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Looking for a light, fresh hue for your locks? Going to the salon to have your hair lightened by a professional is often expensive and the harsh chemicals in hair dye can do more harm to your hair than good. Hydrogen peroxide has been used for umpteen years to gently lighten hair by oxidizing your natural color's pigment, resulting in a lighter shade. Since lightening with peroxide is more gradual than other alternatives, you may need to repeat the process a few times. Since you can get a industrial-sized bottle at most drugstores for a just a few bucks, why not give it a try?
Test a small section of your hair in an inconspicuous area (near the nape of the neck is usually a good choice). Do this by dipping a cotton swab in the hydrogen peroxide, and applying it to the hidden section of hair. Make sure the hair is adequately saturated with the peroxide. Leave it on for 15 minutes to an hour, then assess the results. If the color is what you're looking for, carry on. If not, lightening your hair with peroxide is not the right choice for you, probably because you have a lot of red undertones in your hair which can result in the lighter hair looking brassy.
Put on an old shirt and drape an old towel over your shoulders. To make application easier, transfer the hydrogen peroxide from the brown plastic bottle into a dark spray bottle. The reason peroxide is always sold in a dark bottle (and should always be stored the same way) is because too much exposure to sunlight can change the composition of the peroxide.
Spray all of your hair with the peroxide until it's well-saturated. Be careful not to get any of the solution in your eyes, as this will cause burning and discomfort. Leave the peroxide on your hair for at least 15 minutes. If you want to go significantly lighter than your current hair color, you can leave it on for longer. If you aren't sure, stick with 15 minutes, rinse and then decide if you want your hair lighter. Often, it takes several applications to get the desired look.
Repeat the lightening process after a few days if you want to go even lighter. Sitting outside in the sun after applying the peroxide to your hair can speed up the lightening process.
If you have long or particularly thick hair, ask a friend to help so you don't miss any spots.
If you want highlights rather than an overall lightening, simply divide your hair into small sections near the front and crown of your head, and apply the peroxide to only those sections of hair. You can wrap each section in aluminum foil to keep the peroxide from transferring to other areas of your hair.
If you get hydrogen peroxide in your eyes, flush well with warm water.