How to Wash Bleach Out of Hair: The Ultimate Guide

Whether you are sitting in a salon dyeing your hair or on your couch with hair wrapped in a towel, you may be wondering how to wash bleach out of hair. Read on to find out why and how to rinse out the bleach and just what will happen if some stays in your hair.

How to Wash Bleach Out of Hair?
To rinse out bleach you should use only lukewarm water at first. Make sure to let the water pass through your hair for a good 15 minutes before using a neutralizing shampoo for bleached hair to even out the tone. You should also use a conditioner to soften and moisturize the hair.

Why Should You Wash Bleach Out of Hair, and What if You Don’t?

Bleach is a strong chemical that strips hair (and floors) of pigment. It is used to lighten hair that may also be dyed later. This product is very harsh on the hair and strips away anything in its way.

By applying bleach to hair, you are starting a powerful chemical reaction. And this is exactly why you must rinse out bleach well afterward. Otherwise, the chemical reaction will continue, and it will end up removing all the moisture in your hair, leaving your hair super dry, brittle, and flat. The vulnerable state of your hair will also make it highly prone to damage and breakage.

bleached hair

How to Wash Bleach Out Correctly?

Before you start to take bleach out of your hair, make sure you have left it in long enough. The answer to the question of how long to wait to wash hair after bleaching depends on the formula you are using.

Always read the instructions on the bleach box carefully. This is where you will find the recommended amount of time bleach should be applied, depending on your hair color.

Keep in mind that the longer time you leave it in, the lighter your hair will get. If you have very dark hair, you may need multiple rounds of bleaching.

Plan out at least two weeks of time between each bleach cycle to avoid hair damage. Once your bleach time is up, it’s time to move on to the washing step.

washing bleached hair

Rinse with lukewarm water

The first step in washing bleach out of hair involves using lukewarm water. Hot water will interact with the bleach and make your hair feel dry and brittle after it dries. It will also open the pores on your scalp, which may be irritated by the bleach.

You can also use cold water to rinse out the bleach, but no one really enjoys an ice-cold shower. Although this doesn’t necessarily apply to bleached hair, the quality of water can affect the overall feel of hair.

If you live in a city with harder water, consider buying a showerhead filter to protect your hair from the excess harsh minerals.

Should I shampoo after bleaching?

As a hairstylist, I always get the question, “do you shampoo after bleaching,” and my answer is always a direct yes! Even though rinsing with water will remove part of the bleach, some of the lightning ingredients will stay stuck to your scalp unless you use shampoo.

The process of bleaching your hair makes the general environment more alkaline and lifts up the cuticle on hair. So, a mild shampoo with low pH will balance out the hair and bring down the cuticle back to normal.

This makes it less prone to breakage and split ends. Make sure you are using a gentle shampoo without sulfates to avoid further damage to the hair.

Do you have to use neutralizing shampoo after bleaching?

You don’t necessarily have to use a neutralizing shampoo after bleach, but you can! A neutralizing shampoo formula is designed to reduce the alkalinity caused by active ingredients in the bleach. This brings the pH of the hair back to normal.

A neutralizing shampoo is more acidic than normal shampoo, so it will completely cancel out the alkalinity of bleach, making sure the chemical reaction doesn’t continue. If your bleach is very strong or the box suggests using a neutralizing shampoo for bleached hair, then go for it!

Apply deep conditioner

davines moisturizer

After bleaching hair, a deep conditioner is really needed. Conditioner is generally for moisturizing and coating hair with a protective layer. Aside from replenishing hair, a deep conditioner will also be the final step in fully rinsing out all the chemicals from the bleach.

It will also start repairing the damage done by harsh bleach. After using a mild or neutralizing shampoo, apply your deep conditioner and let it sit. The conditioner should be left in the hair for at least 25 minutes.

After the time is up, wash out all of the product with lukewarm hair. Make sure you are always gentle with freshly bleached hair, as it is in a highly vulnerable state.

Purple toning shampoo

Toning shampoo should only be used if you aren’t happy with the tone of your bleached hair. It can neutralize the color and bring down the yellow to a more silvery tone.

Be careful not to use too much toner or toning shampoo; otherwise, you may have purple streaks in your hair. Purple shampoo can be used after rinsing out the bleach with normal shampoo and before conditioner as well as in the days following the treatment.

Rinse VERY well

No matter what hair product you are using, if you aren’t rinsing well enough, then you are doing more damage than good. Any build-up of a product that isn’t meant to stay in hair will cause irritation of the scalp, drying of hair ends, and more. So, make sure you are rinsing thoroughly and nothing is left behind.

rinsing bleach out of hair


Do you rinse bleach out of hair with cold water?

You can, but it won’t be a very enjoyable shower. Lukewarm water will have the same effect anyway, so there is no need to suffer in a cold shower. Make sure your water pressure isn’t too high, as you must be gentle with freshly bleached hair.

Can I use clarifying shampoo after bleaching?

Yes! Clarifying shampoo is designed with a formula to rinse out any residue, so it can be used after treatment with bleach. Keep in mind it will only wash out the bleach and won’t lighten hair further.

Is it okay to use purple shampoo after bleaching?

If you are happy with the tone of your bleached hair, then there is no need for purple shampoo. However, if your hair is too yellow and you want a more neutral color, then you can use some purple shampoo after you are sure you rinsed out the bleach with normal shampoo.

In conclusion

To sum it all up, there is no special technique for washing bleached hair, but there are a few tips to keep in mind. Always use lukewarm water, mild or neutralizing shampoo, and conditioner, and make sure you rinse out all the products well.

If you have any tricks to washing bleach out of hair easily, tell all of us about I in the comments!

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Allyson Carter

Ally is a professional hairstylist with more than 6 years of experience, but hair has been her passion since early childhood. Here, at Hair Spies, she blogs about all things hairdressing, hair tools, and everyday hair care. Read more about Allyson here.

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