Why Won’t My Hair Take Color After Bleaching?

When it comes to changing your hair color, bleaching is often a necessary step to achieve the desired shade, especially when you want to go lighter or switch to a vibrant color. However, there can be instances where you bleach your hair but struggle to get the color you want to stick. 

If you’ve found yourself asking, “Why won’t my hair take color after bleaching?” you’re not alone. This article will delve into the various reasons behind this issue and provide you with solutions to achieve the vibrant hair color you desire.

Hair Structure

Your hair consists of multiple layers, with the outermost layer being the cuticle. The cuticle is responsible for protecting the inner layers of the hair shaft. When you bleach your hair, you’re essentially stripping away the natural pigment from the cortex, which lies beneath the cuticle. 

This leaves your hair more porous, making it easier for color to penetrate. However, bleach can be harsh on your hair, and if not properly cared for post-bleaching, it can become damaged and difficult to color.

Reasons Your Hair Won’t Take Color After Bleaching

Reasons Your Hair Won't Take Color After Bleaching

Let’s explore some common reasons why your hair might resist color after bleaching:

 Residue from Bleach or Shampoo

  • Bleach Residue: Sometimes, bleach residues can remain in your hair even after rinsing. This residue can act as a barrier, preventing the color from penetrating the hair shaft.
  • Shampoo Residue: Overusing or not thoroughly rinsing your shampoo can leave behind residue, which can hinder color absorption.

 Overly Porous Hair

When the cuticle is excessively lifted due to bleach, the hair can become too porous. While this might seem like a good thing for color absorption, overly porous hair can also release color too quickly, making it difficult to achieve the desired shade.

 Damaged Hair

  • Lack of Protein: Bleaching can strip the hair of its natural proteins, making it weak and prone to breakage. This damage can affect color absorption.
  • Split Ends: Hair with split ends can’t hold color effectively as the ends are already damaged and won’t retain the pigment.

Wrong Developer or Developer Volume

Using the wrong developer or developer volume can significantly impact color results. Using a developer that’s too strong can cause the color to process too quickly, making it challenging to control the outcome.

Color Mismatch

Sometimes, the issue isn’t with the hair but with the color itself. If the natural hair color you’re applying is significantly different from your natural shade or the previous color, it may not take as expected.

Improper Timing

The duration for which you leave the color on your hair is critical. Leaving it for too long or not long enough can result in color discrepancies.

 Water Quality

The mineral content in your water can affect color absorption. Hard water, in particular, can interfere with the chemical reaction between the color and your hair.

Factors Affecting Hair Color After Bleaching

Factors Affecting Hair Color After BleachingDescription
Hair Porosity– Low Porosity: Hair resists color penetration. – Normal Porosity: Hair accepts and retains color well. – High Porosity: Hair absorbs color quickly but can release it just as fast, leading to fading.
Damage LevelOver-bleached or severely damaged hair struggles to hold color effectively.
Previous Color TreatmentsResidual pigments from prior coloring or chemical treatments can interfere with the new color.
Color ChoicePermanent dyes with ammonia and peroxide are more effective at color penetration than semi-permanent or temporary dyes.
Application TechniqueUneven application, rushed procedures, or not following proper instructions can affect the color outcome.

Solutions for Getting Your Hair to Take Color After Bleaching

Now that we’ve identified the reasons behind your hair not taking color after bleaching, let’s explore some solutions to address these issues:

Color After Bleaching

Thoroughly Rinse and Condition

  • Clarifying Shampoo: Use a clarifying shampoo to remove any residual bleach or shampoo from your hair.
  • Deep Conditioning: Apply a deep conditioner to replenish lost moisture and strengthen your hair.

 Repair Hair Damage

  • Protein Treatments: Use protein-based treatments to restore strength and structure to your hair.
  • Regular Trims: Trim split ends regularly to ensure that the ends of your hair are healthy.

Choose the Right Developer and Color

  • Consult a Professional: If you’re uncertain about which developer or color to use, seek advice from a professional colorist.
  • Perform a Strand Test: Before applying color to your entire head, do a strand test to ensure it’s the right shade and timing for your hair.

 Adjust Processing Time

  • Follow Instructions: Always follow the instructions provided with your hair color product, including the recommended processing time.

Consider Water Quality

  • Install a Water Softener: If you have hard water, consider installing a water softener in your shower to improve the quality of water you use for hair washing.

Consult a Professional

If you’ve tried these solutions and are still having trouble getting your hair to take color after bleaching, it’s advisable to consult a professional colorist. They can assess the specific condition of your hair and provide expert guidance on achieving your desired color.

Additional Tips for Healthy Colored Hair

Additional Tips for Healthy Colored Hair

To maintain vibrant, long-lasting color, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

Use Sulfate-Free Shampoos

Sulfate-free shampoos are gentler on color-treated hair and help preserve the vibrancy of your color.

 Limit Heat Styling

Excessive heat styling can lead to color fade. Try to limit the use of hot tools and always use a heat protectant.

 Protect Your Hair from the Sun

UV rays can cause color to fade and hair to become dry and brittle. Use products with UV protection and wear a hat in the sun.

 Regular Touch-Ups

If you have roots showing or your color fades, consider regular touch-ups to maintain your desired shade.

 Avoid Frequent Washing

Frequent washing can strip color from your hair. Try to extend the time between washes or use dry shampoo to keep your color fresh.


Can I dye my hair right after bleaching it?

No, it’s best to wait a few days to a week after bleaching before applying hair color. Give your hair time to recover.

 How can I make my hair absorb color better?

Use a pre-color treatment or conditioner designed for balanced porosity. Deep conditioning helps, too.

 What should I do if I’ve over-bleached my hair?

Focus on hair repair. Deep condition, trim split ends, and avoid further chemical treatments until your hair recovers.

What happens if I color over severely damaged hair?

Color may not hold evenly, leading to an uneven look. Prioritize hair health and repair before recoloring.

 How can I fix uneven color after bleaching and coloring?

Consult a professional colorist for expert correction. They can use the right techniques to even out the color.


In conclusion, achieving the perfect hair color after bleaching can sometimes be a challenging process due to various factors, including hair structure, damage, residue, and even water quality. It’s essential to understand these reasons and implement the right solutions for successful color absorption. 

If you’re still facing difficulties despite these efforts, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a professional colorist. They can provide tailored solutions to address your unique hair color challenges. Remember, with the right care and knowledge, you can attain the vibrant hair color you desire.

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