DIY Hair: How to Get White Hair

Updated on March 20, 2018
a beautiful mess profile image

I love to dye my hair all colors of the rainbow. I love all things vintage, and I enjoy creating art, taking photos, and doing it myself.

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White hair can be absolutely beautiful, but it takes a lot of work to get there. With the proper care, precaution, and upkeep, you can manage a white that would make Draco Malfoy jealous!

Chances are you're going to need a lot of lightening. Unless your hair is already a fair shade of blonde, you're going to have to split this up over multiple bleachings. Damage to your hair is virtually inevitable, but, if you take care of your hair through the processing, you can minimize it.

Below, I'll detail the process, the tools, and the techniques you can use to get that Magneto mop. You can find a handy guide to using toner here!

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Supplies

Coconut Oil - You'll need to pick up a tub of 100% pure unrefined coconut oil (you can find this at WalMart) to glob on your head and keep your hair moisturized. This stuff is really important in keeping your hair from drying out.

Bleach Powder - I prefer Magic Ammonia Free Powder Lightener, but you'd need a cosmetology license to buy this stuff. Some viable substitutes can be found at Sally's, like Salon Care Prism Lights Violet Lightener. Anything that has violet or blue tinted powder is going to be awesome for keeping the brassiness out of your hair as you lighten.

Developer - This stuff is necessary to mix with the bleach. I use Salon Care Cream Developer. There's liquid developer out there too, but I find that cream mixes better with the bleach powder. I wouldn't go any higher than a 20 Volume or else you risk serious damage to your hair.

Dye Brush - Can't do it without one. Find at Sally's.

Mixing Bowl

Toner - Wella T18 Lightest Ash Blonde is probably the best stuff you'll find out there.

Process

The first thing I love to do before bleaching is put in a little hair mask for a few hours. I'll coat my hair with coconut oil and leave it in for several hours before actually applying bleach.

After at least two hours, the next step would be to actually apply the bleach. This process will be different depending on if you've got roots or not! If you're working with super dark roots, try to get those to the lightness of the rest of your hair first.

RATIO: Start with equal parts powder and developer, and then add developer little by little until the mixture is the consistency of pudding.

Apply bleach as in the video above, separating your hair into small strips and painting the bleach/developer mixture onto the length of your roots. You're going to have to work pretty quickly, so your hair processes at the same rate.

Leave the bleach in for 20-30 minutes tops before rinsing out with lukewarm water.

IT'S NOT GOING TO BE PERFECT. Like I said, this is a process and it's going to take multiple bleachings to achieve. Your roots/hair at this point will probably be brassy, yellow, or orange. Don't worry little guy, you'll get there.

You're most likely going to have to repeat this process several times to get to a light yellow color. It's wise to space bleaching out over a few weeks - I try not to bleach my hair more than twice in one week. You need to give your hair time to recover and bounce back!

When your hair is this light of a yellow, you're ready to tone!
When your hair is this light of a yellow, you're ready to tone! | Source

Toning

When your hair looks like Kim K's awful yellow locks in the photo above, you're ready to tone! This is where it gets exciting.

RATIO: 2 parts developer to 1 part toner.

Mix your developer and toner together in a bowl, and get ready to paint it on! You're going to need gloves for sure.

Start by saturating your roots, and then work the toner down into the rest of your hair. It WILL start to turn purple, but do not be alarmed. That's what's going to get rid of your nasty yellow tones.

Leave that toner on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing out, and then make sure to condition and then treat your hair like a new born baby! As in, it's fragile. Don't mess this up.

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Upkeep & Care

At this point you may want a few tips as far as caring for your white hair.

Minimize washing. Your hair is going to be pretty dry after such a drastic process, and the less you was it the better. You'll get by, and your hair will thank you for it! I have bleached hair (though not white anymore), and I shampoo it maybe once a week. If it starts feeling greasy, I'll throw in some corn starch as a dry shampoo.

Use purple shampoo. When you do shampoo, you're going to want something that will keep your tone fresh. That's where purple shampoo comes in! Generic (that's the brand name) has an inexpensive purple shampoo available at Sally's.

Keep the coconut oil handy. Like I said, bleaching is drying. Coconut oil works wonders to keep your hair smooth, soft, shiny, and packed full of nutrients. Apply to ends and after washes.

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Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Aaron 

        2 months ago

        I was appaently not able to find toner where I live do you think i can use purple shampoo instead and get a similar result?

      • Kim Dollar profile image

        Kim Elisa Graff 

        2 months ago from Oxford Al

        For the white blonde look do NOT use any toner that has Ash period unless you want green hair. What I do is I use the blue powder and the 30-40 volume developer and I leave it on a full 60 minutes. Better to do it right first time. I use no toner I don't need one. Believe me to get to a down perfect took me many trial and errors coming out with orange and red tints. Problem was I was taking it off too soon. Please trust me on this. If your hair is in bad condition add a great conditioner to the bleach and developer. I use both coconut oil plus the pack of the conditioner you use for damaged hair mixed in. I've never needed a toner since I now know how long to leave it on. It's scary but I promise you it does work.

      • profile image

        KatPults 

        4 months ago

        Ausha, if allergic to coconut oil, you can try a mix of avocado oil, argan oIl, grapeseed oil, vitamin e oil, jojoba oil, almond oil. I actually use all of them mixed together (w coconut oil, just omit) and I'm pretty sure this is the ONLY reason I haven't fried my almost! white locks. Good luck!

      • profile image

        Devin 

        5 months ago

        So I have dreadlocks and I was wondering if you have any advice specifically for my hair type (4c). Also do you know a product that could make my hair purple i'm sorry if i'm not using the proper terminology i'm new at this.

      • profile image

        S Harris Foster 

        5 months ago

        oh my goodness... well I kept going back and forth with bleach it again first or just do the toner... well as it happened, I had work and other life things that had me postpone anything to do with hair, then I decided to just go on ahead and bleach it again... then directly after the toner... just like the video in here and boy oh boy is it fried... I am not too bothered really... I knew this might happen and since I am going gray/silver I had decided to do one last try with actually keeping the length, but alas it did not turn out that way... the hair is still there, but boy oh boy is it soooooooo dry and brittle and weird... so what I will do is just put some oils on it and leave it for a couple of days, maybe a week and then I will wash it, do another olaplex 3 treatment, maybe I will leave the olaplex on overnight too, and yeah get it trimmed my 3 or more inches, and go about standard bob length... then just start on ONLY use toner on my gray silver roots as they grow out, and just keep on trimming this dead frizz out as it grows... may even go with a cute pixie do too after a while, maybe at summer's end... but I will have to see how it goes with roots too... so toner and or purple or silver shampoos for roots until I get rid of all or most of this weird stuff... I knew this might happen so again, not too fussed about it... I will still stay in touch and let you know how this is going...

      • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

        Alex Rose 

        5 months ago from Virginia

        Hey!! Sorry I didn't see this sooner! It seems like you've got a good idea of what to do! If your hair isn't too damaged you may be able to bleach again in less than a month, but trimming is a good idea! Depending on what toner you're using it may not help with the orange spots. Let me know how it works!

      • profile image

        S Harris Foster 

        5 months ago

        hiya Alex... update... did the bleaching, and just stayed with my light saturation of the coconut oil... it did get down on my shoulders... ok, well my bleaching and olaplex directly after i rinsed out the olaplex is fine... i am brassy, and orange in spots, and of course my hair is dry and frizzy but it is not severely destroyed or anything... YAY... i am getting ready to do toner today so hopefully that will take out the orange or at least turn it beige... hhehehehe... ok, just a quick update for ya about bleaching number one session... i will wait about a month before i do bleaching number two session... and I will start cutting length to start getting rid of really over processed colored then bleached hair, so i will just be to my regular virgin (gray) with the bleaching or platinum look... ciao...

      • profile image

        S Harris Foster 

        5 months ago

        hey Alex... you are probably asleep, but I wanted to do an update and also ask a question... I have the coconut oil in right now, and in a couple of hours I will do my first bleaching... how much should I saturate my hair... right now it is lightly, should I put in a bunch more? and then the little update I wanted to tell you is I did an Olaplex#3 treatment on Friday so I hope that helps protect or "perfect" my quite dry hair... I must say it does feel better... still looks a bit dry and frizzy, but I will do another Olaplex#3 possibly tomorrow...

      • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

        Alex Rose 

        5 months ago from Virginia

        That's really weird that it'd turn green after if it was that light! T18 is probably the #1 toner for getting white hair at home. You may consider a light bleaching, using 10 vol developer to pull some more of that yellow out. T18 turns purple in your hair, so it's weird that it would turn your hair green but everyone's hair reacts differently to products. Maybe it was the Manic Panic that did it? How long did you leave the Wella toner in for?

      • profile image

        Amecia MUAH 

        5 months ago

        What toner would you recommend? I am currently Russian blonde and I used the wella t18 toner and the manic panic snow white and I ended up with a greenish silver. I am so hurt. Then I did a soap cap with purple shampoo and a purple tint. The yellow is gone but now I have a weird beige then I got a bright Idea dip my hair in a blue semi permanent water mix and more manic panic. The result is silver/ cream with grey undertones. I want to get to white please please help me.

      • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

        Alex Rose 

        6 months ago from Virginia

        Well hey, if it's short I say go for it!! I'm very cautious with my own hair now because it's quite long (all the way down my back) and if I damage it, that's a lot of hair to lose. Good luck with it!!

      • profile image

        S Harris-Foster 

        6 months ago

        ok, well thanks for the tip, your knowledge and your outlook... I will probably still try it anyway, as I have already gone onto amazon and bought all the stuff in your instructions...I have bleached my hair before but with grocery store bought stuff (European stuff since I live in Europe)... it turned out nice and bleachy and not very damaged at all really... but it is a long story about how I kept going shorter and shorter and then shaved it quite close to my head. so yeah, hmmmmmm... I am kinda still on the fence, but I always have the option to shave or drastically shorten to bob length. and I do have a few hairdresser friends so I can always go short or shaved... again... LOL... if it completely burns or destroys... I an adventurous and not afraid of damage... go figure... hehehehehe... I like an "alternative" look anyway and have tattoos and piercings, so nothing is too unusual for the Swiss folks to be gawking at anyway... LOL... I will write back and let you know how it all turns out... :)

      • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

        Alex Rose 

        6 months ago from Virginia

        Well the process to get white is definitely not going to help out if your hair is currently dry and frizzy - it's only going to make that worse. I'm not as experienced with working on natural grey hair, so I can't say with certainty how easy it would be to go white. If you're set on it and aware that damage may occur, I'd look into Olaplex (works wonders for stylists when bleaching to keep soft hair, but you have to have a cosmetology license to purchase) and doing some light bleaching with a 10 or 20 volume developer. Just taking it easy and doing the process over a few weeks to keep damage minimal. Good luck!

      • RockNRoll Gramma profile image

        S Harris-Foster 

        6 months ago from Planet Earth

        Hey Alex... what are your opinions on doing this technique to dry, frizzy, greying hair? I currently am middle aged and graying BUT have long, wavy, dark blonde/light brown DYED hair... which again, is dry and requires lots of product to make it behave, which if do do... hahaha... but what do you recommend for this hair type and your technique? I want so badly to do your technique and maybe even do pravana vivids, but I really would love to hear your opinion on my hair type first... I LOVE your coconut oil technique too... will be doing that anyway with or without bleaching... hahahaha... thanks... anxiously awaiting your response...

      • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

        Alex Rose 

        6 months ago from Virginia

        Ausha - If not coconut oil, you can use a ton of different things! Argon oil is great for your hair too, as well as olive oil (extra virgin, but only use a little), vitamin E oil. Or just pick up a deep conditioner, apply a small amount to your damp, washed hair, and use it as a leave-in conditioner!

      • profile image

        Ausha 

        6 months ago

        Could recommend something other than coconut oil? I am highly allergic. Could I get away with argan oil? Thank you!

      • Before the R profile image

        Kristen Elizabeth 

        8 months ago from Texas

        I love this white hair!!

      • profile image

        deb brave 

        9 months ago

        I have dark brown hair and have been coloring for years. I now have so much white hair coming through that I want to go all white. Is there any way to do this without frying my hair?

      • profile image

        Marilyn Thompson 

        9 months ago

        I've been bleaching my hair for years and yes the Purple Shampoo is the best, caution not too much, experience with it. Yeah, I'm naturally a beautiful grey,the color of choice. I use a toner to maintain the color, some shampoos, environment pollutents, other chemicals can dull or change the tone, enjoy your locks, enjoy who you are...oops one more thing we don't get the right color, cut, it'll get better, it grows and your beautiful.

      • anayaedwardsing29 profile image

        Anaya 

        10 months ago

        It is very useful.

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