Updated date:

DIY Hair: How to Get White Hair at Home

Author:

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.

Photo by Sound Snap Boudoir

Photo by Sound Snap Boudoir

White hair can be absolutely beautiful, but it takes a lot of work to get there. Luckily, with the proper care, precaution, and upkeep, you can manage white locks that would make Draco Malfoy jealous, all without a trip to the salon!

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 throughout the process, you can minimize it.

Below, I'll detail the process, tools, and techniques you can use to get that perfect Magneto mop.

Supplies

  • Coconut Oil: You'll need to pick up a tub of 100% pure unrefined coconut oil (you can find this at most grocery stores, even WalMart) to glob on your head and keep your hair moisturized. This is really important in keeping your hair from drying out.
  • Bleach Powder: I prefer Magic Ammonia-Free Powder Lightener, but you 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 is what you 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: These can be found at Sally's.
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Toner: Wella T18 Lightest Ash Blonde is probably the best stuff you'll find out there.

How to Get White Hair at Home (5 Easy Steps)

Step 1: Apply Coconut Oil

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 (or even overnight) before actually applying bleach. (Do not rinse the coconut oil out of your hair before applying the bleach.)

Step 2: Apply 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.

Step 3: Let Bleach Sit, Then Rinse Hair

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

Step 4: Repeat Until You Achieve a Light Yellow Color

Your hair color is not going to be perfect after just one session. 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!

Step 5: Tone Your Hair

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 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 conditioning.
  • Treat your hair like a newborn baby! As in, it's fragile. Don't mess this up.

For more information, here's a handy guide to using toner!

Once you've taken your hair from bleached to white, it'll take a little maintenance to keep it happy.

Once you've taken your hair from bleached to white, it'll take a little maintenance to keep it happy.

White Hair Upkeep and Care

At this point, you may want a few tips to help you care for your white hair.

Minimize washing. Your hair is going to be pretty dry after such a drastic process, and the less you wash it the better. You'll get by, and your hair will thank you for it! I have bleached hair (though it's 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 whenever they're looking parched and after each wash.

White hair is a unique and eye-catching look!

White hair is a unique and eye-catching look!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Alex Rose

Comments

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on July 20, 2020:

Hey! You should use a color remover first to get out any old dye before you use bleach. I would avoid using bleach on already colorless parts if you can, just to avoid any unnecessary damage. Once you've gotten the color out of the rest of the hair, I think it would be okay to use toner on all of it - especially if you're going to take the process of lightening super slowly!

Using a 10 volume developer and doing multiple processes should make the whole thing a lot less damaging.

ohhno on July 11, 2020:

Thinking of going white, or just a pale blonde, as my hairline at the top and at the temples has gone colourless, but I'd love a little guidance as I'm getting quite confused.

The rest is a neutral mid brown, though there are some small colourless patches back there. It was dyed a while ago, to a cool medium brown that is just a tiny bit darker than the natural colour.

Should I use a colour remover on this old dye, and then begin the bleaching sessions a couple of weeks later, or would it be more appropriate to commence with bleach?

Also, on the colourless patches, is it best to try to keep bleach and toners off them, or is it usually safe enough to risk? I'm not intending to touch the colourless areas at the hairline but would need to rope in a friend to exclude the small patches if they shouldn't be bleached.

I'm not expecting to get a particularly satisfactory result, and I'd anticipate going at it more cautiously than the main article suggests, but I'd also prefer to avoid the sort of disaster that would necessitate a year of hat-wearing.

Thanks in advance.

Camille Gould on May 27, 2020:

Im almost to white when i bleached the color out of my hair. Gonna keep it for a bit because i dont like ordering color without being able to look at swatches. One more bleaching of my roots and it will be good!!

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on May 01, 2020:

Dylan, you can use any sort of developer as long as it is 20 volume! I use Salon Care 20 Volume Creme developer.

Dylan on April 30, 2020:

What kind of developer do we use?

Kelly on April 03, 2020:

Corrina, Coconut oil is good for a lot of things and one is your hair. A lot of my clients use it on their hair. The only place you should avoid is your face bc it can clog your pores.

Lin on March 11, 2020:

Corrina...Show your Science, please? I know of NO such science and coconut oil is by far one of the best moisturizing products out there for at least 5000 years ...so again ...Wheres your Science?

Lena on January 06, 2020:

YIPPY!

Corrina on November 20, 2019:

Coconut oil is SO BAD FOR YOUR HAIR Anything that becomes solid at room temperature will literally smother the hair shaft Any kind of oil that remains liquid at room temp is far better for your hair (that includes FRACTIONATED coconut oil).

Gbenga jesua on November 19, 2019:

I want to dye my hair to white help mi out

Kell on July 20, 2019:

It doeant say which toner was used

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on May 23, 2019:

If you're not into bleaching it, I say getting highlights should help. My mom used to have dark auburn hair, but as she ages she has been going into the salon for hilights to conceal her grays. Now she has a very very light blonde tone on her mostly gray hair.

Christine Mulberry on May 20, 2019:

My natural hair is a very dark blonde/light brown which has been colored a dark golden blonde for at least 10 years. I'm older and have mostly gray now except at the back of my head. What would be the least damaging way to go to gray without just growing out the gray with a distinct line between the white hair at the roots and my colored hair below? Had considered bleaching it white but realized the damage would be far too much for my fragile hair.

Weeaboo69 on May 13, 2019:

Very useful for cosplaying as Ken Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul.

Matilda on April 15, 2019:

Don't worry ladies when you are 50 your hair will be snowy white naturally! I am henna colouring my white roots fortnightly as white hair would make me look washed out.

Marie yazzie on March 21, 2019:

Alex Rose , I have been trying to get white hair and this would be my 4 th bleaching attempt and I have been using coconut oil and I don’t do anything more than a 20 volume developer, but I have brassy hair and I tried the t18 wella and still not white what do you recommend?

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on March 11, 2019:

Toning your blonde hair can be tricky. Any "ash" toners are going to have blue-green tones in them, and when that reacts with your yellow-tinted hair it's bad news.

If you want to stay as far away from green as possible, use a warm toner. Something golden or beige should do.

From what I've read, the green on your hair is an buildup of oxidization. Try using a clarifying shampoo or even ketchup to neutralize it!

S Ducker on March 08, 2019:

I have dark hair and stripped the colour using 40%peroxide with ammonia mix, which I did two times in succession. I then added Wella , light ash blond toner followed by John Frieda Blond Ambition (purple mousse) and my hair has gone greeny blue! Help! I wanted white or silvery or purplish/lilac silver/white, I will now settle for pinkish just not greeny blue....

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on January 16, 2019:

You could try using a color stripper, or you may just have to do a light bleach using 10 volume developer. Blue can be hard to get out but that should work!

Danny on January 12, 2019:

I have blue hair, how can I get this back to blonde? I dyed it 3 months ago and it’s slowly fading into a green and brown

Rene on December 07, 2018:

I did a platinum bleach it’s a bit pale yellow And now I want it white. Any suggestions?

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on October 29, 2018:

You're not going to get that without bleaching first! Recommend a 20 volume developer and that should get the lingering red out as well.

alexis on October 28, 2018:

I dyed my hair a red almost 5 months ago. Majority of it is gone, but it's still spotty. I have a medium brown hair color. I'm not sure which toner to use. I'm trying for that white silver blonde!

Aaron on August 09, 2018:

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 Elisa Graff from Oxford Al on July 28, 2018:

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.

KatPults on June 14, 2018:

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!

Devin on May 18, 2018:

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.

S Harris Foster on May 14, 2018:

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...

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on May 08, 2018:

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!

S Harris Foster on May 06, 2018:

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...

S Harris Foster on May 05, 2018:

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...

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on April 25, 2018:

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?

Amecia MUAH on April 24, 2018:

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.

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on April 05, 2018:

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!!

S Harris-Foster on April 05, 2018:

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... :)

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on April 04, 2018:

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!

S Harris-Foster from Planet Earth on April 04, 2018:

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...

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on March 27, 2018:

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!

Ausha on March 26, 2018:

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

Kristen Elizabeth from Texas on January 30, 2018:

I love this white hair!!

deb brave on January 15, 2018:

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?

Marilyn Thompson on January 09, 2018:

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.

Anaya on November 27, 2017:

It is very useful.