Can I Leave Bleach in My Hair For 2 Hours?

Is it okay to leave bleach in your hair for more than 2 hours?

The bleaching theme has been touched upon again! After I got a lot of reactions to the posts about bleaching hair, how long it takes, and what to pay attention to, it was time for me to continue.

A lot of mails came in from people who were happy with the information. But, still, they had some extra questions that were not addressed such as: “Can I keep bleach in my hair for 2 hours?” I thought it would be a great idea to add this question to the list of bleach articles! 

So below you’ll find the answer to the main question, but you also get answers to questions like What are the risks, how much do you need bleach in your hair and how do you prepare for such a bleaching process?

Did I pique your interest? Nice! Keep on reading to find all the answers I just told you about!

Can I Leave Bleach in My Hair For 2 Hours?

If you’re bleaching your hair and wonder, “Can I leave bleach in my hair for 2 hours?” The quick answer is, No! Bleach is aggressive! 

Leaving it on your hair for too long can cause significant damage to your hair. Prolonged exposure to bleach can also cause harsh reactions or even burns on your scalp. When using bleach, it’s best to err on the side of less exposure time. Both your hair and your skin will thank you. 

Bleach works to lighten your hair by striping the melanin (a scientific word for hair’s color) from the hair strands. Unfortunately, this process is so aggressive that it’s irreversible. If you want to lighten hair significantly, it may be tempting to leave bleach in for an extended period. But even 30 minutes is long enough to turn even the darkest hair blonde. Any longer may have harsh consequences. 

What Are The Risks of Leaving Bleach in Your Hair For Too Long? 

You want to lighten your locks, have bleach in your hair, and wonder, “Can I leave bleach in my hair for 2 hours?” As tempting as this might be, leaving any chemical in your hair for too long can cause painful side effects for both your hair and your skin. According to the Cleveland Clinic, signs of a problem with your skin include:

  • Scalp redness
  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Flaking
  • Blisters on the scalp
  • Burning

The National Library of Medicine cites a study where exposure to bleach on rat skin showed swelling and irritation. Some rats even developed blisters on their heads. Blisters on the head do not sound fun, so be sure to read labels carefully and don’t leave the product on your hair longer than recommended. 

Since bleach is intended to lighten your hair, it can have the same effect on your scalp. You may experience some discomfort after treating your hair with bleach; this can be normal. But, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic warn that if any of these conditions last more than a day or two, you need to see a doctor or dermatologist. 

The Cleveland Clinic further states that using bleach for too long can damage your hair, causing it to become fragile over time, which can cause it to break easily. When this happens, the hair can look limp and thinned out. That’s probably the opposite look you were hoping for when you started bleaching your hair!

How Many Minutes Should You Leave Bleach in Your Hair? 

That depends on your hair color and texture. If you have fine hair, you should only leave bleach in for 10 to 15 minutes. Thinner hair processes the chemicals faster than thicker hair. For thick hair, 30 minutes will do the trick, but you may want to break that half-hour into two 15-minute sessions. Doing so helps prevent prolonged exposure to bleach on your scalp, which will reduce the likelihood of damage, burns, or irritation on your skin. 

Dark hair also requires about 30 minutes of bleach because dark hair takes longer to process chemicals. But, again, it’s advised to split that up into two sessions. Blonde hair needs less time (obviously). About 15 minutes is best to prevent your hair from becoming too light. 

These times are the maximum amounts of time you should leave bleach in your hair. You can adjust these times downward if you don’t want your hair too light. For instance, if you have dark hair and want it to be extremely light, leave the bleach on for a maximum time of 30 minutes. However, if you don’t want your hair to be that light, you would leave it in for a shorter period — 15 minutes or less. 

How Do I Prepare My Hair For a Bleaching Process? 

Test out any bleaching product on a section of hair before applying it all over. To do this, apply a small amount of the product to some hair strands that aren’t very visible. After washing out the product, doctors recommend you wait at least 24 hours to ensure there is no allergic reaction. Also, look at how your hair reacts to the bleach. That will help you determine how long you should leave the bleach on when you do your entire head. 

Before bleaching your hair, the FDA recommends you avoid brushing or scratching your head for three days prior to bleaching. This will cut down on the likelihood that your scalp will be broken before bleaching. As you can probably imagine, getting bleach on open skin would be very painful. It’s best to avoid that at all costs! 

Another good way to prepare your hair for bleaching is investing in a pre-bleach conditioning shampoo. You can start using this well before you plan to bleach. These products were developed to strengthen your hair, and the stronger your hair is, the better it will stand up to the harsh bleaching process. 

How to Take Care of My Hair After a Bleaching Process?

Invest in purple shampoo. Yes, that’s a thing. And yes, it’s purple. Let’s head back to elementary school for a second to get a quick refresher on the color wheel.

Complementary colors are colors that are directly opposite to each other. According to Color Matters, pairing complementary colors will work to balance out each color. Purple and yellow are complementary colors. Therefore, applying purple shampoo to bleached hair will help tone any residual yellowness leftover from bleaching. 

Just a warning: purple shampoo can be expensive, but it’s a worthy investment. If you’re going through the trouble of bleaching your hair, it’s best to keep it looking its best for as long as possible. Doing so will cut down on the number of times you will need to bleach your hair, which leads to healthier hair in the long run. 

Further, the FDA recommends you wait at least 14 days before bleaching your hair again or using any dyes or relaxers to prevent any further damage to your hair. Bleaching too often will have similar effects as leaving the bleach on your hair too long; it will cause hair to become weak. The weaker your hair is, the harder it will be to get it back to a healthy state once you are done bleaching. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read it all, I think you know better than to leave the bleach on your hair for too long. It can cause irritation, itching, flaking, and a lot of other things that aren’t comfortable. The most important thing to do is following the instructions that are on the box. You can always, as I said above, test the bleach you want to use on a section of your hair. This way you can see if your hair is okay with the bleach and what kind of results you are getting.

You even learned a bit about how to take care of your hair after it is bleached! It is important that you read and understand that chapter so that you can get the best results. You might think that I’m overdoing it, but it is important to do proper hair care after the bleaching process. This ensures that you get the right result, but also that it lasts longer as looks healthier!

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