How to lighten dark brown or black hair with peroxide (bleach at home)

blonde and black

Are you thinking of lightening your dark hair with peroxide?


I ask you for the light that illuminates these moments that you stop.

Because what you are thinking of doing is a serious matter.

First, because peroxide doesn’t lighten hair; it bleaches it.

Do you know what that means?


 That your hair will never go back to being the same as it was once you apply the peroxide.  

It will never be the same for two fundamental reasons.


First, your natural color will never come back. The peroxide penetrates the hair cuticles eliminating your natural pigment. And this is an irreversible process.

Once the peroxide kills the natural pigments of your hair, nothing can make it come back.


Second, even taking the greatest amount of possible precautions, peroxide also will change the appearance of your hair.

Because as it strips out the natural color, it will also strip out the natural oils that are in the end what makes your hair look healthy and hydrated.

Do you still not believe me?


Then I have no other choice but to tell you my story, that I will tell you, doesn’t have a happy ending. At least, not for my hair.

Wake up, girl, and read this carefully! Before it’s too late.


 The first time that I wanted to change my hair, I used peroxide.  

I was in high School, without much experience with hair matters, and of course, my wallet shined with the absence of dollar bills.


I had read somewhere that peroxide lightened hair.

So, I used the little money that I had to buy some peroxide.

I locked myself in the bathroom of my house so my mother wouldn’t find me. I applied the peroxide, as if I was simply applying water to my hair.


I started to notice small changes in the color of my hair, but it wasn’t light enough.

I waited twenty minutes more.

When I decided that it was light enough, I rinsed my hair quickly.


 Two days later, in addition to having to deal with the alarming screams of my mother, I started to notice that my hair felt like gum.  

It was absolutely straw-like, dry, lifeless, and a color that scared me.


In my innocence, I thought that by washing my hair, the color would come back.

But that didn’t happen. Because what I didn’t know in that moment is that I hadn’t lightened the color of my hair.

I had bleached it. And to repair the damage that I had done to y hair, I had to practically shave my head, literally.


Now that I see that you are awake, I will tell you:

  • What is peroxide and how does it work in your hair
  • How to prepare your hair to bleach it
  • The process to apply peroxide to hair
  • How to get highlights in your dark hair with the help of peroxide
  • How to care for your hair after bleaching it.


Oh! Of course. I almost forgot.

 I also learned that peroxide is also known as developer and hydrogen peroxide. 

But don’t be fooled. They are different names to describe the same demon.


Tabla de Contenidos


What is peroxide and how does it work in your hair

three percent peroxide

The external layer of a hair is the cuticle, which is formed by different layers that lay overtop of each other like roof tiles.

Both the marrow and the cortex contain melanin, which ultimately is a protein that gives the hair color.


Peroxide or developer, opens the cuticle of the hair, penetrating the stalk, and dissolving the color molecules.

The peroxide reacts with the melanin, lightening the hair through a process called oxidation.

This process is what damages the hair when the peroxide isn’t applied appropriately.


 Peroxide comes in different presentations. You can find it as a liquid or a cream.  

It also contains different levels. I don’t want to go too far into this, because chemistry was never one of my favorite subjects.

But you can find peroxide in 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-volumes.


To bleach your hair, please always use 10-volume.


How to get your hair in shape to bleach it

in dark brown hair

Have you ever gone on a trip?


I’m sure you planned your trip with amazing details so that everything went well. Transport. Lodging. Trips.

People only take vacations one or two times a year, and the last thing we want is for things to go wrong, right?

The same way that you plan your vacations, you should do so with bleaching.


 Allow me to give you a piece of advice. Plan to bleach you hair a few weeks before doing it.  


  • Don’t dye your hiar nor do any type of similar treatment like straightening or keratin.
  • Also, avoid using chemical hair products like gels, mousses and sprays.
  • Stay away from heat sources, like flat irons and hair dryers.
  • And if you can, ask a friend to help you. Four eyes are always better than two, and it will be useful to help you with sectioning the back parts of your hair.


How to bleach your hair with peroxide in 5 steps

Before we start, wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to get rid of possible dirt or residues from other hair products in your hair.

Start with the process while your hair is still wet.


It’s very important that you do a chunk test. This is very important to know how much time you should let the peroxide sit, until you get the color you want.

Choose whatever piece of hair is less visible.

Now, let’s get to work.


Necessary materials:

  • Plastic gloves
  • A towel
  • A comb
  • 10-volume peroxide
  • A spray bottle
  • A shower cap


Step by step

  • If you are thinking of doing this in less time than a rooster sings, go back.

Yyou should start slowely.


  • Apply the towel around your shoulders.


  • Divide your hair in small sections or chunks so that it can work.

I suggest that you divide you hair into four sections, and tie back the ones that you won’t be working with at the moment with some hair clips.


  • Pour the peroxide in a spray bottle.


  • Start spraying your hair with peroxide one section of hair at a time.

It’s very important that as you spray your hair with peroxide, you pass a comb through to keep it from getting tangled.


  • Once you have finished spraying all your hair, wrap it in a shower cap to prevent it from dripping on your clothes.

Now is when you need to have all your senses alert. Especially your eyes.

Even though you did your homework and you did a chunk test, you now have an idea of how long you should leave the peroxide in your hair.

If you didn’t do the test, very bad! I suggest that you leave it in your hair for about twenty minutes.


  • Tick, tock, tick, tock…the moment of truth has arrived.

Wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. After, apply a deep conditioner, massaging your scalp gently.

This will alleviate the possible discomforts that the peroxide can cause and also, it will help restore some of the moisture you lost.


When your hair is completely dry, but you still want it a bit lighter, you can apply the developer again, doing the same process.

For the health of your hair, I advise you to wait one or two days before doing it again.


Also, if you have dark hair and you want some highlights, you can use peroxide to get it.

This cuts the monotony of dark hair, and gives you a few touches of light.


How to do highlights in dark hair

Whether its because you don’t want a sudden change or because you simply like a more natural look, you can also do some highlights in your hair with peroxide.


For this, you will need:

  • 10-volume peroxide
  • Gloves
  • Plastic bowl
  • Comb
  • Hair Clips
  • Cotton



Again, I will say that you have to prepare your hair the same way I explained for the previous process.


  • Place the peroxide in the plastic bowl.

It’s not necessary to use it all. Use what you need.


  • Submerge a cotton ball in the peroxide and pass it over the pieces of hair where you want the highlights.

I recommend that these pieces not be more than two centimeters so that they look natural.

Start from the roots and go to the ends.


  • As you apply the developer on each piece of hair, wrap it in aluminum foil.

This will prevent the peroxide from coming into contact with the rest of your hair.


  • You can apply heat with a hair dryer, even though I don’t advise it, because it can dangerously accelerate how the peroxide acts.
  • After twenty minutes has passed, wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and apply a deep conditioner to nourish the processed pieces.


As you can see, whether you want to bleach all your hair or just a few pieces, it’s best to be careful.

Bleaching your hair is still a chemical process which whether you like it or not, will leave your hair less healthy.

That’s why it is important to care for your hair afterwards.

And now that we’re there, I will also tell you.


5 secrets to care for your hair after bleaching

After bleaching your hair, you will notice that your hair ends up very fragile and dry.

It’s important that you wash your hair less frequently since shampoos strip out the natural oils of the hair.


If you can’t stand a few days without washing your hair, try a dry shampoo.

Dry shampoos, like Batiste, come in spray form and allow you to get rid of the dirt in your hair without needing to get it wet.


Another important thing. The days after bleaching, avoid friction and ripping your hair when you brush it.

Remember that your hair will still be fragile. The last thing that you need is to be pulling at it.


Once a week, do a deep olive oil treatment or coconut oil. Apply a generous amount to your hair and let it sit for at least an hour. You will see how your hair gets its smoothness and shine back.


One final detail: if you end up lightening your hair with peroxide, your highlights will be too yellow, chicken yellow, apply purple shampoo.

This product neutralizes those ugly yellows.


And now, you know how to lighten your hair without damaging it.

If you have any doubts about the process or anything else, you can leave me a comment below.

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