Can You Bleach Over Semi-Permanent Hair Dye? What Happens?

Gorgeous African American female with dark brown bleached hair includes natural and artificial pigments.

When waiting for your semi-permanent dye to fade isn’t an option, many people consider bleaching over it.

You may have even seen video tutorials showing how to remove semi-permanent dye with bleach, but can you bleach over semi-permanent hair dye?

Just because others are doing something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

You’re right to pause and wonder whether bleaching over semi-permanent dye is a good idea. In this article, we’ll tell you whether you can bleach over semi-permanent hair dye. We’ll then share a few other methods you can use to eliminate semi-permanent hair color.

Can You Bleach Over Semi-Permanent Hair Dye?

Although it shouldn’t be your first option, you can bleach your hair after it’s been colored with semi-permanent dye. Semi-permanent dye is deposit-only, so it’s much gentler on your hair than other dyes and won’t react with the bleach the same way a permanent dye would.

However, coloring your hair with semi-permanent dye is still a chemical process, so you should proceed cautiously. 

Young black girl with medium-brown dark hair dye on her bouncy natural curls following a bleach bath treatment.

You’ll have to make sure your hair is healthy enough to handle bleach, which is considered a harsh chemical. This is true, especially if you’ve already lightened your hair before applying the semi-permanent color.

Before you attempt to put bleach over semi-permanent dye, separate out a thin section of hair that you can easily hide and do a strand test. Apply the bleach mixture to this small section to see how it reacts before you apply it to the rest of your hair.  

What Happens When You Put Bleach Over Semi-Permanent Hair Dye?

Depending on the shade of semi-permanent hair dye you used, you may have had to bleach your hair before the color application. Back-to-back bleaching treatments will wreak havoc on your hair strands and can lead to severe damage.

Additionally, bleaching your hair opens its cuticles. That may drive the ordinarily external semi-permanent dye pigments deeper into your strands.

In addition to making your hair look brassy, you might see subtle hints of your previous color peeking through your lightened hair. 

A sweet light-skinned girl after bleaching hair and mixing two different semi-permanent hair dyes for a lighter shade.

How Long to Wait Before Bleaching Over Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

There’s no set amount of time that you’ll want to wait before bleaching over semi-permanent dye, but remember that semi-permanent hair dye is temporary.

If you wait, your color will fade after 15 to 20 washes. You can also speed things up by washing your hair more often than you usually do. Let your color fade as much as possible before applying bleach to your hair. 

While waiting is the safest and most effective option, we all know that life sometimes has other plans. That said, you should still try to wait for at least two weeks to pass before you bleach freshly dyed hair.

That gives the dye plenty of time to settle and start to fade. As the excess pigment wears off, there’s less of a chance that it will ruin your bleaching session. 

A charming lady wearing temporary hair dye on her 3A natural curls and a light blue shirt while dancing outside.

How to Remove Semi-Permanent Dye Naturally

Whether you’ve fried your strands or just want to take a break from chemical processing, there are safer ways to remove semi-permanent dye than bleach.

If you wish to avoid bleach-related damage, here are a few ways to naturally remove semi-permanent hair color. 

Use a Vitamin C Mask

Vitamin C removes color by entering your strands and breaking down the bonds that hold hair color in place. As you rinse this mask from your hair, the color will go right along with it! 

It’s also incredibly simple. We’ll walk you through the steps now:

  1. First, crush 5 to 10 vitamin C tablets into a fine powder and mix them into a dollop of your favorite deep cleaning shampoo. 
  2. Wet your hair with warm water and massage the shampoo into your hair until you get a rich lather. 
  3. Put on a shower cap and let the mask sit for up to an hour before rinsing well with warm water. 

You can use a vitamin C mask up to 3 or 4 times in a row, although you’ll want to follow each session up with an intensive deep conditioner

An adorable woman wearing semi-permanent color pigments on her dark brown naturally curly hair.

Wash Your Hair

This color removal method is so easy that you won’t even have to change your hair care routine! As everyone with colored hair knows, washing your hair causes your color to fade.

If you’re looking for immediate results, wash your hair more often and rinse it with warm or hot water. That will open your hair’s cuticles, so the color will be easier to wash away. 

Want to speed things up even more? 

Switch out your regular shampoo for one that’s thickening or clarifying. These types of shampoo strip color more effectively than traditional shampoo and can lighten your locks after just a few washes.

Remember, even regular shampoo can be extremely drying. So, make sure you’re counteracting the effects of overwashing by applying a deep conditioner to your strands. 

A cute young black lady wearing a light blue shirt with naturally black curly hair styled with semi-permanent dyes.

Do a Hot Oil Treatment

When it comes to natural color removal, hot oil treatments are one of the most effective natural remedies you can try.

When combined with heat, olive oil molecules enter your strands and take up so much space that the dye pigments are forced out.

It’s an extremely gentle way to get rid of unwanted color and is safe enough to use once or twice a week until you’re satisfied with the results. 

  1. To start, shampoo your hair and rinse with water that’s as hot as you can tolerate.
  2. Put half a cup of pure extra virgin olive oil into the microwave for 10 to 30 seconds.
  3. Carefully check your oil’s temperature to ensure it won’t cause burns. 
  4. Once you’re sure it’s safe, apply the oil to your damp hair and massage it thoroughly. 
  5. Put on a shower cap and wait 30 to 45 minutes before rinsing with warm water. 
  6. To wrap things up, shampoo your hair with a thickening or clarifying shampoo. 

After the treatment, you should see a noticeable change in your color. 

A fun-loving young girl dyed her natural curls a darker color following a bleach wash to create unique punky color.

Can You Put Bleach on Box-Dyed Hair?

Both box dye and bleach are incredibly damaging to your strands. Only attempt to bleach box-dyed hair if your strands are healthy enough to withstand the process.

Don’t apply bleach to hair that has any symptoms of damage like: 

  • Dry hair
  • An increase in knots and tangles
  • Significant breakage or split ends

If you want to play it safe, wait at least nine weeks before attempting to put bleach over permanent hair dye. That will give your hair plenty of time to recover from the box dye and lessen the chances of hair failure.

While you wait, use weekly deep conditioning treatments and hair masks to help restore your strands and fortify them before putting them through another potentially damaging bleaching session.

A young African girl with medium-brown hair color on her 3B curls after using bleaching powder.

How to Prevent Damage When Bleaching Dyed Hair

Now that you know bleaching over semi-permanent dye is possible, we’d like to give you a few tips on how to go about it safely.

Here are a few ways to minimize damage when you bleach your colored hair.

  • Use the lowest effective level of developer. 
  • Opt for a bleach rinse instead or a regular bleaching treatment. 
  • Don’t bleach freshly washed hair. 
  • Mix a protein filler or bond repairer into your bleach.
  • Don’t go over the recommended processing time. 
  • Don’t bleach hair that has obvious signs of damage.

The most important takeaway is that a strand test is your best bet to avoid a hair disaster. 

Related Articles

Layering dye and bleach can be unpredictable, so we recommend waiting as long as possible or using a color removal treatment to speed up fading.

Regardless of how you approach it, we hope this article has answered your questions about bleaching over semi-permanent hair color and given you the information you need to prevent a hair disaster. Good luck!

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