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bleaching dirty hair Is A Good Idea?

bleaching dirty hair

Whenever we are thinking about maintaining our hair for highlights or balayage we may wonder if bleaching dirty hair can be possible.

You should know that hair has many tricks for coloring and bleaching that can help it. Other details are true that can also affect it.

Bleaching dirty hair can be done safely. In fact, in many instances, it can help make bleaching faster and more effective. This is on dirty hair that is no more than 3 days old. When the hair has too much residue it can affect even bleaching. The oils produced by the body can help protect the scalp in case you need to lighten the roots and this also helps when the hair is dirty. However, it should not be too much to allow an even application.

The answer has much more depth in that you can do it on different occasions and in different ways. In this article, I will outline the different ways you can decide to bleach your dirty hair to achieve better results.

Bleaching dirty hair Would Work?

The truth is that bleaching dirty hair does work, the bleach has the power to dissolve the natural oils that the hair produces. It then makes its way into the cortex of the hair to oxidize and achieve the effect of lightening the hair.

When the hair is dirty for a maximum of 3 or 4 days the level of oils that can be generated is acceptable. When more days pass than this, there may be too much build-up and residue. This can cause the discoloration to be uneven and that starts to give problems in the effect you want to achieve.

One example is that the production of these natural oils always comes from the skin of the head where the follicles and the sebaceous gland are. With each passing day more and more oils accumulate, with sweat and sebum. However, they are concentrated in the first 10 cm of the head.

Although it is true that with the days these residues go down by the movement they do not advance too much. So what happens is that the bleach will act differently. Where there is more accumulation of these oils than in the rest. This is not a rule since every hair is different but it is a high probability.

That’s why as a professional I don’t recommend that you go with hair that is more than 4 days. If you do bleach can reacts to you.

So to sum it up you can be bleaching dirty hair as long as it is not dirty for more than 4 days before the color appointment.

When is good bleaching dirty hair?

In bleaching, what we are looking for is speed and uniformity illuminate. Usually, we want it to lighten as fast as possible and the hair to be as white as possible. The bleach has an action time of 45 minutes so it is at this time that we must achieve everything.

That’s why you and your stylist should know what effect you want to achieve from the beginning. Ideally, you should plan so you can arrive with your hair ready.

The best options for bleaching dirty hair are:

  1. Global bleaching including root bleaching
  2. Highlights
  3. Balayage

I will give you these 3 subjects because they are the most known. They are the ones that I think will be the most practical for you. Knowing all these will help you know how many days will give you the best results in common color effects.

#1 Global bleaching including root bleaching

One of the best options for bleaching dirty hair is when you want to bleach the roots. This may be if you want to go completely blonde, want to go full fantasy color or maybe you already are.

This type of effect is when it is great to wear your hair dirty from 3 days of not washing it.

This will help a lot to protect your scalp because applying bleach can be irritating and itchy. When your hair is slightly dirty, it will have the natural oils and sebum that I talked about earlier. This will help to lubricate and protect the skin while the bleach is working.

These same oils help the procedure go faster and the hair lightens better. In fact, many times the hair lightens much faster than in other areas. This is also because the closer the hair is to the skin the hotter it is due to the temperature we produce. However, I have also seen in my professional experience that natural oils accelerate the lighten-up process.

So if you are having one of these procedures done you can definitely bring your dirty hair to your color appointment.

#2 Highlights

In the case of highlights bleaching, dirty hair is also a good idea. Maybe not so pronounced as in a lighten-up process.
where you are going to lighten all the roots but you can still do it. In this case, I would recommend that you don’t leave it as long as in the lightening where you touch the skin.

This is because it won’t make any difference and could make it difficult to separate the hair because of the oils that are generated in the skin. About 2 days of not washing the hair will be the best option for this type of effect.

This is because during some highlights the skin is not touched but the hair is separated to leave some unbleached. That is why it is important not to overdo it by not washing the hair for many days in a row for it to be successful.

It all depends on how much oil production you normally have. Some people may have higher production than others. The average is 3 days when the hair starts to look oily at the roots but not dirty or matted. If this happens to you it is best not to wait that long and do it a day earlier. It may also help to know a little bit about How To Make Your Hair Less Greasy because by changing some habits you can help your hair look better and you will feel better.

#3 Balayage

In the case of balayage, I would say that it is the least used option for bleaching dirty hair because the roots are not usually bleached. Usually in this type of effect and its variations, the roots are left darker and all bleaching starts at least 7 cm below the roots.

Although it is also true that it won’t affect anything if you wear it dirty. Whenever you want or have to do a color effect you can wear it dirty for 2 days. I want to tell you that no color effect requires that the hair is freshly washed. So you can relax because it is not required. Now I also don’t mean to say that you wear it extremely dirty which can be unpleasant. Just don’t wash it for two days and you will be fine.

I also want to tell you that if the balayage effect you are going to do needs to be done on the roots for whatever reason doing it on dirty hair will be very helpful. The benefits I explained earlier about the speed of the lighten-up process also apply to the dye. So you can leave it unwashed for 2 days to make sure that for most effects you are covered.


These 3 ways of bleaching dirty hair are the most requested and can help you know the details if you want to do it. It also helps you not to spend so much time not washing your hair if it’s not really going to help you get the procedure you’re looking for.

So knowing when and how many days to stop washing your hair before your appointment will be very helpful.

I hope it will help you to solve your doubt. I wish you success. See you next time.