Should You Put Leave-in Conditioner In Hair Before Bleaching?

There is a debate across various online haircare forums about whether you can use a leave-in conditioner before bleaching your hair to minimize the bleach damage. I am going to answer that in a moment.

You might have experienced how bleaching uplifts your hair color to the next level and makes you feel terrific about your manes. However, it has a downside where your hair suffers protein and moisture loss from bleach chemicals and turns gummy or extremely dry.

So, what’s the best way to protect your hair while bleaching it? People employ different means to strengthen their hair strands to an extent where they can withstand harsh chemicals. Some think of using the leave-in conditioner before bleaching to reduce the protein loss from their hair. But is it the right thing to do?

Leave-in conditioner coats your hair cuticle to prevent moisture loss. However, it is not recommended to be left in your hair while bleaching because it can stop the bleach chemicals from opening the hair cuticle and lifting the color.

But the story doesn’t end here! There is more to how you can use the leave-in conditioner before bleaching to evade the possible damage to your hair. So, let’s get dive into a bit of detail.

Can You Bleach Your Hair With Leave-in Conditioner in It?

In order to lift your original hair color, bleach chemicals have to open the hair cuticle to reach the middle layer, where they oxidize the hair pigment, melanin. In doing so, bleaching also causes hair strands dryness and protein loss, leaving them to feel gummy and rough.

Therefore, people look for options to reduce the damage their hair will suffer from the harsh bleach chemicals. Some put coconut oil in their hair before bleaching for its protective action against chemicals.

Experts don’t suggest bleaching your hair while it contains leave-in conditioner for two reasons.

First, the leave-in conditioner is likely to limit the action of ammonia and will not allow it to open the hair cuticle fully. Second, it will cut the developer’s role in the bleaching mixture, and you will not be able to get the desired color lifting or oxidation.

The same is the case when you think of bleaching your hair while it is soaked with coconut oil.

Therefore, if you want to lift your hair color to two or three levels with bleaching, you should not put a leave-in conditioner or coconut oil in your hair to prevent moisture and protein loss.

Otherwise, you might end up with partial lifting of your hair color and have to bleach your mane again to reach the ideal lift. And it is likely to cause aggressive damage to your hair. Also, you will be spending the extra bucks and time in this scenario.

However, there’s a way you can determine if you can use a leave-in conditioner before bleaching to protect your hair from dryness and breakage.

Determine If to Use Leave-in Conditioner Before Hair

If you want to lift your hair color to one or two levels, you might consider putting leave-in conditioner in your hair before bleaching to avoid hair damage from the developer, especially when you have weak or high porosity hair. 

But before doing so, you have to determine whether you are going to get desired hair color lift with it or not. So, how would you find out that?

By doing a patch test!

  1. Apply the leave-in conditioner to a small patch of your hair strands.
  2. Prepare the bleach mixture by mixing one part of bleaching powder into two parts of the developer. 
  3. Immediately, apply it to the selected hair patch before the bleach mixture loses its action. 
  4. Leave the bleach on your hair for the time recommended on the kit or 20 to 30 minutes.
putting in hair leave-in conditioner before bleaching

The results you get with doing a patch test where you apply a bleaching mixture to your hair strands containing leave-in conditioner will tell you which way you should proceed. 

If you succeeded in lifting your hair color to one or two levels with bleaching while your hair had a leave-in conditioner, what else would you want to protect your hair from harsh chemicals?

You may try the same method by replacing the conditioner with coconut oil. According to a study, it is the best of all oils to prevent protein loss from manes due to bleaching. 

What Else To Do When You Can’t Use Leave-in Conditioner Before Bleaching?

You can do a few other things to protect your hair against bleach damage when you can’t go for leaving the leave-in conditioner in your hair while bleaching.

1. Use a Low Volume Developer In The Bleach Mixture

Choosing the fitting volume developer is critical for keeping the damage to your hair from bleaching at bay. The higher the volume, the more chances of your hair getting ruined by the developer.

It is pertinent for someone with already weak hair to choose the volume 10 or 20 developer to avoid the inevitable stripping of oil, moisture, and proteins from their hair strands.

When you think of using a leave-in conditioner before bleaching to protect your hair against the damaging effects of the bleach, why not employ a less harsh volume developer instead?

It will save you from unwanted results and the damage and expense of bleaching your hair again.

Some people who don’t know the exact role of a developer often get confused, thinking if they can use the conditioner instead of the developer. Both have entirely different functions, and you can’t use one in place of the other. 

2. Use Deep Conditioning Hair Mask

Preparing your hair strands to withstand the cons of bleaching will be the best of all options. When your manes are healthy enough, you won’t need to bleach your hair while it contains a leave-in conditioner. So, you will get the ideal results at the expense of minimal damage to your hair.

Now the question is, how do you make your hair stronger enough before trying to bleach it? While there are many things you can do in this regard, I suggest you employ only two of them, a deep-conditioning hair mask and coconut oil.

Start using a leave-in deep conditioning hair mask a month ago before bleaching on weekly bases. And you can make the most out of coconut oil by using it daily or on alternative days.

3. Opt For a Bleach Batch Instead Of Conventional Bleaching

A bleach bath is the gentle version of conventional bleaching where you mix clarifying shampoo with bleach powder and developer. Typically, it lifts the hair color to one or two levels faster than usual bleaching and causes less dryness, breakage, and roughness to your hair.

However, it might not be helpful for someone who wants to go blonde or grey from purely dark hair.

Quick question, if you have prepared some extra bleach mixture, would you save it for later use?

If you get a keratin treatment over your bleached hair, studies have proved it will improve your hair strand diameter by 40% and, subsequently, its strength up to 30-45%.

Executive Summary

You should know that putting leave-in conditioner in your hair before bleaching will prevent the bleach from opening the hair cuticle and oxidizing the original hair color. Therefore, you might not get the desired color lift and have to bleach your hair again, which is more damaging to your manes.

However, if you only want to lift your hair color one or two levels with the help of bleach, you can do a patch test where you will use a leave-in conditioner to a portion of your hair before bleaching and see if you get the ideal hair tint at the end.