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Before we get into anything about bleaching your hair with hydrogen peroxide, you first need to consider the risks. Besides having a completely different appearance, your hair becomes more brittle, shine-less, and extremely damaged if the process is repeated too often. And after bleaching your hair, you will need to adopt a new hair care routine to avoid damaging the hair fibers more.

Now that we've covered the risks, let's continue on with how to properly bleach your hair.

Hair Bleaching: Basics

There are a few chemical solutions used during the bleaching process, with the most effective being hydrogen peroxide. When you apply hydrogen peroxide to your hair, oxygen combines with the hair pigments, and creates a chemical reaction that lightens the melanin pigment's natural color. Bleaching also helps lift the cuticle scales making hair more porous, thus causing it to be more likely to hold color or tint. Before the application of a permanent color, bleaching is typically performed to enhance the lightening of hair. The bleaching process is also used after applying hair dye to remove or lighten hair tint.

The safest way to achieve a bleached hairstyle is to pay a professional to do it for you - however, it can be devastating to your pocket book. On the other hand, you won't get good results from using a box of blonde hair dye, and at best, you'll end up with orange hair. If you have black or dark brown hair, you'll need to bleach your hair, color it, and then use the proper products to maintain the color and health of your hair.

With the basics out of the way, here is a guide to help you use hydrogen peroxide to bleach and lighten your hair.

You will need these items before you begin:
  • Old towel
  • An old t-shirt that you don't care about
  • Shower cap or plastic bag
  • Rubber gloves
  • A timer
  • Spray bottle
  • Hydrogen peroxide in 3% solution
  • It's important to do a strand test before bleaching all of your hair to avoid serious skin reactions. Also, you can purchase hydrogen peroxide in a 3% mixed solution in most department stores, as well as at beauty supply stores. Now let's move on to the steps for bleaching your hair.
How to Bleach Your Hair at Home: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Clean and Untangle

Before you begin applying the hydrogen peroxide solution, make sure your hair has been shampooed, combed, and you've completed a strand test. It's important to untangle any knots in your hair before the bleaching process. For the best results, use a large-toothed pick or comb to run through your hair after shampooing; your hair should be wet for the peroxide application.

2. Prepare the Solution

Slip your gloves on, and fill your clean spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide. If you'd like to give yourself highlights, pour some of the solution into a bowl, and use a cotton ball to apply it to your strands.

3. Begin the Process

Part your hair into small sections, and begin spraying the peroxide onto your hair before it dries. You will save yourself a lot of frustration by starting on the back of your head, and then moving toward the face. Avoid spraying the solution directly on the scalp to keep any chances of skin irritation from happening.

4. Cover Up

After you've covered your hair with the hydrogen peroxide solution, comb your hair and use a shower cap to cover up; if you don't have a shower cap, you can use a plastic bag. Make sure the plastic bag is secure on your head.

5. Set the Timer

When you bleach your hair, you're putting it at risk. So remember that the longer you leave the peroxide solution on your hair, the worse the damage could get. Also note that washing your hair immediately after applying the peroxide isn't good because you're not allowing the hair color to oxidize. The suggested time to leave hydrogen peroxide on your hair is 15 to 20 minutes; however, the results will be minimal. You can choose to leave the solution on longer, but just keep in mind the health of your hair.

6. Rinse It Out

When the timer goes off for the amount of time you’ve chosen, rinse your hair with cool-to-lukewarm water. Using too hot of water can damage hair even more, while cool water will give you shiny hair. If you’re having trouble getting the peroxide out of your hair, use a mild shampoo.

7. Use Deep Conditioner

Just like using a box of hair dye, it is important to replenish the moisture in your hair after bleaching it. Use a deep conditioning treatment on your hair, and leave the conditioner in for 2-3 minutes. It's important to use a deep conditioner, and not the regular conditioner you use daily for the best result. It is likely that your hair will not show results right away, and you will need to repeat the process again to get a more prominent blonde color. In most cases, someone with black hair will need to use a bleaching technique, and then use a hair dying system for a blonde hair color.

Other Options

You can purchase bleaching kits at your local beauty supply store with pre-measured ingredients and fully disclosed instructions for you to follow. But the main problem with bleaching kits is, for dark or long hair past the shoulders, you will need more than one box; possibly 3 boxes. And while this can become pricey, it might be necessary.

One thing that you should definitely avoid in terms of products is household cleaning solutions such as Clorox because they're unsafe and dangerous to use. This stuff causes extreme damage to hair and skin, and it’s not suggested in any situation.

Hair Products for Your Bleached Hair

Once you've finished coloring your hair, you will need to use products specifically for color-treated hair. Nearly every brand produces shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in conditioners for color-treated hair, so it shouldn't be hard to find. Some of the more expensive ones are by Redken, but cheaper ones by Aussie work just as well.

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