How long should you leave the bleach on your hair?

How long should you leave the bleach on your hair?

Do you want to bleach your hair? Bleaching hair is often done for various reasons. Whether it is to lighten your natural hair color, for a more vibrant look, or perhaps even dying your hair while still on the darker side of life and you’re looking to brighten things up a bit.

There are different types of bleaching that can be done but how long does one have to leave bleach in their hair?

There are several ways an individual may choose from when doing any type of bleaching process. From using creams, gels and sprays there really isn’t too much difference with how long each option should be left in.

So how do you know how long they should remain in your locks before rinsing out? This blog article about bleaching your hair for maintenance and suggestions will help you get the answers you need.

Table of Contents

What is bleach and how does it work?

Bleach is a chemical substance that is used to lighten the color of one’s hair. It can also be a very effective way for an individual who wants to dye their locks at home but still keep that darker tone to it.

Bleach is often made up of hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide, which are both chemicals that work together in order to break down the melanin found inside natural colored or dyed hair.

This process will lift your color allowing you access to lighter shades. This is why some hair dye kits will come with bleach. If the color of your natural hair isn’t as dark as you would like it to be then bleach is the perfect medium to use.

How does it work?

The process of bleaching is fairly simple. The hydrogen peroxide found in the bleach will open up cuticles within your hair to allow for penetration, much like when it is dyed. It does this by oxidizing its way into the cortex of each strand through a process called alkaline hydrolysis.

This essentially means that water and other substances are broken down which causes disruption along with the natural pigment of one’s locks ultimately dying them.

The sodium hydroxide or “lye” works with this chemical reaction by further locking in color pigments once they have been removed from your strands making sure you get unparalleled results time after time.

By doing this reaction the bleach works as a natural dye and will lift your hair color making it lighter than before.

How long to leave bleach in hair?

Bleaching hair

There are actually several ways to go about bleaching your hair which can make it difficult at times. How long one should leave bleach mixture in their locks will depend on your hair type, the process they are using, and ultimately what result they want to get out of it.

For example, if you’re just looking for a lightning effect then leaving any type of cream or gel in for an hour is ideal while spraying only needs around 20 minutes tops before rinsing out completely.

Here are the fact and timing of bleaching for definite hairstyle and coloration:

Blonde Hair

Blonde hair is the type of hair that benefits from a longer lightning process. It will take time to get it just right but once you have achieved this golden hue you’ll be in love with the results.

This color is also much more sensitive than other colors when being bleached, which means that one has to take additional care during the entire process of lifting your locks.

Basically, blonde hair requires around 15-20 minutes for a cream or gel and 30-45 minutes for any type of spray.

Brown Hair

For those with brown hair the process is shorter but still requires one to be careful. Dark brown hair will require only around 15-30 minutes for a cream or gel but sprays need no more than an hour before rinsing out completely.

Dark hair

You can be done any kind of dark hair processing within 30 minutes. Because dark hair requires slight time to lift. It can be very difficult for one not to over-process their locks.

Medium brown hair will require around 30 minutes of processing but once you have achieved your desired coloration rinse out immediately and do not leave any type of product in for longer than necessary.

Fine Hair

As these types of hair are slightly lightweight, so it requires less time than other hair. You can bleach for about 15 minutes to get your desired color.

However, it is best if you leave a high-lift or lightener on for 15 minutes and rinse out right away to prevent any unwanted damage from occurring while processing.

People with fine hair should also only use the smallest amount of product when using bleaches as they can be very dangerous when used in excess.

Virgin hair

Different hair types lighten quicker than others. Virgin hair is one that does this. It has never been color-treated or chemically processed.

Starting Color:

Initially, if you start trying to lighten your hair and you do not have any previous color on it, then one can use a product that has no developer in it. This is recommended for beginners as they are less likely to overdo the process when using this type of bleach.

If you decide, however, that you want to go with something different than just lightening your locks which means going with brown or black hair dye but already having blonde highlights within them currently, there’s nothing wrong with this at all. Just be very careful while bleaching so as not to ruin what you already have underneath.

How long should I leave my bleach? If you’re looking for an even lighter result from your natural color then leaving some products on longer is necessary.

If you are looking for a darker color, however, then you will want to rinse the bleach out as soon as possible so that it doesn’t have time to develop.

How long should I leave bleach in my roots?

It is important to start with the hair that is near the neck. Heat will make it process quickly. Once you do your whole head, go back and put bleach on the roots.

Bleach will take between 20-45 minutes depending on what color of hair you have and how light or dark you want it to be.

Is it harmful to bleach one's hair too much?

Bleaching mixtures

Yes, it is very harmful! Because if more bleaching, hair becomes thinner and can cause breakage. It leads to some other problems like scalp infections or dandruff etc.

If you are thinking about bleach your hair with store-bought dye, then it's better not to do that because the ingredients of these products are mainly hydrogen peroxide which is not good for one’s locks.

So don't use this type of product without any professional help as they may be dangerous chemicals present in them that damage our skin also. And if you have already used then go through the instructions on how long does cream rinse stay in your head?

Then wash out immediately after following those steps carefully otherwise there will be a problem of chemical burn on your hands too. And it can also damage our scalp badly which leads to hair fall and dandruff etc. So it is better not to bleach one's locks more than necessary for healthy, shiny tresses.

Is there any side effect of bleaching hair?

Yes, there are many side effects of bleaching hair too. If you have not done this process with the help of any professional then it can lead to some problems like scalp infection or dandruff etc.

So without professional help also do not bleach your locks excessively as they may be dangerous chemicals present in them that damage our skin badly and cause chemical burns on hands also.

Scalp Infection:

This is the most common problem that occurs after bleaching hair excessively. This can cause us many problems like pain, irritation, and itching on the scalp too.


Excessive bleaching of locks leads to some other skin infections also which causes dandruff as a side effect. If you have already done this process with any professional help then go through their instructions carefully about how long cream rinse stays in your head.


It is one of the most common problems that occur after hair bleaching excessively. So don't bleach your locks more than necessary for healthy, shiny tresses with no side effects.

How to prevent over-beaching the hair?

To prevent over beaching, you must go through the instructions carefully that how long cream rinse stays in your head. And if you have already done this process with any professional help then take advice from them about what should be the best way to reduce hair fall and other issues after bleaching locks excessively.

Don't try at home if you are not familiar with the procedure because it can lead to problems like scalp infection which creates a number of other issues.

So always go through the instructions carefully before bleaching locks to protect them from over-beaching and causing any further damage.

Safety Precaution before bleaching new hair?

Before getting started with bleaching you must follow the safety precautions properly. So go through the instructions carefully before bleaching locks for new hair as they can be very dangerous if not used correctly with no side effects.

  • Not try this process at home if you are not familiar with the steps.
  • Do not bleach hair more than necessary otherwise there will be a problem of chemical burn on your hands too and it can also damage the scalp badly which leads to hair fall and dandruff etc.
  • Go through the instructions carefully before bleaching locks so that no harm comes to them after over-beaching. 
  • Always use protective gloves to protect your hands from damage.
  • Do not use a bowl as it can lead to a chemical burn on the face also, so always use a tint brush or cotton pad for this process.

What to do after beaching the hair?

After a successful beaching, you must go through these regulations-

Get in touch with professionals:

It's important to get in touched with your hair professionals. Because after bleaching sessions, the next step will be to apply the color on them. So you need expert guidance for this.

Use shampoo and conditioners:

After bleaching your locks, always use shampoo and conditioners to wash them properly so that no damage occurs.

Protect the new hair:

After bleaching for new hair, it's better to cut some parts of the tresses before dying them with any color as this can create some issues later on.

Go by set instructions:

Always go by the set instructions that how long cream rinse stays in your head otherwise it will give rise to various problems later on which can also damage new hair too.

What shouldn't do after beaching the hair?

After completing bleaching and necessary steps, you shouldn't do some tasks which cause damage to the locks like-

  • Don't blow dry your hair as it can cause damage and fluffiness. So always use the natural method of drying your tresses.
  • Don't use any other products on bleached hair except cream rinse and shampoo to avoid various hair problems later on which we have discussed above too. These two things will keep your locks healthy and shiny for a longer period of time.
  • Don't wash your locks with hot water because this can lead to serious scalp issues and even it can lead to a reduction in the volume of the hair so always go through instructions before washing them with hot or cold water.
  • Apply a nourishing hair mask that will let you get rid of any dryness and flakiness.
  • Don't combine chemical colors with cream rinse because it can bring about various problems for you after over-beaching the locks.
  • Never comb wet hairs as they are very fragile when wet, so go through instructions carefully before doing this process.
  • Do not try new hairstyles when they are moist because it will lead to breakage and loss of volume in your tresses which are not good at all. So wait until your locks completely dry out.

Hair masks

Hair masks and treatments are wonderful ways to cleanse and restore your hair. But what about bleaching? How long should you leave the bleach on your hair before rinsing it off?

The first thing you need to understand is that not all types of bleach work the same way, so you will need to know which formula works best for your hair.

For example, there are bleaches that remove the color from your hair and bleach that lightens or lifts the color out of your hair.

If you want to change the color of your natural hair, you might need a permanent dye. The latter also allows for more time to make sure the bleach is fully rinsed from your hair strands.


in the end, if you follow these instructions properly then it will ensure that your hair is bleached without any side effects and your locks are left healthy after the process. So if you wish to get lighter hair naturally, then always use cream rinse for this purpose. 

Bleaching new hair is very much in trend these days but before getting started with this procedure make sure to go through the instructions carefully to avoid any kind of damage which can lead to hair fall and other problems.

So just go through all the necessary precautions that we have discussed above, if you wish to avoid the side effects of over-bleaching during the process.

Hope this post will help you a lot! Thanks for reading.

DISCLAIMER: does not provide medical advice, examination, and diagnosis.

Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M D.