What Is the Difference Between Bleaching & Stripping Hair?

Updated April 17, 2017

Stripping and bleaching are chemical processes applied to hair to change its current colour. Bleaching hair removes the natural pigments and will result in a blond or light orange hue. Stripping removes dyes and will return the hair to its natural colour.


Stripping and bleaching are similar processes but perform very different functions.


Hair stylists will choose to either strip or bleach hair depending on the current colour and the client's desired result. Clients whose hair is not currently dyed and wish to have a lighter colour hair will need to have their hair bleached first. It is not possible to dye hair lighter than its current colour.


Stripping is method that makes the hair more porous so that unwanted hair colour can be removed. It usually preludes dying hair a new colour.


Bleaching removes melanin, which is responsible for giving the hair shaft its specific colour. Extremely dark hair may have to be bleached several times before the desired colour result is reached. Bleaching hair is considered to be a permanent dying option.


Bleaching and stripping increase the fragility of the hair shaft and can lead to dry, dehydrated, "hay-like" hair that may not be desirable to some clients.

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About the Author

Christine Argier began writing in 2004 and is backed by more than six years of experience working in the IT field. She holds CompTIA A+ and Green IT certifications and is also a Microsoft Office Master Specialist certified at the expert level in both Microsoft Word and Excel. Argier is currently working toward finalizing her CompTIA Technical Trainer certification (CTT+) and Adobe Certified Expert accreditation (ACE).