diy, hair & beauty

You (Sorta) Asked For It!: How I Bleach My Hair

How To Bleach Hair |

UPDATE: Please read this post afterwards.

One of the most common questions I get asked (besides “Yo gurl, y u so fine?) is “How did/do you bleach/dye your hair?” It’s no secret that I’m a cheapskate and if there’s one thing the internet has taught me, it’s how to be somewhat self-sufficient (that, and not to trust the things people who bleach and color their own hair say). I haven’t had my hair dyed by a pro since I was 12 and if I had the guts to cut my own hair, I’d probably never set foot inside a salon again. Alas, I am not stupid adventurous skilled enough.

Anyway, I thought I’d put together a quick (and hopefully detailed) entry on how I bleach my hair. Please keep in mind that I am not a professional so don’t come bawwwwing to me if you decide to do what I do and end up with orange hair, patchy hair, fried hair, or a burned scalp (this has never happened to me). Feel free to ask me questions, though, and I will try my best to answer them (I promise to google and not pull my answers out of my ass :P).

Since I’m doing this “tutorial” on impulse, there won’t be many photos of the process.


1) A plastic mixing bowl (I got mine for PHP25 at my neighborhood “department store”).
2) A tinting brush.
3) A wide-toothed comb (to ensure the bleach is spread out evenly).
4) Disposable plastic gloves. LOL story: the first time I bleached my hair, I used my bare hands. They felt burned for days. Rubber gloves (the kind fancy people wear when doing the dishes or dusting the house) won’t work because it’ll rub against your hair. We don’t want that.
5) Plastic hair clips (optional).
6) Ear caps (optional).


Bleach. Personally, I like HBC/Hortaleza’s powder bleach (it comes in a plastic packet).

Oxidizing lotion/creme developer (for bleach). I used to use 12% (the equivalent of Vol 40) until I asked a legit hairdresser what’s better to use. He suggested I go for 9% instead. Something about it being better for your hair etc etc. You can buy this from HBC/Hortaleza, too.

Toner. Unfortunately, you can’t get toner here. I’ve searched high and low for this. HBC had it once, called Clear Tone, but for reasons I cannot comprehend discontinued it. The beauty supply shop I found in Quiapo didn’t have it in stock. GOOD THING YOU HAVE ME TO GUIDE YOU AND SHARE WITH YOU MY SECRET.

(I sent HBC’s customer service an inquiry over SMS once, asking what branch had Clear Tone in stock and they replied saying they had it and what branch should they send the body wash to, ahaha.)

You see, when I first bleached my hair, it turned a horrific shade of orange.

Not qt at all.

Toner takes the brassiness out. You can bleach your hair twice in a row (eek, please don’t) and you still won’t get it to a nice, forgiving shade of blonde. At best, you will get a bright banana yellow (just makin’ up stuff here, tbh) which is what I had when I bleached for the second and third times (with 2-3 months in between bleaching jobs).

Light gray, gray, or ash dye. No toner? This works as a decent substitute, suggested by a real hair stylist at one of the message boards I post at. She also recommended incorporating a purple shampoo into your/my regimen to counter the brassy tones as the toner/dye fades.

You can get this at Hortaleza Vaciador (not HBC) stores.

I used 12% oxidizing lotion/developer with the light gray dye.

Okay, this is the part where my laziness kicks in and I tell you to just google for tutorials on the bleaching process; chances are, you’ll find a video on Youtube that will prove to be more helpful than I can ever be. I’m sorry I’m lazy BUT IT IS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

I have a few “tips”, though:

1) Get a friend to help. There will be parts you can’t see in the mirror and these are the parts your brush will miss (resulting in a patchy bleach job). Tara was a great helper ♥
2) Wear an old shirt. I use those souvenir t shirts I was obsessed with when I was in high school.
3) It may or may not burn. The good news is— it’s not chlamydia! YAY! Sit in front of a fan to ease the pain but don’t prolong it that you end up with a burned scalp.
4) It may or may not itch. The good news is— it’s not scabies! The itching is your scalp burning, I think. I just wanted to squeeze in another lame joke. I find that gently/lightly running my fingers though my scalp/hair (still with plastic gloves) on eases it.
5) Comb through to properly distribute the bleach.

That’s it! Personally, I don’t shampoo before bleaching and I always start with dry hair. Shampoo strips your hair off oil and bleaching WILL dry your hair out. The way I see it (aka what Mr Internet told me) shampooing before is like… sanding down wood that’s already been… sanded down.

(I shampoo before coloring, though, so that my hair would be thirsty and will absorb the dye… like a sponge.)

You can ask me questions or tell me that I’ve been doing things wrong (nicely, of course. R00d comments will be LOL-ed at privately before being baleeted) in the comments!

UPDATE: Please read this post afterwards.

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  • Reply Chi May 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    So…how long do you keep the bleach on before washing it down?

    • Reply Helga May 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      I leave it on for 30+ minutes. Keep checking the color to see if it’s a shade your happy with, tho.

  • Reply kettle May 18, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Di ba pag disposable plastic gloves ang ginamit mo when coloring/bleaching your hair, tumatagos din yung color sa kamay mo? i mean, it still can stain them…just want to ask if there are other gloves that i can use, if rubber gloves is kinda a “no-no”? thanks! btw, love your “partly-shaved” hair, maybe you can use hair wax, like gatsby black, to tame them. :)

    • Reply Helga May 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      IDK, I use disposable plastic/latex gloves and never had a problem with the color seeping through, even with Special Effects!

      • Reply kettle May 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm

        I have never used a latex gloves before. I’ll give it a shot :)

  • Reply John Steven May 18, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Proper spelling for that first question is “gurl”, by the way. ;)

    • Reply Helga May 19, 2011 at 10:20 pm


  • Reply Leanne May 24, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Oh wow! Look at you… miss DIY… and you did an amazing job too!

    Personally, I know if I tried this, I would F*$% it up (to be blunt) haha.

  • Reply scart June 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Good job Helga on your DIY haircolor. I never tried bleaching my hair cos Im scared that my scalp will burn :D. Also, the reason why i dont get the color I want. I like your new hair now ^_^x

  • Reply God Save The Nurse » Blog Archive » Achieving the Ombre Hair July 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    […] powder, 1 bottle of 9% oxidizing lotion, hair coloring brush and plastic mixing bowl. I followed Helga’s advice about the bleaching except the part where you need help from another person. I did everything […]

  • Reply DITZ-REVOLUTION.NET by Helga Weber | Filipina blogger and web designer » Pink and Yellow August 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    […] didn’t have any light gray dye so I was expecting a brassy bleach […]

  • Reply Nikki December 5, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Awesome possum post! Been looking around for a local “guide” for home bleaching. Anyway, a few questions:

    1. How much does the bleach, the oxidizing lotion, and the dye cost?
    2. Which HBC/Hortaleza branches do you go to?
    3. Where in Quiapo do you get those Decolor dyes and how much do they go for? I need a quickie dye job by the end of the week.
    4. Which eBay seller do you get the Special FX from?

    Thanks for all the hair help!

    P.S. ALL your hairstyles so far are just fantabulous. :-)

    • Reply Helga December 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      1) Bleach is 90, developer is 30. I don’t remember how much HBC dye is.
      2) Farmer’s
      3) I forgot the name of the store but it’s along that street across the LRT station
      4) fatalimpact


      • Reply Nikki December 12, 2011 at 8:27 pm

        @Helga, Thanks! We’re retouching my roots and doing my sister’s blue and violet ombre hair as we speak. Or, uh, type. Thanks!

  • Reply Nikki December 17, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I couldn’t find the light gray/ash dye in the Hortaleza Vaciador or at the HBC stores though. Any other leads? Also, does it matter which bleach you use? I saw some bleach at the Vaciador and it was waaay cheaper than those at HBC. But yeah, have you tried those bleaches?

    Super uber mucho thanks for all the help and advice and whatnot, Helga!

  • Reply shananerbananer January 22, 2012 at 1:21 am

    i just wanna ask pano kung walang toner? same lang din ba ung effect? thanks :)

    • Reply Helga January 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      It will be brassy

  • Reply Jane March 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    is it okay if my friend doesn’t use a tinting brush and only uses her plastic-glove encased hands? i have a wide-toothed comb, though! :O

    and why purple and not blue toner? (i’m just really curious since a lot of sites say purple and a lot of other sites say blue lol)

    • Reply Adrianna March 7, 2012 at 12:53 am

      @Jane, From what I understand, the violet tones yellow and the blues tone orange. Its recommended you use a tinting brush for even distribution but you can do it without. Just be prepared to miss some spots lol

  • Reply Adrianna March 7, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Very informative, thank you! :) I had black hair and decided to change it up and go blonde, perfectly aware of the consequences I may face throughout the process but I did it anyway lol I went to Sallys beauty supply and picked up a tub of l’oreal quick blue, 30 vol developer, ardell color corrector, white lady toner, and ion color brilliance cool light blonde permanent hair dye along with some deep conditioners and purple shampoo. I had originally planned to strip my hair first then bleach but the lady at Sallys told me the bleach is pretty well the same thing so I took her word for it and with the help from a friend we did the first bleach- it made the length a dark brown, and the roots blonde while some was a orangey/copper color. Nonetheless, it took the black out. The second bleach lightened the dark brown to a completely copper, rustic color. Im unable to dye it blonde until it reaches a banana yellow, and even after the 3rd bleach my length is still too dark being a strawberry blonde color with orange tones, I do have my toner but it’s violet and apparently the violets only take out the yellow brassiness:( what do you suggest I do? My hair definitely needs a good break from bleaching, and I absolutely hate this color. My roots are platinum almost with yellow tones so it’s a mess at the moment. Would toning it help?? Or should I wait for my hair to restore itself a bit and do another bleaching? Any advice is greatly appreciated :)

    • Reply gladys March 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      @Adrianna, how long did you wait to bleach it two times

  • Reply kath March 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    ahmmm yung bleaching po ba para matanggal yung previous hair color?

    • Reply Helga March 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Yup, pwede din :)

      • Reply kath March 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm


        thanks po… ok lang kahit bleach and dye sa same day? natatakot kasi ako baka maging blonde ehe di umeffect yung hair color :)

        • Reply Nikki March 29, 2012 at 10:20 am

          @kath, From experience, it is fine to bleach and dye on the same day. But, depending on your hair dye, you should be sure to get your hair bleached to a light enough color to enjoy the full effect of your hair dye. :-)

        • Reply Helga September 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

          @kath, Hi! If the dye you’ll be using after the bleach has to be mixed with peroxide/developer, please wait at least a week so you don’t end up double processing and drying your hair :)

  • Reply starfishinthesky March 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    ate ang gagamitin kong bleach ung sa hortaleza din, 12%… short layers lang po ung buhok ko… kaya po bang mapalight to platinum ang isang pack ng bleaching powder tapos 2 bottles ng oxidizing lotion? tapos ang toner na gagamitin ko Manic Panic Virgin Snow… o mag-bbrown and orange lang po ung kulay?

    • Reply Helga March 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      @starfishinthesky, You need to bleach two to three times; if you bleach black hair the first time, it will turn orange/brassy muna. Virgin Snow only works on pale yellow hair (or what the inside of a banana peel looks like).

      • Reply starfishinthesky March 30, 2012 at 9:52 pm

        @Helga, lol I’m doomed >.< I really really want to go light… kaso problema ang school xD ndi naman bawal sa uplb kaso po parang fail na first impression na pumasok ako bilang ginger (or weasley)… how long should I wait before bleaching a second time? or should I dye magenta over the orange first? tapos totoo po ba na same effect lang po pag 9% oxidizing lotion (2 bleachings 45 mins. then 30 mins.) at 12% pero once lang? sorry for asking too many questions xD first timer/"kuripot" po ako eh… thanks po btw :D

  • Reply Julia Robert of MNL August 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    hey :)
    I just bleached my hair and dip dyed it in blue. I’m planning to bleach again next week some parts where I want it blonde, ummm would you agree if I bleach the ones I dip dyed in blue already?

  • Reply k September 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    hi, i just want to ask after po ba ibleach yung hair saka ilalagay yung light gray dye? :) and may picture po ba kayo after you bleach then dye it with light gray? sorry for the dumb question tho..

    • Reply Helga September 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      @k, Yes, but please wait at least a week in between bleaching and coloring (unless you’re using semi-permanent dye) so you don’t double process and dry your hair more.

      As for photos, you can browse the hair category here to check. I’m sorry, I don’t remember if I have any but I try to document my hair shenanigans on this blog, so there might be one.

  • Reply k September 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    yay! thanks for the reply! :”) big help and very informative :D and i love your blog :)

  • Reply judayjudayan September 12, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Mwahh! Helga.

    I’m planning to bleach my hair for a drastic change. Too bad, they won’t see it at the main office coz our meeting will be this friday na… I have a natural dark brown hair color and I want it blonde. How long will it take kaya for me to achieve that? I want to wear it the next time we have a meeting.

    Thanks. You’re really a big help

    • Reply Helga September 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      Hi! DIY? It could take at least two bleaches. Remember to space them properly (a month apart, if you don’t want to ruin your hair) and to take care of your hair in between!

  • Reply mili October 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Hi! I’m planning on getting my hair ombre-d before the year ends. I have dark brown semi permanent hair color right now. I plan to folow your recommended steps above but I’m a bit confused, after I bleach the hair I’m going to ombre should I apply the toner immediately?

    • Reply Helga October 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      No no no no, please don’t, that is double processing! Unless you’re using a vegetable dye (semi-permanent like SFX, Crazy Color, Manic Panic) as toner. If you’re using toner that contains peroxide, please give your hair time to recover (1-4 weeks, depending on your hair’s condition) from the bleach before toning/dyeing.

      • Reply mili October 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm

        @Helga, ahhh okay… What toner would you recommend me to use if I’m going for blonde ombre ends? Where do you recommend me to buy blonde dyeing kit? I can’t seem to find it in leading department stores here in MNL. Thank you for the information! :)

        • Reply Helga October 28, 2012 at 10:12 pm

          I just use bleach, either from HBC or Shinemoist (from Hortaleza stores).

  • Reply anon November 26, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    asko ko lang po. saan po kayo nakabili ng toner?? Want to bleach my hair this december eh and will color it with light brown.

    • Reply Helga November 26, 2012 at 11:49 pm and Amazon

  • Reply adrienne November 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    How on earth did you wait 2-3 months with orange hair? Did you put temp colour on top? I got my hair to a level 8 but the toner turned it grayish green… it’s been 3 days and I can’t walk around like this, it looks terrible.

    • Reply Helga November 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      I used to double process =/ My hair is currently green towards the tips and blonde orange on top. I’m piling on the treatments so I can afford to BB in 2 weeks (I bleached 2 days ago)

  • Reply Gin December 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Hi there. What if I want a strawberry blonde with soft pink highlights at the tips of my hair? Do I do the highlights at the same time I colored my hair?

    • Reply Helga December 4, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      Assuming you’ll be using a box dye for the strawberry blonde, you might want to wait at least a week or two before bleaching the tips of your hair to get a light enough base for the pink. You don’t need a super light base for a loud pink but if you’re aiming for a cotton candy/pastel pink, you’ll need a pale blonde base or else the pink will end up more salmon/coral.

      • Reply Gin December 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm

        @Helga, Oh i see. If I were to buy the pink color from Vaciador, what color will I ask for? And how do I achieve the soft pink color? Thanks! :3

        • Reply Helga December 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm

          I don’t think they have pink dyes :(

  • Reply Gie December 12, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Hi I want to bleach my hair and dye it with manic panic infra red. Do i need to achieve the “blonde color” of my hair to get a red hair? Or is it okay to dye it with “brassy color” hair after bleaching?

    I thought if you bleach your hair once it’ll become blonde.
    I’ll be using mondes bleaching powder and oxiding cream.

    P.S. [I never bleach my hair. So i need your advice ^^]

    BTW I like your burgundy wine hair. It looks ooommmphh!

    • Reply Helga December 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      Orange should be a fine base for red :) Remember to slather on virgin coconut oil and let it sit for at least an hour before bleaching (don’t rinse out the oil)!

  • Reply Gie December 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Hi Ms. Helga is it okay to use sunflower oil from human nature? :)

    • Reply Helga December 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      In bleaching? No. Only coconut oil or pure argan oil.

  • Reply ella maried dizon March 25, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Hi ! Ask ko lng po.i have a black hair po kase. And nasubukan ko pong mag kulay before ng medyo brown. And wala pong nangyari. Makapal po kase yung buhok ko and black tlaga. Ngayon.po i want to dye my hair Balinese Brown from Kolours. Eh okay lang po ba na ibleach ko muna sya para mas okay yung result ng kulay ? Meron na po akong bleaching powder from hortaleza din and Oxidizing emulsion cream 40VOL 12% po.

    • Reply Helga March 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      Kung ibl-bleach mo yung hair mo, kailangan ipahinga ng at least 1 week (if your hair is healthy) to 1 month (if your hair is dry/damaged) before coloring it with the box dye.

      I think 9% lang yung developer ng Kolours. Pwede mo i-try na gamitin yung 12% na developer instead para mas ma-lift yung color ng hair mo.

  • Reply CN April 21, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Hi, ask ko lang po sana…I bleached my hair as in ngayon lang…gusto ko sana blonde…but tulad nga po ng sabi nyo…naging orange sya. Sabi nyo po pwede kong gamitin yung light gray …pwd din po ba yung light ash blonde? huhuhu I really need help…Ilang % po ng oxidizing ang kailangan? :(

  • Reply Aki May 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    hey hope you can help me, product ko din ang hbc bleaching solution and ive been using tht for years.. and now i wnt to tone down my hair, current color ng hair ko ngyon is medium blonde and i wanted it to became blonde as in yellow blonde like pink’s hair ir miley’s hair but i really cnt achieve it kht anong patong ko ng light color.. so how true is it tht if i jst put oxidizing lotion (from hortaleza) it will lighten the color of my hair.. pls help hope you make a rep as soon as you can… thanks..

    • Reply Helga May 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      @Aki, Hello!

      Like platinum blonde, parang kay Miley? You would need toner or purple shampoo for that!

  • Reply Miguel July 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Hi ^ ^ was randomly looking around for tutorials on how to get the blonde color I want.. came across this and it’s great. : ) mmmm, I have a couple of questions though..
    – where do you get purple shampoo
    – where do you get coconut oil
    – does the toner substitute really work?

    I want to get an ash blond color for my hair and I’ve been researching a lot before I jump into it. haha kinda hard to go out with epic orange hair (especially when you’re a guy)

  • Reply Jedi August 16, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Heya! This been such a great help! Just bleached my hair and it turned yellow/orange. Question tho, I dont want it to look too gray/ashy. Any tips? :)

  • Reply aya August 25, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Clear tone toner? How much did it cost and is the CS in HBC alive?

  • Reply Aaron April 3, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Hi I bleached my hair with Hortaleza bleaching powder and used 12% oxi lotion. I ended up having brassy or (medyo orange). Then I have a clear tone. Do I have to bleach my hair again? or should I got straight to using the clear tone?

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