How many levels does bleach lift? I’ll tell you how to find out

woman dyeing twice bleached hair

  • Bleaching lifts up three to four levels each time.
  • This means that if your hair is dark, and you want to lift several levels to a very light blonde, you’ll need several sessions. 
  • To find out how many levels you can lift with bleaching, you should do a strand test beforehand. This way, you’ll know how your hair reacts to the bleach, how many levels your hair will lighten, and if it resists the chemical process.


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How many times should I bleach my hair to get it blonde?


Bleaching is a complex process. I think that people have lost respect for a chemical process that is considered the most aggressive in any salon in the world.

Do you want to know how many you can lift your hair?


Science proves that  bleaching lifts hair color by three to four levels. 


But stop right there! Don’t start jumping for joy.

Even though this is what science says, it’s not an exact science.



Because your hair will lifts more or less levels according to its characteristics.

For example,  virgin hair isn’t the same as colored hair. 


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The bleach can act fast on virgin hair. However, on color-treated hair, the build-up of the dye can prevent the bleach from opening the cuticles to remove the pigments.


So, for example, virgin black 1 hair may lift three or four levels, while color-treated black 1 hair may lift two levels.

Also, hair that is fine reacts differently to bleach than thick hair. In general,  fine hair lightens faster than thick hair, and that influences the number of levels you lift when bleaching. 


bleaching mixture to lighten various shades

What you should know is that bleaching is a very complex process. It involves a chemical mixture of peroxide and bleaching powder.

That mixture generates such a strong reaction in your hair that it can burn it on the first try.


So it’s not just a matter of knowing how many levels you can lift in the bleaching process. It’s about being aware that you can’t rush this process or race against the clock.

Social media describes bleaching as a process that “you can do at home, in five easy steps and nothing bad will happen.”

However, your hair won’t go from black to blonde in one bleach.

 Imagine that your hair is like an onion. Bleaching removes layers of pigment to lift a certain amount of levels at each session. 


If you’re aware of this, then you are one step away from knowing how many levels your hair will lift in bleaching.


By performing a very simple test.

And that’s what I’ll tell you about next.

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To find out how many levels your hair will lift with bleaching, do the strand test

hand showing hair

The test yields exact results. Even colorists perform it to make sure of two things:

  • How many levels the bleach will lift.
  • How the hair will withstand the process.

Do you know why colorists do this test, even if we’re experienced in bleaching?


Because theory differs from reality sometimes.

As colorists, we know that bleach is made with a 30-volume developer and bleaching powder.

We also know that  the 30-volume developer can lighten the hair up to 3 or 4 levels. It means that you can lift that many levels each time. 


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The theory also states that to calculate the level you’ll reach in each application, you need to add three numbers to your current color.

bleach dark hair in stages

For example:

  •  If hair is black 1,  you’ll lift three levels by bleaching. So, the resulting color will be brown 4.
  •  Alternatively, if your hair is light brown 5,  bleaching will lighten it three or four levels. So, the resulting color can be a light blonde 8 or a very light blonde 9.
  •  If your hair is blonde 7, bleaching will lift it four levels. Then, the resulting color will be extra light blonde 10.

In reality, however, the result will depend on the condition of your hair, its porosity, and its texture.


So, if you want to know what will really happen to your hair during bleaching and how many levels it will lift, the best thing to do is the strand test.

To do this test, you have to bleach a strand of your hair and see what happens to your hair color. Then, you’ll know how many levels you have gone up.

Most importantly, you’ll know if your hair will stand up to the process.



  • Comb through all of your hair and gather it into a ponytail, leaving a strand loose, preferably from the back.
  • Prepare enough bleach to cover the strand.
  • Apply the bleach to the strand, from root to tip, and leave it on for twenty minutes.
  • Rinse and dry your strand.


Now it’s time to check.


  • What level did your hair reach with bleaching?
  • Did you achieve the levels you were hoping for?
  • Do you need another bleaching session to reach the level you wanted?


With this test, you can find out exactly how many levels your hair can lift with bleaching.

  •  If you have reached the level you wanted,  you can bleach the rest of your hair.
  •  If you haven’t reached the level you were looking for,  moisturize the strand with coconut oil from roots to ends two or three times a week, and repeat the strand test again after ten days. You’ll need to apply the bleach to the same strand.


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The strand test will also let you know how your hair reacts during the process.

If you notice that after the strand test, your hair breaks, stretches like chewing gum, or is rough and dry, you shouldn’t bleach the rest of your hair because you could burn it.

And now that you know how many levels your hair will lift with bleaching, it’s time to get to work.


How to bleach your hair the right way

blue bleaching powder

Before you prepare everything you need, here are three tips:


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What do you need?

  • Bleaching powder
  • A 30 volume developer
  • Plastic container
  • Dye brush
  • Gloves


How to do it:

  • Comb and separate your hair into four sections, from forehead to nape and from ear to ear, holding each section with clips.
  • In a plastic container, place the bleaching powder and the 30-volume developer. Mix to blend.
  • Loosen one of the sections and with gloves on, apply the bleach from root to tip.
  • Repeat on each section and when you have covered all your hair with the mixture, put on a shower cap to maintain the temperature of the reaction.
  • Leave the bleach on for  a maximum of twenty minutes.  Check the color.
  • Then, rinse your hair with plenty of cold water to slow down the heat reaction. Let the water run over your hair for three minutes.
  • You can use your usual shampoo to remove all traces of the bleach and apply the conditioner. Leave it on for five minutes to repair your hair.

Did you reach the level you wanted with bleaching?


If you want to lift once more, remember to wait three weeks to bleach again.

In the meantime, repair your hair with coconut oil or keratin masks.



You can go up three to four levels in each bleaching session. However, it’ll depend on your hair type and health.

To know how many levels your hair will lift with bleaching, do the strand test. It’ll also tell you how your hair will withstand the process.

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