What Happens If You Leave Blonde Hair Dye On too Long?

What Happens If You Leave Blonde Hair Dye in Hair for too Long

What happens if you leave blonde hair dye on too long? We’ll break down how to tell if your hair has had enough and give you tips on how to start fixing it.

Dying your hair blonde is the perfect way to change up your look, but the process can be tricky.

Let’s go over some things you need to know when dying your hair blonde– from how long to leave the dye on your hair to when to wash it out, and what happens if you may have left it to sit for a little too long?

First, are you a natural blondie trying to warm up your locks, or add some extra color and depth? Or, are you a wanna-be blondie who has already bleached their hair?

Bleaching and dying already-blonde hair are two different things, so it’s important to follow the correct instructions for your specific situation.

Natural Blondes Dying Hair with Blonde Hair Dye

We love our natural blondes, and they are often rare to find. Did you know that only 2% of the population are natural blondes?

The rule of thumb is to follow the package instructions on your hair dye, but if you’re still confused: leave it on for 30 minutes, wash it out, and see how the color looks.

You don’t want to damage your natural hair, and hair dye can have stripping or drying effects if left on for too long. After you’ve washed the dye out of your hair, make sure to give your hair some extra love by using a conditioner, hair mask, or other nourishing treatment.

Leaving on hair dye for too long can sometimes alter the color, so rinse and shampoo it out as soon as you’ve realized it’s been a while.

Because your hair is already blonde and you’re just using hair dye to add a new dimension or a new undertone, blonde hair dye isn’t technically a bleaching product.

The Difference Between Blonde Hair Dye and Bleaching

Blonde hair dye and bleach might seem like similar products, but they aren’t. Bleach actually removes the color from your natural hair. Have you ever left something out in the sun and the colors faded? That’s similar to how bleach works.

Hair dyes do not lighten the hair like bleach does. It simply deposits, or places, color into your hair. That’s why natural blondes can sometimes use blonde hair dye– their hair is already light enough without bleach for the hair dye to show up.

If your hair is darker, you may need to use bleach in order to get your hair light enough to use blonde hair dye. Read on if that applies to you!

Hair Colors Other than Blonde

If you’re trying to bleach your natural hair color to turn it blonde or get it lighter for a new color to stand out, the process works a little differently. Whether you’re a redhead, brunette, black hair, or any color of the rainbow, you’ll need to really take care of your hair if you’re bleaching it at home.

Bleaching- How Long Is Too Long?

What Happens If You Leave Blonde Hair Dye in Hair for too Long

You should only leave the bleach on your beautiful strands for 20-30 minutes at a time, and it’s important to check on it as it develops. Check on it after the first 10 minutes, and then every 5 minutes after that until you’ve had it on for 30 minutes total. Set a loud timer on your phone, so you don’t forget.

Then, you should shampoo your hair and take a look at the results. Usually, you can mix up a new batch of bleach and follow the same instructions as above. You should NOT leave the bleach on your hair for longer than an hour. (So, the most you should do in one day are two 30-minute sessions with shampoo in between.)

Leaving your hair in bleach any longer than an hour can cause irreversible damage. It can turn your shiny locks dry, brittle, and weak.

Hair Still Not Light Enough?

Bleach it in stages. Your hair needs a break after being stripped of its color, so try to wait a few days or a couple of weeks in between bleaching if you’re trying to get a lighter color.

You get lighter hair by bleaching gradually, not by leaving bleach in longer.

Your hair might be a brassy or very warm shade of yellow after a bleaching session. That’s normal. You can tone out some of that brassy color with a toner or a purple shampoo.

What You Can Do if Dye Is On For Too Long

What Happens If You Leave Blonde Hair Dye in Hair for too Long

It can sometimes cause your hair to break off. Rinse it off as soon as you have noticed it’s been on too long, and shampoo it all out. Follow that with your most moisturizing treatment. You can use a regular conditioner, a hair mask, or any DIY treatment from ingredients at home. Give your hair some love and moisture.

When doing at-home dying and bleaching, take the time to pay attention to how your hair and scalp react to products, that way you can get ahead of as much damage as possible. If you’re ever feeling a tingling or burning sensation, it’s probably a good idea to rinse out the product and give yourself (and your hair) a break.

Damage might happen. That’s okay. Your hair might break or become “gummy” which is when your hair strands become sticky when wet. Worst case scenario, some of your hair might fall out. Here’s what you can do to start reviving your hair if you’ve left the bleach on too long, started to notice a gummy feeling in your hair, or see and feel breakage.

1. Wash it Less

Why? Shampooing too often can strip your natural oils, which are crucial for damaged hair. Dial back on washing your hair because shampoos can clean your hair too much and add to the damage. Start by only washing twice a week and see how your hair feels. You should also try to use a very gentle shampoo, preferably a sulfate-free one. Always follow up with a conditioner.

2. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

Use hair masks and treatments and leave them on for a long time. Like, even overnight if you can. Cover your hair with your favorite treatment, wrap it up in a grocery bag or tie it in a loose bun with a scrunchie, and sleep on it. Rinse it out in the morning with a little bit of shampoo if needed. This will give your hair lots of time to soak in the good ingredients. You can even make your own treatment at home!

3. Avoid Heat Styling

Put the blow dryer, straightener, and curling iron down for a few weeks. Heat styling will only further the damage, so embrace your natural hair or follow some fun heat-free hair tutorials for a while.

4. Go See a Professional

If you’ve tried all of the above for a few weeks and aren’t seeing any improvement in your hair, try going to a salon and speaking with a professional. They may have products or solutions that can help. Tell them exactly what happened. It’s okay! It happens all the time.


Dying your hair at home can be such a fun way to transform your look, but you have to be careful and treat your hair with care. Set yourself up to have a good hair dying or hair bleaching session by being prepared, setting timers, and not distracting yourself beforehand.

Damage can happen to even the most careful of people, so don’t be too disappointed in yourself. Some people are more prone to damage or more sensitive to the chemicals in hair dyes and bleaches. Hair emergencies happen to the best of us.

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