How To Lighten Your Hair With Baking Soda

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Baking soda is a household staple with many uses. It’s used to remove stains, reduce odor, and even treat heartburn and whiten teeth. However, there are lots of benefits of baking soda you might not know.

If you’re looking to lighten the color of your hair — minus a trip to the salon — baking soda might do the trick, too.

In this article, we will show you how to use baking soda to lighten your hair color and other benefits.

How Does Baking Soda Lighten Hair?

While it’s possible to lighten hair with baking soda, it’s only effective under certain circumstances.

Baking soda is an abrasive cleaner and a natural cleansing agent. That’s why some people use it to remove tough stains on hard surfaces and fabrics.

Baking soda can also remove stains from hair. It’s sometimes used as a natural remedy to remove semi-permanent hair color. So when it comes to lightening the hair with baking soda, the method is most effective on dyed hair.

Since baking soda is a scrubbing agent, washing your hair with it can gradually strip the dye from your locks. Baking soda can lighten all hair colors, but it might take a few washes to get your hair to the desired color.

4 Ways To Use Baking Soda For Hair Lightening

1. Baking soda + water


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What you’ll need: 1/2 cup of baking soda, and enough warm water to mix it into a paste

How to proceed: 

  • Add the baking soda to a bowl
  • Pour in the water slowly, stirring the mixture as you do
  • Stop when you’ve created a paste of medium thickness
  • If it’s too watery, it won’t work as effectively. But if it’s too thick, it won’t spread well and will leave you with a patchy effect on your hair
  • Apply the paste to the area of hair you want to lighten, working in sections
  • Use a massaging motion to make sure you apply evenly
  • Wait for 15 – 20 minutes
  • Wash the paste out of your hair, then follow up with shampoo to make sure you remove all the baking soda
  • Use a deep conditioner to restore moisture to your hair

How often to repeat: Once a week until you’ve achieved the desired shade. This method will lighten your hair by 1 to 2 shades. It works best to remove the semi-permanent color from previously dyed hair.

2. Baking soda + Hydrogen peroxide

baking-soda-with-hydrogen-peroxide                                              Read more: 6 Best Dry Shampoo For Dark Hair You Shouldn’t Miss

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 2 tbsp tsp hydrogen peroxide
  • Disposable gloves

How to proceed:

  • Pour the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a bowl
  • Stir until all the lumps are gone, and you’ve achieved a smooth paste
  • If the paste is too thick, add a little more hydrogen peroxide, or a little water – but note that doing this will dilute the solution and make it a little less effective!
  • Wearing gloves so that the hydrogen peroxide doesn’t irritate your skin, and apply the paste to your hair
  • As stated above, massage it into each strand to make sure that all of your hair is coated evenly
  • Leave it in for 30 minutes, then check the results. If you like the color your hair has turned, go ahead and wash it out! Otherwise, leave it in for up to an hour.
  • Wash out the paste, then use shampoo to remove any last traces
  • Follow up with a deep conditioner to return moisture to your hair

How often to repeat: Every two weeks

The addition of hydrogen peroxide adds extra lightening power to the mixture, making this a good option for lightening natural hair color.

3. Baking soda + Lemon juice


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What you’ll need: 

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (make sure there’s no pulp/seeds if you’re using fresh-squeezed juice!)

How to proceed:

  • Pour the baking soda and lemon juice into a bowl
  • Mix until smooth. Add a bit more lemon juice or a small amount of water if the paste is too thick
  • Massage the paste through your hair strand by strand to make sure it’s distributed evenly
  • Leave in 15 minutes, then wash out
  • Use shampoo to remove all remnants of the paste, then follow up with a conditioner to restore moisture

How often to repeat: once a week

Lemon juice is highly acidic, which helps to lighten hair, especially when used along with baking soda. However, because it is so acidic, this mix carries a high risk of damaging the hair, so proceed with caution!

4. Baking soda + dish soap

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What you’ll need: 

  • 3 tbsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp anti-dandruff shampoo
  • 1 tbsp liquid dish soap (NOT dishwasher detergent!)

How to proceed:

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  • Mix until smooth
  • Massage the mixture into dry hair, making sure to evenly coat each strand
  • Leave it in for 20 minutes, then wash it out
  • Use your regular shampoo to remove any traces of the mixture, then follow up with a conditioner to restore moisture

How often to repeat: Every 2 to 3 days

This method combines three lightening ingredients – baking soda, the clarifying power of anti-dandruff shampoo, and the harsh detergents of dish soap. This all makes for one highly effective mix of at-home lighteners. If you have dark, thick, or low-porosity hair and are determined to use baking soda to lighten your hair, this might be your best bet.

Conclusion: Does It Work?

So, can you lighten your hair with just baking soda and a few other ingredients? Well, yes and no. Everyone’s hair is different and will accept color and lightener differently. Thick, coarse, and low-porosity hair will be more resistant to accepting the lightener mix, and so will be more difficult to lighten.

All of these mixtures only lighten your hair 1 to 2 shades, so someone with lighter hair, to begin with, will notice a much more dramatic result than someone with dark hair. And of course, hair dye lifts out much easier than natural color, so previously-colored hair will see a better result using baking soda.

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