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It’s a Long Story: Your Guide to Bleaching Long, Thick Hair

Have your heart set on lighter locks this season? Who could blame you? Whether you’ve been dreaming of an icy blonde or are on your way to a fun new shade for fall, bleaching is a must-have beauty skill. If you’ve been hoping to go from dark to light in one take, not so fast. Bleaching long hair can spell disaster without some guidance and preparation. Luckily, learning how to bleach the right way doesn’t have to be rocket science.

What makes bleaching long, thick hair different?

If you’re working with long, thick hair, there are a few things you need to know about how it’ll react to bleach. It’s a necessary step to lift your natural color or a previous dye job, but if your hair is in good condition, any damage you sustain will probably be minimal. If your hair is already stressed, going too many shades lighter can make it dull and brittle.

Bleaching puts hair under a lot of stress—and if yours is long and thick, you know that it can be heavy and prone to tangles and breakage. The extra length also means more hair has been exposed to all kinds of weather conditions and styling processes, including damaging heat. Hydrogen peroxide, the most common agent found in bleach, causes hair to swell so color can adhere better. This effect can make healthy hair appear fuller. If your locks feel bulky and dry or have split ends, the swelling will make these issues seem worse.

Not sure whether your hair is strong enough to withstand bleaching? There is a simple test you can perform at home to determine whether it’s up for the challenge. Simply take a strand and pull it so it’s nice and smooth. Then, add a drop of water and time how long it takes to absorb. If it absorbs in less than 10 seconds, the strand is too damaged to bleach. 

Trimming split ends and deep conditioning the rest of your hair will get it to a healthier place for future color treatments. Our Hydrating Hair Mask and Revitalizing Hair Oil are the perfect companions to our nourishing Unicorn Bleach Party kit.

Does bleaching your hair make it thinner?

Wait—if bleach has the potential to damage hair, do you have to worry about thinning? It depends. Using a harsh product or applying it incorrectly could lead to fallout and affect the texture of your hair, making it brittle and hard to brush.

The truth is that this question doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. How well your hair adjusts to bleaching will depend largely on several factors, including your unique texture, maintenance habits, and application technique. Using high-quality sectioning clips will help you divide your hair into more manageable bundles for a neater, safer application. No need to worry about missing a spot or overdoing it somewhere else.

Along the same lines, your shampoo and conditioner should be formulated for color-treated tresses. Yup, bleach counts as a color treatment. Our Unicorn Hair color shampoo and conditioner are made with ingredients that boost color and shine and protect against heat. Use Universal on bleached hair or choose a shade that goes with your freshly dyed hue. 

How do I bleach my long hair the right way?

Bleaching long hair can be a big job and calls for the right equipment. If you’re starting with a darker hair shade, we recommend using the 40-volume kit. If you’re starting with a lighter color, use the 20-volume kit. Long, thick hair can require two or more kits if you’re planning to do your whole head.

Clean a small patch of skin and apply a small amount of bleach mixture. The test patch needs to sit for 48 hours—watch carefully for any signs of a reaction. No reaction? Great! You’re ready to treat your hair.

A quality bowl and brush are absolutely key to mixing your bleach thoroughly so the formula does what it’s supposed to. Use the pointed end to part and section your hair. The built-in comb is perfect for detangling—this will help the bleach go on smoothly and evenly. Secure your sections with durable plastic clips and apply the bleach in one-inch sections.

To avoid color inconsistencies, work carefully from the middle of your hair to the ends. Slowly work back up towards the roots but stay about an inch away from your scalp to avoid overprocessing. Follow the wait times detailed in the bleach kit instructions based on your hair length and thickness.

When time’s up, wash with cool water and our Universal Unicorn Hair shampoo and conditioner for softness and shine.

Our bleach kit pairs perfectly with Unicorn Hair Full Coverage dye, a semi-permanent formula made for easy at-home application. Find your perfect shade and show it off on Instagram and TikTok—don’t forget to tag us!

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