Lighten Your Hair Using Hydrogen Peroxide

April 25, 2008 by Athlyn Green  
Published in Hair

Do you want to lighten your hair color? Many people want to give their locks a lift but worry about the chemicals in dye. Coloring roots every couple of weeks can be expensive and visiting a salon or coloring your hair at home can take up valuable time.

There’s a easier way. You can lighten your hair using 3% hydrogen peroxide.

Peroxide is simply hydrogen and oxygen or H202 (a water molecule with an extra oxygen atom). When used in a weaker solution, peroxide can be used to lighten hair. Peroxide is used in hair lightening formulas but it can be used on its own to achieve lighter colored hair.

   

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  • If you are a blond and want to lighten your hair color, you can use hydrogen peroxide to do so. Dirty blonds can lighten their hair color and it will look natural.
  • If you are a brunette and want some lighter highlights, you can achieve these using peroxide. Because of possible red undertones, a test piece should be done first to estimate how your hair will react to peroxide and the resultant color.
  • If you are a redhead and want a strawberry blond look, peroxide may provide just the right amount of lightening.

How to Lighten Your Hair Using Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Purchase a bottle of 3% peroxide from your local pharmacy. You will be pleased at the cost. A bottle is inexpensive.
  • Buy a dark spray bottle and fill it with peroxide and keep it near a mirror. You do not need to dilute peroxide.

How to Apply Peroxide to Lighten Hair

  1. Spray peroxide on your hair and brush it through with a comb.
  2. Allow hair to dry. (Some people choose to wash their hair after applying peroxide; others just spray it and go.)
  3. If you want greater lightening, harness the power of the sun by sitting or walking outdoors after applying peroxide to hair.
  4. Continue to use peroxide, repeating sprayings until you achieve desired hair lightening.

Maintaining Light Hair Using Hydrogen Peroxide

Once your hair color is where you want it to be, maintaining it is an easy matter. Simply treat dark areas with a quick spray and you are good to go. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to redo your whole head, just the areas of hair that need lightening. You can section hair with a comb, lifing hair and spraying darker areas underneath.

Treating Dark Roots with Peroxide

  • When darker roots start to show, simply treat these areas by spraying them with peroxide. Rub peroxide into darker roots at top of head.

Precautions When Using Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Always use recommended weaker percentages of 3% peroxide.
  • Avoid spraying peroxide in eyes, as it can sting. Keep a towel or facecloth close by to catch drips before they run down and into eyes.
  • Try a test piece to see what color may result. People with red undertones may find their hair goes a reddish color.
  • If your hair has been previously dyed, check with your stylist.
  • Be aware that prolonged use could contribute to development of grey hair.

Lightening your hair with peroxide is one of the easiest and most inexpensive methods I know of. If used properly, hydrogen peroxide can be a quick method to lighten hair color at home, without using dye.

How to Lighten Hair With Peroxide

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123 Responses to “Lighten Your Hair Using Hydrogen Peroxide”
  1. sully[: Says:

    soo i have dark brown hair ; but since i died it a kind of oranqe color on the top my ends are now tht color ; & just last week i started usinq hydroqen peroxide & this week my hair is just a liqhter brown ; like it hasnt really chanqed much.. so what should i do ? & does peroxide damaqe your hair in any way ?

  2. Cyndal Says:

    Hey,
    I dye my hair quite often..Would this make a difference when I use peroxide? Because right now my hair is a redish brown..SO would that make my hair go red or strawberry red?

  3. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Ciara,
    Your hair will grow out as it would with dye; however, for someone with lighter hair color, new growth may not be as obvious.

    Everyone, the best way to judge what color will result is to try a test piece. If it is close to the color you are striving for, just continue to use peroxide and your hair will continue to lighten. Peroxide is ideal for dark blonds who want to go lighter or for redheads who want strawberry blond hair color.

    If you have dyed hair, wait a couple of weeks and then try a test piece first.

    For all other questions, check with a hairdresser.

    Remember, peroxide is not a dye so it should not be used on blue or purple-colored hair.

    Use 3%-6% and do not get it in eyes, as it will sting.

    Recent research indicates that peroxide may cause hair to go grey; however, since it is used in a number of hair-care products already, some may feel that it is suitable choice for hair lightening, over using costly dye.

    Each person’s hair will lighten differently so there are no hard and fast rules as to end result.

    I simply spray it on for overall lightening and if I want to lighten the top of my head around the part, I just spray it there.

    Using peroxide to lighten hair is one of the easiest methods because you can just spray it in and allow it to dry and if you desire more lightening, you can spray it, as needed.

  4. Jackelyn A. Says:

    Hi! I have dark brown hair with red undertones. In the summer my hair turns slightly redder and I\’d really like to make the red stand out a bit more. My dad is completely against me dying my hair or changing the color at all. So I was wondering about how long I should leave the HP in to make my hair just a bit lighter nothing too noticable. If I leave it in my hair all day would it be too light or should I just let it dry then wash it out? Please help.

  5. Believe22 Says:

    my hair dresser said theres an ingredient in regular Dawn dish soap that lighten hair and gets hair die out after a few washes. i tryed it. it worked great!

  6. gabby Says:

    heyy. im a dirty blonde and i just want my hair lighter, but i do water polo and am in clhorine constantly, will use ing paroxide then going into the water the next day cause my hair to turn a funny color?
    Also when i spray my hair with paroxide should i put my hair in layers and spray it or just spray my top layer ? i have really thick hair

  7. akshatrafernandes Says:

    hi i m doing my bio project on effect of h2o2 based hair treatments on changing the colour of human hair will give some suggestion on this like what should b my observation in this case and how should perform this plz plz help!!!

  8. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Jacklyn,
    try a light spraying to see how your hair reacts. you could leave it in for 10-15 minutes the first time and see the result. Some people just spray their hair and leave it to dry. But you will have to experiment for the effect you are trying for.

    Hi akshatrafernandes,
    Use the info. in this article for your bio project. Peroxide acts to lighten hair. It is not a dye.

    Hi Gabby,
    I would check with your hairdresser. While I have never had problems going into chlorinated water, it might prove beneficial to be cautious and, if you can, wait between, lightenings.

  9. vannah Says:

    How long do you leave this innn????? i have light brown hair with caramel highlights and i wana lighten the brown so it will look more dirty blondeee.

  10. Nicki Says:

    I used a very watered-down %3 because i want it to be a very gradual change to light aburn (which was the color i was born with, now its nearly black) but anyways even the diluted solution made my hair very shiny and soft!!!

  11. Nereida Says:

    Hello Athlyn Green ~
    I read All the comments from all the readers and all your patient and kind responses…

    Thank you for all this great information…

    Here is what I did after taking your advise…hope it helps someone out there like this information helped me :)

    First off I am Hispanic with Irish, Indian and Japenesse…

    I have dark dark brown hair, long…

    I poured Peroxide (3% strength) into a small bowl then used a cotton ball to keep dipping into the bowl and then I would take sections of my clean damp hair and twirl them around my fingers while soaking them in the Peroxide little by little…
    I blow dried my hair a little and checked out the results after about 20 mins…looked like it had begun lightening so I applied it the same way and waited another 30 mins or so…

    Kept doing this for about 2 hours until I could tell it had lightened my hair about 2 shades to med brownish red…a slightly lighter shade of natural hair (by the way I don’t perm my hair and I did use a hair dye a few times these last few years to darken my hair to chocolate brown which I feel has washed out by now…

    Over all I LIKE how it has turned out :)

    so I then washed my hair with regular shampoo and then gave myself a little trim and then I applied COCONUT COOKING OIL to my hair kept rubbing it in until my hair looked shiney and I could run my fingers through it…about a few teaspoons…

    I LOVE the way my hair feels and looks, I’m gonna Rock this for a few days and decide if I want to try to lighten it more…

    THANK YOU EVERYONE for all the Great Info…

    This was a Great little Birthday present to myself today ~ I’m 38 today ~ I’ve got some white hairs and this actually gave me some gradiation from the white to my dark hair…

    Hope you all have a Great time trying this :)
    ~N

  12. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Nereida,

    Thanks for sharing your good results, using hydrogen peroxide to lighten your hair. What I like about it is that you can choose how light you want to go and it is a simple matter to spray dark areas, without having to redo your entire head.

  13. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Seline,

    It’s always a good rule of thumb to be careful with dyed hair. Your best bet is to wait a bit and then try a test piece. You also might want to check with your hairdresser if your hair was dyed in a salon because they would have a better idea of what products were used to lighten your hair and how peroxide might affect your hair.

    As for damage to hair, recent views are that using using peroxide for longer periods could result in hair greying.

    As with any product used to lighten hair, this may be an area of concern for some people.

  14. grandma 70 Says:

    I am glad to hear about the graying part as I am wanting the rest of my hair to go gray rather than the yellowing that often goes with gray, this has been the MOST helpful site and informative. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the comments from others.

  15. tammyjoe Says:

    okay, i mistakenly dyed my hair very black, will Hydrogen Peroxide
    lightin it at all, maybe to a brown color,and how long do i keep it in my hair

  16. Hailey Says:

    Hi
    I had reddish hair with lots of blonde and I couldn’t make it to the hair salon so I just used a box color that was supposed to be a light brownish red well it turned out to be more of a chocolate brown with some red. I really want it to be lighter would the peroxide help lighten my hair without turning it a brassy color?

  17. Sophie Says:

    Hi

    Does the colour stay the same or does it continually lighten as it is exposed to the sun etc?
    Could it change to more orangey/ brassy later on?

    Does it change the elasticity of your hair follicles?

    Does it effect hair growth rates? Like make it slower?

  18. Sophie Says:

    Ps: I’m a light brown/ rather dark blonde naturally :)

  19. Jerry Says:

    So many of the same questions are asked over and over. I think it would get tiring for you, Athlyn Green. You really demonstrate patience.

    A nice summary of some advice that Athlyn has given:
    1. Different people’s hair will react differently to the peroxide, including sometimes not only becoming lighter, but possibly becoming redder, orange, etc.
    2. Therefore, always try the hydrogen peroxide on a hair sample.
    3. Use 3% or 6%, and certainly not higher than 9%.
    4. Repeated use will continue to lighten your hair.
    5. Spraying works well in most situations unless you want highlights. Allow the peroxide to dry after spraying.
    6. Don’t get it in your eyes.
    7. If in doubt, contact a hair salon as to possible outcomes.
    8. Using peroxide long term could result in having more grey hair.
    9. Don’t use commercial products.
    *** 10. *** ALWAYS TEST THE RESULTS BY USING THE PEROXIDE ON A HAIR SAMPLE!
    (Sorry…. my emphasis and shouting).

    Athlyn, you may want to repeat this from time to time (You have my permission;) or create a better and more complete summary of your own.

    Jerry from Minnesota

  20. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Sophie,

    The great thing about using peroxide is that you can keep experimenting until you get the desired lightening. Remember, though, that peroxide isn’t a dye so it will work on your particular hair color and the results will differ from person to person.

    If used in the right solution, hair should not become brittle or lose elasticity but much depends on previous history: if hair has been previously dyed, etc.

    If your hair doesn’t go reddish, it shouldn’t do so later. Peroxide is used in many hair products; however, if your hair has reddish undertones, you might find the color reddish.

    I’ve seen dark blondes go a lovely platinum color, using peroxide, I’ve seen brunettes go blond–but others have found their hair has gone reddish. It all depends on each person’s color.

    For hair lightening at home, though, without the expense, the smell or other chemicals, using peroxide is one of the easiest methods.

  21. rosette Says:

    I have rebonded hair which has been dyed a copper tone. (I have natural black hair). I wasnt really satisfied with the results. Can i still spray it with 3% H2O2? I want to have a lighter brown color. Would it be safe for the rebonded hair (no frizz or hair breakage) and will it not turn my copper hair strands too orangey? Thanks!

  22. Grandma 70 Says:

    Was wondering, can I use 10 as long as it is diluted and what shoudl the ratio be? I have used the 3 % and have 10. Hairdresser says that it is not as harsh as the 20 so wondering if I dilute it if I can get similar results as with the 3% only grayer?

  23. laura Says:

    Can mixing it with some lemon juice be helpful to lighten arm hair? Or would just the hydrogen peroxide be enough? And how long do you suggest I leave it on my arms for? Thanks!

  24. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Laura,
    Lemon juice will also act to lighten hair. But combining both of these might be a bit hard on hair. Lemon juice can have a drying effect on hair.

    I’m not sure what you are using it on your arms for? Is this to try to lighten your skin or your hair?

  25. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Grandma 70,
    I spoke with a pharmacist and 6% is the strongest solution he recommended for hair lightening; however, if you were to dilute you peroxide, you might be all right. It might be best, though, to pick up a bottle of the 3% because this way, when you reapply it, you will achieve the same results.

  26. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Rosette,

    Your best bet would be to talk to your hairdresser. Hair that has been previously treated may react differently.

    Each person’s hair will lighten differently. To illustrate: I know of one brunette who went a light blond by spraying her hair with peroxide; another male friend sprayed his hair and nothing happened.

  27. laura Says:

    I want to lighten the hair on my arms. So if I use either the lemon juice or the hydrogen peroxide, how long would it take to lighten the hair?

  28. Mary Says:

    Hi there! My natural hair color is light brown. I have been dying my hair red for about a year, and very recently colored it a brown color, but the red still shows through quite a bit. I am looking to go back to my light brown color, do you think peroxide would help?
    Thanks!

  29. Skye01 Says:

    I have 12% cream poroxide, i was just wondering could i water it down or something so it wouldnt be as strong…..

    By the way my hair is a reddidh brown……

  30. Sarah Says:

    I’m not sure if you can answer this, but how exactly does hydrogen peroxide work in bleaching the hair on a chemical level? What does it do to the dye in the hair?

    Thanks!

  31. Ryan Says:

    How long does it take?

  32. Shae Says:

    What affect does it have on african american hair ? Will it still lightin?

  33. Athlyn Green Says:

    the best rule of thumb is to spray peroxide on hair and allow it to dry. Each person’s hair will react differently so there are no hard and fast rules. If in doubt, do a test piece to see how your hair reacts to peroxide.

    Each spraying will result in further lightening, so if your first attempt does not result in the lightening you desire, simply reapply peroxide until you reach the desired lightening.

  34. Zoe Says:

    Hi my hair is naturally bleach blond and dyed my frame orange but had to bleach it back due to school rules….should i go ahead and bleach my head or will that look bad? :/

  35. Kay Says:

    Hi, I was wondering if this is safe to use on eyebrows? :)

  36. amanda Says:

    i have recently used a peroxide based hair lightener to lighten my black hair and the roots are blonde but the rest are a orange colour how long do i have to wait before i can put a bleach on my hair to bring out the orange ????

  37. Ysabel Says:

    my hair is naturally black/darkbrown and i wanna dye it CRAZYRED ! can i mix in peroxide with the hairdye to make it lighter ?! i just want crazy light red . ! would i be able to pu ton peroxide after dying it ? PLEASE ANSWER

  38. Alex Says:

    Hi so I had a few questions… This isn’t at all damaging to your hair? It works on sandy blondes? And does the color show up right after it dries?

  39. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Alex,

    Continued use of peroxide could result in hair greying over time.

    Yes, peroxide works on sandy blondes. The lightening shows as soon as your hair dries. For greater lightening, continue spraying your hair with peroxide. Once you’ve achieved the lightening you desire, it is an easy matter to touch up darker roots with a quick spray.

    Peroxide is generally considered safer than other chemical preparations that alter hair color.

  40. Dee Payne Says:

    Be careful using hydrogen peroxide on your hair. I wanted lighter hair so I sprayed it on mine and sat in the sun. Big mistake!!!! I melted my hair!!!!

  41. Abby Says:

    Would Hydrogen Peroxide be safe to use on your arms? If so would it lighten tan skin?

  42. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Dee,
    Always stick to the recommended 3%-6% peroxide solution for hair lightening. At higher concentrations it can be too strong to use on hair.

    Hi Abby,
    I would not recommend it for skin lightening. If you still want to proceed, check with a stylist as to whether this is a good idea or not.When peroxide runs onto skin, it will lighten it but the effect generally doesn’t last.

  43. Hannah Says:

    I was just wandering how long does it last? Does lightning your hair mean it’s perminant?

  44. Sabrina Says:

    I’ve considered dying my hair before and I was going to dye streaks of them green or blue… But I’ve researched and found out that brunette’s like me needed to bleach before we color first…

    So, this is my first time bleaching and all that…

    Is bleaching your hair a two step process or can you just use hydrogen peroxide alone to lighten it? Like I heard that there was creams that you had to use, and powders to mix with a liquid but idk…

    Btw– my hair color’s really close to black. :D

  45. Lauren Says:

    I have coloured my hair from one extreme to the other for years, at the moment I am dark brown with red through it. My natural colour is a dark ginger, which I am aiming to get back to by using peroxide and then dying it back to my natural colour.
    A family friend told me to pick up a bottle of 40vol from the local place but I went for 30vol (9%). It is creme peroxide, I don’t know if that makes a difference?
    She told me to mix it with shampoo but that was all, so should I mix it 50/50 with shampoo? How long should I leave it in for, how often can I re-do it etc etc??

  46. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Hannah,
    Yes, any lightening is permanent.

    Sabrina and Lauren,
    Check with a stylist for your particular hair color and for tips to get the best results when using hydrogen peroxide. It is usually best used with blond or reddish hair.

  47. Jennifer Says:

    My hair is naturally blonde, and I used to just buy the lightest hair dye and my hair would turn platnium, no problem. I’ve noticed since I started playing around with colors, NOW when I bleach my hair, my ROOTS turn orange/brassy, which I think is kind of strange.. anyways, I recently did this, then the next day bought another blonde hair kit, left it on my roots three times what it called for, and they’re STILL brassy. Some sites say to use blue toner, some say purple… I have some purple left, but I tried it, only left it on for a little while and it didn’t help. What I’m wondering is, if I put peroxide on just my orange roots, would that help make them platnium, like the rest of my hair?? If so, would that, ALONE, help, or should I do that and then do the toner? Thanks so much!

  48. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    Peroxide will lighten your roots but whether they would go platinum is questionable. You could try dipping a Q-tip in peroxide and applying it to a small section and wait to see what color results, as your hair dries. You would get more lightening with a 6% solution but do not go stronger than that and test a small section to see what color results. Repeated applications will result in greater lightening. You may find your roots go a strawberry blond color, over the platinum you are looking for.

  49. Jennifer Says:

    I’m honestly dumbfounded on why my roots are giving me so many problems. When I was younger, I had no problem at all getting my hair platnium blonde. A while back I had problems, but only because I had lowlights and THEY picked up orange. My natural hair color IS dirty blonde. This time I got loreal hair color, some light blonde, roots were orange.. so I got feria hair color, the lightest shade of blonde, cool, and roots still orange. Last night I put peroxide on and left it for an hour, THEN used a violet conditioning toner, and literally NO change. I’m just going to keep spraying peroxide on every night and hope that there’s a change, because I also have a money issue. If you have any other insight or suggestions, I would GREATLY appreciate it! Thanks again!

  50. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Just spraying the roots should help to lighten them up. What percentage are you using? Also, was the “lowlights” a hair treatment?

    Hair tends to darken as we get older. And some blonds go reddish. I’ve noticed this with my own hair. I have more red in it now than I did when I was younger.

    If your natural hair color is blond, you should be able to lighten it considerably using peroxide.

    Let me know how you make out.

  51. Jennifer Says:

    The lowlights were done at a salon MONTHS ago, and they’re not where I’m having the problem. My natural haircolor is dirty blonde. Naturally, there is no visible red in it at all. I did the peroxide again for a few hours last night, and still just as orange. I’m using 3%

  52. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    It sounds as though your hair is changing color, which can happen.

    Most people find their hair lightens, especially with repeated spraying of hydrogen peroxide. Some types of hair are resistant.

    Red heads will usually go strawberry and blondes may go much lighter. It all depends on hair color.

  53. Jennifer Says:

    I had a few inches of roots, so my natural hair color is a dirty blonde… no red or orange naturally at all. I used conditioning toner again, and wouldnt you know, the parts of my hair that ARE platnium (which is what I WANT, and only have orange ROOTS) caught a SLIGHT purple tint. Luckily for THAT I washed it out just in time, but it needed much more time to lift the orange. So, again tonight I’m going to spray the peroxide, and with the TINY bit of toner I have left, I’m going to just do the part of my roots closest to my scalp, so HOPEFULLY, I can at least get the orange out of SOME of my roots. Does the orange EVER eventually fade at all naturally? Thanks again so much!

  54. jerry rae Says:

    I have medium golden blonde hair with orange-ish highlights . i would like to lighten it & reduce the brassy tones of my high lights would this work?
    & do you spray onto wet or dry hair ?

  55. Anna Says:

    I was wondering if this approach to lightening your hair is more or less damaging than if I was to bleach my hair using the mix of peroxide and powder?

  56. LYN Says:

    hello i dyed my hair black 4 months ago and i was wondering if i spray this peroxide in a bottle may that be lightened just a 1 time process? before dying black i dyed it brown and when it turned to black it gets dry! i went to the salon and they suggest me to rebond my hair then i worked with that and by now i have a very dark HAIR but honestly i want it light brown so can you please tell me if i need to do the spraying of peroxide to just less amount of my very dark dark hair? PLS HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  57. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Lyn,
    Because you’ve changed your hair color you would be best checking with a stylist before applying anything else to your hair. Generally, peroxide works best for blond or redheads or those with light brown hair. It is not a dye but works to lighten hair.

  58. Danielle Lyons Says:

    Dear Hair Lighters,

    You can use a hairdryer to make it bleach platinum, i did it and it works with peroxide!

  59. Brooke Says:

    Props to Athlyn Green for patiently answering the same questions over and over again for nearly 4 years now. :) I wish more people would try it themselves first, or at least report back the results.

  60. Bri Says:

    I have medium brown hair w golden blonde hilights. I want all my hair to be almost golden too. I dont want to damage my hair or make it too different. How should i make it look really natural?

  61. Athlyn Green Says:

    Because each person’s hair will react differently, it is always a good idea to do a test piece. You can keep spraying the piece it to see how it will react to repeated applications.

    Because hair will continue to lighten, even if you encounter brassiness at first, this may change as hair becomes lighter.

    An easy method and one that looks very natural is to spray your hair with peroxide and then use a comb to brush it through. This results in some pieces being highlighted which looks very natural.

  62. Caroline Says:

    Hi Athlyn,
    I currently have light brown hair with some golden blonde highlights. When I was about five or six, all of my hair was blonde. Now I’m fourteen, and I really really want blonde hair again. I live in Pennsylvania, so the winters are snowy and cloudy, but in the summer I use a 50/50 water and lemon juice mixture on my hair, and I am currently using it, since I am in Jamaica for Christmas. I want to get that golden blonde colour, and possibly lighter. So, my questions for you are, what percentage do you think I should use? Should I test the HP on some hair near the back of my neck? How often should I spray? When I reach the desired colour, should I stop? And how subtle is the change? Sorry for all the questions, but thanks in advance and merry christmas!
    Caroline

  63. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Caroline,
    You probably find your hair goes darker in winter, and certainly, if you use peroxide, you should achieve a lighter color. This article discusses using 3% and when I asked a pharmacist, he mentioned that 6% can also be used for hair lightening. You could try 3% and see how your hair reacts to that. If you want greater lightening simply respray or try the 6%.

    It is a good idea to test a piece of hair, especially if you are worried about reddish tones; however, with each application of peroxide, your hair should continue to lighten.

    You can spray as often as needed, not only to achieve the lightening you are looking for but to lighten up new growth which will be darker. Once you reach the desired color, you might choose to just spray peroxide on your roots, so that the rest of your hair doesn’t continue to lighten.

    Each person’s hair will react differently. I’ve known some brunettes that have gone blond with repeated sprayings and other brunettes that did not see much change.

  64. Trinity Says:

    Hi there!

    I\’m thirteen years old and I have natural blonde hair. I\’d say it\’s an almost dirty blonde colour, but a bit lighter than that. I\’m interested in lighetening my hair with hydrogen peroxide.

    I once tried lightening my hair lemon juice and going out in the sun, but it didn\’t seem to work… Do you think hydrogen peroxide would work on my hair? Also, does it have any negative affects like hair loss that might affect me later in life? I\’m very interested in getting a lighter color but, if I do it at home I want it to work, and I don\’t want to ruin my hair while I\’m still young!

    Thanks!!

  65. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Trinity,
    You can lighten your hair with hydrogen peroxide, using either a 3% or 6% solution. The easiest way to do this is to simply spray it on your hair on the areas you want to lighten up. I’ve included information in this article about potential problems associated with peroxide use as it relates to hair lightening. Avoid getting it in your eyes.

    Most hair lightening products can be drying and/or impact on hair; however, with peroxide, you are not getting the chemicals that are found in hair dyes.

  66. Helayna Says:

    where can u buy 6% peroxide??

  67. Athlyn Green Says:

    Some pharmacies sell it but it depends on where you live. Your best bet is to ask at a couple of drug stores for what percentage solution they sell.

    Always be careful to avoid getting peroxide in your eyes because it burns.

  68. Stella Says:

    Hi,

    I’m a natural brunette and I’ve tried to apply H2O2 with good results in terms of colors. Yet at the end, it does leave the hair so “thick and super dry”. The blond shades are beautiful, but I have not managed to offset the damage caused.
    I have applied a bit of peroxide water after washing the hair and left it to dry. The highlights are nice and look natural, the only downside is hair texture result.

    Ciao,

    Stella

  69. Caroline Says:

    Hi there! It’s the same Caroline as a few posts previously~
    I sprayed my hair with the 3%…. Not much change, so I tried again, combing through. Still little change. So, finally, I sprayed a lot of my hair, upside down over a tub. then I combed through, so most of my hair was wet from the HP. This was perfect. My hair achieved the exact colour I was looking for, the golden blonde. However, it’s slightly orangey, I notice. In the video at the top of the page, it mentions using dishwashing soap with baking soda in it to take away some of the orangey/brassy. So, I think that I am going to do that, and I’ll see how it works :)

  70. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Stella,

    What percentage are you using? That could be a factor. You could try Vitamin E capsules on your hair to restore it. I take Omega 3-6-9 and find that makes for very shiny healthy-looking hair.

    Hi Caroline,
    You may find that the orangey tone fades over time. It’s great to hear that you achieved the lightening you were looking for.

  71. artemrs Says:

    Dear Athlyn, i found this article (blog) 2 days ago, and from the forum and your instructions, I was more than enthusiastic to try it! my hair’s naturally light-med brown, and i haven’t used the salon (hair color, DIY or pro) since Dec 08. Since 2 days ago, when I started a gradual all-over spray of 3% hydrogen peroxide [readily available at Walgreens drugstores], i have noticed a gorgeous change in my hair color!! I’m ecstatic; my hair’s soft, shiny, bouncy and lighter! It brightens my facial complexion and it is just a really pretty change. You are awesome. Thank you so much for sharing your beauty wisdom with us—– to think i spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on pro color (Wella, Framesi, etc.)—– Ugh!!

  72. Jamie Strickland Says:

    Hi! how many times a day can you put the peroxide on your hair?

  73. MM Says:

    Hi there,

    I have been dying my hair black for half a decade now. My natural hair colour is a mousy brown, I really don’t like! However, I would like to lighten my hair to gain a nice coppery colour ( which I used to die my hair to before I started going balck) I have tired pre-lighteners in the past but after hours and hours of applications, I found all it did was lighten my hair to a redy-orangy colour, and very uneven- resulting in me dying my hair just black again in the end.
    I am very keen on giving this another go- as in using the HP probably the 6% as I know my hair is liekly to go a reddish colour at first, but hopefully following your advice with re-application or just really wetting me hair with HP, I should go light enough to then just die my hair with the coppery colour I am after?
    My question, same as Jamies’ would also be, how often a day you can apply it, and if it safe to use a hair-colour straight after, or if it is recommended to wait.
    ( I will try the HP on a strand first to get a better idea of how my hair will behave )
    Is it any more or less damaging to do it all in one go though? – like within one day?

    Many Thanks,

    MM

  74. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Artemrs, Thank you! Great to hear you are pleased with the result.

    Hi Jamie, Peroxide can be drying so check to see how your hair reacts. You can probably spray it a time or two. I would wait a couple of days to see how your lightening settles in, then reapply it, if needed.

    Hi MM, Some people find that with repeated applications, the red lightens from their hair. I knew of a lady who had brownish red hair and she kept spraying it on and her hair went blond over time. Because peroxide may open or weaken the hair strand, I would suggest you check with a stylist. Some are in favor of it and some aren’t. In most cases, it is recommended that you allow your hair time to recover, especially if you are mixing treatments.

    While peroxide is generally considered safer and contains fewer chemicals than hair dye, recent warnings indicate that repeated use could lead to greying; however, many feel that this is an inevitable part of getting older so feel the benefit outweighs the risk. I’ve used it for years to lighten my blond hair and I do not appear to have more grey than the next person but, each person’s genetics play a role, as well.

  75. Lily Cyr Says:

    how can i dye the tips of my dark brown hair with peroxide without the sun??

  76. CuriousRose Says:

    I don’t have a dark spray bottle, is it safe to just put the 3% solution directly on my hair instead of spraying it?

  77. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Lily,
    Simply dip the tips of your hair in peroxide solution. You might want to put your hair in a high ponytail first, before dipping the ends. Place a towel around your shoulders to keep shoulder area dry.

    Hi CuriousRose,
    Yes, you can put peroxide in a clear bottle if you don’t have a dark bottle. You can can pour it directly on your hair. Try pouring it into the cap and then slowly pouring on your hair. Just take care that it doesn’t run down into your eyes because it can really sting. Keep a small towel nearby to catch drips.

  78. Angel Says:

    As a stylist i would have to say mix half and half with shapoo and 20 vol peroxide

  79. Highlights Says:

    I have never tried straight hydrogen peroxide. However, I have tried John Frieda’s Go Blonder lightening spray, which contains hydrogen peroxide. My hair is on the lighter side of brown. The first time I sprayed this all over my hair, my hair turned a strawberry blondish that wasn’t awful, but not exactly the look I wanted. I got several highlights on top of it. I have always had highlights but never have dyed my whole head of hair. I’d recommend to keep that in mind when you apply your hydrogen peroxide…there is a possibility that it will look dyed if you spray this all over. Now that I am familiar with the results I will get on my hair, I use a very minimal amount on select strands when I know I will be out in the sun. I find that it creates nice golden, shiny highlights. Be careful not to overuse this on light brown hair. If you go slowly on lighter shades of hair, you can achieve very natural looking results.

  80. cory Says:

    hey, i was wondering if your peroxiding your hair do you HAVE to wash it oout. ive done it recently and it lightened it only a very small bit. is there a specific time i have to keep it in and then wash it out? i havent washed it out at all, i just let it dry and went on..

  81. cory Says:

    hey, i was wondering if your peroxiding your hair do you HAVE to wash it oout. ive done it recently and it lightened it only a very small bit. is there a specific time i have to keep it in and then wash it out? i havent washed it out at all, i just let it dry and went on..

    thats all

  82. MCharis Says:

    Hi everyone, i use to to use sun in, and peroxide (for dyes) to lighten up my hair and i have a regular/ dark brown hair color.

    I now use 20 vol, I put on my hair lots of olive oil at first, and I left it for 2.5 hours and i was using the hair heater times to times.

    From dark / regular brown, it went to a dirty blonde.
    No damage, my hair look great!
    Now my theory is, if i do this once a week, technically i will get very light blonde in 3 weeks (considering i lighten them up 3 shades at a time)
    After that,at my new hair, i will use peroxide only at roots every other week and it should keep my hair really blonde and maybe even look natural and damage free.

    If i use a purple or silver shampoo it will counteract any yellowish (if any) color and I will get a whitish blonde that i always desire without ammonia or bleaching.

    If i get the results that technically i should have, then i post pictures.
    Anyone who is reading this, please note that my hair are thick and don;t get easily damaged. If you have thin hair please use peroxide with caution.

  83. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Cory,
    No, you don’t have to wash it out. You can just spray it and let it dry. If you are finding your hair doesn’t lighten, try increasing to 6% peroxide. Just take care to not get it in your eyes.

  84. brittany Says:

    so i have a major problem. i bleached my hair not using peroxide but other formula i got from a salon and it only turned my roots bleach blonde. so i truied the peroxide and im using the 3% and i kept it in for about 40 minutes and it didnt light it i dont think like at all. so what should i do?

  85. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Brittany,
    You can either continue to work to lighten it to match the other or seek out a stylist to see what she suggests.

  86. Augusta Says:

    The tips of my hair (in six pigtails) are drenched in hydrogen peroxide right now! I have my hair died blonde and I let my roots grow in darker blonde. I want the ombre look so I just did the tips! I am so anxious to see how it turns out!!

  87. Augusta Says:

    Nothing happened :( How many times in a row can I do it? Or do I have to spread it out over a period of a few days?

  88. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Augusta,
    What are you using? 3%? If your hair is resistant, try up to 6%. Allow it to dry and see how that works.

  89. Augusta Says:

    Okay thanks I\’ll try that! I was using 3%. When can I try it again? Do I need to wait a certain period of time?

  90. Athlyn Green Says:

    You should be able to reapply it until you achieve the lightening you desire. If you are worried about it drying out the tips, just check these after they dry. Usually, it is quite safe to simply spray it on as needed. And for hair ends or tips, you don’t have to worry about greying. As I mentioned in the article, if someone applied peroxide to their roots, over time, this might contribute to grey hairs.

  91. Augusta Says:

    Thank you so much!

  92. anne Says:

    hi i just want to make my hair red using peroxide and my hair is light – medium brown so how long do i have to let peroxide on my hair to turn them red i dont care what red just red and if they actually turn red what do i have to do to keep them red?

  93. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Anne,

    Peroxide will only serve to lighten hair, so if you are hoping for red, try a test piece to see how your hair reacts. It may indeed come out with a reddish hue. Each person’s hair will react differently so if you are hoping for a particular color, your best bet is to try it to see what color will result. If you keep spraying your hair with peroxide, it will continue to lighten, so this is something to keep in mind, if the first time or two, the shade is darker than you want.

  94. anne Says:

    yes but i do have some red undertones for sure and i was just wondering how long do i have to leave it on and how many times

  95. Hailey Says:

    I have blonde hair with highlights on top but my natural color underneath has gradually become darker:( do you think this method would work for me and is SAFE with my already highlighted hair? I don’t want orange hair I just want much lighter blonde hair. The lemon juice thing hasn’t Worked for me. I would like to make my hair look like the girls in the second photo above, all over and not just on top where the highlights are.

  96. Hailey Says:

    I have blonde hair with highlights on top but my natural color underneath has gradually become darker:( do you think this method would work for me and is SAFE with my already highlighted hair? I don\’t want orange hair I just want much lighter blonde hair. The lemon juice thing hasn\’t Worked for me. I would like to make my hair look like the girls in the second photo above, all over and not just on top where the highlights are.

  97. Hailey Says:

    I have blonde hair with highlights on top but my natural color underneath has gradually become darker:( do you think this method would work for me and is SAFE with my already highlighted hair? I don’t want orange hair I just want much lighter blonde hair. The lemon juice thing hasn\\\’t Worked for me. I would like to make my hair look like the girls in the second photo above, all over and not just on top where the highlights are.

  98. Donche Says:

    i have dirty blonde hair and i want to get it to turn white. would i be able to use peroxide an what percentage would i have to use to get it there???

  99. avi gold Says:

    be very careful if your hair is not already natural blonde! peroxide WILL turn the hair a nasty shade of orange on darker hair,and yes I am speaking from experience…unfortunately

  100. Rissa Says:

    Hi, my daughter used Hot Pink Splat on her naturally blond hair (no bleach) last week. She is tired of the pink and wants her blond hair back. How do you think Peroxide would effect those pink areas? What strength would you recommend?

  101. Athlyn Green Says:

    Donche: Please check with a hairdresser because turning your hair completely white might be hard on it. Because your hair is blond, continued spraying would continue to lighten it.

    Avi: This can happen if people have reddish undertones but some people with brown hair find their hair goes blond. Each person’s hair is different and so it is a good idea to do a test piece. Hair will continue to lighten if lightened areas are sprayed repeatedly.

    Hi Rissa: I would check with a hairdresser. Peroxide only lightens blond, brunette or reddish hair but it is not a dye.

    Magen: If you are trying to lighten your hair, just use 3% peroxide. You can wash your hair with baking soda.

  102. Athlyn Green Says:

    People usually do this if they want to clean their hair naturally but you do not have to use baking soda with peroxide to achieve lightening.

  103. tiffany Says:

    Can I use peroxide to lighten my pink hair? Im trying to go back blonde and want my pink hair gone. Will peroxide work? Thanks!

  104. Lily Says:

    i have medium brown hair thats kinda reddish but not much… ive been trying hp but nothings happening so far and i want light brown/ red hair. how long does it take to show up because ive been soaking my hair and letting it dry for around four hours with no noticable difference:/

  105. Willow Says:

    How long does it usually take for the color to change? I have blond-ish auburn hair and I cut a piece off and tried it. It completely dried in the sun, but it didn’t change color at all. :(

  106. kristina Says:

    I used hydrogen peroxide on my hair few months ago and I kinda overdid it and now parts of my hair seems damaged. I can tell since everytime I washed my hair, as my hair air-dried, those parts of the hair are a bit sticky and doesn’t part easily as I run my hand through them. I have been trying to repair them with intense hair moisterizer, leave-in treatment, hair serum, etc. Are there any way to treat those hair damaged by hydrogen peroxide if I overdid it? I don’t treat my hair anymore with hydrogen peroxide since I’m waiting until it grows out enough to be cut. I might use it later in small amounts.

  107. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Kristina,
    What strength did you use. This shouldn’t happen with the 3%-6% peroxide. Had your hair been previously dyed? I hair has been weakened prior to using hydrogen peroxide, this might have contributed to this.

    I would check with a stylist. Vitamin E is supposed to be very good for hair. If you apply it, wrap your head in a warmed towel and let it stay on hair for 10-20 minutes.

  108. Gaby Says:

    i have dark black/brown hair, so is it safe to use the 3% peroxide everyday… & is it possible to get it blonde?

  109. Somer Says:

    I have seriously dark brown hair, but its not black. I want light brown hair, but Im scared of it turning red…..on a scale of one to ten, ten being black, one being blonde, my hair is a 6-7. Will it turn out to be red?

  110. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Gaby & Somer,

    Peroxide works best for those who have dark blond hair, light brown or who have red hair. Whether hair turns reddish depends on undertones, so I cannot say. I’m blond with reddish undertones and my hair does not go brassy but it is different for each person and I always recommend that you test a piece of hair. You can spray it a couple of times and let it dry between sprayings to see the results. I wouldn’t use peroxide daily as this could damage your hair and scalp. It can be sprayed on occasionally for lightening but as with any product that alters hair color, overdoing it could cause problems. Recent studies indicate that prolonged use could cause greying, Of course, chemical dyes might also cause this, as well. Hydrogen peroxide is inexpensive and very easy to use because you just spray areas you want to lighten or, if you want lighter streaks you can treat these hair areas, but it is not a dye, it lightens hair.

  111. C Says:

    Hi Athlyn!
    Thanks so much for all your time by responding to all these comments! Your patience is amazing. =)
    I currently have the peroxide sprayed in my hair (3%) & I have natural BLACK hair. So we’ll see how it goes!
    I was wondering if I could maybe add drops of olive oil into the peroxide to make it a little more moisturizing? Or would that nullify the effects of the peroxide? My hair gets dried out very easily.
    Thanks again!!

  112. Alexis Says:

    Do you think this would work on weaving hair? I have jet black extensions I want to bleach and dye red.

  113. Cassie Says:

    My roots are very dark (almost black) but the rest of my hair is a lighter brown (not super light though) I also have naturally red highlights and dyed blonde ones. What do you think will happen to my hair?

    ~ Cassie

  114. Cassie Says:

    BTW PLZ RESPOND AS SOON AS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE!!!

    ~Cassie (again)

  115. Samantha Says:

    If you are burnette I would recommend using lemon juice. It will make your highlights lighter, just sit out in the sun after you put the lemon juice in. I also heard beer will work to lighten your hair as well… but that is a more stinky and gross alternative.

  116. sheena Says:

    I tried this and it worked awesome (did a test strip first), i used 3% vol. my natural hair colour is mousey brown but i did have some blonde streaks prior to using the peroxide.
    Also i sat in the sun, this definately helped as the second time i did it i wasnt able to be in the sun and it didnt lighten as much.
    I am going to try a test strip tomorrow with 6% vol (maybe diluted a bit) and see if result is even better.. thanks for the great advice ;)

  117. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Cassie, Because your hair is so many colors, it would be tricky. Peroxide works best for lightening blond or reddish hair.

  118. Athlyn Green Says:

    Hi Sheena, it’s great to hear this worked so well for you. What I like is that one can keep spraying to get the color they want and it is great for lightening roots.

    In the winter months, when hair tends to darken it is such an easy way to give a lift to shade.

  119. Pammy Says:

    Hi Athlyn! My hair is a natural dark brown. Recently, it’s been dyed a light brown but I told the hairdresses to do an ombre but she did not follow my instructions. Anyway, I read about HP used as hair lightener. I have a few questions.

    1. Is it safe to use, considering I just dyed my hair a week ago?
    2. I read that most brown hair have red undertones. If I apply HP to my hair and it turns strawberry blonde, is there a possibility of my hair achieving a lighter blond color by continuous usage?

    Thank you! Your answer means a lot to me. :)

  120. Taylor Says:

    I tried this following all the steps correctly. I have dark blonde hair and I wanted to lighten a bit more. It did absolutely nothing for my hair. You cannot even see a difference. Disappointed.

  121. Melina Says:

    Thanks for this page, Athlyn! A voice of reason.
    It’s utterly hilarious (and ridiculous) how people say it’s SO damaging to use hydrogen peroxide on your hair (like the hairdresser (?) in the lower video) – it’s definitely a lot LESS damaging than chemical dye (and avoids all those harmful chemicals like PPD), not to mention bleach, which is most damaging!! And the funniest thing is, ALL chemical dyes (that you mix with developer) do contain hydrogen peroxide too, that’s what the developer’s main ingredient IS! And bleach is also mixed with a developer. Just LOL! :)

  122. Jenn Says:

    Hey Athlyn! Thank you so much for putting this up! My question is, I am asian with pretty dark brown hair, lighter than most asians. My hair is very thin and when exposed to constant sunlight, my hair gets a nice honey brown. HOwever, when it becomes winter or fall, my hair turns dark brown again. I have no red undertones, does that mean using peroxide would make my hair that same honey brown? Should I be cautious with my thin hair? Would the results be much faster? Thanks so much!

  123. Jenn Says:

    Hey Athlyn! Thank you so much for putting this up! My question is, I am asian with pretty dark brown hair, lighter than most asians. My hair is very thin and when exposed to constant sunlight, my hair gets a nice honey brown. HOwever, when it becomes winter or fall, my hair turns dark brown again. I have no red undertones, does that mean using peroxide would make my hair that same honey brown? Should I be cautious with my thin hair? Would the results be much faster? Do I have to constantly spritz in the peroxide? Or would it be permanent? If I do have to, how often? Thanks so much!


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