Does Hydrogen Peroxide Bleach Hair?

There are many reasons why you might want to bleach your hair, from wanting to achieve light blond hair to preparing your hair for a brightly colored dye. 

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Bleach Hair?

You may be trying to decide between buying a lightening product that contains hydrogen peroxide or using neat hydrogen peroxide on your hair. 

Both of these options can be effective in bleaching and lightening your hair color, but is hydrogen peroxide an effective option for bleaching your hair? 

In this article, we will look at what hydrogen peroxide is, whether it bleaches your hair, and how to use it to lighten your hair.  

What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen Peroxide is one of the most common ingredients in any hair dye.  Hydrogen peroxide is essentially a bleaching agent that helps to remove the pigment of your hair resulting in a lightening effect.  

It is also possible to purchase pure hydrogen peroxide from most drugstores to use on your hair. 

However, when using pure hydrogen peroxide, it is important to ensure that you take the proper steps to help protect your hair from extreme damage.  

What Does Hydrogen Peroxide Do To Hair?

As touched on above, hydrogen peroxide essentially removes the pigment from your hair.  This results in a lightening effect that can either be used as a base for a colored dye, or as a form of dye itself. 

The amount of lightening that is produced with hydrogen peroxide depends directly on the amount of time that you leave the chemical on your hair. 

It is important to do your research to ensure that you are not leaving the chemical on your hair for too long to avoid causing permanent damage to your hair.  

How To Lighten Hair With Hydrogen Peroxide

Dyeing your hair with box hair dyes that contain hydrogen peroxide is very easy.  All you need to do is simply follow the instructions on the packaging to get the results you want safely. 

However, if you are opting to use pure hydrogen peroxide on your hair to achieve your desired results, there are a few more steps that you need to follow and a bit more care that you need to take. 

Patch Test

The first thing that you should do with any hair dye, whether from a box or in pure form like hydrogen peroxide, is a patch test. 

This involves placing a little bit of the chemical elements on your skin for 48 – 72 hours before applying it to your hair. 

The most common places to do a patch test are on the inside of your wrist or just behind your ear. 

This is because these areas are more sensitive than other parts and match the scalp well.  You can cover the patch test with a bandaid to help protect it from being washed off too early. 

If you experience any sort of reaction to the chemicals, you should wash off the patch test and not proceed with using the chemical on your hair. 

If you don’t experience any reaction, it is fine to go ahead and use the product on your hair.

Wash Your Hair

It is important to begin any dyeing process with clean hair so that the chemicals have a clean canvas to work with and to help avoid any patchiness. 

It is best to opt for a shampoo that is as natural as possible to help avoid chemical reactions. 

It is also a good choice to use shampoo and conditioner that are moisturizing and nourishing to help protect against the drying effect of hydrogen peroxide. 

It is important to note that you shouldn’t wash your hair too frequently once you have bleached it to help avoid excessive dryness and breakage.  

You should allow your hair to air dry rather than blow-drying it. 

Although blow drying can help to speed up the process, it also adds unnecessary heat to your hair that can cause further damage that you should be protecting your hair from when using bleach. 

Apply The Hydrogen Peroxide

If you are applying the hydrogen peroxide alone, it is best to separate your hair into small sections which can be secured by clips. 

Wearing gloves to protect your hands, apply the hydrogen peroxide to your hair with a cotton ball one section at a time. 

Leave a one-inch gap from the scalp and wrap each section with aluminum foil when you have finished a section. 

Repeat this process until you have applied the chemical to all sections of your hair that you wish to bleach.  Once you have covered all of the sections, leave it to sit for around 30 to 45 minutes. 

The time that you leave the bleach on your hair can be adjusted depending on the original color of your hair and the result that you are trying to achieve. 

If you are trying to dye the entirety of your hair with peroxide, you should mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle and spray the entirety of your hair. 

Cover your neck and your back with a towel to protect your skin and clothes from the bleach.  Leave the solution on for 30 to 40 minutes to achieve a bleached hair look.  

Wash Your Hair Thoroughly

Once you have left the hydrogen peroxide on your hair for long enough, it is time to wash it off.  A mild shampoo is the best choice for this to help remove all chemical residue while protecting the results of the bleaching process. 

Using cold water is the best way to preserve the shine and minimize the damage to your hair.  You should also use a nourishing conditioner to soften your hair. 

It is important to avoid blow drying your hair or applying heat styling after you have just bleached your hair.  This is because hydrogen peroxide is very harsh and can dry out your hair. 

If you add heat, you could cause significant damage to your hair. 

If you are lightening your hair in order to apply a light-colored hair dye such as pastel colors, you should let your hair settle for 24 – 48 hours before applying the colored dye. 

Final Thoughts

Hydrogen peroxide is very useful for bleaching your hair.  You can use it as an ingredient in manufactured dye products, or you can use it neat on your hair to lighten it.  

Matt Park
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