Why doesn’t my hair take color after bleaching? 5 possible causes and solutions

for even results

  • If you bleached your hair and the hair dye didn’t take, you should re-color the hair and leave the hair dye on for at least 45 minutes.
  • The dye probably didn’t take the first time because you left it on for less than necessary or because the product was out of date.
  • The hair dye may not have taken evenly because of having oils or a bleaching mixture in the hair. In those cases, the solution will be the same: re-dyeing your hair.


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And the worst thing happened. At least, that’s what you’re thinking right now.

You bleached your hair and applied the color you chose so carefully. Anxious, you rinse your hair, dry it, and when you look in the mirror… Surprise!


 The color you have on your hair is the same one you had before you colored it. You can’t understand what happened, but your whole world is upside down  in less than a flash.

I understand your anger, your disappointment, and your despair. You feel that all the work you did on your hair, all the care you took, and even the loss of an afternoon with your friends was worthless. Your hair is a mess and it didn’t hold the hair dye.


However, try to slow down your hectic breathing. Try to think of that relaxing landscape that leads you to inner peace. Even if it doesn’t look like it,  the solution is much simpler than it seems: just re-dye your hair. 

However, this time, you’ll have to take some precautions. Do you want to know what they are?


Read on because I’ll tell you all the possible reasons why the hair dye may not have worked on your bleached hair and how to fix it.

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Reason 1: you left the dye on for less than the required time

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It’s one of the most common problems when applying a hair dye to bleached hair. And I think I know why.

If you bleached your hair, you probably prayed for long and commended yourself to all the saints you know to avoid hair damage.

Heavenly help is never superfluous, especially when it comes to such an aggressive chemical process as bleaching. So, to prevent further damage to your hair, you rinsed out the dye early.


 That logic doesn’t work in coloring issues. Hair dyes have a reaction time and an action time. 
  • The reaction time is the first 20 minutes after mixing the ingredients
  • and the action time is 45 minutes after the application of the hair dye on the hair.


During those 45 minutes, the chemicals penetrate the hair fiber and change the color of your hair.


So if you remove the hair dye before 45 minutes, you won’t give it enough time to deposit in the hair fiber and change the color.


How to fix your hair color

  Reapply the hair dye. However, this time, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions   and leave it on for 45 for the color to set in your hair.


Reason 2: you applied an expired hair dye

Everything in this life has an expiration date. Hair dyes are no exception. To honor the truth, hair dyes well stored can last from 3 to 5 years.


Of course,  if the dye is exposed to intense heat or sunrays, or stored incorrectly, the components degrade and don’t penetrate the fiber properly.  Then, the hair won’t take the color.


All hair dye boxes have the manufacturing batch number and expiration date printed on them. That’s the second thing you should look at after the color before you buy it!

You need to look at the expiration date to avoid unpleasant surprises with the color in your hair. Also, to prevent degraded chemicals from damaging your hair.


What should you do in this case?

If you find that you’ve used an outdated hair dye, and that’s why your bleached hair didn’t take the color, you’ll need to re-dye your hair.

This time, check the expiration date before you buy it to avoid making the same mistake. As the saying goes, man is the only animal that trips twice over the same stone.


Reason 3: traces of repair oil or other products in bleached hair

remove hair dye from hair

Tell me the truth, with one hand on your heart. After bleaching your hair, did you apply a repair oil, like coconut oil, to moisturize your hair? Or any other product, perhaps a moisturizing mask?


Bravo for sincerity!

Now, did you rinse it out before applying the color? Again, tell me the truth – that’s the problem!


 As you didn’t remove the oil, the hair dye didn’t get to the hair fiber. The oil forms a film that prevents the hair dye from sticking to the hair fiber. 


What should you do?

Apply the dye again, but don’t use any repair oil or product beforehand.

You should do it after applying the hair dye. But wait for at least ten days before using any oil or hair mask.

This way, you’ll prevent the moisturizing treatments from dragging out the dye’s pigments.


Reason 4: you left bleach mixture in your hair

Do you know how long we spend in the salon rinsing out the bleach?


Around twenty minutes.

Yes, because there shouldn’t be even the slightest bleach trace left in the hair.

  • Firstly, due to a hair health issue.
  • Secondly, so that it doesn’t interfere with coloring later.


The bleaching powder inhibits the effect of the hair dye. If you haven’t rinsed your hair well, the hair dye won’t hold.



Re-dye your hair. And to avoid this mistake in the future, whenever you bleach your hair, rinse the bleach mixture with pH-balanced shampoo. It’ll remove any bleach traces.


Reason 5: You used a peroxide-free (developer) hair dye

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As you were concerned about the health of your bleached hair, you applied a permanent color without mixing it with peroxide. Of course, you thought that was a very reasonable decision.

But that’s not how chemistry works. If you’ve bought a permanent hair color, you have to use it with the right ingredients for the hair to take the color.


If you feel that your hair is dry and you want to avoid chemical hair dyes, you can use semi-permanent dyes. They don’t contain any ammonia or peroxide.

You’ll also find an extensive color palette. So, there’s no excuse.



Re-dye your hair. Remember you must use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  If the dye is permanent, you must mix it with developer. If you want a less aggressive dye, you can use a semi-permanent dye to color your bleached hair.



I’m sure you feel more relieved now that you have the solution at your fingertips. You won’t need to spend a fortune at a beauty salon.

If the dye didn’t take after bleaching your hair, all you have to do is re-apply a hair dye to your hair.

Now tell me. Which of these five mistakes did you make?

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