How Do I Choose the Best Bleaching Powder?

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  • Written By: Kathleen Howard
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 28 March 2020
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Bleaching powder is a powerful agent that is used to strip color from the hair. This powder alone is not enough to lighten the hair, however, and it must be mixed with developer, or hydrogen peroxide, to activate the lightening process. For the best results, you should choose a powder/developer combination that is strong enough to produce the desired color yet gentle enough to be used safely.

Consumers have two main options when choosing a bleach for the hair: they can choose a bleaching kit from their local supermarket or make their own. Bleaching kits usually consist of the powder, liquid developer and gloves.

Most pre-assembled kits come with a strong bleaching powder and a 20-volume developer. Developer is available in one of four strengths: 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-volume. A 40-volume developer will lift at least six levels of color, which means that a person who has black hair will be able achieve a dark blond through one process of using it. Bleaching agents, however, never completely stop lifting color until they are dry to the touch.

On average, a 20-volume developer will lift two to three levels of color. If your natural hair color is a light brown, you should be able to achieve a light blond after 35 minutes of using a 20-volume developer. If your hair is a darker brown, however, 20-volume developer might not be strong enough to achieve the desired results.


If you need more lifting power, you might benefit more from choosing a bleaching powder and developer from your local beauty supply store. When choosing one, it’s important to understand that most powders are fairly similar. They are usually made up of calcium chloride, calcium hypochlorite, and calcium chloride hypochlorite, although potassium persulfate, ammonium persulfate, and sodium persulfate also might be used.

The main difference between bleaching powders is their consistency and ability to retain moisture. Bleach deactivates when it dries, which is why it is important to choose a powder that contains moisturizing agents. Some powders are also formulated to be dust-free, creamy, and easy to use. It will be very difficult to use a product that mixes into a thin, watery consistency. Non-drip formulas are much more user-friendly.

Depending on the color and texture of your hair, you might want to choose an extra-strength powder. Such formulas are able to lift as many as seven levels of color, which would take black hair to a medium blond. To achieve these results, the powder will need to be activated with a 40-volume developer.

The last thing to consider is whether a powder is designed to be used off or on the scalp. If you will be bleaching your hair one uniform color, you need a product that is safe to use on the scalp. Off-scalp powders are best when used to highlight the hair. Choosing a bleaching powder that is safe for the skin will ensure a more comfortable and effective bleaching process.


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Post 3

The bleaching powder sold at beauty stores are cheaper but it can be difficult to get the proportions right. So I use a bleaching kit instead. And I don't think that most bleaching powders can be used on the scalp. Hair needs to be bleached starting one inch away from the scalp.

Post 2

@SteamLouis-- You should get your developer and bleaching powder from the beauty store like he article said. You can decide for yourself how strong you want the combination to be.

The bleaching powder is mostly the same regardless of what type you get. It's the developer that determines the strength. Do you know what the strength of the developer was in the kit you used? You can use that information to make an educated guess about the strength of developer you need.

I have dark brown hair too and I wanted my hair just a shade or two lighter. I was afraid of making it too light, so I used a 15-volume developer. This is too weak for most people, but since I didn't want any dramatic changes, it was okay for me. Next time I'll probably use at least 20-volume though because I want my hair lighter.

Post 1

The bleaching powder that comes in kits seems way to strong for me. I used one and it made my hair a dark blonde with a strange, orange hue. I have dark brown hair and I was hoping for more of a light brown color and I certainly did not want it to look orange.

Bleaching powder is also harsh on hair, so my hair was very dry afterward and started breaking easily.

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