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Can I dye my hair after bleaching it?

Updated April 17, 2017

Everyone who regularly colours their hair has probably experienced at least one botched dye job. Maybe those sun-kissed highlights you were going for ended up looking more like fried straw. Maybe going blond didn't look as flattering as you thought it would. Don't panic yet. It is possible to dye hair after bleaching it.

Effectiveness

It is possible to dye hair that has been bleached, but the results usually depend on how healthy the hair is and what the new colour is. Some stylists intentionally bleach hair first before they apply colour, especially if the customer is going for a lighter shade.

Get Professional Help

Most salon professionals, for obvious reasons, recommend getting your hair fixed by a professional. If you had your hair bleached by a salon and are unsatisfied with the results, they may agree to fix it for free. If you did the damage yourself with a bleaching kit, salon stylists will probably be more knowledgeable about how to fix the damage. Trying to fix it yourself can lead to more damage.

Give It a Break

Once you've fixed the bleached hair and it's back to a more flattering colour, take steps to prevent further damage. Bleach saps the moisture out of hair, leaving it frail and dull. Getting moisture back into it is essential. Try a deep conditioning treatment meant to help repair damaged hair. Depending on the amount of damage, you may want to repeat this treatment once a week for several weeks. Certain types of hydrating hair treatments can be left in for a while in order to let it fully absorb. Take a break from styling tools for a few weeks. Flat irons, curling irons and blow dryers can do additional damage. If you can get away with it, try washing your hair only every other day with a mild shampoo and a hydrating conditioner.

Problems

Dyeing hair that has already been bleached can sometimes be difficult. If the original bleach job damaged the hair, you may run into problems. Bleaching strips the hair, so when you apply new hair colour, the dye doesn't have much to hold onto. Also, the dye will be more easily absorbed by the damaged areas of the hair, so the resulting colour could look patchy and uneven.

Considering Color

When you dye your hair with an at-home kit, your hair colour will probably not end up exactly the same as the colour on the box. Think about the basic colour-mixing principles before choosing a new colour to dye your hair. If your bleached hair has a yellowish tint, don't choose a cool shade. A cool shade like an ash brown contains more blues, so when combined with the yellow tint of the hair, it may cause the result to look greenish. Instead, choose a colour with violet undertones. When mixed with the yellow shade, it will create a more natural brown.

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About the Author

Emily King holds a dual Bachelor's degree in English writing and business, along with a minor in studio arts from the University of Pittsburgh. She has written for a printed monthly magazine, has experience in the financial and health care industries and has published numerous online articles.