How to Fix a Bad Bleach Job at Home

Updated July 12, 2018

Few cosmetic mishaps are more horrifying than a bad bleach job. Whether your hairdresser had a really bad hair day or you got way too brave, your hair is an odd colour, a worse texture and the only thing more pathetic is the state of your bank account. Don't panic. It is a terrible idea to fix badly bleached hair with another chemical treatment, but there is hope. There are a few things you can do to repair bad bleaching at home.

Use a pair of sharp scissors to snip off as much damaged hair at the ends as you can. Split ends work their way up the hair shaft, so you want to stop them before they go too far.

Wash your hair gently with a mild, moisturising shampoo. Rinse it well and wrap your hair in an absorbent towel. Don't rub or twist it, let the towel do the work.

Follow the directions to heat the hot oil treatment of your choice. Test a little on the back of your hand and then apply it to your hair. Work it in and leave it on your hair.

Comb out any tangles with a wide-toothed comb. Don't pull or yank, just work slowly from the bottom up. Treating your hair gently will minimise the damage.

Pull your hair up, if it is long enough, and wrap it in cling film. Find something restful to do for at least 30 minutes, and then rinse out the hot oil treatment with warm water and apply a deep conditioner.

Colour your hair with an ammonia-free, temporary hair colour only if you absolutely have to. Use an ashy colour to minimise orange tones, and leave the colour on for no more than half the time recommended on the box.

Use a leave-in conditioner every day, and don't do anything else to your hair for at least 6 weeks.


A trip to the grocery store or the movies is not reason enough to make the condition of your hair worse. Wedding pictures, a big presentation or anything else where odd hair will be a distraction qualifies for a redye.


Do not try to fix orange hair with more bleach, or with permanent colour. Conditioning your hair and treating it gently will help ensure the success of the next process.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp scissors
  • Gentle, moisturising shampoo
  • Absorbent towel
  • Hot oil conditioner
  • Wide-toothed comb
  • Cling film
  • Deep conditioner
  • Ammonia-free, temporary hair colour
  • Leave-in conditioner
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About the Author

Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.