There’s nothing more fulfilling than finally going blonde after sporting dark hair that didn’t fit your style for years.
And even if your hair had to go through so much to get it done – from sitting in the salon for hours to possibly getting multiple bleaching sessions done – gorgeous, light-colored hair is so worth it.
But sooner than later, your naturally dark mane will catch up with you.
In just a couple of weeks after going blonde, you’ll get some regrowth.
Since your roots will always come out dark and rich, it will be a sharp contrast to your light, summery, bottle-blonde locks.
Luckily, doing root touch-ups at home isn’t that hard.
You can save up on big bucks if you do it yourself instead of going to an expensive salon to get it done.
But safety always comes first!
You need to make sure you know how to do it properly so that you don’t ruin your hair or burn your scalp with the wrong kind of bleach.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to touch up roots on bleached hair at home.
When Is It Necessary To Do Root Touch-Ups?
You might be a proud blondie now, but as your hair grows longer, you’ll see your natural brunette peeking through again.
Darker roots against light, blonde hair is very stark and can even leave a demarcation line if you don’t take care of it right away.
It also makes your light-colored hair look a bit unnatural and unkempt.
This is completely normal and is part of the upkeep that comes with dyeing your hair a lighter color.
But to maintain a seamless, natural-looking blonde, you need to regularly touch up the regrowth by bleaching your roots.
You should think about touching up your roots every 1-2 months, depending on how fast your hair usually grows.
Don’t wait until your roots are super long before you bleach them.
As soon as they’re noticeable a few feet away from the mirror, you should plan a bleaching session.
That said, your roots need to be longer than just a centimeter before you bleach them.
If you do it while it’s too short, you can end up burning your scalp with bleach because the roots are too close to the scalp.
On the other hand, if you wait until your roots are over an inch or two in length, you might not lighten them as effectively.
The roots’ proximity to the scalp allows them to lighten properly because your skin is warm.
If you’re bleaching hair too far away from the scalp, it might come out patchy and uneven.
Do your touch-ups when your regrowth is about 2-3 centimeters long.
Don’t do it too often either – your hair will need the extra month or two between touch-ups to rest and recuperate from the damage brought on by bleach.
How To Choose The Right Bleach For Your Hair
Before diving into the actual bleaching process, you need to be able to choose the right bleach and developer.
If you have a particularly sensitive scalp or have had experiences with burns from bleach in the past, make sure you get products formulated for sensitive skin.
First, let’s talk about bleaching powder – the star of the show.
There are many kinds of bleach out there that come in various colors, like white and blue.
The main difference between these powders is how much ammonia is in them.
For extremely dark hair, you’ll need a bleach with more ammonia since it’s more powerful when it comes to lightening your strands.
Go for bleaching powders with labels like “extra-lightening” on the packaging.
If you have medium-colored hair, you can do away with the generic white or blue powders.
Next up, we have developer – the liquid that activates the bleach’s lightening properties.
There are also many kinds of developers.
One can either be 10, 20, 30, or 40 volume.
The higher the volume, the more extreme its activating properties.
Most at-home coloring jobs call for 20 volume developer.
It’s very effective at activating your bleach and lightening your hair without damaging it too much.
It’s perfect for those with brunette or medium-colored hair.
However, if you have extremely dark hair that tends to turn up an orange, copper tone instead of the blonde you want, you can bump it up to a 30 volume for extra lightening power.
Note that 30 volume can be more damaging, so only use it if you’ve had experience with bleaching hair at home.
Never go for 40 volume developer if you’re not an expert.
It’s extremely strong and can end up destroying your hair and leading to an uncontrollable amount of breakage.
It’s meant for professional use only, so if amateur colorists use it at home, it could quickly spell disaster.
If you have stubborn dark roots that don’t want to change in shade even after bleaching them, do the process twice instead of bumping up to a 40 volume developer.
This is the safer, more risk-free way to transition your roots from dark to light.
One last thing!
When you’re picking out a bleaching powder and developer for your roots, don’t settle for the cheapest one.
Invest in products manufactured by a renowned brand or salon to ensure you get safe, even results, not patchy, fragile roots that don’t blend well with the rest of your hair.
Getting Your Hair Ready For The Bleaching Process
Bleach is a tricky thing to work with.
It’s the gold standard for lightening your hair, but you also have to face the consequences of the damage it leaves in its wake.
The bleaching process roughs up your cuticle to let your natural pigments out, leaving gaps in your hair strands, so you lose more moisture and elasticity.
It can also leave your locks feeling rough, straw-like, and with almost zero shine.
That’s why your hair has to come prepared for battle when the time comes for your routine touch-ups.
You’ll need to pamper it and feed it the right levels of moisture, protein, and other nutrients to make sure it’s strong enough to handle the chemicals of your bleach.
To do this, treat your hair to some protein treatments and deep conditioning masks in the weeks leading up to your root touch-up.
This will help repair the damage from your last bleaching session and fortify your strands to face the next one.
However, on the day of your bleaching sesh, make sure that your hair is oily and greasy.
Don’t wash your hair for at least two days before you plan on doing your touch-ups.
The natural sebum in your locks helps protect your hair and scalp from burns and aggressive damage from bleach.
How To Touch Up Roots On Bleached Hair At Home
Now that you know how to pick out the right products and prep your hair for your touch-ups, it’s time to get cracking.
Time to kiss those dark roots goodbye (for now).
Start by wearing gloves and an old T-shirt, just in case the bleach ruins it.
These protect your skin from any potential burns and irritation from the harsh chemicals in your products.
Choose a well-ventilated area for your bleaching session.
The bathroom is always a top choice, but make sure you have open windows or an exhaust fan.
If not, the strong chemical odors from your bleach and developer can release fumes that make you dizzy.
Now you’re all set to touch up those pesky roots. Here’s how you do it:
Mix Bleach And Developer
Combine your bleach and developer in a mixing bowl.
The usual ratio is one part bleach to two parts developer, but double-check what the instructions on your products say beforehand.
Detangle Your Hair
Detangle your hair to remove any knots.
Section off your hair into at least four sections with your comb – first down the middle, and then from ear to ear to make four equal “quadrants”.
This will keep each section away from the other and make the bleaching process more organized.
Apply The Mixture To The Roots
Brush your bleach mixture into the roots of each section until you cover all the growth.
Make sure not to overlap your brushing onto the already-bleached parts of your mane.
This can cause tons of issues with your final result, but more on that later.
When you apply the mixture to the roots towards the back of your head, use mirrors to your front and back for maximum visibility to properly see what you’re doing.
Work in diagonal sections when you get to this part to make it easier to reach.
Use Foil/Shower Cap
If you have leftover bleach in your mixing bowl, take some with your gloved fingers and run the mixture carefully into your roots.
When all your roots are covered in bleach, put on a shower cap or cover up each section with foil.
This helps trap the heat in, allowing the bleach to work its magic quicker and more evenly.
Don’t Overdo It
After 30 minutes, you can take your hair out of the cap or foils.
Don’t leave the bleach on for more than half an hour since this can deal intense damage.
Hop into the shower and shampoo and condition your hair, making sure to get rid of all the bleach.
At this point, your roots might not be the same color as your hair yet. They might be warmer than the rest of your locks.
That’s why toner is usually necessary after you touch up your roots.
Apply the same toner you used to get the rest of your hair done.
Doing so in an applicator bottle makes it less messy.
Use the toner on your roots and leave it in for five minutes (or until you get the tone you want), and then rinse it off in the shower again.
Now, you have light, evenly-colored hair again!
It’s like you didn’t even have dark roots, to begin with.
Style as desired and enjoy your freshly-bleached locks.
What Is Overlapping, And How Can I Prevent It?
When brushing your roots with bleach, your instinct may be to overlap the application with the rest of your hair to blend the shade together.
But overlapping can actually cause more damage to the rest of your hair.
If you bleach hair that’s already been stripped and lightened in the previous months, you could aggravate the damage it’s still trying to recover from.
This can lead to breakage due to too much burning from the chemicals.
To keep yourself from accidentally overlapping the bleach, make sure you’re bleaching your hair in front of a big mirror where you can clearly see where you’re applying your mixture.
You should also do the application quickly.
When mixing your bleach and developer, make sure your mixture isn’t too runny so that it doesn’t travel down to your already bleached hair after application.
Caring For Your Hair After You Bleach It
After you touch up your roots, your scalp and hair will feel a bit brittle and weak.
This usually happens right after a bleaching session because of the harshness of the lightener’s chemicals.
You’ll need to repair the damage by caring for your hair properly.
Like you did before your touch-up, treat your hair out to a deep conditioning mask, this time focusing on the roots.
This restores all the lost moisture in your roots, strengthening them at the same time.
Avoid heat-styling as much as possible, especially if you have to do it all the way up from your roots.
Heat can worsen the damage in your already fried and processed hair.
If you really must heat-style for an important event or party, always use a heat protectant.
And that’s all there is to it!
Bleaching your roots is quite simple and disaster-free as long as you’re diligent with prepping your hair beforehand and applying bleach on your roots with the correct technique.
Top it all off with proper aftercare, and your blonde maintenance and upkeep should be easy peasy.
Remember never to do anything you aren’t sure of, like bumping up to a higher developer or leaving the bleach in your hair for longer than instructed.
Always follow the directions in your products to keep you and your hair safe.
Just follow my tips above, and your blonde locks will be happy and healthy even as you touch up every couple of months.
Here’s to luminous, light-colored hair without dark and stark roots!