Hydrogen Peroxide for Hair [Complete Guide]Faizan Khan
If you are in dire need of a hair transformation yet do not want to spend thousands at the hair salon, you’re in for a great surprise!
You can bleach or highlight your hair using only a cheap bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide located in your cleaning cabinets. And although hydrogen peroxide may be cheap, the hair transformation results are certainly pristine.
You may be worried about blotching up your hair for good; however, that won’t happen on our hands. If you read the complete guide on ‘Hydrogen Peroxide for Hair,’ you’ll be equipped with all the necessary knowledge to ace becoming a hair bleaching perfectionist using hydrogen peroxide at home!
Can Hydrogen Peroxide Be Used on Hair?
Hair is an important personality trait for many people, and therefore, we understand your cause for concern relating to hydrogen peroxide itself. So, how can a cleaning agent be used on your hair right?
Well, hydrogen peroxide is a multi-talented agent that many hire in their home for numerous uses. This ranges from cleaning, disinfection, washing clothes, opening clogs, and surprisingly, more commonly for hair dying.
Does this mean everyone is sitting at home emptying a bottle of hydrogen peroxide onto their hair? Absolutely not. It means that hydrogen peroxide is a crucial ingredient in most hair dyes.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, it is one of the most usual chemicals included in hair dyes, alongside lead acetates, ammonia, and paraphenylenediamine (PPDA). This is an indicator of how these chemicals themselves can be used to bleach hair.
The most effective and safest happens to be hydrogen peroxide, and it can strip the natural pigment from your hair and replace it with new hair color.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Good for Hair?
This question often arises and is best addressed from two perspectives.
If you were to use bleach or lye on your hair, it would likely result in your hair breaking off, even at the roots, if you are not careful. Moreover, these caustic chemicals can even lead to chemical burns.
On the other hand, hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic on wounds and scrapes, proving that it is not as harmful as bleach and lye.
The example mentioned above only proves that it is less harmful than bleach and lye. However, it is still a chemical, and all substances are detrimental to your hair.
This is because your hair is made up of two cells- cellulose and collagen. Both of these cells require moisture to function coherently. The chemical, in this case, hydrogen peroxide, will strip the moisture from these cells. Therefore, if your hair cells are not given care after the bleaching process, it will lead to straw-like and brittle hair.
However, if you use hair masks and oils daily to moisturize your hair, you can avoid harsh results.
Therefore, hydrogen peroxide per se is not ‘Good’ for your hair because no chemicals are. However, it is the best option available to minimize damage to your hair.
Hydrogen Peroxide To Lighten Hair
Dyeing your hair using hydrogen peroxide means you are using a ‘Permanent’ dye. This means that the new hair color can only be removed once new hair grows out.
This is the case because hydrogen peroxide tackles the hair cortex, which is the innermost part of the hair containing the pigment of your hair.
According to the Fischer–Saller scale, there are around 28 natural hair shades, and each hair color reacts differently with hydrogen peroxide. This means that each shade results in a different color after undergoing the bleaching process.
Therefore, it is better to be sure that you want to change up your hair color.
You can clear any confusion regarding which hair color you will acquire once the bleaching is done using the list below. Moreover, it is always possible to dye your hair another color after the bleaching is done (although there will be increased damage!)
What Color Will Hydrogen Peroxide Turn Your Hair?
Hydrogen peroxide usually casts hair a shade or two lighter. Although the general color change list is provided below, it is always best to test how hydrogen peroxide reacts to a concealed strand of your hair before tackling your entire head.
- Dirty blonde hair – It will likely turn into light blonde hair.
- Light blonde hair – It will likely turn whitish blonde hair.
- Red hair – It will likely take on an orange hue before transitioning to strawberry blonde hair.
- Dark brown hair – It will likely turn into a chestnut blonde. However, leaving it on for too long may turn it orange. Therefore, ensure you set a timer and keep an eye on it vigilantly.
- Medium brown hair – It will likely turn into golden brown hair.
- Light brown hair – It will likely turn into dirty blonde hair.
How To Lighten Hair Using Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda?
The hydrogen peroxide and baking soda duo are pretty famous and tend to partner up in various tasks.
Baking soda is an alkaline and natural cleanser, and in this case, aids hydrogen peroxide in two ways.
Firstly, it opens the hair cuticles for hydrogen peroxide to get to the hair cortex more easily. Secondly, when baking soda is merged with hydrogen peroxide, it aids in disintegrating the melanin in the hair.
Moreover, it also acts as a base and allows the hydrogen peroxide to reside on the hair more efficiently.
Follow the instructions below and acquire your desired hair transformation.
- Merge 1 cup of baking soda with three tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. You may follow this ratio to make a mixture that will cover your entire hair length.
- Apply the paste to your hair by working your way down the strands.
- You may leave it in your hair for 30 minutes up to an hour, depending on the intensity you prefer. You may decide on the intensity by testing out the mixture on a single concealed strand of hair first.
- Rinse your hair with cold water, and proceed to wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
- Since this process may leave your hair non-moisturized and brittle, it would be best to apply a hydrating conditioner or hair mask to restore the hair’s health.
How To Bleach Hair Using Hydrogen Peroxide?
Since we want you to have all the fun you can with your hair, we will guide you in achieving three looks- highlights, the ombre effect, and the whole head bleach.
Pick the hairstyle that you most prefer and get to achieving it!
1. Healthy Hair for Minimal Damage
Before you start the bleaching, you must ensure that your hair is healthy. This is because hydrogen peroxide will cause less damage if your hair is unprocessed and robust.
Therefore, you must ensure that you do not dye or otherwise damage your hair using heating tools in the weeks leading up to the bleaching. Moreover, you can apply the following techniques to ensure you are on track.
- Try to use all-natural products on your hair, including a natural shampoo and conditioner. Avoid using products that contain sulfates and have the potential to dry out your hair.
- Avoid using heat on your hair. This may require you to steer clear of blow dryers, straightening irons, and other heating products.
- Avoid using hair products that contain various chemicals. This may require you to steer clear of gels, hairsprays, and straightening products.
If you choose not to go to a professional for a hair bleaching process, it is only fair that you pose as one for your hair’s sake. This includes getting organized, so you don’t clutter and make mistakes!
2. A Mandatory Supply Check
Gather the following supplies and organize them in the area where you will be bleaching your hair.
- Ensure you have the critical ingredient itself, a 3% hydrogen peroxide. Any concentration level besides 3% will be deemed unacceptable for your hair.
- A dark-colored spray bottle will be required to store the hydrogen peroxide not to lose its effectiveness. Moreover, make sure that it is thoroughly clean.
- Grab some aluminum foil if you plan on doing highlights.
- Grab a shower cap if you plan on bleaching your whole head.
- Ensure you have an ample number of hair clips to section out your hair.
- Grab some petroleum jelly to protect your hairline.
- Keep stock of cotton balls to apply the hydrogen peroxide.
- Make sure to get a hold of a towel and gloves.
3. Clean and Clear Hair
Hydrogen peroxide wouldn’t appreciate being given dirty hair to work through. Natural wear and hair products usually result in it being coated with grime and oil.
Therefore, on the big day, ensure that you have washed and conditioned your hair as you usually would. The conditioner will protect your hair against dryness caused by bleaching.
Moreover, allow your hair to air-dry for around 30 minutes. Slightly wet hair is perfect for the application of hydrogen peroxide.
4. A Little Protection and a Strand Test
If you want to avoid inflammation and irritation around your hairline, don’t forget to smudge petroleum jelly around your hairline. For additional safety, slip on the gloves and adorn your neck with a towel.
Then carry out a strand test to figure out the hair color you are going for and ensure that you are not overly sensitive to the chemical.
Make sure this strand test is carried out on the part of your hair that is generally unnoticeable- on the underside of your hair.
Pour a bit of hydrogen peroxide onto a cotton ball, and then rub the cotton ball up and down your hair strand. Leave the strand for up to 30 minutes or until you acquire your desired color.
Make sure to keep track of the time that was needed to obtain the desired results. Before you start bleaching your entire head, set a timer for the time you recorded.
5. Sectioning for Perfection
Sectioning your hair is crucial if you want to bleach every last strand.
If you want to achieve an even bleach with flawless highlights, section your hair using claw clips (or any other type that gets the job done!)
Proceed to leave one strand down (the one that you will begin working on), and continue to unclip and bleach each strand as the process goes on.
6. Highlights Acquired
If you are going for highlights, you’d best read on. If not, you can skip to your desired bleach tutorial.
For this method to work, you will have to choose the particular strands of your hair that you want to highlight. You must ensure that each strand is ⁄4 inches (6.4 mm) thick.
Drizzle a few drops of hydrogen peroxide onto the cotton ball and smooth it over the vertical strands. It is advised to start from the roots and massage it down to the cotton ball’s tips.
Now proceed to wrap the hydrogen peroxide soaked strands in tin foil to prevent the peroxide from rubbing on different sections of the hair.
You can continue this process until you have covered all the desired sections of your hair. Alternatively, you can do a few strands towards the front of your face to achieve face-framing highlights.
7. Ombre Effect Nailed
If you are going for an ombre hair look, you’ll be tackling the bottom half of your hair.
Grab the hydrogen peroxide diluted cotton balls and apply the hydrogen peroxide to the bottom half of your strands by rubbing the cotton ball vertically downwards on each strand.
You will have to avoid a direct horizontal line in this look and aim to add the hydrogen peroxide to a different extent in each strand. However, ensure that they are all somewhat close to the middle of the strand.
You can go further up in the strand as well, but it is advised to apply it to the bottom of the strands first so that the color pops in the bottom of the strands while fading to a darker color as they go upwards.
8. A Whole Head Bleach
Out of the three techniques, this one is the easiest.
Grab the spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide and go haywire, attacking your head full of hair. Hold on, as fun as that sounds, it is not the proper way to do it.
Work your way through the sectioned-out hair. Grab a strand and spray it thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide. Then proceed to comb out that section multiple times before moving on to the next strand.
After you have finished applying hydrogen peroxide to your hair, clip it up, and then arm your head with a shower cap. This will prevent hydrogen peroxide from dripping everywhere.
9. Timer Activated
We advise that you leave the hydrogen peroxide in your hair for around 30 minutes.
This time can vary from individual to individual, depending on the following factors:
- The darkness of your hair
- The extent to which you want to lighten your hair
- The level of irritation that it poses to your hair
You may realize that the test strand would play a massive role in determining the time.
When it’s time to rinse your hair, remove the accessories that your hair is adorned with- clips, shower cap, and tin foils.
10. Rinse Complete
Proceed to wash your hair with cool water and shampoo. Next, condition your hair to restore some of the moisture.
You are advised to apply a deep conditioner to your hair for a second time. Ensure that you gently massage it into your scalp to receive any irritation or dryness that the hydrogen peroxide may have caused.
Save your hair from the heat and allow it to air dry before you get to styling it.
11. Lighter It Goes
The saying will forever stand- ‘consistency is key.’
If your hair isn’t light enough after the first attempt, you should give it a second or third go.
This is a prevalent cause for brunettes. The first attempt may leave them with layered orange hair- however, you must not be worried. The second and third attempts will result in blonder looks.
Using this treatment every day in small doses would be recommended over emptying an entire bottle of hydrogen peroxide on your hair in one night. Small amounts every day will also result in the lightest and best results.
If you are attempting the bleaching process for the second time and have an idea of the time it takes to lighten your hair- you can speed up the process using a hairdryer at low heat. Move it from root to tip all over your head. Continue to do so until you reach your desired color.
It is also advised that you wait a week between each treatment to minimize the damage imposed on your hair.
12. After-Care for Your Hair
Now that you have perfected your bleached locks, it’s time you learn how to maintain them.
Cut back on the number of times you wash your hair. It is advised that you shampoo your hair up to twice a week since the shampoo will steal the natural oils from your hair that protect it from breaking.
You are permitted to use dry shampoo to keep your hair refreshed in between washes. Moreover, purchase a violet-tinted conditioner and use it up to twice a week to keep yellow hues out of your hair.
Once you have showered, you must allow your hair to air dry. You can gently squeeze it with a shower, but wringing it out or rubbing it with a towel is a red-zone area for hair care.
Lastly, you must avoid any heat treatments to avoid aggravating the damage caused by hydrogen peroxide.
Side Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide on Hair
Hydrogen peroxide is considered safe for your hair as long as it is used in low concentrations. However, since hydrogen peroxide is a chemical, there are specific side effects that it may cause.
Harm to the Hair Cuticle
One of the common issues that arise when you bleach your hair using hydrogen peroxide is damage to the hair cuticles.
Hair cuticles are the outermost layer of the hair and are responsible for protecting and strengthening the hair. When hydrogen peroxide is applied to your locks, it invades through the hair cuticles to dye the hair.
Damage to the hair cuticle can then lead to frizzing, split ends, hair loss, and breakage.
If you want to ensure that the health of your hair cuticles is restored, make sure to make a beeline for deep conditioner treatments.
As you already know, hydrogen peroxide is a permanent dye. However, you may not know that it is a permanent dye because it is an oxidative hair dye.
This means that it reacts with the hair cortex to bring forth the new hair color.
Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidative dye that makes it all the more effective, both in dying your hair and causing oxidative stress to your hair. This results in hair loss by causing your hair to stress age.
Professionals do not recommend using hydrogen peroxide to disinfect wounds anymore since it damages healthy cells and prevents healing.
Therefore, it can be concluded that it also irritates the skin. Hence, when you use hydrogen peroxide to bleach your hair, you may feel irritation in your scalp and hairline.
To prevent irritation, you must spread some ‘Petroleum Jelly’ and cotton around your hairline. Also, you must make sure to keep the hydrogen peroxide in your hair for the most minimum amount of time.
‘Dermatitis’ is also known as ‘Eczema,’ and more simply speaking, is referred to as inflammation on the skin. Dermatitis comes with many attributes, including swelling, redness, blistering, oozing, and itching.
If you do not use hydrogen peroxide carefully, you may find yourself facing allergic reactions or rashes.
A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that hydrogen peroxide and monoethanolamine (MEA) were the two most caustic ingredients found in hair dyes, resulting in dermatitis and hair loss.
Hydrogen peroxide may lead to tingling in your head, which may soon result in a scalp burn. This, of course, is only the case if instructions are not followed and carelessness is acquired.
A 2012 study by the NCBI showed how chemical burns could be caused by hydrogen peroxide. But that’s not all! These chemical burns can come in three forms- irritant dermatitis, superficial chemical, and deep burns.
Deep burns are usually dangerous enough to require hospitalization, surgical excision, and grafting, resulting in scar revision and alopecia.
The severity of the burns depends on the quantities and concentration of hydrogen peroxide you have used.
New Hair, Fashionable You
Now that you have new hair, it is only fair that you unleash your fashionable inner diva.
Therefore, it is advised that you immediately show off your iconic hair transformation and newfound confidence to your besties!
You must be proud of your DIY hydrogen peroxide hair bleach — consider becoming a beauty professional!