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7 Best Bleaches For Asian Hair

by Gabbi

They say blondes have more fun, but the jury is still out on whether that’s true. Regardless, it is no secret that having blonde hair can be new and exciting for those who normally have dark hair.

Pink, grey, lavender, and other trendy pastel hair colors all require a starting point of light blonde hair. 

If you’re starting with dark brown or black hair, these colors can seem out of reach. If you are of Asian descent, you may have even heard that Asian hair is impossible to bleach or that your hair will get too damaged if you tried lightening it.

We’re here to tell you that’s a lie. You can bleach your hair and you can even achieve a platinum blonde! You just have to use the right bleaching products for your hair.

Bleaching is a process that involves using special chemicals that open up the hair cuticle and go deep into the shaft of the hair to dissolve the pigment (melanin). Once the pigment is gone, the hair becomes colorless, which is what gives it that pale yellow blonde appearance.

Asian hair is typically very dark and pigmented. It’s also very thick, with compact cuticle cells that require a very strong bleach and longer bleaching time to get through. 

Roy Wong, Hair Culture’s Technical Director says, “When bleached, Asian or dark hair pigment passes through black, brown, red, orange, yellow, and pale yellow colors. Since the red pigment is so hard to lift, most people encounter the orange phase more often than they’d like to and hair eventually turns brassy because the initial treatment didn’t lighten the hair enough.” 

Because of these factors, many people are afraid to bleach Asian hair. But with the right products that are specifically designed to target this kind of hair, you can get beautiful results without damaging your hair.

So what are the best bleaches for Asian hair? The best bleach for Asian hair will be strong enough to lift multiple layers of cuticles but contain ingredients that are gentle on the hair and prevent damage. You should be left with light, shiny, and healthy hair.

In this article, we’ve gathered the top bleaches that work well on Asian hair, so stick with us to experience the magic!

Buyer’s Guide

As you are choosing from our list of best bleaches for Asian hair, keep in mind what your starting point is. Some bleaches are so strong, they’ll work on lightening jet black hair to platinum. And if that’s what you’re looking for, that’s great.

However, if your hair is a lighter brown, or you happen to have thin hair follicles, that strong bleach might be too harsh for you. It’s always important to match your products to your individual needs. 

You may even want to consider bleaching your hair with more mild bleach in more than one session to cut down on the risk of damage, but we understand that going out with orange-bleached hair for a week or two isn’t really an option for some.

If you are unsure of your current hair condition, we recommend consulting a stylist. He or she can explain to you if your hair needs the strongest bleach out there or if you’d benefit more from a gentler bleach and multiple bleaching sessions to prevent any damage.

Generally, when looking for a bleach for naturally-dark Asian hair, we recommend sticking to bleaches that can lift at least 3 shades. 

Another thing to look for is bleach which is specifically designed to fight red tones and brassiness. Asian hair is more likely to lift to red or orange during the bleaching process, which can leave your hair looking slightly orange when you’re finished.

That’s not a look most people want, so you want to make sure your bleach can lift the red. Some bleaches have blue and violet tones added to them to offset the red, and they work really well for Asian hair.

Lastly, since Asian hair is a little more stubborn than other hair, you want to look for a bleach that contains high-quality premium ingredients designed to protect your hair from damage. This is important as Asian hair typically requires more processing time, so the bleach has to sit on your hair longer. The longer you have it in your hair, the more potential damage it can cause.

Because of this, one of the main factors we looked at to create the list below is the quality of ingredients and their impact on the integrity of the hair.

7 Top Hair Bleaches For Asian Hair

RankProductKey Features
1.Clairol Professional BW2 Hair Powder LightenerIdeal for balayage or highlights, low dust
2.WELLA Color Charm Powder Lightener & Balayage LightenerSeveral Vol options, ideal for balayage
3.Clairol Professional Kaleidocolors Hair LightenerFor medium brown hair, bleaches and tones
4.Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Plex LightenerTones/bleaches, anti-breakage, lifts 7 levels
5.Schwarzkopf BlondMe Color Powder Bleach PremiumLifts 9 levels, anti-yellowing, silky finish
6.MANIC PANIC Flash Lightning Hair Bleach KitPowerful bleach, comes with developer
7.ARCTIC FOX Bleach Please Hair Lightening Kit Cream BleachFull kit, lifts 8 levels, castor oil, hydrating

1. Clairol Professional BW2 Hair Powder Lightener

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Clairol’s extra strength lightening powder is perfect for off-scalp bleaching of Asian hair and other dark hair. This is ideal if you’re looking for the best bleach for highlights or balayage. 

This particular formula is “dedusted” which means that although it is a powder, it will have minimal powder fly-aways.

If your nose is sensitive to bleach dust or if you’re worried about getting bleach in places you don’t want, this formula gives you the most control over the coloring process. 

Achieving a light blonde color on dark Asian hair is super easy with this bleach. Just like other powdered bleaches, it has to be mixed with a cream developer. We recommend using the Clairol developer, as it works best with this formula. For the darkest hair, use 40 vol developer.

As users have noticed, Clairol’s BW2 bleach is one of the strongest bleaches that brings the darkest hair to a light blonde while leaving the texture of the hair, leaving it feeling healthy and manageable. 

Although it has strong lightening power, it does not contain any anti-brass components, so you will probably need to use a blue toner to offset some of the warm tones that remain in your hair after bleaching. 

2. WELLA Color Charm Powder Lightener & Balayage Lightener

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The WELLA Color Charm bleach has long been a staple among professional hair stylists. It’s a reliable and predictable bleach that is gentle enough to use on most hair, including previously-colored hair.

This product can lighten hair up to 7 levels, so while it may not turn black hair to platinum, it can lighten medium-brown hair to a light blonde in one session. With multiple sessions, even the darkest hair can be brought up to a brilliant blonde.

It is safe for both on-scalp and off-scalp application, so you can use it to bleach your whole head or to create a beautiful balayage. 

To offset brassiness, we recommend using any of the WELLA toners, which are industry staples that can transform even the brassiest blonde to a wide range of beautiful and delicate blonde colors.

The bleach and developer are ammonia-free, full of hydrating oils, and provide protection from damage. If your hair is already damaged and you are not looking for an extreme blonde result, we highly recommend this product for you.

3. Clairol Professional Kaleidocolors Hair Lightener

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Clairol’s Kaleidocolors powder bleach contains blue and violet toners to offset warm yellow and orange tones during the bleaching process.

This bleach aims to combine two steps into one: bleaching and toning all at once.

It can lift up to 6 shades, so it would be ideal for someone with medium brown hair who is looking to end up with a light blonde color.

The bleach contains ingredients that offer hydration and smooth the hair cuticle after bleaching is complete. This helps your hair retain a healthy look and minimizes damage.

We found that this product is best for highlights and balayage, rather than full-color application. It does not feel great on the scalp but works really well for off-scalp applications.

This bleach has been used by many professionals. One thing they recommend is to use heat to assist with the lifting. Blowing a warm hairdryer over your hair or using a heat lamp after you’ve applied the bleach to your hair helps lift the color faster and reduce damage. 

4. Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Plex Lightener

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This Clairol bleach is a great choice for dark Asian hair that is fragile or previously damaged. This powder bleach contains blue and violet tones to help lighten warm dark hair to a neutral blonde without any brassiness.

Additionally, this bleach contains Clairol’s Plex technology which is supposed to protect the hair from typical bleaching damage. Clairol claims that using this product leads to “up to 97% less hair breakage.”

Despite how gentle it is on the hair, you can get up to 7 levels of color lifted with this bleach, all without orange tones.

Most reviewers rave about how healthy their hair felt after using this bleach, even if their hair has been previously bleached and slightly damaged. This is definitely going to be our go-to recommendation for anyone who has colored hair in the past and is looking for a safe bleach to use for touch-ups. 

Clairol did a good job at creating a bleach that truly offsets brassiness, although if you’re coming from a very dark and warm color, you’ll probably need to touch up with a toner.

5. Schwarzkopf BlondMe Color Powder Bleach Premium

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This bleach can lift 9 shades, which means it is powerful enough to go from dark brown or black hair to a platinum blonde in one session!

It contains anti-yellowing agents which allow it to fights any brassy and orange undertones, making your hair look neutral enough where you may not need any additional toning products.

That being said, most reviewers who went for platinum hair did end up using additional toners to remove any remaining warmth from their hair. But if your goal isn’t white or platinum, you might be able to use this bleach without toner and find that your hair looks perfect as is. 

This bleach is powdered and it needs to be mixed with a developer in order to work. We highly recommend using the Schwarzkopf BlondMe developer with it as it seems to give the best results when paired with its counterpart. The developer contains hydrating oils and protects the hair from damage, which is necessary considering the strength of this product.

When selecting developer volume, remember that 40 vol is the highest – this should be used for black or dark brown hair, while 30 vol would be best for medium brown hair, and 20 vol for light brown or dark blonde hair.

What we love most about this product is that it delivers beautiful results even on the most stubborn Asian hair and leaves hair feeling silky smooth and healthy. But word of caution: follow the instructions to a T. If you leave this powerful bleach on your hair for too long, it can damage your hair.

6. MANIC PANIC Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit

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If you had the same childhood as us, you probably remember the brand MANIC PANIC very well. They sold (and still sell) bright and punky hair colors allow all kinds of self-expression.

They also have a powerful bleach product which you can get in a kit that includes the lightening powder as well as a vol 40 developer, mixing tub, plastic gloves, hair cap, and an applicator brush.

We love that everything you need is already included in this kit, so you don’t need to worry about buying anything else to get started.

MANIC PANIC’s bleach is one of the most powerful ones on the market, so it works really well on dark Asian hair. You can go from dark brown to light blonde hair with this kit in one sitting.

Another thing we love about this product is that it’s vegan and has never been tested on animals. 

7. ARCTIC FOX Bleach Please Hair Lightening Kit Cream Bleach

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This cream bleach from ARCTIC FOX is slightly different than our other recommendations because it is not a powder.

While powders are usually used in professional settings, cream bleaches are easier to mix at home. This particular one comes in a kit with everything you need: the bleach, the developer, and gloves. 

This product claims to lift up to 8 levels of hair color making it well suited for Asian hair.

The cream formula contains repairing oils like castor oil and sunflower oil among others, which have been proven to hydrate and strengthen hair. 

One of the things customers rave about the most is how healthy their hair feels after using this bleach – some have even noted that their hair feels healthier than before! 

While its lightening powers are impressive, it does not have brass-fighting ingredients, so if you’re starting with dark Asian hair, we definitely recommend you stock up on toner to use afterward to get rid of the orange tones.

Final Thoughts

Asian hair can be bleached just like any other hair; you just have to use the right products. That starts with the bleach. We hope our guide helps you find the right lightening product for you that has the power to lighten your hair and protects it from too much damage. 

Once your hair is the perfect shade of blonde, don’t forget to take care of it with products like Olaplex and similar treatments. 

Any time you color-treat your hair, it suffers some damage. To bring life and strength back into your hair, look to treatments that replenish moisture and keratin. 

To maintain your delicate blonde color, you can use blue or violet shampoos and hair masks. They will keep any brassiness at bay that may start to creep its way back into your hair. 

Enjoy your beautiful blonde locks!

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