How to Lighten Hair with a Developer and Baking Soda?

Lighten dyed Hair

Mixing baking soda and a developer is a popular way of lightening your hair. Some try to lighten it with hydrogen peroxide alone. However, mixing them gives more effective results. I will share a few recipes for lightening your hair and I will guide you through the process.

This method works because baking soda makes a paste that doesn’t dry out quickly.

Also, baking soda is going to lighten your hair but cause damage as well. If you’re still down for this, wash your hair and split it into sections with clips. Create hair a solution and apply it to your hair.

For detailed steps, keep on reading.

Will Baking Soda and Developer Lighten Hair?

Yes, 30 volume developer can lighten hair alone. However, alkaline developers can do the job better.

The reason why baking soda is used is that it is alkane. It will lighten your hair more than peroxide alone. As I already mentioned at the start, this way of lightening your hair is damaging to your hair.

If you’re still interested in going it, let’s get straight to business.

First, take a big ceramic or plastic bowl and one cup (230 g) of baking soda but measure first. Shake it a little in order to break up clumps if any.

I suggest that you avoid metal bowls because even natural products like hydrogen peroxide can cause a chemical reaction.

Once you have the measured amount of baking soda in your bowl, add 3 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide (44 ml).

Please, measure this substance too and pour it over the baking soda. It will probably look like it’s frizzing. But don’t worry because this is a normal reaction between these two.

I recommend that you do not use hydrogen peroxide that’s higher in order to save your hair from more damage.

Use your spoon to break clumps if any. Also, use a plastic spoon because metal ones could also cause a chemical reaction. Once you’re done mixing, it’s time that you apply it, but do a strand test first.

This will show you how your bleached hair will look in the end. It’s always better to do a strand test than to just apply the paste on your hair and hope for the best.

It’s recommended that you leave the paste on your hair for 30 minutes for the best results before rinsing. This paste will lighten your hair 1 – 2 shades.

If you don’t like what you see from the test, add more paste. If you have black or dark brown hair, keep in mind that it will lighten 1–2 shades.

It’s impossible to go from black to blonde overnight. You’ll notice orange, red or yellow tones in your hair after bleaching, especially if you have black and dark brown hair.

Often, blonde hair turns into light blonde, while light brown turns into dirty blonde.

Medium brown hair, on the other hand, becomes lighter brown while dark brown turns into golden or medium brown, after bleaching.

Black hair might get reddish-brown tones, while red hair turns in strawberry or orange blond.

Extra tip: Always use a brush application to coat each strand in order to lighten your hair evenly. It’s said to start at the bottom sections and make your way through.

Make sure that you apply the mix to all your hair, as missed places will be obvious. If your hair is thick, device it into more sections for even coverage.

Once you finish a section, use a comb in order to dye every part of your hair, layer by layer. Cover your hair with a shower cap in order to keep the mixture from dripping onto your face and clothes.

It’s known that covering your hair with something boosts the process because your body heat helps the bleaching.

Leave the solution for 30 – 60 minutes before rinsing. Once a half hour passes, check your hair to see if you’re satisfied with the results. If you’re not happy, leave it longer (half-hour more) for the best results.

How Long Does it Take for Baking Soda to Lighten Hair?

Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Apply the paste onto your hair and leave it for about 30 to 60 minutes as I already suggested above.

You will get 1 to 2 shades lighter hair if you choose this way. It will take around 30 minutes to 1 hour for baking soda to lighten your dark hair.

Can I Just Use Developer to Lighten my hair?

Yes, it’s believed that a developer will lighten hair that hasn’t experienced dying or bleaching or “virgin” hair.

However, keep in mind that you can’t predict the correct shade that you will get after bleaching. It is known that dark brown hair turns medium brown, while medium blonde transforms into dirty blonde.

Black or dark brown hair, on the other hand, gets reddish tones while red gets a strawberry or orange shade.

The thing is that mixing soda and developed will give you a shade or two lighter hair. I cannot say the same about lightening your hair with a developer alone. It probably gives weaker results, I suppose.

What Developer Do I Need to Lighten my hair?

hair dye

It depends on your hair. If you want to lighten naturally blonde hair, you will need 20 volume developer.

If you want to bleach light to medium brown hair, 30 volume developer is recommended. Black and dark brown hair require 40 volume cream developer.

In case you didn’t know, there are 10 tones of hair from 1 to 10 (1 for black and 10 for the lightest blonde). So, before picking a color, determine your developer.

If you have light brown hair and you want to lighten a shade or two or three, a 20 volume developer can help.

However, if you want to bleach your hair three or four shades, select a 30 volume developer. Don’t keep this developer longer than your supposed to. It can irritate your scalp.

40 volume developer can be damaging, so I suggest that you stay away from it. 20 and 30 volume developers need bleaching powder.

Let’s learn how to lighten your hair in 4 simple steps. First and foremost, always use gloves to keep your nails and hands protected. If this is your first time bleaching your hair, don’t worry. It’s simple and easy.

  1. Combine the developer and bleach powder in a large plastic bowl using two equal parts. Make sure that you mix enough solution. It’s important to make enough solution for your entire hair.
  2. Divide your whole hair into sections. How many sections you divide your hair into depends on how thick your hair is. Always start at the bottom and leave the roots for the last 15 minutes. It is known that the roots need less time to bleach, so make sure that you bleach them in the end.
  3. Apply a shower cap and leave your hair around 15 minutes before rinsing. It’s recommended to check every 3 minutes how your bleach is working. Never leave your bleach on for more than 30 minutes. If you’re not satisfied with the shade, leave it a little longer. If you are, rinse your head.
  4. Use a sulfate-free shampoo. If you see yellow tones, purchase a purple shampoo. It can help you neutralize them.

Does Baking Soda and Peroxide Damage Your Hair?

Crème developers contain hydrogen peroxide to develop your dye when used in small amounts. This is why they are called developers. Using a larger amount of developers can lighten hair one to two shades.

How many shades it will lighten your hair depends on your hair’s color. It can really damage your hair, so don’t go for it unless you’re ready to sacrifice your hair. Mixing baking soda and peroxide is even worse.

However, it is far more effective using baking soda with peroxide than peroxide alone. It’s because of the natural state of developers. They are acidic. So, if you mix it with another acid, it turns even more stable and acidic. Peroxide is not that reactive. It doesn’t penetrate into your hair well like hair color can.

The hair color is alkaline. It boosts penetration and triggers the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. It lightens your hair better than peroxide alone. However, as I mentioned a couple of times so far, mixing a developer and baking soda is very damaging to your hair. If you still want to go for it, watch this tutorial.

Final Thoughts

These days, lightening your hair seems to be very popular and usually starts at an early age for girls who want sun-bleached, blonde hair. Mixing baking soda and developer is one of the most common methods people use to lighten their hair.

It’s effective but it’s also damaging. It’s recommended that you give a period of 7 to 10 days to your hair to recover before you bleach it again. I also found out that bleaching your hair has good sides too.

It cleans your hair and scalp of any harmful chemicals and toxins. Hopefully, this guideline can help you bleach your hair the right way. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below.

Monika Dimitrovska

A makeup freak who's passionate about books, beauty products, vegan food, daydreaming, and stargazing.

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