Can You Mix Hair Conditioner With Bleach?

brunette woman in a bath towel applying hair conditioner wondering whether she can it mix it with bleach

Can you mix hair conditioner with bleach? Well, we don’t recommend it. For hair bleach to really work, it requires an oxidizing agent. Since the hair conditioner doesn’t open up the cuticles and it doesn’t trigger oxidation, it has no actual use.

Hair conditioner has no purpose in being mixed with hair bleach. That being said, deep conditioning your hair leading up to a bleaching appointment has noticeable benefits. 

Below you’ll be able to find the dos and don’ts of mixing hair conditioner with bleach. We’ll also cover a safe alternative for developers because let’s face it: we’re not always as prepared as we’d hope. Without further ado, let’s jump in!

Can I Mix Conditioner With Bleach?

No, you cannot mix conditioner with bleach. The hair bleach will not activate when mixed with conditioner. As a consequence, your hair will not lighten. And we aren’t talking about lightening a little bit; your hair will not lighten at all. 

Hair bleach needs to be activated for it to work properly. Generally, hair lightening relies on a series of chemical processes in order to be successful. If hair bleach is applied to the hair as a stand-alone, it will not appropriately lighten the hair.

A developer is formulated with a percentage of peroxide, which acts as an activator and an oxidizing agent. When it comes down to conditioner, the product simply lacks the ingredients needed for the bleaching process.

Furthermore, the conditioner acts to seal the hair cuticle. The whole purpose of the conditioner is to add softness and shine, after all. On the other hand, bleach relies on an open cuticle to dissolve the present color pigment and lighten the hair. 

Do You Have To Use Developer With Bleach?

Yes, you do have to use some sort of developer—or activator—with bleach. Hair bleach alone will not be able to lighten hair, whether it be the lightest blonde or the deepest brunette. An activator, which is the same as a developer, will activate the bleach product to trigger lightening.

Developers come with varying peroxide levels, which is referred to as the volume (vol). When bleaching hair, developers with 10-40 volumes are used.

More often than not, the higher the volume means the higher strength of the product. A 10 vol developer can lighten hair 1 or 2 levels, whereas a 40 vol will lighten up to 8 levels.

If you are planning on bleaching your hair, developers are a must. You will be hard-pressed to find an alternative as effective. Now, we did mention peroxide helped trigger the ammonia within the hair bleach. What about hydrogen peroxide?  

Technically, hydrogen peroxide can get the job done. Just note that the journey won’t be easy. Not to mention, the consistency will be especially tough to work with. 

Can You Mix Hair Bleach With Shampoo?

Yes, you can mix hair bleach with shampoo. However, don’t leave out the developer! It’s still an important part of the process. Called a bleach bath or a bleach wash, mixing hair bleach with shampoo is no easy feat.

Bleach washing is a more gentle approach than other hair lightening methods. It can both lighten and color correct over-toned hair. It will only be step-one on achieving your desired color.

The biggest challenge with bleach washing is finding out the correct measurements. Figuring out the proper ratios is crucial to getting your desired outcome. We can help with that. 

The appropriate ratio for a bleach wash is as follows: the amount of shampoo mixed should be equal to the developer and bleach combined. Follow the directions for creating the bleach mixture. Then, add an equal amount of shampoo.

Pretty much, you want to double the amount of liquid you have. Hair bleaching is an irreversible chemical process. Once bleach is applied, you have reached the point of no return. It is best to do it right the first time around to save your hair and money.

If you are not confident on bleaching your own hair, then make a salon appointment. NOTE: do not leave the bleach wash on your hair for more than 45 minutes!

What Can I Mix With Hair Bleach?

Hair bleach can be mixed with shampoo, developer, or hydrogen peroxide. That is, if you’re up for the challenge; we don’t recommend it, since there is so much room for error.

Honestly, hair bleach should only be mixed with developers for activation. Shampoo can be mixed in after the fact. When we consider that bleaching is a process that relies on chemical reactions to work, caution must be taken. Mixing opposing chemicals can cause serious, life-threatening issues.

Therefore, it is vital that instructions are followed as directed. That is why while hydrogen peroxide can feasibly work, we advise against it. One should never mix unknown substances or mix two products without knowing their possible chemical interactions.

Furthermore, it is important to note that no reaction is better than a bad reaction. While either are capable of ruining your hair, it is better to not worry about something like chemical burns.

Final Thoughts: Can You Mix Hair Conditioner With Bleach?

In conclusion, hair conditioner should not be mixed with bleach. You do not risk any serious chemical mishaps if you do, but you won’t lighten your hair with the mixture. Products like hair bleach need an activator, better known as a developer, to work.

The primary component of hair bleach is ammonia, which chemically reacts with peroxide to oxidize. Peroxide is the main ingredient of most hair developers.

This chemical makeup makes the developer the ideal product to use alongside hair bleach. The strength of the developer can be indicated by the volume (vol), so sticking to the recommended volume is necessary.

Hair bleach can be safely mixed with shampoo to create a bleach wash. It is a more gentle method than other hair bleaching approaches. While the bleach wash can lighten hair, it should not be applied for more than 45 minutes. 

Since hair bleach—and most hair coloring products—rely on chemical reactions to process, reading all provided instructions is recommended.

If you are bleaching your hair at home, you should never be going in blind. Always make sure you have complete understanding on what products are required, ratios, and potential safety hazards.

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Categorized as Hair

By Daphnie Bachmann

Daphnie Bachmann is a licensed esthetician and beauty writer at Kintegra Research. She loves beauty and skincare. She always has her eyes open for the next new beauty or skincare product to test out and review. She's driven by her passion for the beauty industry and is always willing to share her beauty secrets!