How to Bleach Roots

How to Bleach Roots

This is a detailed step by step on how to bleach roots.

I love coloring my hair, I do. But one of the worst parts of playing with hair color and dyed hair are darker roots. I have a very dark natural hair color so there is a very obvious contrast whenever I color my hair and my roots start to show. Luckily, my go-to hair color is usually either dark or medium brown. I find them to have way less maintenance in terms of retouching (which I’m too lazy for tbh).

I never had to think about root touch-ups before. But now that I’m thinking of bleaching my hair and going blonde, it’s something I can’t ignore forever. Before I dive into it and fully commit to going blonde, I want to make sure I know everything about the process going forward. This includes bleaching only my roots for retouching purposes.

Now, retouching and bleaching roots may seem like an easy and straightforward process. That’s what I thought so too but the thing is, there’s a lot more to it to make sure it comes out exactly as expected.

If you want to know how exactly to bleach the roots of your own hair, I’ve got you covered below!

When You Should Touch Up Bleached Hair

Going full bleach blonde from a darker color is definitely a fun switch-up. But bleaching hair and going full blonde is not all about style and fun. It can be a bit of maintenance as well.

One important thing to keep in mind in terms of blonde maintenance is root touch ups. Blonde hair against very dark hair and roots can look unkept and overall not just the prettiest sight.

Though the exact time frame varies for everyone, ideally, you should consider root maintenance every 6 to 8 weeks. This allows you to keep a seamless, clean, and beautiful blonde hair.

But Wait! Before You Touch Up Your Roots, Read This!

Before you go ahead touching up your roots with bleach, there’s one more *very* important concept you should know – overlapping.

So, what is overlapping and is it good or bad in the matter of touching up and bleaching roots?

Bleach overlapping is when your bleach and developer mixture goes over and overlaps with the already color-treated hair.

Now, when you’re touching up your roots at home, the tendency may be for you to overlap the bleach over the bleached parts of your hair. But doing so can be very damaging on your hair. Overlapping new bleach mixture on your already bleached hair doubles the damage of those strands.

This means too many chemicals on your hair shaft and cuticles. This can cause burning of your locks and adds to the damage your hair may or may not have yet recovered from.

Also, overlapping bleach on already lightened hair would cause more lifting of those areas. This means that you would have lighter areas on your head and is far from what you’re going for – seamless and natural-looking blonde hair.

In a nutshell, bleach overlapping is bad and it’s one of the worst things that can happen to your hair as you are retouching your roots.

For the best ways to avoid bleach overlapping for an at-home root retouching job, read on below!

How to Bleach Roots (Only)

When you’ve never done an at-home dark roots touch-up before, you might think it’s an easy hair color job. The truth is, it’s more complicated and things can go wrong quickly.

To avoid possible mistakes to make when bleaching just your roots even without a professional hair stylist, read on for our detailed step by step guide.

  1. What you need

The first thing you want to do is make sure you have everything you need for a smooth dark roots touch up job at home. Prepare everything you can possibly need so you won’t have to go shuffling around the house trying to grab things you need.

For a smooth at-home dyeing job, prepare the following:

  • Hair bleach or lightener
  • Volume developer
  • Toner
  • Mixing bowl
  • Applicator brush
  • Gloves and old shirts
  • Hair clips

You also want to look for and choose a well-ventilated area for your touch up session. Most people do it in bathrooms but make sure there’s a window in yours. Doing it in a closed area without ventilation can make you dizzy and give you headaches due to the fumes and strong odor from the bleach solution.

  1. Prep your hair

Playing with your hair color with dyes and hair lighteners is a good way to amp up your style but it’s no secret it often leads to damage on hair and scalp. This is why it’s very important to prep your hair before your touch up and dark roots bleaching session.

In the weeks leading up to your bleaching session, feed your hair as much moisture, protein, and nutrients as you can. Use hair treatments, masks, and deep conditioners on your hair so it’s in its optimal health. Hair bleaching is damaging, so it’s important to do it when your hair (and scalp) is at its healthiest.

Two days before your bleaching session, don’t wash your hair. This leaves your locks and scalp oily and greasy. All this natural oil and grease will act as a protective barrier for your hair and scalp. This can help minimize or at least reduce the damage from the bleaching solution.

Wounds, spots, and small abrasions on the scalp will make it extra sensitive. When you’re retouching your roots with bleach, you don’t want any sore spots on your scalp as the bleach can make this hurt way, way worse. Avoid scratching or picking on your scalp in the weeks leading up to your session. You want your scalp sore-free for this.

  1. Detangle and section hair

Now, you’d want to brush and comb through your hair to make sure there’s no knots and tangles. Separate your hair into four equal sections. This will make application a whole lot easier for you. It also makes sure that every strand is covered with your bleaching solution.

  1. Mix bleach and developer

Now that everything is ready, you’d want to mix and prepare your bleaching solution. Bring out your mixing bowl and mixer or brush applicator.

The ratio in which you should mix your bleach and developer can vary depending on the brand and manufacturer you bought it from. But generally, the ratio of bleach to developer is 1:2 – one part bleach to every two parts of developer.

Mix that in your bowl. The consistency you’re looking for isn’t too thick but isn’t too runny either.

  1. Apply the bleach mixture to roots only – avoid overlapping

Now, apply the bleach mixture to your roots only! Make sure to cover and saturate all growth and dark roots with bleach.

Do not overlap the bleaching solution to your already color-treated hair! As we’ve mentioned above, this is very, very bad for your hair.

To avoid bleach overlapping, touch up your roots in front of a big mirror so you can see clearly where you’re applying. But if you can, ask a friend or family member to retouch your roots for you. A second set of eyes is better to make sure you’re not overlapping bleach, especially if you’re at-home retouching for the first time.

  1. 30 minutes max

Once you finish off application to your entire head, check again if all strands and growth have been saturated with your bleaching solution. You don’t want to miss any spots as this can lead to patchy results.

As the bleach solution develops on hair, it’s best to constantly check it. Remember, do not leave the bleach on your hair for more than 30 minutes! Doing so can lead to very bad consequences and huge damages to your hair. But you also don’t have to wait out the entire 30 minutes. It all depends on your hair texture and the color you’re going for.

  1. Rinse off bleach

Once the timer sets off and you’re good to go, it’s now time to rinse the solution off. Do this with lukewarm water. Make sure to get everything off. Be careful in washing off the bleach as you don’t want any of it getting into your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Then, go in with your shampoo and conditioner for that extra cleanse and moisture.

  1. Use toner and rinse

Once your hair is all washed and cleaned up, you might notice some tones you don’t like. The roots may look different from the rest of your hair. This happens and this is normal. This is where toners come to the rescue.

A toner and the blue and purple pigments let you personalize your dyeing job and give it a more natural tone. And after a retouching session, this is what your hair needs.

To mix your toner with the developer, follow the same 1:2 ratio – one part toner to every two parts of the developer.

Apply the toner on your roots first, where you applied the bleach mixture. Let it sit and develop. When your roots are in the right shade you’re going for, apply the rest of the toner to the rest of your hair and let it process. This will give your hair a more seamless and natural transition.

After approximately 15 to 20 minutes, rinse the toner out with lukewarm water as well. Go in with your shampoo and conditioner for that extra cleanse and moisture.

And voila – your hair is as good as new! Style your hair however you want and enjoy.

After Color Care

After touching up and bleaching dark roots, your scalp and roots can feel weak, damaged, dry, and brittle. This usually happens when you dye and bleach hair, unfortunately.

Much like how you did before your bleaching session, you’d want to give your hair and scalp all the moisture and nourishment you can give. Incorporate in conditioners, hair masks, and deep conditioners into your routine. This will help your scalp and hair bounce back.

Coconut oil and shea butter and some of people’s favorite go-to to help bring moisture back to the hair shaft and cuticles. Not only do they moisturize but they also strengthen damaged strands so they’re less prone to breakage.

Because your hair can feel brittle and fragile, you might want to stay away from heat styling for a few weeks, at least until your hair is stronger and healthier. If you do need to style with heat, do so with caution and make sure to use heat protectant.

Avoid hair processes and products that can over fry your hair. This can only lead to further damages. Don’t pull on your hair too much a few weeks after your touch up session. You might also want to steer clear of ponytails and hairstyles that require pulling on your hair.

You might also want to make sure you don’t end up with hot roots at some point, so check out these tips on how to avoid hot roots.


Bleaching and touching up roots may seem like a very simple and straightforward process on the outside. After all, you just need to bleach the growth, right? The thing is, it’s so much more complicated than that and it’s very easy to make a mistake in the process.

When touching up your roots, it’s very important to prep your hair and scalp. Moisturize and nourish your hair and scalp as much as possible the few weeks leading up to your session. Incorporate deep conditioners and hair masks. Remember, bleaching is very damaging to hair so it’s best to do it when your hair and scalp is at its healthiest.

One thing to keep in mind as you’re bleaching your roots is overlapping. As a reminder, you want to avoid overlapping at all costs. Bleach overlapping is when your new bleaching solution goes over your already bleached hair. This can lead to more damage and uneven color on your hair.

After bleaching, it’s important to help your hair bounce back to life with deep conditioners and hair masks as well. Your hair is fragile and weak after a bleaching session so be gentle with your locks and avoid heat styling for a few weeks.

And that has been our guide on how to bleach roots for touch ups! Learn more about how often to touch up roots before repeating this process too early.