The Life and Times of a Teenage Weirdo

Lightening Blonde Hair With Hydrogen Peroxide


My step mom asked me to lighten her hair with peroxide and baking soda when she saw how well mine turned out! I kept track of measurements this time, partly since I would be doing her whole head, and partly since my peroxide and baking soda lightening post got so much traffic—I figured y’all would appreciate a recipe. :) I also added conditioner to the mixture this time to make it more creamy and easier to apply.

You will need:

  • A small mixing bowl.
  • A brush to apply the mixture. (I used a spongey craft paintbrush.)

Mix together:

  • 6 tbsp Baking Soda
  • 3 tbsp Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 1 tbsp Conditioner (I used Suave with Almond & Shea Butter.)

I wound up using about two and a half batches for Tiff’s fairly thin, shoulder length, hair. I just mixed more as I needed it.

(Update 8/9/2012: In case you don’t make it down to the comments, Lisa shared a mishap she had while attempting this herself. “I’d like to warn anyone and everyone. Do not mix this in an enclosed container. I mixed it in a fruit smoothie blender. When I tried to take off the lid, it literally blew up. It made a huge POP and that stuff went everywhere. It was also very hot!!! Scared me so bad.” Whenever there’s a chemical reaction going on—in this case, what’s changing your hair color—there will often be a gas that leaves the mixture and can create pressure in a closed container. Be careful!)

Apply as you would any other hair dye/bleach. I started on the under side of her hair and worked my way toward her hairline doing small sections and paying close attention to her roots and the ends of her hair. We were using a barber’s cape, and placed an old towel on the floor below her to protect the rug, so I let the hair with the mixture applied hang down until Tiff’s whole head was finished. Then I wrapped it up in plastic wrap to avoid bleaching furniture or her shirt while she waited for her hair to process. We let it sit for an hour and did not apply heat. Do not to leave the mixture in for longer than an hour to avoid damaging your hair. 

Cool Tip: I have heard that if you don’t do anything to it (no heat from flat irons, no hair dryers, etc.) for three days, your hair’s cuticle will seal up almost like new!

One more tip that I have to offer is to purchase some shampoo with a toner (like this one) in it that is made for blonde hair; this will keep it from getting too orange.

Here is a “Before & After” pic of Tiff’s hair:

I think it turned out super cute! Something about lightening up your hair—especially the strands framing your face—makes your whole look seem more summery and alive. :)

I also have a better photo of how my hair turned out from the lightening (plus my lovely sister on the left and sooper dooper boyfriend on the right):

Again, please share your own lightening endeavors, and give me some feedback!

-Dizzle

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58 responses

  1. Pingback: How To Lighten Hair With Hydrogen Peroxide & Baking Soda « [Work In Progress]

  2. Lisa

    I’d like to warn anyone and everyone. Do not mix this in an enclosed container. I mixed it in a fruit smoothie blender. When I tried to take off the lid, it literally blew up. It made a huge POP and that stuff went everywhere. It was also very hot!!! Scared me so bad.

    August 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    • Yikes!! I’m sorry about the mishap, but thanks so much for sharing. :) I’ll add your warning into the post to (hopefully) ensure that it doesn’t happen for anyone else!

      August 9, 2012 at 3:23 am

    • anon

      You were working with baking soda and peroxide. Baking soda and anything what stronger acidic properties will oxidize. That’s why when combined with vinegar it seems explosive. You were trapping the gas in, it built pressure, and BAM.

      May 18, 2014 at 10:39 am

  3. holly

    What percent peroxcide did you use? I have 3% and I’ve seen other posts where people have said 3% does not work.

    October 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    • Sawdizzle

      It’s just food-grade 3% H2O2. :) I found that it didn’t work for me without applying heat, so I think that plays a huge part in making this truly lighten your hair.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:26 pm

  4. Jess

    If i do this would it work to make my hair a light brown if i don’t leave it in for long? I had a hair dye mishap :s

    December 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    • Yes, just keep a close eye on it; leaving it in for a shorter amount of time will only lighten it slightly. :)

      January 4, 2013 at 11:06 pm

  5. Nyko

    trying to make my hair blue, how would you go about applying heat to my hair which is short and thick?

    March 14, 2013 at 9:53 am

    • I’d go for a shower cap and blow dryer. :) It’s the easiest method! If you’re doing streaks, try wrapping tinfoil around the sections instead of the shower cap.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:07 am

  6. Marina

    how long should I leave the dye in?

    April 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

    • No more than an hour. I got a honey blonde shade on my hair after leaving it in for an hour. Results will vary depending on the porosity of your hair. :)

      April 3, 2013 at 6:48 pm

  7. Victoria

    So I tried doing the dip dye today and the blonde didn’t show through and i have about the same color hair as you maybe a little lighter and I want to make it stand out more would you recommend using this?

    April 5, 2013 at 8:34 am

    • It shouldn’t do any harm. :)

      April 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm

  8. Shalyn Kopta

    I’m trying the strand test right now, I have been dying my naturally dirty blonde hair black for about a year and I used color oops and then dyed it a few days later to medium brown, my roots ended up and golden color while my other hair turned back to black, if this doesn’t work I will have to just let it grow out lol!

    May 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    • Shalyn Kopta

      It is an awesome color, thank you!!!, It isn’t damaged not even a little bit, I’m so happy I don’t have to use the store bleaching kit!!!!

      May 14, 2013 at 6:15 am

      • Shalyn Kopta

        A day later I had to cut my hair about 3 inches left, This is a very bad idea

        May 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm

        • It sounds to me like you might have over-processed your hair in too short of a time span. It’s a good idea to let your hair rest (no styling, products, permanent dyes, etc) for a good three days after dying it. The most you’d want to do is a hot oil treatment to replenish it. I’m sorry to hear about the damage. :(

          June 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm

  9. Mariah

    Hello! I tried this on my medium dirty blonde hair and now I have awesome highlights… in some places. But I put it on the ends to sorta get an ombré look and it didn’t do very much:( I’m gonna do it again tomorrow!:) hopefully it will give me the look I really want. But other then that it works like a charm!!! Thank you so much! This is the only thing that works to make my hair lighter FAST without using the box stuff!!!:) Thanks again!!!

    May 22, 2013 at 2:20 pm

  10. My blonde came out beautiful.
    Thanks for the article

    May 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm

  11. Missy

    I’ll admit it, I did not make the smartest choices when deciding to try this out. First of all, my natural hair is dark DARK brown, and I had had the entire underside professionally bleached to a bright blond. At the time, I was attempting to lighten the rest of my hair enough to be able to dye it purple and aquamarine, so I knew that I would need to do this procedure more than once to get the desired color. So, I did the procedure once, and got my hair to a slightly lighter brown. Then I waited exactly a week and did the procedure again; now this is where the problems started. Instead of only applying the mixture to my brown hair, I had applied it to all of my hair, including the blond parts. After blow drying my hair for a few seconds, I took the plastic bag I was using to cover my head off and began washing my hair in the sink. Imagine my absolute horror when large chunks of white-blond hair began breaking from my head. Over the next few minutes, I lost absolute all of the hair that had already been previously bleached. The rest of my hair was plenty healthy, and I simply had to go to the barber shop the next day to get my hair restyled. I went from having hair a little past my shoulders to hair that barely reached the bottoms of my ears. So anyone that is trying this out, be aware of previous damage to your hair!

    June 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm

  12. Haley

    How much water do you need to add to the baking soda, peroxide, & conditioner?

    June 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    • None. :)

      June 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm

  13. KJ

    My hair is kind of thin and not as strong. Will this kill it?

    June 27, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    • Chances are, yes. You can try leaving it on for a very short time and then immediately doing some sort of moisturizing treatment after. Just proceed with caution!

      July 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm

  14. Did you just rinse it out? Or did you wash your hair normally after?

    July 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    • I usually was and condition if I need to, yes. :)

      July 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm

  15. Kitty

    Oh my god thanks so much! I did this today and now a whole chuck of my hair is blonde! (How I wanted it :P) I love it!

    July 3, 2013 at 11:27 am

  16. Kimberly

    hi :) I did this a couple days ago and it did work in lightning my hair but over the time, it’s turned a but orange-y. and I want it blonde, so I bought a blonde dying kit. it’s still sitting desk so I ask you, should I dye it now or buy a toner or… what?

    July 15, 2013 at 10:42 am

    • I’d try a toner. :) Lightening kits usually don’t take orange undertones out. </3

      July 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm

  17. Amber

    I’ve used this a few times now. I used to have bleach blonde hair but now as I’ve been getting older its turning into a light brown. This always does the trick to bring back the blonde and touch up roots after a few months! After I use 3 minute miracle by Aussie to add some moister back into my hair and try to avoid heat for a week or so. :) thanks!

    August 6, 2013 at 9:00 pm

  18. hayley

    ok I have been dyeing my hair for almost 15 years and I find every time I dye it now the bottom always ends up darker the then the top I also straighten my hair about twice a week, do u think my hair can handle this or will it break or be to damaged to dye after? I really just want to try and lighten the bottoms a few shades so it looks even!

    August 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm

  19. Shelby

    Hey :) I have naturally dirty blonde hair, I used to have really pretty really blonde hair and I grew out of it :( I’m trying to get that colour back! The summer didn’t do a good enough job, so I wanna do something with it for school! Will this give me an orangey undertone if I do have naturally blonde hair?

    August 23, 2013 at 1:04 am

  20. tiril from norway

    Hi! I tried this today on my orangy-dirty blonde hair. I mixed the baking soda and the peroxide with my “cool silver” conditioner from bjorn axen, and my haircolor turned out great! Now i got a cold ash blonde color, with perfect highlights :)

    September 2, 2013 at 9:19 am

  21. Katie

    I’m about to do this. I’ve never dyed my hair, I don’t use any conditioner, and the only product it sees is a light mist of strong hold hairspray. I’m Scandinavian so I’ve got the dark brown hair with natural blonde and copper highlights. I’m about to use an aqua dye but was told bleaching some would help it show a bit more. I’m looking for a few shades brighter on my tips (3 inches I guess) just to get more of the color.

    How would you go about doing that? Keep in mind I’ve never used a blow drier and I’m not a fan, but we have one somewhere.

    October 13, 2013 at 1:21 am

  22. Hannah

    Just tried this and it worked awesome! :) I also just applied some olive oil after I was done to restore my hair so that it wasn’t so dry :)

    October 19, 2013 at 2:11 am

  23. Sam

    I have a sandy brown hair color. I did this and it turned brown when I was looking for a blonde color. What happened and do you have any advice?

    November 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    • Shayy

      Try adding honey, and allow it to process more. No longer than an hr. It may take a few applications. Also deep condition

      May 9, 2014 at 4:06 pm

  24. Janet

    Hi,
    I have naturally blonde hair and spent some time in Arkansas. We have a well for water and the water turned my hair red. I have been reading about using baking soda, H2O2, head and shoulders, dish soap, and vit. c, What do you think the chances would be of getting this well water red out of my hair using your suggestions?

    November 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    • If you haven’t tried washing with just some water and baking soda to try to “cleanse” your hair, I’d suggest that first! Baking soda and H2O will do some damage to your hair (as any lightening method would), so just remember that! I’d guess that your hair turned orange that easily because it’s porous, so lightening with this should work fine! :)

      November 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm

  25. Hey , thanks for the tip. I’m Asian , so my hair is dark brown , almost black. I tried this method and it turns my hair into golden brown / honey. It’s nice ! At first it looks too orange , maybe because I sit in the sun too long. But then it turns out okay.

    November 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm

  26. kay bee

    It works awesome i didn’t use the exact measurement but it still worked perfectly i like the orangish blonde color, but i might get a toner to make it blonder, thank you: )

    December 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm

  27. Shayy

    I mixed mine with honey and evoo. And did a rinse with braggs apple cider vinegar. Then a cool water rinse. Loooove the color

    May 9, 2014 at 4:03 pm

  28. Emily

    I tried this a few minutes ago, very disappointed. I don’t know if it’s just my hair, but when I did a test strand and left it on for 20 minutes I went to check on it and most of it broke off. the hair was blonde though so it worked on that part.

    May 17, 2014 at 6:54 pm

  29. Red Rose

    I’ve looked up so many blogs and videos about this, then decided to try Hydrogen Peroxide by itself on some cuts offs of my own hair. I pieced together locks (not strands) of my hair so that I had something to compare the first test to. I used a large rectangle of aluminum foil to seal it off. I had felt that letting it stay saturated really helps.

    My hair is a level 2 or 3 in hair-dresser terms, which means it’s very dark brown. I have some red undertones.

    On the first lock I actually left the peroxide on overnight (by accident). After rinsing it off and towel drying it, I thought it didn’t make a big difference. But the closer I looked and spread out the hair, I did notice it had more highlights than before. Comparing it to an untouched lock I could see a much redder look. So I went on to a second application and left this on for 2 hours that next day.

    Throughout the afternoon and evening second day I’d check on my test subject. I tried to stay about 2 hours apart each time. I noticed a major difference in color. Not once did I have any damage issues. Peroxide behaves much like water, but it oxidizes the color out. I’m on day 3 right now and I’m not seeing a big difference in it being lighter after 5 runs with 3% household peroxide. I’m still trying so I’ll update with that if anyone’s interested.

    I have tried this with baking soda in an equal part to peroxide, and the result is no different to me than peroxide only with one go of it overnight. After applying a tad coconut oil to that second lock of hair, it felt just as smooth as my peroxide only hair, and was maybe 1/3 shade lighter than the untouched locks I still have. Basically, it seems like it behaves the same. I haven’t tested one with honey yet, but I’d say the softening properties are no different than me using coconut oil after. It’s also great for making it easier to apply.

    What I want to try to do next is buy Ion Sensitive Scalp 30 vol developer. I won’t be using bleach. A bleach developer is actually just peroxide at a higher strength and turned into a cream. I feel this would give you the same effects that are in this video, but much stronger. Obviously if you prefer this method, go for it. Just make sure you either wrap your hair in saran or wear a processing cap, and wear it for about 2 hours. Coconut oil your hair before and/or after if you’re worried about damage, though I’ve seen first hand that there is no actual damage. Baking soda does dry you out, but adding honey should combat that problem.

    If you’re going for blonde: Make sure you tone with a pure white conditioner and use something like Manic Panic in violet to tone the colors. If you’re going for red, I highly suggest henna. Many LHCers have done this. Some even added a small bit of red Manic Panic to really make it pop. I’m going for red, so I’m going to test some of this out on my test locks of hair.

    May 26, 2014 at 10:31 am

  30. Will this work for my Thick chestnut brown beard.. really want to lighten it some before going voodoo blue into it … Time for a change

    May 30, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    • Red Rose

      I suggest using a cream developer on it. 20 volume is 6% peroxide. You’re better off testing it on hair clippings before actually using it on your beard. Chestnut is much lighter than what I have (apparently level 2 in hairdresser terms). With 3% peroxide, I went from almost black to being very close to chestnut in my cutoff strand test. With 6%, I’d say you’d be able to lighten enough, but test a small spot just to see how many sessions you need to use for the shade you really need.

      May 30, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    • Red Rose

      Hair is hair; I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. You’d do better using cream developer (which is peroxide) so that you have a better chance of it staying on your beard. Just remember that it only goes up to a few steps, so you’d need a higher % of peroxide. Start with 30 vol, then use 40 vol if you absolutely need it.

      July 10, 2014 at 6:44 pm

  31. Amy Leimer

    I’ve never bleached my hair, but I have dyed it a few times. I’m currently a dark brown, almost black color on the bottom with some red in places. My hair holds dye extremely well and it’s almost impossible to get it out. Will this work on my hair well enough that I can go ahead and dye it the dark blonde that most of the top of my hair is?

    July 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    • Red Rose

      Read my comment to better understand the results. If your hair is as dark as mine, you can only lighten it up to a light brassy brown. Developer IS peroxide, so you can buy a 30 vol if you want. I will warn you that it’s very drying, so coat your hair with coconut oil prior to this. I’m not sure what your natural hair color is, so take that into consideration. Also, don’t forget to color tone afterward. I suggest reading up on how peroxide (developer) will react with the dye. **Do a strand test on the dark brown and the red, so that you know what it’ll look like.

      July 10, 2014 at 6:42 pm

  32. I did this and it worked for me! I used coconut oil in replacement for the conditioner. Here are my results

    July 23, 2014 at 11:20 am

    • July 23, 2014 at 11:21 am

  33. Ruth

    Hi, i would like to try this method but does anyone know if it would be to substitute the hydrogen peroxide with creme developer volume 10, or not? also my hair dyed black hair right now so would this method even work on it i just want to lighten the color

    July 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    • Red Rose

      Creme developer IS peroxide. It’s just in cream form to make it easier to apply. The substitute would be lemon juice, but it takes longer and needs heat and/or sunlight. Peroxide isn’t damaging like when used with bleach.

      July 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm

  34. Dallas :)

    So my hair is almost the same shade as your but a little lighter and has more bronze and blonde natural highlights. I want to lighten all of it. How should I apply heat if I am doing my whole head?

    Does it have to be wrapped up in foil to apply the heat?

    Can I do just peroxide and a hair straightener?

    THANKS so much for the tips! :P

    August 12, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    • Rose Red

      I suggest buying one of those blow dryer caps that’s used to dry your hair all over, as if in a salon. It has a tube for the blow dryer. Wrap your hair in a processing cap or two. You want to completely cover your hair. The areas near your ears & temples tend to dry up too quickly if they aren’t properly covered. I wouldn’t worry about using foil all over, but if you take the areas near your ears and foil them, they’ll process better. I actually slept in my hair instead of use heat. My hair doesn’t go any lighter than a lighter medium brown, considering my hair is naturally almost black.

      If you have curly hair, I have no idea how that plus the cream peroxide (developer) would react. Do a strand test first. I prefer waiting until I’ve gotten a hair cut, and test on those loose pieces. Use a large ball of hair from your brush if that is easier.

      August 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm

  35. Patty

    Hi,I have dyed blonde hair.I’m happy with the color except for the roots.When my stylist foiled my roots with 30 volume it turned them orange and left some streaks of dark roots (my original hair color). This has happened before & I don’t want to pay for it to happen anymore.I had some leftover manic Panic that I put all over last night after leaving the stylist.It helped but there are still ‘Tiger Stripes’ of orange and dark roots left over.Will this peroxide and baking soda fix my problem?I can definitely use it in the future to do my own root touch ups without having to wait til theyve grown out as far as the stylist likes them to before she dyes them.If this will take out the leftover orange and dark stripes left I will try it and continue to maintain my blonde hair this way! Love this info & I hope to be one of your success stories! Thank :)

    August 24, 2014 at 7:16 am

    • Rose Red

      Hello,

      First, I’d like to say that you have bleached hair. If your hair started out darker, they used bleach WITH 30 volume peroxide developer. With that said, peroxide as a liquid and peroxide in the cream developer form are the same thing. They are processed differently so that they can be used in different situations. Peroxide as a cream is made to be easier to apply to hair.

      To answer your question: No, it will not solve your problem. You need to color tone the orange stripes with manic panic. You need to add blue to a purely white conditioner to color tone toward the blonde you desire. For the dark stripes AND your roots, you will need to bleach. This only brightens up to 2 to 3 levels. I have nearly black hair and this gives me a medium bronzy brown. With my skin tone, the bronze works very well for me, so I never color tone.

      August 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm

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