The 14 Best Professional Hair Bleaches of 2022

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Best Professional Hair Bleaches

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

While at-home treatments and salon dye jobs provide the same general result, the latter tends to have a fairly better outcome—especially when it involves bleach. This is partly because stylists are trained and experienced in how to correctly mix and apply products.

"Choosing the best lightener and developer is challenging," says color specialist Jodana Geary, "and you may end up with an unwanted result that compromises the condition of your hair." Additionally, the lighteners used at salons aren't what you'd find on the drugstore shelf.

Byrdie Researched & Approved

Overall, Wella Professionals Blondor Multi-Blonde Lightening Powder's gentle formula delivers the best results. But for bleach on a budget, you can't go wrong with the dust-free L'Oréal Super Oreal Blanc Professional Powder Bleach.

"Pro bleaching products typically have more lifting power to them," explains celebrity colorist Matt Rez. However, he advises against using them at home and instead says to ask your stylist if they can lighten your hair with a particular brand.

According to Geary, pro-level bleaches contain high-quality ingredients that help colorists achieve their clients' desired results while protecting the hair's integrity. "Professional lighteners include clay, cream, or powder formulas and come in different strengths, achieving anywhere from six to nine levels of lift," she tells Byrdie.

These are the best professional hair bleaches, according to colorists.

Best Overall: Wella Professionals Blondor Multi-Blonde Lightening Powder

5
Wella Professionals Blondor Multi-Blonde Lightening Powder

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Gentle formula

  • Anti-yellowing agents

  • Colorist-recommended

What We Don’t Like
  • Developer sold separately

Who else recommends it? Best Reviews and Beautymag both picked the Wella Professionals Blondor Lightening Powder.

What do buyers say? 86% of 4,500+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.

Celebrity colorist Reece Walker loves Wella Blondor for foil highlights, though it can be used for balayage, ombré color, or all-over lightening. "It's gentle on the hair and gives you incredible lift without having to use a high-volume peroxide," he tells Byrdie. "I also use this bleach for my clients' scalps when their natural hair is light brown."

Whether your hair has been bleached too many times to count or you're a lightening novice, this formula will get the job done—potentially with less damage. The powder is a bluish-purple hue, which counteracts the yellow, orange, and brassy tones that are often seen on chemically lightened hair.

Active Ingredients: Magnesium carbonate hydroxide, potassium persulfate | Type: Permanent powder | Lift Levels: 7 | Size: 28.2 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Budget: L'Oréal Super Oreal Blanc Professional Powder Bleach

L'Oréal Professionnel Super Oreal Blanc Professional Powder Bleach

Sally Beauty

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Dust-free

  • Non-drippy mix

What We Don’t Like
  • Developer sold separately

L'Oréal makes one of the more affordable professional bleaches. Super Oreal Blanc is a dust-free powder formula, meaning it's supposed to limit the particles you inhale while getting your hair done. It mixes into a non-drippy, workable paste and offers up to seven levels of lift.

Active Ingredients: Ammonium chloride, sodium persulfate, magnesium peroxide | Type: Powder | Lift Levels: 7 | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Gentle: Sparks Professional Color Powder Lightener

Sparks Professional Color Powder Lightener

Walmart

What We Like
  • Dust-free

  • Anti-yellowing agents

  • Replenishes hair fibers

What We Don’t Like
  • Developer sold separately

This ultra-fine, dust-free powder lightener from Sparks is a light blue hue. In addition to lifting up to eight levels, the cool tone helps cancel out yellowish, brassy colors. What's more, this professional bleach calls on amino acids to strengthen and protect each strand from damage.

Active Ingredients: Ammonium sulfate, lysine, arginine | Type: Powder | Lift Levels: 8 | Size: 16.9 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for All-Over Blonde: Redken Flash Lift Bonder Inside

Redken Flash Lift Bonder Inside

 Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Colorist-recommended

  • Protects bond fibers

  • Built-in measuring cup

What We Don’t Like
  • Not DIY-friendly

"I love Redken's Flash Lift Bonder Inside," Rez says. "This lightener can lift up to eight levels and protects bonds to keep fibers in the hair strong without having to use a higher-volume developer."

Active Ingredients: Magnesium carbonate hydroxide | Type: Permanent | Lift Levels: 8 | Size: 17.5 oz. or 36 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Brown Hair: Schwarzkopf Blonde Me Premium Lift 9

Schwarzkopf Blonde Me Premium Lift 9

Courtesy of Sleekshop

What We Like
  • Dust-free

  • Neutralizes brassiness

  • Colorist-recommended

What We Don’t Like
  • Potentially irritating

  • Developer sold separately

"This is amazing for breaking through previously colored dark hair when doing heavier freehand work or on scalp bleaching for my naturally dark brown and black-haired clients," Walker says.

Active Ingredients: Magnesium carbonate hydroxide, potassium persulfate | Type: Permanent powder | Lift Levels: 9 | Size: 15.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Platinum Hair: L'Anza Healing Blonde Ultra Blonding Decolorizer

L'Anza Healing Blonde Ultra Blonding Decolorizer

Walmart

What We Like
  • Anti-yellowing agents

  • Supports hair elasticity

What We Don’t Like
  • Developer sold separately

If you're going platinum blonde, you'll need a bleach that offers the maximum number of lift levels (nine), like L'Anza's Healing Blonde. This decolorizer also contains bluish anti-yellowing pigments, plus arginine to help strengthen your hair and make it more elastic.

Active Ingredients: Ammonium persulfate, potassium persulfate, ultramarine color, arginine | Type: Powder | Lift Levels: 9 | Size: 16 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Balayage: Clairol Professional BW2 Lightener

Clairol Professional BW2 Lightener

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Dust-free

  • Stays moist after mixing

  • Works on very dark hair

What We Don’t Like
  • Developer sold separately

  • Strong smell

Thinking about going for balayage hair? BW2 might be your best bet. The dust-free powder contains humectants to ensure a continually creamy consistency after mixing. This makes it easier to achieve the hand-painted, sweeping effect that gives lightened hair natural-looking depth and dimension.

Active Ingredients: Potassium persulfate, ammonium persulfate, sodium metasilicate | Type: Powder | Lift Levels: Customizable | Size: 1 oz. or 32 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Highlights: Clairol Professional Basic White Extra Strength Powder Lightener

Clairol Professional Basic White Extra Strength Powder Lightener

Sally Beauty

What We Like
  • Dust-free

  • Creamy when mixed

  • Controlled lift

What We Don’t Like
  • Developer sold separately

  • Strong smell

Clairol Basic White is a great choice for creating highlights. The extra-strength powder is de-dusted to minimize particles in the air, and thanks to a moisture-sealing humectant, it stays consistently creamy after mixing.

Active Ingredients: Potassium persulfate, ammonium persulfate | Type: Powder | Lift Levels: Customizable | Size: 16 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Blue: Salon Care Professional Blue Flash Powder Lightener

Salon Care Professional Blue Flash Powder Lightener

Amazon

What We Like
  • Anti-yellowing agents

  • Creamy when mixed

  • Minimal swelling

What We Don’t Like
  • Not DIY-friendly

  • Developer sold separately

If you want to make sure your highlighted or all-over platinum hair doesn't have a yellow tint, consider bleach with blue pigments, like Blue Flash. This powder lightener contains ultramarine, a mineral-sourced cobalt-colored pigment that counteracts yellowish, brassy tones. It also promises minimal swelling of the hair shaft, which can be damaging.

Active Ingredients: Ammonium persulfate, magnesium carbonate hydroxide, ultramarine color, kaolin | Type: Powder | Lift Levels: 8 | Size: 16 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Cream: Ion Color Brilliance Bright White Creme Lightener

Ion Color Brilliance Bright White Creme Lightener

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Softening

  • Replenishes hair fibers

What We Don’t Like
  • Developer sold separately

  • Contains PEGs

Prefer a cream formula? Consider Ion Bright White. Though it still needs to be mixed with a developer, the smooth, moist consistency is supposed to help condition and soften your hair while it's being treated. Not only that, but it contains keratin to replenish and strengthen each strand.

Active Ingredients: Ammonium persulfate, potassium persulfate, keratin, kaolin | Type: Cream | Lift Levels: 8 | Size: 10.6 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best De-Dusted Powder: Matrix Light Master V-Light Lightener with Controlled Lift

Matrix Light Master V-Light Lightener with Controlled Lift

Brighton Beauty Supply

What We Like
  • Mess-free mixing

  • Spreads smoothly

  • Controlled lift

What We Don’t Like
  • Developer sold separately

  • Long processing time

Matrix Light Master is de-dusted for easy, mess-free mixing while minimizing the bleach particles that get into your airways. It also spreads smoothly and offers up to seven levels of controlled, precise lift.

Active Ingredients: Potassium persulfate, ammonium sulfate | Type: Powder | Lift Levels: 7 | Size: 16 oz. or 32 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Clay: Pulp Riot Clay Lightener

Pulp Riot Clay Lightener

Amazon

What We Like
  • Minimal swelling

  • Leaves hair silky

What We Don’t Like
  • Developer sold separately

Pulp Riot's clay-based bleach is ideal for balayage, ombré, sombré color, and other hair-painting techniques. The kaolin creates a barrier to keep swelling and transferring at a minimum, while argan oil leaves your hair silky-soft.

Active Ingredients: Potassium persulfate, magnesium carbonate, ammonium persulfate, kaolin, argan oil | Type: Powder | Lift Levels: Customizable | Size: 17.7 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Ammonia-Free: L'Oréal Professionnel Blond Studio Ammonia-Free Sunkissed Lightening Oil

L'Oréal Professionnel Blond Studio Ammonia-Free Sunkissed Lightening Oil

Cosmetic World

What We Like
  • Minimizes damage

  • Moisturizing

  • Ammonia-free

What We Don’t Like
  • Developer sold separately

  • Only lightens two levels

If you'd like to keep potential damage at a minimum or just want to breathe in fewer fumes, an ammonia-free formula like L'Oréal's Sunkissed Lightening Oil might be the way to go. Just bear in mind it only lifts up to two levels, so you won't get the same effect as stronger formulas. Still, it's a great option if you're looking for something a bit more subtle.

Active Ingredients: Not listed | Type: Oil | Lift Levels: 2 | Size: 33.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best With Bond Protection: Kevin Murphy Color.Me Ultimate Lightener

Kevin Murphy Color.Me Ultimate Lightener

Kevin Murphy

What We Like
  • Protects bond fibers

  • Strengthening

What We Don’t Like
  • Only available at salons

"This is the perfect lightener when working with darker depths of hair and for achieving maximum contrast by providing up to nine levels of lift," Geary says. "It also maintains the integrity and condition of the hair with built-in bond protection."

Active Ingredients: Rice protein, black cumin oil | Type: Powder | Lift Levels: 9 | Size: 15.9 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

The best professional hair bleach overall is Wella Blondor Powder Lightener, a colorist-recommended formula that offers gentle lifting while minimizing yellowish tones. If you're doing an all-over blonde effect, the Redken Flash Lift Bonder Inside is another excellent choice with our expert's stamp of approval. And if you're starting with brown hair, your best bet is Schwarzkopf Professional Blond Me Premium Lightener.

Meet the Expert

  • Jodana Geary is a hair color specialist and education manager at Color.Me by Kevin Murphy.
  • Matt Rez is a celebrity colorist who has worked with Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber. He is also the inventor of the midlight technique and brand ambassador for Redken.
  • Reece Walker is a bi-coastal colorist. He has worked with many celebrity clients, including Eva Longoria, Miranda Kerr, and Victoria Beckham.
  • John Pulitano is a stylist and the co-owner and creative director of Headcase Hair, a salon in Sydney, Australia.
  • Kristen Fleming is the hair color director at 3rd Coast Hair Salon in Chicago. She has over 15 years of professional experience and was named a top colorist in Chicago.


What to Look for in a Professional Hair Bleach

Conditioning Additives

According to Fleming, seeking out formulas that have conditioning or hydrating ingredients mixed in directly with the bleach is a good way to help minimize the likelihood of hair damage from the get-go. Even better, she says, are formulas that have a reparative built-in bond builder.

Avoid Ammonia

If you want to play it safe, stick with ammonia-free formulas or any at-home bleach that comes with a developer higher than 20 volume, Fleming advises. This is beneficial for ensuring both safety and that you don’t inadvertently end up over-lightening or completely stripping your hair.

FAQ
  • Does bleach damage the hair?

    If not done correctly, Pulitano explains that bleaching your hair can absolutely be damaging. “The process of bleaching opens up the hair cuticles to dissolve the melanin that gives your hair its color,” he explains. “If not done carefully, it can leave the hair porous, dry, and brittle. However, a professional colorist will be able to keep your hair healthy using a gentle technique, the right products, and treatments to repair your hair post-bleach.” That said, proceed with caution if you just can’t make it to a salon.

  • How often should you use bleach?

    When it comes to how often you’ll need to bleach your hair, Pulitano says it depends on what look you’re trying to achieve, how the bleach is being used, and your hair type. “It will vary each time, and a professional colorist will let you know how often they need to see you,” he says.

  • How do you bleach safely at home?

    In general, Pulitano (like most professionals, TBH) doesn’t recommend attempting a bleach job at home yourself. “It’s the strongest coloring product we use as professionals, and when misused, it can cause some serious damage—not to mention mess around with your color,” he says. “Things like breakage, yellow or orange tones, and patchy color are all risks.” He also mentions that getting it professionally fixed post-DIY sesh can sometimes be more costly than seeing a stylist for the initial job.

    Still, we understand the urge to take matters into our own hands, especially if getting to a salon isn’t possible. If you’re going to take the plunge, we recommend following the package directions closely (especially when it comes to processing time) and being sure to apply the bleach 1 inch from your scalp down to your ends at first and then going back to apply to the roots once the rest of your hair is saturated. Once you're finished processing, be sure to shampoo your hair thoroughly.

How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer specializing in beauty and lifestyle. She interviewed three experts for this story, including two celebrity colorists and one color specialist, who offered insight into usage and product recommendations. Next, she reviewed dozens of formulas, combed through ingredients lists, and referenced several scholarly articles before landing on the final selections. Theresa covers haircare, skincare, makeup, and fitness gear at Byrdie.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  2. The 10 best hair bleaches to buy in 2022. Beautymag. https://beautymag.com/best-hair-bleaches

  3. Dodgson NA (2019). What is the opposite of blue? The language of colour wheels. Journal of Perceptual Imaging, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.2352/j.percept.imaging.2019.2.1.010401

  4. Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overview. Int J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450

  5. Nielsen, Jörn et al. Dust-free bleaching powder may not prevent symptoms in hairdressers with bleaching-associated rhinitis. Journal of occupational health vol. 58,5 (2016): 470-476. doi:10.1539/joh.16-0073-OA

  6. Ali, Naima et al. Aqueous MEA and Ammonia Sorption-Induced Damage in Keratin Fibers. ACS omega vol. 3,10 (2018): 14173-14180. doi:10.1021/acsomega.8b01189

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