Bleaching Your Hair with Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda a Step By Step Guide

  • What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?
  • Items Needed To Bleach Your Hair
  • Bleaching Hair With Hydrogen Peroxide: A Detailed Tutorial
  • How To Bleach Hair With Hydrogen Peroxide And Baking Soda
  • How Hydrogen Peroxide Lightens The Hair Color
  • Side Effects Of Using Hydrogen Peroxide For Bleaching Your Hair

What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is also widely used as a bleaching agent to lighten the hair color and be found in most commercially available hair dyes (1). This readily available chemical works by penetrating the hair shaft to release oxygen that combines with the hair pigment to lighten the hair color.

If you plan to bleach your hair with hydrogen peroxide, the following tutorial might help. Listed below are the things you may need.

Items Needed To Bleach Your Hair

Once you have gathered all these things, follow these steps.

Bleaching Hair With Hydrogen Peroxide: A Detailed Tutorial

1. Wash Your Hair

Before bleaching, wash your hair to remove excess oil, grime, and dirt from the scalp. Use a natural shampoo with botanical ingredients for deep cleansing and removing excess sebum. Opt for a hydrating and nourishing conditioner as bleaching tends to dry out the hair strands.

Note: Avoid frequent washing after bleaching the hair. You can apply hair oil before washing to avoid excess dryness and damage.

2. Air-Dry Your Hair

Avoid blow drying. Instead, air-dry your hair. Using a blow dryer may speed up the drying process, but it may damage the hair. Pat your hair dry with a towel, comb it gently and let it air-dry for at least 30 minutes before applying hydrogen peroxide.

3. Do A Patch Test

Hydrogen peroxide may cause allergic reactions like itching and burning. To avoid this, do a patch test. Apply 3% hydrogen peroxide to a section of your hair and leave it on for at least 30 minutes before washing.

4. Apply Hydrogen Peroxide

Adjust the time, depending on your natural hair color and the result you are expecting. For instance, if you have dark hair, you may have to leave the solution on for at least 30 minutes or more to lighten it.

If you want to bleach your entire head, mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. Spray it on your hair and cover the neck and back with a towel. Leave it on for 30-40 minutes to get bleached hair.

5. Wash Your Hair Thoroughly

Rinse your hair thoroughly with a mild shampoo to remove all the chemical deposits. Use cold water to restore the shine and minimize the damage. Finish off with a conditioner to soften your hair.

6. Avoid Blow Drying Or Using Heat

Towel-dry your hair and avoid using heat as it may cause further damage. If you are blow drying your hair, use the lowest temperature setting or the cool-shot. It is best to dry your hair naturally to reduce damage and restore moisture and shine.

You may use only hydrogen peroxide to bleach your hair or combine it with baking soda. Here is how to do that.

How To Bleach Hair With Hydrogen Peroxide And Baking Soda

Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda lighten hair faster and give more effective results than hydrogen peroxide alone. Baking soda is alkaline and a natural cleanser. It acts as a base for hydrogen peroxide, and the mixture sits easily on the hair.

You Will Need

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons 3% hydrogen peroxide

Follow this ratio and adjust the quantity of the mixture as per your hair length.


  1. Apply the mixture to the hair and work down the strands.
  2. Leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the desired intensity.
  3. Rinse with cold water and wash thoroughly with a mild shampoo.
  4. Apply a hydrating conditioner to restore shine and lock-in moisture.

Caution: Baking soda may damage your locks, leaving them dry, brittle, and dehydrated. Apply a conditioner or a hydrating hair mask to restore moisture, softness, smoothness, and shine.

Heres a video to help you understand how to go about it.

How Hydrogen Peroxide Lightens The Hair Color

Hydrogen peroxide tones down or lightens the natural hair color by oxidizing the hair pigment (melanin) and keratin (the hair’s structural protein).

The cortex (the innermost part of your hair) contains the color pigment or melanin that gives your hair its natural color. Hydrogen peroxide penetrates the hair cortex and releases oxygen to break down the melanin pigment, lightening the hair (2), (3).

Before bleaching your hair, you should be aware of the possible side effects.

Side Effects Of Using Hydrogen Peroxide For Bleaching Your Hair

Using hydrogen peroxide may cause oxidative stress in the scalp, leading to hair loss. A study conducted on mice found that hydrogen peroxide mixed with other chemicals caused dermatitis and hair loss (4).

The oxidation process caused by bleaching breaks down the disulfide bonds between hair proteins present in the cuticles. This damages the cuticles, making the hair brittle, fragile, and prone to breakage, and causes split ends (5).

Hydrogen peroxide is a potential irritant. It may cause a burning sensation on the scalp. A study done on human hair and rat skin showed that 6% to 9% hydrogen peroxide solution damaged the human hair cuticle and caused swelling on rat skin (6).


Bleaching breaks apart the hair protein and removes the pigments, leaving your hair fragile and weak. Hence, you need to be extremely cautious when using hydrogen peroxide on your hair. Do a patch test and consult a doctor in case you experience any skin irritation. Also, do not forget to moisturize your hair with nourishing oils to help it rebuild the cuticles.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for hydrogen peroxide to lighten hair?

It takes at least 30 minutes to an hour to lighten hair with hydrogen peroxide. However, the time depends on the thickness and the color intensity of your natural hair.

Is hydrogen peroxide better than the normal bleaching process?

No. Bleaching causes damage to the hair, and all hair dyes contain hydrogen peroxide. However, if you are using bleach (both commercial and DIY), ensure that the percentage of hydrogen peroxide is not more than 3%.

Will peroxide turn my hair orange?

It depends on your hair color. Usually, peroxide turns the hair a shade or two lighter. Natural brown hair runs the risk of turning orange. Here is how you can fix it.

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