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Color Remover vs. Bleach: What’s The Difference?

How do you get rid of pigment in your hair? Do you use a color remover or bleach? Before using either, you must learn how each works on your hair.

Herein is a detailed color remover vs. bleach comparison guide for you to choose better.

What Is a Color Remover?

Hair color remover

A color remover extracts artificial pigment from the hair. It’s also called a hair color stripper or hair dye remover. Color removers are prized for their ability to enter the hair shaft and remove dye without damaging your hair.

Hair color remover can be your go-to haircare product if you’re looking for the safest method to remove permanent dye from your hair. It’s an effective method of restoring the hue of your natural hair.

Pros & Cons of Color Remover

Here are some pros and cons of using hair color removers.


  • Free of damaging ingredients, leaving your hair in excellent condition
  • It doesn’t alter the natural hair color
  • Safe to use multiple times when removing permanent hair color
  • Ideal for first-time users who wish to remove hair color at home
  • Exact processing time (usually 20 minutes)


  • It doesn’t remove semi-permanent hair color
  • Color removers have a strong sulfur smell that lasts several days
  • Rinsing the color remover out of the hair can take a while

What Is Bleach?

hair bleach

Bleach contains chemicals that strip all your hair color, including the natural pigment, leaving your hair lighter.

The alkaline agent in bleach opens the hair cuticle for the oxidative agent to penetrate and dissolve the natural coloring of your hair.

If you want to remove dye from your natural hair, bleach will destroy the dye molecules and the natural color of your hair.

Pros & Cons of Bleach

Hair bleach has the following pros and cons.


  • Effective in removing all types of dye used in the hair
  • A good choice for removing hair pigment
  • It doesn’t have a bad odor as color removers
  • Can remove semi-permanent hair color
  • Ideal for lightening your hair


  • It can damage your hair, leaving it dry and looking brassy
  • Not ideal for damaged hair
  • Not a good choice for first-time users
  • No exact processing time
  • It may irritate sensitive scalps

Major Differences Between Color Remover and Bleach

Let’s now look into the color remover vs. bleach comparison in detail.

How Color Remover and Bleach Work

Color Remover vs. Bleach - Work Process

The color remover enters your hair shaft and dissolves unwanted color (artificial color pigment). The dissolved dye is easy to remove, leaving your hair with its natural color.

Bleach contains a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, which serve as the bleaching agent. The bleaching agent opens your hair cuticle and penetrates to dissolve your hair’s natural pigment. Bleach strips of the dyes and natural pigments, turning your hair lighter.

Your hair tends to become lighter the more you allow the bleaching agent to remain in the hair. The hair can attain a reddish or yellowish tinge that lightens further to platinum blonde.

Who Should Use Color Removers and Bleach?

Due to its mild chemicals, a color remover suits first-timers who wish to remove unwanted colors from their hair at home. The hair color remover kit comes with clear instructions you can easily follow.

On the other hand, bleaching hair requires experience, and it’s best suited for advanced users. If you don’t have the experience, you can go to a professional stylist to do the job.

Your professional stylist will assess your hair and determine the correct proportions to use and how long to leave the bleaching agent in your hair.

When To Use Color Remover and Bleach

Color Remover vs. Bleach - When to Use

Use hair color remover in the following circumstances:

  • If you want to remove permanent dyes and restore your hair’s natural color
  • If you want to remove unwanted stains from fragile or damaged hair
  • If you’re removing unwanted colors from stiff or dry hair
  • If you’re a first-time user

Use bleach if:

  • You want to lighten your hair
  • You don’t want a strong sulfur smell on your hair

How Much Do Hair Color Remover and Bleach Cost?

Color removers are more expensive than bleach. Manufacturers struggle to find less harsh chemicals in color removers, thus increasing the cost of the final product.

In most cases, the cost of bleaching products is half that of color removal kits. However, the cost can be significantly higher if you pay a qualified professional for hair bleaching services.

What Are The Risks of Using Color Remover and Bleach?

Risks of Using Color Remover and Bleach

A color remover is a gentle hair product with no associated risks. It’s also a safe product for people using it regularly. Please pay attention to the ingredients of the color remover because some may contain bleaching agents in their formula.

Bleach has harmful ingredients in the form of bleaching agents that may harm your hair. If used continuously, bleaching products can leave your hair dry, brittle, and looking brassy. If you have fragile or damaged hair, bleach may damage it further.

Color removers aren’t suitable for people sensitive to odors. Removers leave a strong sulfur smell that can be unbearable to some people. The smell tends to dissipate in a few days.

Conversely, bleach won’t leave a bad odor in your hair. However, bleaching products can irritate sensitive scalps.

To understand which product works best for your hair, we’ve created a comparison table showing the key difference between the color remover and bleach.

Color Remover


Removes artificial hair dyes

Removes all colors from your hair, including dyes and natural pigment

Won’t damage hair even with regular use

It has damaging ingredients that destroy your hair if used continuously

Suitable for first-time users

Suitable for advanced users

It has a strong sulfur smell

It doesn’t have a sulfur smell

It doesn’t cause scalp irritation

It may cause scalp irritation

Color Remover vs. Bleach: Our Verdict

Hair color remover eliminates the dye in your hair without altering its natural hue. In contrast, bleach removes dyes and changes your hair’s natural hue.

Color removers can be a safe bet if you’re looking for a gentle product that won’t damage your hair. These products remove the permanent color of your hair without changing its natural hue.

Opt for bleach to remove the dye and lighten your hair. However, bleach can damage your hair, especially when used continuously.


Here are answers to some of the most common questions about color remover and bleach.

Can I bleach hair after color removal?

You can bleach your hair after color removal since color removers don’t alter the hue of your natural hair. However, waiting for 7-10 days while giving your hair deep conditioning treatment is advisable to ensure moisture restoration.

Should I use bleach or color remover first?

If you plan to use bleach and color remover together, use the color remover first. It’s a gentle product on your hair for removing permanent colors. After removing the dye, you can wait about one week and use the bleaching product to lighten your hair. You don’t want to risk using harsh chemicals on hair full of dye.

Is color remover safer than bleach?

Color remover is a safe product that doesn’t contain harmful ingredients present in bleaching products. It leaves your hair looking great, but you should consider a deep conditioning treatment to ensure your hair regains moisture.