Look at labels of commercial hair dyes, and you will find hydrogen peroxide in almost all of them. But what about using it on its own? Can you use hydrogen peroxide to lighten hair?
Well, of course, you can, it is just a matter of taking some precautions.
When you look at it, hydrogen peroxide is probably the cheapest and easiest way to brighten your hair or even bring natural highlights.
The only thing you need to pay attention to is safety. You do not want to damage your hair, do you?
With that in mind, there are a lot of ladies out there that use hydrogen peroxide for brightening their hair. In fact, some of them used hydrogen peroxide for the very first time they dyed their hair.
So, how to use hydrogen peroxide to lighten hair? Read on.
How to prepare your hair for bleaching?
If you think you can just apply some hydrogen peroxide on your hair, wait a couple of minutes, and then rinse and expect lighter tone, you are wrong. The key to success is starting with healthy hair.
In the weeks leading up to the bleaching, you should not dye or otherwise process your hair. Even old hair dyes can affect your result.
Bleaching works best when your hair is strong and unprocessed. If there is any damage to your hair, you should first strengthen your hair.
Here are a couple of ways you can do it:
- Use a natural shampoo and conditioner in two to three weeks before bleaching. Avoid any shampoo that contains sulfates and other chemicals that can dry out your hair
- Avoid chemical-laden hair sprays, straightening products, gels, or any other hair products
- Do not apply heat to your hair using a straight iron or blow dryer in a couple of weeks leading up to the bleaching
How to safely use hydrogen peroxide to lighten hair?
Here are a couple of things you will need before starting: plastic gloves, clarifying shampoo, comb, towel, 3% hydrogen peroxide, hair clips, deep conditioner, bowl, small brush or toothbrush, and aluminum foils (optional if you like highlights).
Step 1 – Strand test
Before you apply hydrogen peroxide on your entire hair or pull of highlights, you need to do a strand test. Take just a small section from the underside of your hair, and apply peroxide using a cotton ball.
Let it sit for a few minutes, and then check it. See how much time it takes to reach the desired color. You can leave the peroxide to stay for up to 30 minutes.
After the strand test, you have a general idea of how long to leave the peroxide on your hair.
Step 2 – Applying hydrogen peroxide
Section your hair with clips once it is reasonably dry. Sectioning will help you make sure you treat every last lock, and if you want even bleach, the claw clip method is essential.
This might take more time, but your hair will look like it was done by a professional.
Step 3 – Getting highlights
If you want to bring out natural highlights, apply hydrogen peroxide using a cotton ball. Pour some on a cotton ball, and smooth it over vertical sections of hair that are a quarter of an inch thick.
Start at the roots, and then stroke down to the tips using the cotton ball. Make sure to wrap each section in a piece of aluminum foil to keep the peroxide from getting onto the rest of your hair. Repeat with multiple sections.
Step 4 – Ombre effect
If you want to get an ombre effect, you need to apply hydrogen peroxide to different sections. Start near the ends of your hair, and use a cotton ball to apply to the bottom half of your hair, all-around your head.
Apply the peroxide to a different spot on each strand of hair, and aim to apply it near the middle of the strand. You can go as far up the strands of hair as you want, but always begin the application at your ends.
Step 5 – Completely lighten your hair
If you want to apply hydrogen peroxide to lighten hair on the whole head, use a spray bottle. Spray entire sections of hair you left down, spray it thoroughly, and then run a comb through your hair.
Repeat with the remaining sections of hair. Put on a shower cap once you are done applying.
Step 6- Wait for hydrogen to work its magic
Leave the hydrogen peroxide in your hair for a maximum of 30 minutes. Depending on how dark your hair is, and how light you want it, you can leave the peroxide for less or more minutes.
Once you are ready to rinse your hair, remove the aluminum foil or shower cap. Wash your hair thoroughly with cold water.
Apply shampoo to remove the conditioner, rinse, and then follow up with a deep conditioner. Massage the conditioner into your scalp to prevent any irritation or dryness. Allow your hair to air dry.
How to make sure your hair stays light?
Now that we explained how to safely use hydrogen peroxide to lighten hair, we have to make sure your hair stays bleached for a longer period of time. After all, you do not want to use hydrogen peroxide every week or so.
Here are a few tips.
- Wash your bleached hair less often, as washing daily will strip your hair of natural oils that protect it from breaking
- Shampoo your hair only once or twice per week and use a dry shampoo if possible. This will keep your hair looking fresh between washes
- Reduce usage of heat treatments, and learn how to style your hair without using heat. It is possible, you just have to find some techniques that work for you
- Once or twice per week, apply a violet-tinted conditioner that will control any yellow tones in your hair
- Apply a hair mask once per week. Healthy hair means your light shade will stay for a longer period
- Use a shine hair lightening spray to get some of your shine back in the morning
- Unless your hair is naturally cool-toned, bleaching and lightening can bring out some brassiness. Combat it with a toner
- Last, but not least, stop bleaching your ends. Do not over-process your ends, as they will eventually break off from too much damage
Can hydrogen peroxide make your hair fall out?
If you use hydrogen peroxide for a long period, you can experience some hair loss. That is because the compound in hydrogen peroxide contributes to hair bleaching by breaking down the melanin in the hair shaft.
If you put this process over and over, it will weaken your hair, causing it to break down and eventually result in hair loss.
What is more damaging, hydrogen peroxide or bleach?
Bleach is another option to get lighter hair. But the question is, which is less damaging, hydrogen peroxide or bleaching agent?
Of the two, hydrogen peroxide is less harsh on your hair. We have to remember no chemical is safe, as all of them cause damage to your natural hair. But if you want to know which is less damaging, then opt for hydrogen peroxide.
Can you dye your hair afterward?
Yes, after applying hydrogen peroxide, you can dye your hair. But you should avoid lightening the hair and applying hair dye in the same treatment?
Why? Because many blonde hair dyes already contain hydrogen peroxide.
When should you visit a salon?
If you are scared about the potential damage to your natural hair strand, you can always visit a professional hair salon.
There, a technician will make sure to match the final color to your skin tone.
Are there any alternatives?
Now let’s talk about some alternatives that can lighten your natural hair color and are safer than hydrogen peroxide.
- Lemon juice works on dark blonde hair or light brown. With lemon juice, you will have to wait several hours out on the sun to bleach it
- Apple cider vinegar adds subtle change to your natural hair color
- A cup of chamomile tea can lighten your hair gradually
- Cinnamon is another way to bring out red and blonde highlights in your natural hair. Mix cinnamon powder and water, spread it over the hair, and wait for several hours
- If you can leave a treatment overnight, honey is amazing, as it will lighten your hair strand slightly