at home, our pro tips will help you do this safely and effectively.

If you need professional advice on bleaching your locks before going platinum blonde for the summer season, talk to one of our experts today!

Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M D.