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How to Bleach Roots | A Step-by-Step Guide

Platinum blonde (aka white) hair is a stunning look, but isn’t a piece of cake. If you have bleached hair, you know that your natural roots come creeping quicker than one may think. Going to a professional hairdresser is ideal, but also very expensive. 

If you want to learn how to bleach roots so you can maintain your gorgeous blonde color without spending a fortune, read this step-by-step guide on bleaching your own roots. 

Bleaching your roots for the first time can be intimidating, but it’s not impossible.

It starts with parting your hair and mixing the bleach and ends with you rinsing out your beautiful blonde hair. But there are some specific things to keep in mind, so read this step-by-step guide, so you know the right way to bleach your roots. 

Bleaching Your Roots: A Summary

How to Bleach Roots in Your Hair Graphic

There are seven simple steps to bleaching your own roots and getting back your stunning blonde hair. These include:

  1. Section Your Hair
  2. Create the Bleach Mixture
  3. Apply the Mixture to Roots
  4. Wait for Level 10 Color
  5. Rinse Your Hair
  6. Apply Toner
  7. Rinse Hair Again

Now that you know the gist of the process, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Bleaching your hair is something that you improve on every time you do it. So follow this guide to a tee the first time, and after that, it will only get easier and easier!

Read Next: What Is a Root Bump?

How to Bleach Roots in 7 Easy Steps

1. Section Your Hair

If you plop the bleach mixture onto the top of your head, your roots underneath the top layer of hair will not color properly. It’s important to section off your hair, so you apply enough bleach to each area of your scalp. 

The most common way of sectioning your hair for a root job is to divide it into four sections, two on each side. You should take the top layer of one side and clip it up so you can easily access the roots underneath. Then do the same on the other side.

If you have super thick hair, you can do more sections, but it can complicate the process. Four sections are usually plenty for any amount of hair you have. Please don’t skip this step!

2. Create the Bleach Mixture

The next step to bleach your roots is to make your bleach and developer mixture. To do this, you should mix one part powder bleach or lightener with one to two parts of the developer.

You can use anywhere between one part and two parts developer. A one-to-one ratio is an ideal mixture, but not all products have the same consistency, so sometimes you have to improvise a little bit. 

The goal is to create a white mixture about the consistency of Greek yogurt. If it’s too thick to spread easily, add more developers. If the mixture is too watery to firmly sit on your hair, add some more powder.

Read Next: How to Bleach Your Hair

3. Apply the Mixture to Roots

It sounds simple enough, but this is the most important step in the process. If you apply the mixture incorrectly or haphazardly, you’ll need to redo the process or live with an uneven coloring. 

To apply the bleach, you should start at the bottom of your head and work your way up to your forehead. Apply the mixture thoroughly on your two underneath sections.

Once you feel you covered the underlying roots completely, you can unclip or untie the other two sections and apply the mixture on top. When doing this, be mindful of your scalp and skin, as bleach can irritate or even burn your skin.

Try to only place the mixture on top of your hair, avoiding your hair part and other exposed areas of skin. You should also avoid applying bleach to parts of your hair that are already bleached, as this can result in damage. 

However, make sure you apply enough bleach for your roots to change color. If you do not apply a thick, consistent layer onto all four layers, your roots may look uneven or unfinished.

There should be enough mixture that you can feel some weight on your head, but not so much that it’s dripping or falling off. You must work quickly and carefully, so your roots come out right but you don’t burn your scalp. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to help you get back!

4. Wait for Level 10 Color

After you have applied the mixture to your roots, now it’s time to wait. The bleach can take up to 50 minutes to saturate into your hair, depending on your hair type. The finer your hair, the faster the bleach will settle.

But if you have very thick, coarse hair, it will take longer for the bleach to saturate. Because all hair is different in how it interacts with chemicals, it’s hard to give an exact time.

The best way to determine when to rinse off your hair is by the visual color as the hair lightened from the bleach. Your hair will go from light orange to golden yellow to pale yellow to the white level 10 you desire. 

Once your roots look white, you can wash out the bleach mixture. It takes most people around 30 minutes to achieve the level 10 that they want. Knowing when to rinse your hair is a true art, make sure you don’t do it too early!

Read Next: How Long to Leave Bleach in Hair

5. Rinse Your Hair

Once you see the color you want, it’s time to rinse! You can rinse your hair thoroughly out in a large sink, or you can wash it off in the shower. If you choose the shower option, make sure you tilt your head far back as you rinse out the mixture.

You don’t want any of the chemicals getting into your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you want, you can also add a little bit of conditioner to the ends of your hair, but this isn’t necessary. 

6. Apply Toner

Now that you rinsed the bleach out of your hair, you should have a very light shade of yellow. Don’t worry, this is normal. To get rid of the yellow so you can have that fabulous platinum blonde, you’ll need to apply hair toner

The best toners for neutralizing a yellow color are no lift toners with blue and purple pigments. These cool colors will offset the warmth of the yellow and deliver the platinum blonde you want. 

Look for toners that say silver blonde or pearl blonde, as these will contain the right amount of cool colors to fix the yellow around your roots. If you notice that your roots closest to your scalp are perfectly white, this is normal. 

The heat that comes off your scalp interacts with the chemicals and causes the hair to be whiter. Seeing the presence of white near your scalp does not mean you should skip the toner!

7. Rinse Your Hair Again

Leave the toner on your scalp for about 15 minutes so it can saturate the hair. Then you should rub and comb the toners down through the rest of your hair. Rinse your hair and check that the color is how you want it.

If you feel like the shade is still too yellow, you can repeat the toner process a second time. Once you achieve the color you want, rinse out your hair thoroughly. You want to make sure you remove all chemicals from your hair at this point, so the color doesn’t change more than you want. 

At this point, you should only rinse your hair using water. It’s not the right time to shower, as you need to give the toner time to seal into your hair, or you’ll return to that straw yellow color we want to avoid. 

Make sure you use color-friendly shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products to maintain the beautiful blonde color that you just worked so hard to achieve! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Hairdresser showing us how to bleach roots in hair

Michelle Aleksa/Shutterstock

Bleaching hair can be a tough task, and many people have questions about the process. If you still have some questions that you’re wondering about, read these helpful frequently asked questions on bleaching your roots below!

How Often Should I Touch Up My Roots?

The obvious answer is whenever they start to show! Most professionals recommend getting your roots done every four to six weeks to keep your hair looking good. 

On average, the hair on your head grows about half an inch every month, so six inches of growth every year. If you want to touch up your roots so they never show, you’d have to do this every one to two weeks can be harmful to your hair and skin.

How Long Should I Wait to Shower?

Once you have put in the toner, you should not shower for between 48 and 72 hours. Some people shower after just one day and don’t see a color difference, but professionals and experts advise against this.

The longer you wait to shower, the less color you’ll wind up washing out of your hair.

As mentioned, make sure you’re using shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products designed for color-treated hair. They also make products specifically for bleached hair which are even better. 

How Do I Know When to Do My Roots?

There is no right answer to this. If you’re done with the bleach blonde look, you can just let your roots grow out. It won’t be the cutest look for a while, but you’ll return to your natural color eventually. 

Most people like to get their roots touched up once they have grown out an inch or two. Once there is an inch of newly grown hair, the color difference becomes extremely obvious. Many people want to avoid this look. 

Do I Have to Bleach My Hair to Lighten It?

Yes! If you have dark hair that you want to lighten, but don’t want to use bleach, you can use super-lightening color treatments which can lighten your hair by up to five shades. But if you want the platinum blonde look, you’ll need to use a bleach product to achieve the super light, almost white, color. 

Should I Bleach All of My Hair at Once?

No! If you have bleached hair and want to touch up your roots, do not, under any circumstances, bleach your whole head of hair. This action will not have the right impact on your roots.

Your hair will look uneven, and you’ll have an awkward color band separating your newly grown roots and the rest of your hair. Plus, if you have already bleached your hair, bleaching it again will result in damage that may force you to get an undesired haircut. 

So, How Do You Bleach Your Roots?

So there you have it — how to bleach your roots. If you’re dreading making that root touch-up appointment with your hairdresser, try bleaching your roots by yourself! Just remember to work as quickly and carefully as possible, and don’t be afraid to ask a friend for help!

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