How to Bleach & Tone Hair

by Samantha Tsang ; Updated September 28, 2017

Bleaching your hair to blond is a simple way to update your image.

smile blonde girl portrait image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from

Whether you are lightening your hair a few shades or going platinum blond, bleaching your hair is one way to change your look to something more chic. Going to a professional hair stylist would be the easiest way to achieve the best results, but the frequent visits can become expensive. Bleaching your hair at home is a tricky, but much more cost-effective alternative.

Put on gloves to protect your skin from chemical burns.

Mix the developer with the bleach powder in a plastic bowl, using the applicator brush in a well-ventilated area.

Apply the product to dry combed hair with the applicator brush, starting from the back and moving to the top of your head.

Wait for the bleach to set and check the color of the hair after 15 minutes to see if the result is the color you want to achieve. For lighter hair, leave the bleach in for a shorter period of time, between 15 to 30 minutes. For darker hair, leave for anywhere up to an hour.

Wash out the bleach in cool water once you have reached the desired shade. If you do not have the right because you have naturally darker hair, repeat the bleaching process with a second application at a later date.

Apply a violet-based toner once your hair is a pale yellow shade to remove the brassy or yellow tones. Wait for the toner to set for 10 to 15 minutes.

Wash your hair thoroughly. Dry and style your hair.


  • Wear an old shirt in case the bleach spills on you.

    If you have darker hair, use a higher volume cream developer, such as 40 volume, for the best results. For lighter or more damaged hair, use a lower volume cream developer, such as 20 volume.

    Deep condition your hair or use hot oil treatments to minimize the signs of damage.

    Get a friend to help you apply bleach. It is easier for someone else to reach the back of your head.

Photo Credits

  • smile blonde girl portrait image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from

About the Author

Samantha Tsang is a graphic designer and freelance illustrator who started writing professionally in 2010, specializing in pop culture and visual art. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia, majoring in French and philosophy.