Color Remover Vs Bleach : Which is Better for You?

One of the most frequently discussed hair topics is color remover vs. bleach. With one, you will remove the color and lighten the hair, while with the other, only the former will work.

Anyone who has had hair dye applied to their natural hair color has felt that the color might not be the best or that it is damaging their hair with color build-up or a bad dye job. There are different ways that you can remove the permanent dyes on your hair and return it back to its natural color pigments. The two most popular ways of doing this are color remover and bleach. But which is better for you?

Both work to remove hair dye on your natural hair but they do this in two different ways. It is like comparing water and oil when thinking about color remover vs bleach. If you are looking to get rid of artificial dye from your hair, then it is important to know the difference between color removers and bleach!

What is a color remover?

What is a color remover

Color remover enters the hair shaft and removes the artificial color pigments in your hair. Upon entering, the color remover attaches itself to the dye molecules inside the hair shaft and dissolves them. Because the dye molecules have nothing to hold on to after being dissolved, it simply removes hair dye upon washing your hair, giving an instant result.

The other great thing about color remover is the fact that it leaves the natural hair color intact! As it only targets the permanent dye within the inner structure and not your natural pigment, your hair strands will remain intact.

However, it does make the hair more porous. This means that your hair cuticle is more open, which makes it more prone to dry out and become brittle. While your natural color remains, the hair might be left with damaged hair.

What is Hair Bleach?

What is Hair Bleach
What is Hair Bleach

While color remover removes hair dye and leaves your natural hair color intact, hair bleach does the opposite. During the bleaching process, it attacks both the permanent dye and the natural pigment in your hair by entering through your hair cuticles. It does this by using a mixture of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide in an alkaline solution, which are harsh chemicals to be used on your hair.

It strips your hair of all pigments and lightens it in the process. Your bleached hair is left with no color pigment. Along with that, it will also remove all your hair’s natural oils and hair’s natural color in the process. This can leave the hair dry.

Color Remover Vs Bleach: Head-to-Head Comparison

The main difference between color remover and bleach is how much it is able to remove. Color remover is used to remove the hair dye or hair color from your hair while leaving the natural hair color intact. However, bleach is more powerful and strips the hair of all colors, even your natural hair colors! Other than these, let’s see a head-to-head comparison between color remover vs bleach and find the other key differences between them.



The great thing about color removers is that you can buy the whole hair color remover kit in one package! When you buy one, such as Color Oops, you get all the necessary equipment along with it. From the brush to the actual product, you get everything you need without the hassle. The cost of these products would range from about 20 to 30 dollars at most if you are applying it at home, while a professional stylist would need the charge of applying it for you.

Unlike color remover, you need to mix ammonia and bleach together as most bleach you buy comes in powder form because of the harsh chemicals. It is also advisable to not do this yourself because of the chemicals involved. That is why most people get their hair bleaching done by professionals, which would raise the cost anywhere between 100 to 300 dollars depending on the professional stylist and how much they charge.

Ease of application

Ease of application
Ease of application

Because you get everything with the product, you wouldn’t have to worry about the ease of application all that much. It is as simple as sectioning your hair, applying the color remover on your hair strands for the exact processing time of 20 minutes, and then washing it off with shampoo. However, this could your hair dry so many people prefer to use a hair mask with conditioner to return back the moisture with a deep conditioning treatment.

Bleach on the other hand requires you to mix the product first. And ammonia and hydrogen release a gas that could be harmful to you. The application part is the same as color remover but the exact processing time has to be maintained. Otherwise, your hair will be left more damaged than before when you remove dye from your hair. Another thing that could be done is to apply it in a bleach bath, where you add the bleach to shampoo and then use it to gently remove permanent hair dye.

Point of attack

The point of attack for both color removers and bleach is the hair’s inner structure called the hair cortex. Where it differs is that hair color removers work on the dye alone while bleach works on getting rid of any pigment. They combine with the pigment, both permanent and natural, and dissolve it. That is why after using either product, you are to wash your hair to remove hair dye as it gets washed away.

Hair dye removal

Hair dye removal
Hair dye removal

Hair color removers can remove artificial hair dye from your hair by combining it with the dye and then washing it away. But when it comes to plant-based products like henna and other natural color dyes, it cannot remove because color removers cannot dissolve them at all.

Bleach will remove everything from your hair. Be it henna, semi-permanent dyes, permanent, or even your hair’s natural oil, it will work to bind together with them and then remove them completely. But because bleach uses harsher chemicals, it will leave damaged hair behind.



Hair color remover has a really pungent and bad smell to it! And after applying, it will stay in your own hair for about 2 to 3 days after use. There is no better way to get the smell other than washing it. Bleach has no smell to it at all because it is not using any volatile chemicals, just harsh chemicals that sting on application depending on the strength of the bleach.

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Pros and Cons of Color Remover and Bleach

Pros and Cons of Color Remover and Bleach
Pros and Cons of Color Remover and Bleach

Now that we have seen a head-to-head comparison, let’s look at the pros and cons of each of the products themselves, what they do well, and what they do badly for your hair.


Color Removers

  • Has no bleaching agents in its ingredients and uses a bleach-free formula
  • Less damaged hair as a result
  • Leaves your natural hair color untouched while removing only the permanent hair color from
  • Best for lighter hair color
  • Easy to apply by yourself
  • Better for the sensitive scalp as it uses less harsh chemicals
  • Costs less


  • Removes all hair dye, be its natural pigments and dyes and permanent hair color
  • Leaves your hair in a blank state for any reapplication
  • Get rid of all unwanted color
  • The bleaching process is fast and is the fastest lightening agent for hair
  • Works best for black hair dye and dark hair and darker hair color
  • No smell unlike hair color remover


Color Removers

  • Takes multiple applications to get rid of darker hair dye, especially black hair dyes
  • May leave patches during the hair color removal process
  • Dry hair and lack of moisture after use
  • Color removers work on semi-permanent colors and not a natural hair dye
  • Has a sulfuric smell that will last for a few days
  • Cannot undo bleached hair after hair bleaching has already been done


  • Harder to apply and requires a professional stylist to apply it better
  • Damaged hair has lost moisture and proteins are stripped from the hair
  • Leaves a yellowish tinge
  • Bleach hair will take time to recover, about 4 to 8 weeks
  • Loss of natural hue and color
  • Requires deep conditioning treatment to help hair while it recovers
  • Color removal is permanent until hair grows back

Does Color Remover Damage Your Hair as Much as Bleach?

Does Color Remover Damage Your Hair as Much as Bleach
Does Color Remover Damage Your Hair as Much as Bleach

As both hair color remover and bleach both damage hair by making it dry and stripping off the natural oils of the hair, both are very damaging. However, color remover has an advantage over bleach because it uses no peroxide or ammonia. This means that color remover will make the pores of the hair bigger making it lose moisture. Bleach will destroy the bonds of the hair and take away all of its proteins too. The elasticity of bleach hair is completely lost as a result and you won’t have the natural shine that you get with natural hair.

Even though hair color remover damages the hair less, it will take a lot of application of the product to fully remove the permanent dye and leave behind your hair’s natural color. This is especially difficult on dark hair and dark hair pigment. Color removers only dissolve the permanent dye to remove dye but because darker dye attaches itself more to darker hair, it will take many applications before you see any results.

Can hair color remover be used as bleach?

While it might be tempting to use a color remover to remove the hair coloring that you want to get rid of, they are completely different uses. The color molecules that are removed by hair color remover are only of the dye and not the actual hair color. But bleach removes everything from the hair.

Is color stripping the same as bleaching?

Color stripping is completely different from bleaching! Bleach hair is removed from all dye and pigments but color stripping only gets rid of the permanent hair color. Hair color removers can be considered a type of color stripping, but there are more types such as clarifying shampoo and baking soda that can be used to strip hair of any color.


Which works better on natural hair, bleach or hair color remover?

For natural hair, only bleach would work because it can completely dissolve natural pigments, and hair color remover can only remove dyes.

Can I bleach after color remover?

You can apply bleach after color remover, but you might want to wait about a week before applying the bleach to avoid further damage to your hair. You cannot use color remover after bleach because the hair will have no dye to get rid of at that point.

Does color remover lighten hair?

Color remover will not lighten your natural hair; it will only remove any dyes you have on your to return your hair back to its natural color.

Final Thoughts

The winner of color remover vs bleach cannot be determined because they work in two very distinct ways. Color removers will only get the permanent hair color off your hair but not anything else while bleach will get rid of everything. Both will leave the hair damaged but color removers are generally much safer. But darker dyes like black dye will require you many applications to get rid of meaning that bleach might be safer in that regard. Overall, it really depends on what you are trying to get rid of as both serve a different purpose.

Key Points

  1. Hair color remover and bleach work very differently, where one removes only the hair dye and the other removes every pigment in the hair respectively.
  2. It might seem like color remover comes out on top but bleach can do things that color remover cannot even if it has harsher chemicals.
  3. Both have pros and cons, for example, color remover might be safer but because you need to apply more for dark dyes, it might be just as damaging.
  4. Color stripping is not the same as bleaching as it only removes the dye and not the natural hair pigments. Color remover is one such color stripping.

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Do You Need Neutralizing Shampoo After Bleaching Hair?

Neutralizing shampoo after bleaching is best for protecting the integrity of the hair, and it also protects the hair from further damage.

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