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Bleach Bath tutorial - with pictures!

Started by Sins_n_Needles, 26 Nov 10 / 11:00 PM

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Sorry if this is a stupid question or if it's been asked before but what's the difference between a bleach bath and something like colour b4?


That's not a stupid question at all. I'm sure most hairdressers don't know the difference between these two. So I'll try to give an explanation:

A bleach bath uses oxydation to - umm, well - bleach out the colour pigments of your hair. Like some stains are bleached on clothes, paper is bleached, whatever.
In theory it's possible to bleach hair until it's completely white. Practically, though... umm... very, very rarely.
Bleach doesn't differ between (most) artificial and natural pigments, they're all destroyed. First the black ones (Eumelanin), then the red ones (Pheomelanin).
Due to ingredients like ammonium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide it's usually quite damaging. Bleach breaks the disulfide bridges in your hair. A bleach bath, which thins the bleach a bit, is considered less dangerous.
Some more info on the bleach mechanism: http://www.hair-dressing.com/hair-coloring/hair-bleaching.shtml

Colour B4 has a different approach. Or, let's say it like this - it does the exact opposite: Instead of oxidation it uses reduction and is said to work only on artificial pigments - those which were added to your hair by (permanent) dyes. It 'breaks' the molecules and thus enables you to wash them out of the hair. That's why you have to rinse it out for a horribly long time. And that's also why some people who bleach their hair immediately after ColourB4 (and probably didn't rinse it long enough) end up with a bad surprise, as the bleach re-oxidized the broken colour pigments and the colour they wanted to get rid of is back... The producer, by the way, only recommends the use of a semi permanent dye afterwards to get the desired shade.
Colour B4 is said to be much less damaging than bleach. However, Colour B4 most likely won't bring back the natural colour, as the hair is usually slightly bleached from the used permanent dye. Most people get some ginger colour after the use. It is not possible to lighten hair to blonde or white with this product (except for  those with naturally blonde or white hair).
(Colour B4, by the way, can't do much if you dyed your hair with a silicone dye like Live XXL and then used a curling tong or straightener. Here's Scott Cornwall's statement.)


I did a bleach bath for the first time today, I'm really surprised how effectively it lighteneed my hair with no noticeable negative effects. Usually my hair goes at the very least incredibly dry after, if not the dreaded chewing-gummy result. I conditioned as normal afterwards with Aussie Colour Protection conditioner, and it looks so healthy!

I'd definitely go for bleach bathing rather than straight up bleaching in future. My hair's still not as evenly coloured as I'd like, but a noticeable improvement and no damage = big win in my book!

Thanks so much for the tutorial Sins, I'd have been much more nervous beforehand without this! I took some pics before/during after, which I'll put on my comp tomorrow, maybe load a couple up in a "showing off my hair" post as I personally like to see the results of these processes compared with beofre pics, so you can see the change and not just the outcome.


Thanks, all very interesting, although further confusing myself a bit as I've used every permanent dye going, including Live XXL, which as I use a lot, I'm sure would have been one of the last dyes used before bleaching, yet I managed to get results (though took a few attempts b4 got rid of the orange tones & got more of a true blonde, fading to platinum at the roots, incl leaving bleach in for an hour, & now it's very dry, needs a lot of tlc & time b4 I try again, I assumed was just due to dark base, but perhaps the XXL didn't help). I've always figured a more gradual process would be better, but don't really fancy walking around with patchy orange hair in the meantime. :-/ Do the clarifying shampoos & washing up liquids at least start the fading out process a bit more naturally, or can they lead to patchiness too. I'm usually a bit more of an impatient chuck-whatever-on-my-hair-and-hope-for-the-best kinda gal, but recent 'telling off' from hairdresser for frazzling my hair a bit has made me think I need to do things properly if want bright colours. The extensions they talked me into just aren't cutting it in the 'in-your-face' stakes.


If you want to avoid walking around with faded orange hair just grab a cheap bottle of ash blonde toner which will help the hair look more natural. You might not like the colour but at least no one will notice you're in between colours.


thanks, though people will probably wonder more about me seemingly trying to go blonde, lol, seeing as I've always been dark, perhaps I'll stick to just undercolouring again first until I'm brave & comforatable enough with the results to go full head. got some intensive conditioning masque & hair supplements today to try & get my hair into better condition again first. hoping to try again in a month or so by which time with all your help I should be an expert.  :)


Remember that hair supplements won't affect the overall health of all of your hair, only the hair the grows out your head whilst taking them.


I think my friend suggested them cos I was complaining how long my hair seems to take to grow these days, yet I always have roots, typical, lol.  ::)


What was your starting colour for this?

I'm really tempted to try this, but last time I tried to bleach my hair myself it was a disaster...

I've been dying my hair for over a year with XXL dyes... I had my hair lightened "professionally" *coughitwasterrible* recently to have it dyed purple, which didn't turn out as I wanted so another XXL dye went onto it.

If I do go for this I plan on fading the HELL out of my colour with H&S first... Just wondering if it will bring me to a light enough colour to put semis on my hair again? Or even blonde... Platinum blonde has always tempted me, although I'm not sure if I'd suit it xD


The lighter the base the more vibrant the colour but you can still get a vibrant result on a darker base. It depends on the base colour, whether or not bleach was used (even just a little can make a difference) and if the dye you used covers it well.


Can you use a bleach bath to do your roots?



I bought all the things I need for a bleach bath today, but I went with a 20 vol creme peroxide.
I have long hair (to my waist) so would the measurements in the tutorial be enough for my hair?

bunny underbelly

This is so useful - I wish I had the patience to do baths, it might get rid of some of the fear factor of full bleaching!


'kay i haven't read all the comment so appologies if someone's already asked this,
are the results the same as normal bleaching?
is this less harmful to the hair, or just the same?
is this easier in people's opinion?


Quote from: UndeadPoh on 28 Jun 11 / 10:13 PM
'kay i haven't read all the comment so appologies if someone's already asked this,
are the results the same as normal bleaching?
is this less harmful to the hair, or just the same?
is this easier in people's opinion?

It doesn't take out as much colour as normal bleaching, only a shade or two at best.

It is less harmful because it's not stripping your hair colour as much as before.

It seems pretty easy to do, loads of people here do it and get great results.

If you do try it you still need to keep up the condition of your hair in between bleach baths but at least you can do this once a week, unlike regular bleaching where you have to wait a whole month.


so much easier than bleaching in my opinion, i found tht on roots it bleaches almost as much as normal bleaching so i always use it for root touch ups,
my hair atm isnt very healthy but it looks like the bleach bathing rather than bleaching is making it better slowly :)


well, i think i'm giving it a go either tomorrow or sunday and i was wondering if it's a good idea over my hair, see, i bleached over pink about 4 months ago and it was pinky white, then again to all white, and then i had pinkissimo over it. it's faded completely to a whitey-blonde colour (similar to my naturall colour but lighter) and my roots have come a mucky blonde, so i mainly just need to get the roots the same colour and get rid of the little bits of pink near my roots too, so should i maybe get a weak peroxide like 20 or 30 vol? because i got a little intimidated when my hairdresser said that once your hair is bleached white, the next time you bleach it just goes *[blocked word]* and breaks.. :< but i've only bleached all my haie twice really, and they were abour a month apart and the last time i bleached was like 2 months ago.. am i safe? i have quite a few split ends but i guess my hair is in a relatively okay condition, i do straighten my hair every day, but i use simple shampoo with no chemicals (ish) in it, and condition it almost every day, and now and again i use leave-in conditioner. so, isit safe? dear god i'd hate to cut all my hair off after waiting 3 years for it to grow to boobie length and it's only just past my shoulders :'<


hello! do you get a better result from doing this on dry hair?


So this bleach bath will top ya roots up too. I think I read on here. Cool I'm going to be doing this later.


Yup, bleach works quicker on the roots so regular bleach tends to turn them much lighter than the lengths of your hair. Bleach bathing the roots will only lighten it a little so it should match in better with your lengths that way.


Quote from: Mathurine on 03 Aug 11 / 09:02 PM
Yup, bleach works quicker on the roots so regular bleach tends to turn them much lighter than the lengths of your hair. Bleach bathing the roots will only lighten it a little so it should match in better with your lengths that way.

ahh cool. and you do tips first then roots? i think i saw somewhere..


If you need a full head application yes, lengths then roots. The heat from your head affects about one inch from the roots (2-3cms) and that develops really fast.

Otherwise just do the roots if that's all you need.



Just wondering, I've had blue hair for about....4 months?   I've faded it without chemicals as much as I can,  so much so, its looking green at the  ends and my roots are terrible, we're talking 2 inches almost here. :(  My hair feels great as I've been treating it the past 2 months, but I'm paranoid about damage, so do you think a bleach bath will be enough to get the blue out of my hair and tackle so extensive roots?