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Bleaching Basics for Beginners

Eager to let your inner magic shine with some vibrant hair dye? Unless you’re already platinum blond, starting with bleach to lighten your base is a must. If you’ve lived with virgin hair (a.k.a. unbleached, uncolored, and unprocessed) your whole life, the concept of bleaching might be totally new to you. It might even be a little intimidating—but don’t let the unknown stop you from rocking a new look. 

Even if you’re bleaching hair for the first time, you don’t need to break the bank to get it done. Our Unicorn Bleach Party is the perfect DIY kit for easy at-home dyeing, no matter your experience level.

What does bleach actually do?

Bleaching hair strips its natural color to leave you with a lighter shade. How does this work? It happens through a process called oxidation. Bleach opens the cuticle, which is the protective outer layer of the hair shaft, so it can with the melanin within. Melanin is the pigment responsible for your natural hair (and skin) color. The chemical reaction oxidizes melanin molecules, leaving them colorless.

As you might have noticed, bleached hair isn’t completely white or see-through—it generally lightens to a pale yellow when enough product is used. That’s because keratin, the structural protein in hair, is naturally light yellow.

What results can I expect based on my hair color?

When you’re bleaching hair at home, follow the instructions carefully to achieve your desired look and manage your expectations. What becomes of your locks after bleaching depends on their original color, the product itself, and how long you leave it in. 

First, consider your natural pigment. For dyeing purposes, hair colors vary from level 1 (black) to 10 (platinum). Levels 1–5, or black to brown, will need more dye to lift their pigment to a higher/lighter level. We recommend our 40 Volume Bleach Party for this level of lightening. If your pigment is level 6–9, or light brown to light blonde, the 20 Volume Bleach Party kit will give you the perfect base for vibrant color. Bleaching is not recommended for platinum hair—strands that have already been bleached might not have enough structural stability to withstand another round. 

Tips before you bleach

How to prepare your hair

Bleaching can leave your hair dry, brittle, and susceptible to breakage. With some prep and TLC, you can minimize the risk of major damage. At least two weeks before you bleach, start using our Hydrating Hair Mask. This deep conditioning mask ensures hair is healthy and frizz-free before treatment. Your lustrous locks will thank you!

In this time, you should also avoid heat styling and chemical treatments. This can leave hair weakened before bleaching when you want your strands as strong as possible. 

Should I wash my hair before bleaching it?

Some say that it’s better to bleach clean, but you want your hair’s natural oils to provide a protective layer for your scalp and strands. Skip the shampoo a day or two before bleaching.

Can I bleach wet hair?

Leaving water in your hair reduces the lightening effects of bleach. Why? Water dilutes bleach, so the pigment won’t lift as much. Make sure your hair is totally dry for the best results.

How do I bleach my hair?

If you don’t already know how to bleach hair, our Bleach Party kit has all the detailed instructions and tips you’ll need for a successful session.

How can I protect my bleached hair?

Caring for your hair after bleaching and coloring is the key to maintaining healthy locks. Stock up on these nourishing, color-protecting products before coloring your hair:

  • Unicorn Hair Color Shampoo: Keep your hair clean and soft post-treatment with our tinted, pH-balanced shampoo that won’t strip away your color. This magical formula will enhance the vibrancy and longevity of your dye. Use the clear Universal product on bleached hair.
  • Unicorn Hair Color Conditioner: Our conditioner revitalizes and deepens color, combats frizz, and adds shine to thirsty strands between dye sessions. The white Universal product is perfect after bleaching.
  • Revitalizing Hair Oil: Packed with prickly pear oil, goji berry extract, and meadowfoam seed oil, this hair therapy product will nourish your locks with much-needed nutrients for health, shine, and vibrancy.
  • Hydrating Hair Mask: Not only is our hair mask great for pre-bleaching, but it’s also one of the best ways to treat your hair post-dyeing. It restores hydration while supporting deeper, long-lasting color.

How long should I wait before dyeing?

Your locks will be a little sensitive after bleaching, so give them a rest! We’re talking at least three days. If your hair is dry and frizzy, adding color will only damage it further. Watch out for split ends, tough knots, and harsh, coarse strands.

Once the softness and shine start to return, and you can easily detangle it, that’s the green light you need to get coloring. You’ll need our mixing bowl & brush kit and no-slip clips for easy, at-home color application. Embrace your inner unicorn and let your colors shine through!

Whether you’re bleaching as part of a whole new color journey or want to get the platinum ice queen look of your dreams, we can’t wait for you to join our Instagram community and show off your best hair day yet.

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