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Bleach Bathing

Published on 11th July 2007

A guide to bleach bathing (sometimes called soap capping). This process is not intended to be used instead of bleaching for initial dying, but rather as a gentler step by step process.
It is especially useful for removing colour from hair, and can be used of veggie dyes (Manic Panic, SFX) as well as box dyes, as its mainly bleach that does the lifting.

Please note bleach bathing might seem the easier option, but as with any lightening process it is still damaging to the hair’s cuticle, so please exercise caution, and don’t over do it as the author of this article did!

You’ll need:-

20/30vol bleach (unmixed)

Shampoo (preferably clarifying so you can gauge the strength of the bleach better)

Good conditioner

Time telling device

Step – by – step

Pour into a mixing bowl the normal amount of shampoo you would use to wash your hair.

Mix up the bleach as normal, try and make approximately HALF of the amount of the shampoo you’ll be adding it to.

Mix together thoroughly, the shampoo (if a clear clarifying one) should be a sky blue colour from the bleach.

Quickly apply to semi wet hair. I usually run mine under the shower and give it a towel rub. So it’s wet but not dripping.

Starting at the ends like bleach apply the mixture, work your way up your hair then give the whole lot a good rub, like shampooing your hair. Spray on some water to get it bubbling.

You can now wrap your head in plastic OR leave it loose depending on how severe you want the colour removal to be.

Scrape off a bit of the bleach every few minutes to watch the lightening.

Wash off when desired colour achieved.

Proportions of bleach to shampoo

Mix bleach with shampoo

I found at the start of getting the SFX reds off my unbleached hair 10-15 minutes at a time was good. Then I left it a week or two and repeated.

For bleached hair I’d suggest 7-10 minutes, or if you’re confident, go by your eye.

Make sure you get all the residue out and condition really well, as the shampoo and bleach mix will leave your hair pretty dried out!

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