How Long After Bleaching Hair Can I Wash It (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 48 to 72 hours

Bleaching is a way to make your hair color appear lighter than its natural hue. Although bleaching is not quite endorsed by hair care professionals and stylists, it is a commonly used method that many men and women rely on to get lighter-colored hair at home.



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Bleaching works by stripping open the hair cuticles and removing melanin from them. Melanin is the pigment that makes our hair and skin darker. The greater the concentration of this pigment in your hair, the darker will be its natural color. Dyeing your hair with bleach is considered a harsh technique because of this aggressive attack on your hair cuticles.

How Long After Bleaching Hair Can I Wash It

How Long After Bleaching Hair Can I Wash It?

Desirable lighter manes can be achieved easily with hair coloring. Using bleach helps achieve the same effect as professionally lightened hair. However, it is equally significant that one remains alert when handling these chemicals at home without much supervision. It is important to stick to the precautionary statements and timelines mentioned on the product in such a scenario.

Generally, washing after bleaching your hair will stand for two things. On one hand, it can connote washing your hair with water after the bleaching session is over. On the other hand, it may stand for shampooing your hair after the bleaching session. Each of these meanings has a corresponding timeframe attached to them that also varies according to the existing texture and color of your hair.

Blonde hair requires merely 20 minutes to be bleached, while dark brown or black hair may need around 30 minutes of bleaching. Again if your hair texture is fine, 15 to 20 minutes should suffice. However, with coarse hair, 20 to 30 minutes may be needed. After this stipulated time period has been covered, you can wash your hair with slightly warm water. However, you cannot apply shampoo.

When shampooing your hair after a bleaching session, one must wait for at least 2 to 3 days. Again, when this time period is over, they must use a paraben-free shampoo to help soothe the hair follicles that may be agitated due to the bleaching chemicals. Washing your hair before this 3-day time frame will harmfully affect both your hair color as well as its overall health.

In Summary:

Circumstances of Washing Bleached HairWaiting Time
Washing Blonde Hair (Without Shampoo)20 minutes
Washing Dark Hair (Without Shampoo)30 minutes
Washing Hair With Shampoo48 to 72 hours after bleaching

Why Do I Have To Wait So Long After Bleaching Hair To Wash It?

Bleaching is an aggressive process of lightening one’s hair. It essentially strips off all the moisture from the hair follicles. Shampooing one’s bleached hair immediately after the session is over will intensify the damage done to the hair cuticles. This happens because your hair cuticles are open after bleaching and the chemicals from your shampoo can easily enter the follicles, damaging them further.

Before you can wash your freshly bleached hair with a paraben-free shampoo, you must allow it to rest and regain moisture. If individuals do not wait for at least 48 hours to shampoo their newly bleached hair, they will end up with dehydrated and frizzy hair. This happens because of the lack of moisture in the hair follicles. It will also change the hair color and one might end up with a color that is not too desirable.

It is equally significant that an individual washes the bleach off her hair within 30 minutes of application. Keeping the bleach on for a longer duration may damage your hair as it makes the hair brittle and compromises the health of your hair strands. Use moisturizing products after the 3-day interval is over to help build up the lost moisture content of your hair.

Thus, when applying bleach it is always best to stick to the instructions mentioned on the pack itself. Salons are the best place to start on your bleaching journey. Instead of relying on your novice expertise, look for professional aid. Cognize the fact that an overly bleached mane will not look appealing and will inevitably add to your hair woes.


Bleaching is considered to be a go-to option for most individuals who wish to have lighter manes because it saves them a trip to the salon. The rule with bleaching your hair is that the longer you leave the bleach on, the lighter your hair will be.

Most product instructions specify that an individual must wait to wash their manes with shampoo for at least 48 to 72 hours after bleaching. If one ignores this instruction and washes their hair before this period, the outcome of the bleaching session will be disastrous and will also affect the hair quality of the individual. However, an individual can wash her hair with warm water after 30 minutes of the bleach being applied.  


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