Can You Bleach Permed Hair? How long should you wait to do it?

  • If you must bleach your hair, you should first check its health. Also, wait for at least 45 days between perming and bleaching your hair.
  • In the meantime, prepare your hair for the bleaching session because it’s a quite aggressive chemical process for the hair. I’ll tell you how and what products to use to prepare your permed hair for bleaching.


loose waves

Both bleaching and perming are chemical processes used in the salon.

Both processes are done with  products that open the cuticle to modify the shape, structure, and color of the hair.  Their components severely damage the hair fiber.


YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: Can I Dye My Hair After Getting a Perm? How Long Should I Wait Afterward?


I guarantee you that doing them at the same time could be catastrophic.

 If you permed your hair yesterday or a week ago, forget about bleaching your hair for now. You’ll have to wait for a few more weeks.


If you permed your hair a month or more ago, you should evaluate the condition of your hair to see if it can withstand another process as aggressive as bleaching.

  • If the evaluation shows that your hair can withstand bleaching, go ahead.
  • If not, you’ll have to keep working on recovering your hair, as we’ll see later on.

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What could happen to your hair if you perm and bleach it at the same time or after only a few days?


You could irreversibly ruin your hair.

I’m not exaggerating. I know firsthand because I’ve been there myself. Let me tell you.


A few years ago, I asked a coworker to soft perm my hair. There was a boom in loose waves, and I didn’t want to be left out of the trend.

All my clients complimented my look at the salon.


 I have super straight and boring hair. So, the perm was my solution. I promised myself that I’d never stop doing it.  But that promise vanished one day.

It was the day I thought of bleaching my hair.


Although my hair is fine, it has endured countless things. We, colorists, like to innovate and change hair color constantly.

However, nothing compares to the damage caused by that explosive cocktail of perm and bleaching.


 As I have fine hair, bleaching my hair only a month after having had the perm was quite unwise. 

My hair turned blonde as I wanted, but the bleach ended up with my beautiful loose waves.

I swear they were no longer waves. They were a frizzy mess of hair that was impossible to define.


Therefore, I ended up destroying the best hair look I could have had.

 Although I paid dearly for that mistake, I learned that I’ll have to choose between being blonde or having waves. 


Even having waited a month between perming and bleaching, I ruined my hair.

However, don’t be discouraged. It’s never all said and done because that was my story. As I always say, every hair is different.


Maybe you can bleach your permed hair without the risk of damaging it.

short hair

How can you know if your hair can withstand bleaching?


It’s easy. Do a hair diagnostic.

The result of the hair diagnostic will tell you whether your permed hair can withstand bleaching.

The diagnostic  should be done by a professional hairdresser because they understand the unique characteristics of each hair. 


As I mentioned above, in my case, having fine hair, it was not a good idea to bleach it.

Maybe you have thicker and more resistant hair that can withstand bleaching.

The hair thickness, its elasticity, and other variables should be evaluated with a hair diagnostic before bleaching.


Now, let’s move on to another topic, which I’m sure you weren’t considering.


Just as there are different hair types, there are also different intensity of bleaching and different perm strengths.

light blonde hair

Why do I tell you this?


Because nothing is definitive.

 Maybe you can’t lighten your hair five shades, but you can lighten it two. 

Maybe you can’t lighten your hair eight shades, but you can lighten it three. Do you get the idea?


If you want to keep the waves you’ve permed and, then, bleach your hair, you need to be flexible.

Flexible to adapt your wishes to the characteristics and conditions of your hair after perming.


Then, you have to consider the different perm types. There are tight curls, loose waves, and a whole range in between.

 The bleaching effects will be very different on tight curl permed hair than on open curl permed hair. 


On tight curl permed hair, bleaching can tend to loosen the curl, especially if the hair wasn’t suitable for bleaching.

To make sure that bleaching doesn’t deform the curls of your perm as it did for me, you need to make sure that your hair is suitable for bleaching.

You’ll also know that with a good hair diagnostic. It’ll not only help you determine if you can bleach your hair, but it’ll also help you find out how much you can lighten it. Also, the effects it’ll have on the curls or waves of your perm.


How long should you wait to bleach permed hair?

three shades

As I’ve been saying, the time you should wait to bleach your permed hair will depend on many variables.

For example, the condition of your hair, how thick it is, how much you want to lighten it, what type of perm you have, and many other variables.


  • To give you an idea, if you have a soft perm, your hair is thick, and you want to bleach a few shades, you should wait at least two months to bleach.


  • On the other hand, if you’ve had a perm, have fine hair, and want to bleach it to a platinum blonde, please don’t even think about trying. You’ll end up ruining your hair. Remember the story I told you about mine.


As you can see, even though those chemical processes damage the hair fiber, they may be compatible in some cases.


What specific care and products should you use on your permed hair to bleach it?

how to know if expired

Let’s say your stylist has decided that your hair is strong and you can bleach it.

You should still allow at least 45 days between one process and the other. Two months would be better.

What are you going to do in the meantime? Wait?


No, dear reader!

You won’t wait with your arms crossed.

You’ll take advantage of every minute to take the best care of your hair and prepare it for bleaching.


 You’ll do it because the bleaching success will depend on that. You’ll have to nourish and moisturize your hair. 

Think of it as preparing it and helping it get through its next color change.


  • Wash your hair at most every other day. Use nourishing and moisturizing products. Also, use a repair mask once every 10 days.
  • Never dry comb your hair and don’t use brushes. Instead, comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb in the shower after using a conditioner.
  • Use styling products such as styling creams or curl mousses.  Treat your hair as if you had natural curls. 


If you follow these tips and everything we’ve discussed throughout this article, you’ll be able to bleach your permed hair.

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