How Long Should You Leave 20 Volume Bleach in Your Hair?

twenty volume peroxide hydrogen

Bleach should be left in your hair for between 15 and 30 minutes.

Of course, the amount of time will depend a lot on your objectives and your starting point.


For example, if your hair is black and you want to dye it blonde, you will need to leave the bleach longer.

If your hair is dark brown and you just want to lighten it a couple of tones, leaving the bleach in for a few minutes will be enough.


 To be completely sure of how much time you should leave the bleach in your hair, I recommend that you do a strand test. 

How do you do a strand test?


It’s really easy.

I’ll explain it to you in 4 steps.

  1. Prepare a small amount of the bleach mixture (bleach powder and 20 volume peroxide)
  2. Apply the mixture only to a small strand of hair.
  3. Check the color that the hair is turning every 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. Continue checking the piece of hair until it gets to the tone that you are looking for.


This way, you’ll know exactly how much time you should leave the bleach in your hair.


If you leave the bleach in your hair for more time than necessary, you run various risks.

You could end up with extremely damaged hair or end up with your hair being a horrible orange tone.

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The 2 risks you run if you leave bleach in your hair for longer than necessary

one hour in hair

There is nothing more dangerous than two depressed friends on a Saturday night.

This can bring about various things:


  • That they get depressed while watching “Braveheart” for the tenth time, and at the moment that Mel Gibson yells, “Freedom!” they’ve already demolished three kilos of ice cream.
  • That they call their now ex-boyfriends as of a few hours ago and discover that the jerks are already out partying with their friends.
  • That they want to try a new look for their hair because, after all, renewing yourself is life.

The third option was my case, a moment that I shared with my friend, Virginia. And we decided to experiment with my hair.


Since Kindergarten, Virginia and I have shared the excitement of our first school reports and the tears of our first heartbreaks.

So, I followed the current.

It was a horrible mistake.


I left 20 volume bleach in my hair for more than thirty minutes, and the result was a disaster.


I was left with some horrible orange streaks, the color of carrots, that made me look terrifying.

Also, my hair was so damaged, dry, straw-like, lifeless, dull… really just scary.


After crying for more than two hours, we found a solution.

Do you want to know what it was?


First, let me tell you how you should use bleach to not ruin your hair and so that it doesn’t end up a horrible orange color like what happened to me.

And, please, stay away from depressed friends that tell you to change your look.


How many minutes should you leave bleach in your hair?

First thing’s first, I should make it clear that there are two types of bleach for your hair.

The professional kind, which comes in a cream, or powders, the ones used at home, like hydrogen peroxide.

In my case, we used 20 volume hydrogen peroxide.


Whether you use bleach powder or dream, you should use gloves to protect your hands and old clothing that you aren’t afraid to ruin if it gets splattered with bleach.

Your hair should be completely dry, and never rub the product into your scalp because you can hurt your scalp.


If what you want is to get the kind of highlights that you get at the salon, you should separate the hair into small pieces of about two centimeters in width and place aluminum foil under the pieces treated with bleach to prevent them from touching the hairs you don´t want to bleach.


 Once you have applied the bleach on the streaks you want to change the tone, you should strictly watch the exposure time.  

And when I say strictly, I’m not exaggerating.


Bleach acts in a matter of minutes and lightens the tone of your hair in a very short period of time.

My friend Virginia and I didn’t know this.


In reality, to lighten the tone of a few streaks, the only thing we had to do was watch the time, and barely fifteen minutes would have been enough.

But we didn’t know that at the time.


It doesn’t matter if you use the most professional products or hydrogen peroxide. Hair will always suffer the consequences of using chemical products.

It will inevitably dry out.

Bleaching your hair shouldn’t be a decision that’s taken lightly, and even less, on a boring Saturday night.


You should prepare your hair for bleaching by using sulfate-free shampoos and hair masks that contain coconut oil or argan oil.

These products strengthen your hair and will better protect it against chemical abrasion.


Two days before, use a deep conditioner so that your hair builds up moisture. You can even prepare an at-home, deep-conditioning mask.

Do you want a recipe for a deep conditioner to use before bleaching?

Later, I’ll give you one that you will adopt as a main hair treatment to nourish your hair.


 Always do a strand test.  

I know. I know that you are anxious to see the changes in color in your hair. But the strand test will not only help you see the effects of the bleach on your hair streaks, but it will also confirm the necessary amount of time you should let it sit to get the results you want.


You can also see if you have any allergic reactions. You never know.

  Many people speed up the bleaching times by using hair dryers. I don’t recommend this. 
The only thing you manage doing is drying out your hair even more. Thirty minutes more or thirty minutes less won’t make that big difference in your life, but it will in your hair.


So, before moving on to how I, with my friend, resolved the problem of my orange streaks, let’s review the important things to do before bleaching your hair:

  • Control the time you leave the bleach on your hair. To lighten your hair two tones, twenty minutes should be enough, although this will always depend on the hair type and your hair fibers’ porosity.
  • Do a strand test. That way, you will know in the most concrete way how long you should leave the bleach in your hair, and you’ll rule out any possible allergies.
  • Deeply moisturize your hair for at least a month before bleaching.
  • Don’t use a hairdryer to speed up the process.


I promised you that I would tell you a recipe to prepare a deep conditioner for your hair that you should use two days before bleaching.


Deep Conditioner to Prepare Your Hair For Bleaching

Take note. You will need ingredients that I’m sure you have in the pantry of your kitchen.

  • Three egg yolks
  • 200 ml of olive oil
  • Honey
  • 100 ml of Vinegar
  • 100 ml of Lemon Juice

Mix all the ingredients until you have a homogenous mixture. Once you get that, apply it smoothly to your hair and let it sit for fifteen to twenty minutes.


All of these ingredients will strengthen your hair and leave it silkier and shinier, and they will give you extra moisture so that your hair can be in the best state possible to avoid the toxic effects of bleach.


How did I put out the fire in my hair?

to neutralize orange tones

Check No Yellow Shampoo Price on Amazon


I used the No Yellow Shampoo from Fanola, which neutralized the yellow tones produced as an effect of a bleach job or for leaving the bleach on for too long in your hair.


And of course, when my friend and I feel depressed, now we don’t experiment on our hair. We prefer to drown our sorrows with a round of “the Game of Life” or simply watch television.


And now I want to know more about you.

Have you ever bleached your hair on your own?

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