Gray hair can yellow or become brassy over time. This happens because it holds little or no pigment, and instead, picks them up from the environment.
The cast, however, can be an aesthetic eyesore. In that case, you may want to know how to whiten gray hair with peroxide. We will show you three methods in this article. So, continue reading!
How To Whiten Gray Hair With Peroxide
Prepping Steps & Things to Keep in Mind
Cover up your skin
You need to protect your skin by slathering it with petroleum jelly. Specifically, it is essential to cover the hairline and areas around the ear.
You should also drape a towel to safeguard your shoulders.
Section your hair
You need to systematically divide your hair up with hair clips. This will ease your process of applying the solution later. Use as many hair clips as necessary.
Do a preliminary strand test
Test the hydrogen peroxide solution you have first. This is to make sure that no allergic reactions will occur, It will also give you an idea of what to expect.
To avoid skin irritation, never forget to wear gloves while handling the hydrogen peroxide solution.
Method 1 – Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda, and Water
Baking soda is an alkaline, which helps hydrogen peroxide do two things:
- Get into the hair cortex easily
- Break down melanin in the hair
As a result, the hydrogen peroxide can whiten your grays better.
You will need to prepare:
- Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
- Baking soda
- A bowl
- A toothbrush
Once you have all the materials ready, follow these steps:
- Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide (3%), and two tablespoons of water in the bowl that you have prepared. Your mix should be turn out to be slightly paste-like.
- Apply the paste to your hair. Make sure your application is even. You can use a toothbrush for this.
- Leave the paste on your hair for 15 minutes. You can leave it up to an hour, depending on how dark your hair is.
- Rinse the paste off with warm water.
- Shampoo, then condition your hair as you normally would.
Method 2 – Hydrogen Peroxide and Water
You will need to prepare:
- Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
- Cotton balls or pads
- A clean and empty spray bottle
- A shower cap or aluminum foil
Next, follow these steps:
- Mix hydrogen peroxide and water with a 1:1 ratio in a bowl
- Transfer the mix to a spray bottle. Do not forget to cap it tightly.
- Cover your neck and shoulder with a towel. This ensures that they will not be stained.
- Spritz the mix on the cotton balls/pads you have prepared.
- Apply it to your hair evenly.
- Cover the areas with a shower cap or aluminum foil.
- Let it work its magic for about 15 minutes. You can leave it up to an hour, depending on how dark your hair is.
- Wash your hair with cold water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
- Apply a deep conditioner.
Method 3 – Hydrogen Peroxide and Conditioner
You will need to prepare:
- Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
- A bowl
- A spoon
- A shower cap
Then, carry out these steps:
- Mix 1/8 cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1/8 cup of conditioner in a 1:1 ratio. Use a spoon to stir and make sure they are well-combined.
- Apply the mixture to your hair.
- Comb through it to ensure everything is distributed evenly.
- Put on a plastic cap.
- Allow 20 minutes for the mixture to work.
- Rinse your hair well.
- Shampoo thoroughly.
- Condition as you normally would.
Note: Only do this once a month.
For any of the methods, you will have to take the same prepping steps and keep a few tips in mind.
Hydrogen Peroxide Effects on Hair
Hydrogen peroxide is an ingredient in hair dyes. It is usually used to lighten hair.
The way it works is simple: Removing the natural pigment of your hair and letting a new color replace it. Hydrogen peroxide penetrates and works the hair cortex. In general, it will cast a shade or two lighter.
Nevertheless, excess or improper use of hydrogen peroxide can cause problems, such as skin irritation, hair cuticle damage, and hair loss.
Even though hydrogen peroxide can be used as a disinfectant, too much of it can also irritate your skin. With dye jobs, hydrogen-peroxide-induced irritations can occur around your hairline and on your scalp.
It can lead to dermatitis, which is basically, inflammation of the skin. You can get nasty allergic reactions and rashes, as a result.
Serious reactions can even result in chemical burns and deep burns! So, it is extremely necessary to use hydrogen peroxide within its recommended quantities.
To minimize the chances of skin irritation, keep these two tips in mind:
- Protect your hairline with petroleum jelly.
- Leave hydrogen peroxide on your hair for as little time as possible.
Hair Cuticle Damage
Using too much hydrogen peroxide or using it incorrectly can damage the outer layer of the hair, known as the cuticle.
This layer is supposed to protect your hair and strengthen it. Hence, if it is damaged, your hair becomes prone to breakage, split ends, and frizz.
To reduce the damage that hydrogen peroxide inflicts on your hair cuticles, you should use a hair conditioner and deep conditioner treatments.
Hydrogen peroxide is cytotoxic. It can inflict oxidative stress on hair. This stress is what causes your hair to age and shed.
As a result, you can suffer from severe hair loss. Besides, breakage that happens because of cuticle damage contributes to hair loss.
Hence, it is important to follow the directions on the packaging closely and avoid using pure hydrogen peroxide while lightening or coloring your hair.
Why Does Gray Hair Turn Yellow
There are several reasons why gray hair turns yellow, as follows:
- Your hair has accumulated minerals and chemicals in water, which deposit and attach to the hair shaft, resulting in a yellow cast.
- Your hair has aged through a process called achromotrichia and therefore, has lost pigments.
- Your hair’s remaining pigments can be bleached by the sun; the more-blue natural molecules are removed, leaving only the more-yellow ones. These, ultimately, become more visible.
- Your hair has picked up pigments from your low-air-quality environment, like (from) smoke, which can build up and lead to discoloration.
- Your hair has been discolored by hair products that have sulfates or added dyes.
- Your hair has buildups because of hair products that have silicones.
- Your hair has been affected by medications, such as chemotherapy drugs, malaria drugs, thyroid and hormone medications.
How To Keep Your Gray Hair White
How to keep your gray hair from turning yellow
Avoid swimming in pools
Swimming pool water is chlorinated, so it can cause your gray hair to yellow. So, if you can, avoid swimming pools completely.
If you are a swimmer, then reduce the harsh effects by rinsing it thoroughly before and after swimming. Also, wear a swimming cap!
Check out: How To Protect Your Hair While Swimming?
Change your shower head
Switching for a shower head with a filter can prevent your hair from yellowing as the filter will keep minerals, sediments, additives, and chemicals out.
Note: You should change the filter every six months to make sure you continue to get soft, clean water.
Wear a hat when you go outside
Hats are fantastic accessories to prevent sun damage and environmental impact, like pollutants. You can safeguard your hair and prevent it from turning yellow easily by throwing on a hat.
Use a clarifying shampoo once a week
Clarifying shampoos can help deyellow your gray hair, as they are specially made to remove buildups and stubborn residue on your hair.
Your hair will be left extra clean. So, there is no chance for accumulations to turn your hair yellow.
Avoid using hair products with sulfates and silicones
As mentioned briefly in the beginning, sulfates-containing products can discolor your hair, while silicones-containing products can bind your hair strands and so, lead to build-ups, which results in yellowing.
Check out: The 8 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos Reviews
How to take care and maintain gray hair
Do not pluck
It is tempting to just pluck off gray hair with tweezers but doing this can damage the follicle. Then, your hair may not even grow back. So, fight your temptations – do not pluck!
Using a UV protectant can make a huge difference. It will shield your hair from sun damage, which keeps your hair healthy in general, and keeps it from turning yellow in particular.
Use a conditioner daily and deep moisturizing treatments weekly
A good daily conditioner and deep moisturizing treatments once a week can take care of your coarse and wiry gray hair.
Make sure you leave the former on for at least 5 minutes before you rinse with water. Afterward, remove any knots with a wide-tooth comb.
For extra moisture and shine, you can consider applying leave-in conditioner to the ends and no need to wash again. If you choose to do this, opt for a light formula one so it does not weigh your hair down or result in buildups.
Where can I get hydrogen peroxide?
You can purchase hydrogen peroxide in drug stores and grocery stores. They are usually available at 3% to 9%. For your hair, you want the 3% type.
You should be able to get it online as well. Here are some to consider ordering right now:
- HERITAGE STORE Hydrogen Peroxide 3%: This is from HERITAGE STORE, and it comes in a 16 fl oz bottle.
- Solimo Hydrogen Peroxide 3%: This is an Amazon brand product from Solimo. It comes in a 32 fl oz bottle.
What can I use instead of hydrogen peroxide?
Apple Cider Vinegar
You can replace hydrogen peroxide with apple cider vinegar to whiten your gray hair. Here is how you do it:
- Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl. You want to get a thick paste.
- Pour 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water into a spray bottle.
- Shake the bottle for 10 seconds to mix the apple cider vinegar and water.
- Apply the thick paste on wet hair. Make sure you focus on the scalp.
- Massage the paste to the roots of your hair and cover your entire head.
- Rinse the paste off with water. Make sure there is no persisting residue.
- Spray the apple cider vinegar and water mixture throughout your head.
- You want to fully coat your hair.
- Prioritize the strands over the roots or scalp.
- Comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb or run your fingers through it.
- Rinse again with water. Make sure you do this thoroughly.
- Pat your hair dry with a fresh towel.
- Comb it again with a clean wide-tooth comb.
Note: The apple cider vinegar you use should not have any artificial ingredient, like food dyes. Look for apple cider vinegar that is labeled “non-processed.”
Alternatively, you can use shampoos made to whiten gray hair. There are plenty of options in the market.
Here are a few that we recommend:
Redken Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo (1000ml)
This product can get rid of yellow or brassy tones, which lets your gray hair look brighter and whiter.
It works its ‘magic’ when left in the hair for 3 to 5 minutes, and can be used for both naturally gray hair or dyed gray hair. In addition, it has amino acid proteins that assist in strengthening your hair.
Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo for Gray Hair (1L)
This shampoo, packed with natural blue pigments from Malva flower extracts, is excellent at reducing brassiness from gray hair. As a result, your hair can appear brighter and whiter.
If you are sensitive to smells, you will also appreciate that it has a light scent, stemming from ylang ylang oils and eucalyptus.
L’ANZA Healing ColorCare Silver Brightening Shampoo (300ml)
This product is formulated with natural purple tones from extracts of lavenders and violas. These plant-based ingredients are gentle on hair and sensitive scalps.
The shampoo is also free of sulfates so you can rest assured that it will treat your gray hair well. It will do a fantastic job at helping your gray hair look whiten by maintaining shine and luster.
See also: Will Purple Shampoo Fix Hot Roots?
Now that you have finished reading our article on “How to whiten gray hair with peroxide?” you have two methods up your sleeves!
Remember hydrogen peroxide is handy, but it needs to be used with care. Follow the steps closely and never use more than the advised amount.
If you still have questions, reach out to us in the comments. Otherwise, share the article with other readers, like your family members and friends!