View Full Version : Something I don't understand about dyeing & bleaching

May 21st, 2014, 02:47 PM
I've never been blonde, so I have no idea what that process & upkeep are like, and this question might seem stupid. I only have experiences with dyeing my hair very dark.

Here's what I don't understand:

Let's say you've got long healthy, virgin hair and you want to go blonde...so you go to the salon and they bleach it, highlight it, tone it, whatever else and it's done. Your roots are the only thing that need to ever be bleached again right?

Now, if you've got long healthy, virgin hair and want it dark brown, you go to the salon or DIY. Then when your roots show up you just dye those, but the dye on your lengths will lighten with time/washing/sun exposure, and every so often you'll have to have dye pulled through the lengths too, right?

Wouldn't this mean that dye is more damaging in the long run? Since the hair is being repeatedly dyed, versus a one time bleaching? Or am I missing something here? :S I feel like bleaching is always the one with the horror stories of fried hair, extreme damage & breakage, etc. I guess I don't understand why that's the case, when it seems that your hair should only have to be bleached once and thus not be too​ damaged.

May 21st, 2014, 02:58 PM
Bleach lifts pigment out of the hair, so no need to bleach already processed parts of hair again thats correct. Dark dye doesnt need that much of a strong developer but also contains peroxide, so on the long run i will damage hair as well, but its possible to kind of conrol the damage as you treat your hair and stretch applications as long as possible, probably using a deposit in between. I think all those horror stories are the result of bleaching way to harsh at once to achive many many shades of lightening or bleaching already multiple time colored otherwise hair. I can do neither, it dreis out my hair and makes it crunchy to no end, i expirimented once with both kinds several years ago and it's definetely not for me, while my hair can handle heat like it was nothing. So as always, it depends on how much you can take in the individual case, some people bleach once and would lose all their hair, some do it more than a handful of times and still nothing too bad happens.

May 21st, 2014, 03:00 PM
I think regular dye is generally more fool proof. Most box dyes can be left on fir five or ten minuted longer than recommended without your hair falling out, but peroxide is significantly stronger. It is actively fading pigment, which can only be achieved by some level of damage, while some dyes are only deposits (manic panic I think?). Bleach is extremely unforgiving with a very small margin for error.

Just my thoughts, anyhow :)

May 21st, 2014, 03:03 PM
I'd say: yes and no.
One-time bleach session is typically more damaging than one-time dye, because you are removing pigment and some hair protein, rather than depositing color. Both processes are very alkaline, so they are damaging. Of course, the quality of hair dye matters a lot (I think Adore and Manic Panic are really low-damage, for example), but bleach is bleach.
Since dye needs to be refreshed on the length anyway, opt for less damaging temporary dye rather than permanent or semi-, whenever possible.

Lots of bleach blondes "refresh" the length too, especially when they don't want to deal with brassiness, and toners are slightly damaging too. Not to mention that completely avoiding any overlap may not be easy on highlights.

And I'm sure somebody with more dye/bleach experience than me will post more information on this. :)

May 21st, 2014, 08:26 PM
Let's say you've got long healthy, virgin hair and you want to go blonde...so you go to the salon and they bleach it, highlight it, tone it, whatever else and it's done. Your roots are the only thing that need to ever be bleached again right?

Hi blue_eyes, in theory, yes. In practice, however, it's hard not to touch the already-bleached hair when you touch up the roots, meaning they get done more than once.

May 21st, 2014, 08:34 PM
Oops, forgot to add (and us newbies can't edit our posts): I have known people who are blonde by using Sun-In to have less damage than your typical whole-headed bleach blondes. In my experience, for someone who's already a dark blonde, touching up roots with Sun-In does seem to be a gentle way to maintain a blonde that's not a super-light shade.

So, your conclusion that dye is more damaging in the long run would be correct when compared to the kind of blonde I've described above :) Box dyes will have ammonia and peroxide and repeated whole-head applications (such as the every six-weeks the instructions usually recommend) will cause more damage (I can say been there, done that, personally). So, when you say "only have to be bleached once and thus not be too damaged" I think your reasoning could be applied a medium-ish blonde, starting from a light brown or dark blonde, not a natural black going platinum, obviously ;)

May 21st, 2014, 08:43 PM
Not overlapping bleach to prevent further damage in my opinion, is extremely difficult and not always possible. Doesn't matter if it yourself doing it, or a hairdresser. Bleach tends to expand, and if it is not done properly it can expand and still overlap previously bleached hair. Also, when you color your own hair you can't see where you last colored in the back. Thankfully, there is no need to bleach the whole length again but toners are necessary. With darker color, you can get away with only coloring the roots and refreshing the ends in the last 10 min by mixing the dye that's on your head with a little shampoo and moving it down the length. Or by using a temporary conditioner color mask like the ones from Roux and Ion. Overall, the darker color is less damaging because not only does it use a much lower level of developer to work, it's ok if it does overlap a bit whereas with the bleach it's extremely damaging when that happens. Also, darker colors may also be achieved just by using those temporary conditioner stains and not having to use actual dye at all if the starting color isn't blonde to begin with. If the starting color is blonde, a orange, red orange or red filler will have to be used first before the brown color to achieve a shade of brown without any green or blue tones to it. Hope this helps. :) I've been a hairdresser since 05 so I thought I'd chime in, if that's ok. :)

May 21st, 2014, 09:09 PM
Thanks for all your replies! You've all helped me gain a better understanding. :)

I suppose I'm asking because my hair is a blonette kind of color (blonde in sunlight, light brown indoors) and I've always wanted to try going blonde at least once in my life, but I have endured some pretty bad chemical damage over the years (that I'm currently growing out) and am a little terrified at the thought of bleaching. So I was curious as to whether my healthy, virgin hair (being fairly light in color already) would be able to be lightened with minimal damage. I can see though that overlapping bleach when doing the roots could possibly lead to breakage...so I'm not sure it'd be worth it.

May 21st, 2014, 09:44 PM
Your best bet is to do a "dirty wash". It's one part hair bleach, one part developer, two/three parts of shampoo. Mix well. Apply in the shower. Keep on for 3 minutes. Roots-ends. Rinse. This will lighten your hair up, but it is damaging.

Also, John Frieda sheer blonde lightening spray works well for me. It's also damaging.

May 22nd, 2014, 01:06 AM
Having nice, long, bleached hair is definitely not impossible. I think you started here after he left, but it might be worth searching for some of ericthegreat's content, he had stunning bleached locks. I used to bleach mine at bsl without a problem, but I always got a professional I trusted to do it.

Honey and catnip can lighten hair, but obviously not as dramatically.

May 22nd, 2014, 11:16 AM
In theory, it might work as you described. In practice, you're missing two major things:

1) As many people have said, avoiding the already-bleached parts when touching up roots with bleach is difficult even for hairdressers. Thus, you'll likely get at least two passes of bleach over each bit of hair. (Also, it's fairly common for hairdressers to "pull down" the bleach on the roots onto the already-bleached hair to lessen any demarcation line. This will, of course, result in multiple passes of bleach over each bit of hair and thus much more damage. Some hairdressers even do whole-hair bleaches whenever the roots show too badly, which is obviously not a good idea!)

2) Not all dyes are made alike. Permanent and demi-permanent dyes contain developer, which is damaging. Semi-permanent dyes do not and thus are much less damaging. Deposit-only dyes like Manic Panic, Directions, etc. are nearly no-damage. They are much like conditioner. Also, just because you initially dyed with a permanent doesn't mean that you have to touch-up with the same dye. You could touch up the length with a semi-permanent, a deposit-only dye or even the sort of conditioner that has a bit of dye in to prevent fading. Thus, depending on the dye, you may get nearly no damage at all even with multiple touch-ups.

chen bao jun
May 22nd, 2014, 12:44 PM
There's a thread called "Bottle BlondeGoes Long" or something like that which will show people who are bleaching their hair and maintaining long hair.
It's definitely possibly to do for some people. It seems to work best if you have strong hair, are already a lightish color and not going too much lighter, can manage not to do it too often without looking strange and if you don't want LHC long hair. I think the damage would show up in most everybody if they wanted to grow their hair to knee length but bra strap to mid back seems to be easily possible with somewhat strong hair and a lot of people can do waist. I know they use coconut oil to protect and lots of treatments, but its a while since I've been there (and I've never done it) so I don't quite know.
There's always SOME risk though and if you have very fine, delicate easily damaged hair, I'd leave it alone. I also wouldn't miss it with blow drying or flat ironing regularly or any other chemical process such as a perm. The problem would be that once you realized you had done something something your personal hair can't take, you have to spend years growing out and repairing damage ( or possibly have to do a big chop and start over).