How long does it take to bleach hair at a salon? What about at home?

from dark brown to light blonde hair

  • Bleaching your hair in a salon can take between 10 and 30 minutes.
  • Bleaching your hair at home, can take between 20 and 45 minutes.
  • As you can see, bleaching your hair yourself takes longer than at a salon. Why?
  • First of all, a hairstylist has much more experience bleaching hair, and probably does so several times a week, while the average person might bleach hair once a month at most. Second of all, it’s easier to bleach someone else’s hair than your own.
  • The last thing to keep in mind is your base color and the color you want. The greater different between your base and goal hair color, the longer it will take to bleach. Taking black hair to ash blond will take longer than going from medium brown to dark blond.


In this case, experience is everything. I personally bleach hair more than 30 times a month at the salon.  You can imagine the experience someone would get after years of bleaching hair that often.


This experience means hairstylists have extensive knowledge on hair bleach, and can bleach hair faster, safely.

Pop quiz: Should bleach be left the same amount of time in light and dark hair?


How would you answer? If you answered yes, I would recommend you look for a good hairstylist, because you’re not ready to bleach your hair yourself just yet.


 It always takes longer to bleach dark hair than light hair. 


For example, I bleached two client’s hair in the salon yesterday.

Patricia had level 4 brown hair, and wanted to lighten it to a level 6 dark blond.

Guess how long it took to bleach her hair: exactly 15 minutes.


But another client, named Maria, had black hair that she wanted to lighten to blond.

Which took me over an hour to bleach.

Are you curious why?


Because you can’t go from black to blond with one bleaching treatment.

Bleach removes your natural pigment to lighten hair, but only by one or two tones.

Bleaching Maria’s hair the first time took about 40 minutes and brought her hair to a light brown.

After that, we bleached her hair a second time to bring it to a blond, and that took another thirty minutes.


But what if you’re a busy person who just doesn’t have time for that? And is time the only factor to consider when bleaching hair?


If you’re wondering the same things, keep reading, because in this article we’ll discuss:

  • How long it really takes to bleach your hair at a salon
  • How long it takes to bleach your hair at home.


 Bleaching is a chemical reaction that opens the hair’s cuticle so it can lift the pigment from your hair, so it requires some experience and constant monitoring. 

So you have two options.

  • Apply the bleach in a hurry and risk ruining your hair.
  • Or take the time to read what I'm about to tell you, and keep your hair safe.

Which would you choose?


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How long it really takes to bleach your hair at a salon

powder bleach and developer

At the outset of the article, we learned that it can take between 10 and 30 minutes to bleach your hair at a salon, but anyone who's ever been to a salon knows you'll be there much longer.

The hairdresser will probably be working with you around three hours.

Want to know why?


Because, although the bleach might be in your hair less time than when you bleach your hair at home, there are other factors to keep in mind.

  • For example, the time it takes to apply the product, which of course depends on the length of your hair. This stage generally takes me about 20 minutes.
  • After that, you have to wait for the bleach to process, and how long that takes depends on your base color.
  • Of course, it won’t take the same amount of time to take a level 7 dark blond to a level 10 extra light blond as it would take to lighten a level 4 brown to the same tone.

Because of all these factors, there’s one thing I do with all my clients who want to bleach their hair.


And that’s a color consultation.

This happens before the color appointment, and we discuss each client’s hair goals, how we will get there, and how long it will take.

Did you know that professionals can actually accelerate the bleaching process?


We can, and to do so we use a heat cap or aluminum foil to warm your head.

How long it takes to bleach your hair depends on your base tone, and depending on that color, it generally takes:

  • 10 to 15 minutes for blonde tones.
  • From 10 to 20 minutes for brown tones.
  •  10 to 30 minutes for dark tones.


 After bleaching, the product then needs to be rinsed out, and once every trace is gone, it's time to decide what to do with the new color. 

Generally, you should always apply a toner, as bleaching tends to bring out unwanted orange or yellow tones.

Applying a toner tames those unruly tones and makes them disappear. All of this means it takes significantly longer to bleach your hair at a salon.


Now, maybe you can't afford to bleach your hair in a salon. Or maybe you're confident you can bleach your hair at home.

If so, keep reading, because now we'll discuss how long it takes to bleach your hair at home, as well as some important tips.


How long it takes to bleach hair at home

20 volume developer

Yes, I know you're probably anxious to know how long it will take to bleach your hair.

But I think there are other things that are more important to discuss first.

For example, how to apply the product.


  • Applying bleach is an art in itself. I’ll admit it’s not as hard as wielding a scalpel in an operating room, but the more experience you have, the better.

Mainly because, it's hard to apply the bleach evenly throughout your hair by yourself, especially to the back of your head. No matter how many mirrors you have, you can't see the back of your head as clearly as another person


 When you bleach your hair, it's very important to make sure to cover all your hair with the product evenly. 

If you don't cover all your hair evenly, the product won't bleach your hair evenly... and you can imagine how ugly that could be.


  • So, applying the mixture correctly will take you 20 minutes to half an hour, depending on your hair.

After that, it's time to wait while the bleach processes.

While you wait, you should keep a close eye on your hair, just like what a hairstylist does at a salon. This is because everyone's hair is unique, so yours might process faster or slower than the average.


  • The bleach should not be left on more than 45 minutes. Leave it on longer, and you run the risk of your hair breaking and literally falling out.

And that's not an exaggeration or a scare tactic, it's the truth.  If you leave the bleach in longer then 45 minutes, the chemical process can destroy the hair's fiber and cause it to break off like a frayed rope.


 This is why it's important to check the color every ten minutes, and if your hair gets hot, imminently rinse it with cold water to stop the process and cool down the hair fiber. 

Would you like to know another difference between bleaching your hair at home or a salon that can change how long it might take?


  • You might be surprised to learn that where your hair is bleached can affect how long it takes. This is because heat affects the bleaching process.

There are no breezes in a salon, and the temperature is always comfortable, both in summer and winter. And it's not just for the client's comfort, but so that the dyes stay at a consistent temperature.


At home, on the other hand, people tend to bleach their hair in a cool bathroom or kitchen. This cools down your hair and slows the bleaching process, so it may take 45 minutes instead of half an hour.

This is another reason why it's so important that you find a professional to bleach your hair.


In the case of a cool environment, a professional will use a heat cap or aluminum foil to control the temperature and therefore how your hair processes.

Do you want one last piece of advice?


Conclusion (and one last tip)

  If you want to go from a very dark to a very light color, find a professional colorist./su_highlight] You'll have to bleach your hair several times, and no matter how long you take, you run the risk of ruining your hair if you do it yourself.

If you're attempting a less drastic change, such as from brown to blond, you can do it yourself, just make sure to keep a close eye on how your hair is reacting during the process.


Now you know how long it takes to bleach hair, whether you decide to go to a salon to do it yourself at home.  And now it's up to you to decide: how are you going to bleach your hair?

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