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Can You Lighten Already Bleached Hair? How to Do It Safely?

Bleaching is an effective method for lightening hair. But we all know bleaching can make your hair dry and lead to hair breakage.

There are instances when you bleach your hair to lighten it but don’t achieve the result you wanted. Sometimes you may want to go lighter with your hair color.

What to do then? Can you lighten already bleached tresses? Or is it safe to bleach your hair again to lighten your hair?

The answers depend on some factors. Read this article to understand the factors and take the hair assessment quiz to decide if you should lighten your bleached hair or not.

Is It Possible to Lighten Previously Bleached Hair?

Yes, you can lighten your bleached hair! But the method of your lightening depends on your bleached hair health.

If you bleach your hair too frequently, you can destroy your hair. The roots and follicles may die, the hair itself will become dry and brittle, and more. Using too much bleach on your hair is a quick way to ruin your locks.

Because of this, it’s great to know the many ways to brighten your hair after you’ve bleached it. That said, it’s challenging to change hair without damaging it.

For example, one safe way to lighten your hair is natural sunlight. However, spending too long in direct sunlight can cause damage to your hair and make your locks brassy. You can also end up with a sunburnt scalp, which will further damage your hair.

Decide Your Lightening Method

There are several ways to lighten your already bleached hair, including less damaging natural methods like apple cider vinegar and rebleaching, but first, it’s important to assess hair health.

Assess and Prep Bleached Hair for Lightening

Bleaching is more effective for lightening hair but it can damage the bonds inside the hair and raise the outer cuticle.

If you’re looking to brighten your hair before you reach for the bottle of bleach again, it’s important to assess your hair health and whether your strands can withstand a second bleaching.

Ask yourself the following questions and observe your hair to answer. Based on these answers you can decide how to lighten your previously bleached hair.

Assess Your Bleached Hair Health: Take the Quiz

1. How does your hair feel to the touch?

  • A. Soft and smooth
  • B. A bit dry but manageable
  • C. Very dry and rough
  • D. Brittle and straw-like

2. What does your hair look like?

  • A. Shiny and vibrant
  • B. Dull but still looks healthy
  • C. Dull with noticeable split ends
  • D. Extremely dull and lifeless

3. How often do you experience hair breakage?

  • A. Rarely or never
  • B. Occasionally, especially during styling
  • C. Often, even with gentle handling
  • D. Constantly, even without styling

4. How does your scalp feel after bleaching your hair?

  • A. Normal, with no significant changes
  • B. A bit dry or itchy sometimes
  • C. Frequently dry, itchy, or irritated
  • D. Severely irritated or painful

5. How does your hair react to moisture (like water or humidity)?

  • A. Retains moisture well
  • B. Becomes slightly frizzy or dry
  • C. Becomes very frizzy or dry
  • D. Remains dry and brittle regardless of moisture

6. What is your hair’s elasticity like? (Test by gently stretching a strand when wet)

  • A. Returns to original length without breaking
  • B. Stretches a bit but may break occasionally
  • C. Stretches very little and breaks easily
  • D. No elasticity, breaks immediately

Scoring Guide:

  • All A’s: Your hair is in great condition post-bleaching; You can rebleach to lighten your hair.
  • A’s and B’s: Your hair is in good condition but may need some care; Use natural methods or wait a few more days before bleaching again.
  • Mostly A’s and B’s with C’s: Your hair shows signs of damage; Use natural methods only.
  • Other: Your hair is significantly damaged; Consider hair treatments and avoid any sort of lightening.

So, if all of your answers are “A” you can rebleach your hair to lighten it without hesitation. For any other results, I would recommend natural methods.

The general rule is to wait more than a month before rebleaching, allowing hair to rehydrate and recover stripped oils.

To prepare hair for lightening during the wait period, it’s important to hydrate your strands. You can use:

  • Argan oil: You can apply argan oil to hair two to three times per week by applying it to the ends.
  • Coconut oil: To reduce protein loss, you can use coconut oil two to three times per week or in your daily conditioner.
  • Keratin masks: You can use a hair mask once or twice a tween to reduce dryness.
  • Hydrating creams: A deep conditioner treatment is best used once a week.

It’s also advisable to skip shampoo and washing for several days before rebleaching; this allows your hair to build up natural oils to protect your scalp and strands.

Rebleaching Hair to Lighten Color

How To Lighten Already Bleached Hair - Rebleach

After assessing your hair health, if you decide to go for bleaching again, take a look at the color of your hair and your desired lift for lightening.

I prefer to use a lower volume on the second go-round – usually 20 volume developer instead of 30 or 40 volume. This lessens the damage somewhat. Apply petroleum jelly along the hairline and on the ears to prevent skin irritation.

Work the lightener through clean, dry sections of hair, starting about 1 inch away from the scalp and working down the shafts to the ends.

Process for less time than you did initially, keeping an eye on how the color is lifting. The ends will be lightened quicker since they were pre-lightened.

Once you reach your desired level of lift (maximum 30 minutes), thoroughly rinse the lightener from the hair using cool or lukewarm water.

However, if your rebleached hair still has a darker base tone than your desired tone after 30 minutes, you may have to bleach again and for that, you will have to wait and take your hair health quiz again!

Hair Care Tips for Rebleached Lightened Hair

Remember that bleach is a harsh chemical, and it’s important to care for your hair and scalp after bleaching. Follow these helpful tips to ensure healthy strands after bleaching.

  • Avoid blow drying and opt to let hair air dry instead, as heat can damage hair further.
  • Limit hair washing to every 24 hours at the least.
  • Brush strands slowly and carefully to avoid further breakage.
  • Use oils and restorative creams and conditioners.
  • Avoid exposure to the sun.
  • Follow up with a hydrating hair mask or deep conditioner. This is important for hair that has been bleached twice.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Lightening Already Bleached Hair

How To Lighten Already Bleached Hair without Bleach

If you want to lighten already bleached hair without bleach, apple cider vinegar is an affordable and convenient option.

The process is simple; dunk strands in the vinegar, rinse with cold water, and follow with conditioner. This process helps lift color and seal in moisture.

Does Heat Make Bleached Hair Lighter?

No! Heat is not a factor in brightening your bleached hair. Using an excessive amount of heat on your hair will do more harm than good, especially in the long run.

Too much heat on bleached hair will cause it to split, dry out, or die. Heat will damage your hair, which makes several methods of brightening your hair more difficult.

For example, if using natural sunlight, you shouldn’t stay out for too long. Exceptionally hot summer days can cause more damage to your hair than good. Make sure that you aren’t overheating your hair to avoid damaging the strands.

So, it’s possible to lighten your already bleached hair but the safer method depends on your hair health. While rebleaching is more effective for lightening, you should consider using more natural methods to avoid causing damage to your hair.