You can apply bleaching products to damp hair and experience some lightening effects. In fact, some new-age styling techniques call for damp hair. However, you should never try to bleach wet hair on your own.
I hear this question all the time. As an up-and-coming cosmetologist, I have the privilege of learning about all kinds of bleaching techniques. With new lightening methods like wet balayage and bleach washing becoming en vogue, the discussion of wet bleaching is more common than ever.
So, let’s talk about it! Keep reading if you want to learn more about:
- What happens when you apply bleach to wet hair
- Why you would want to bleach wet hair
- Potential issues that could arise
What Your Hair Goes Through During Wet Bleaching
When I hear, “Can you bleach wet hair,” the question is more focused on safety than anything else! Bleaching is notoriously damaging to your hair.
This process involves oxidation and deep hair penetration. The bleach opens the hair cuticle, allowing harsh ingredients like hydrogen peroxide invade the core. There, the ingredients work to oxidize melanin molecules, leaving you with ultra-bright hair.
It’s a pretty arduous process. And if you’re not careful, you may end up with a dry, brittle, and breakage-prone mess!
Even when you add water to the mix, there are some risks with bleaching. But does water make it any more or less safe?
The truth is that there’s already water in the bleach mix! Only about 10 to 30 percent of the bleaching product is active lightening ingredients. The rest is water. Bleaching powder and hydrogen peroxide are no stranger to H2O!
So, can you bleach wet hair? You absolutely can, as the bleach already has water in it. However, adding more water will dilute its effects. Bleaching wet hair results in a more subtle effect, which may not be what you’re after.
Water can also make your hair more vulnerable to damage.
Remember the hair cuticle we went over earlier? Well, it reacts to water. When your hair is wet, it opens to allow more water in for hydration.
Bleaching it in this already opened state could cause some severe damage! The bleaching ingredients work to open and close the cuticle for processing. Allowing that process to occur on already opened cuticles exposes it to more damage.
Why Do Some Salon Professionals Recommend Bleaching Wet Hair?
There’s no denying that bleaching comes with risks. But those risks are long-established and easily avoidable.
There are many ways to prevent damage and get the look you love without the risks. Many of those same safety precautions apply to wet bleaching, too.
So, can you bleach wet hair at a salon? Well, many professionals recommend it! Here are a few reasons why.
It Lightens Your Hair Faster
On a time crunch? Bleaching your hair damp may help you spend less time in the salon chair!
As mentioned earlier, water helps to open the hair cuticle. While that would typically make your hair more vulnerable, it can work in your favor. A skilled colorist can take advantage of your hair’s biological processes to significantly cut back on processing time.
The hair’s core is already accessible, so the bleach doesn’t have to work as hard to remove pigment. You can get the brightening effect you’re after in only a fraction of a time.
This technique is prevalent in busy salons. You might see colorists recommending wet balayage for the sake of saving time.
Wet Bleaching Is More Subtle
Another big perk of bleaching wet hair is the subtly it provides.
Remember how we said that most of the bleaching formula is water? Adding more will only dilute the ingredients further, which reduces their efficiency.
I know what you’re thinking: Why would I want less effective hair bleach?
If you only need to lift the hair a little bit, you don’t need tons of lifting power! Ultra-potent bleach will only damage your hair more. So, colorists recommend wet hair to dilute the product and achieve a natural-looking lift with minor damage. It’s a win-win!
It Maintains Lightened Hair
Finally, you can use wet bleaching as a bit of pick-me-up between full coloring sessions.
This technique is catered towards those who have a balayage or ombre. With these hairstyles, only the ends of the hair are lightened. It gives a natural dimension and a beautiful sun-kissed look.
Your hair may start to dull after a few weeks. It takes regular coloring appointments to maintain ultra-bright hair! But with wet bleaching, you can get a little lift on the ends without going through the entire coloring process.
Many use it for those in-between sessions to make the desired effect last much longer.
Potential Disadvantages to Consider
At-home bleaching kits are nothing new. But can you bleach wet hair at home? Nothing is stopping you, but we highly recommend not giving it a try!
Bleaching kits are precisely formulated for safety. They have just the right amount of developer and bleaching powder, ensuring that you don’t go overboard and fry your hair.
Adding water will throw the formula off, putting your locks at risk.
Remember: Your hair is a lot more vulnerable when it’s wet. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up doing far more damage than you would have without the water.
It’s always best to go to professional colorists. A salon expert can find that happy medium and give your hair the subtle lightening effect you want in a safe way.
The Wrap Up
Can you bleach wet hair? Absolutely! However, always let a professional do the job instead of attempting it at home.
Bleaching wet hair provides particular results. The technique more subtle and works faster than bleaching on dry hair. Whether or not it’s the right choice for you depends entirely on your end goals.
Visit your salon today and ask your stylist their opinion. There’s a good chance that they’re familiar with the technique. They can see if it’s the right course of action for you or not.