How to Get Blonde Hair Without Using Bleach
If you have been trying to go blonde at home using box hair dye or just peroxide, read on. There is a very easy way to get the blonde hair you desire without using any bleaching powder at all! The soap cap or bleach bath, another name this process goes by, can be used to freshen up your already blonde hair, to lighten your darker hair, or to blend the color of root re-growth.
The soap cap is easier to blend through your hair rather than following the bleach and developer mixture according to the instructions on the bleach powder packet, and trying to handle the brush and bowl to do it. This is a very handy method to learn. Also, you can do this on your own and won’t need a friend to apply bleaching powder and developer mixture to the back of your head for you. I have included two soap cap combinations in this article—one with bleaching powder, and one without.
Use a Soap Cap for Any of the Following Purposes:
1. If you want to lighten your hair so you can dye it or use your preferred toner to add the desired color/shade.
2. If you dyed your hair, and it turned out looking way too bold. Ex: too black, brown, or red. If your hair is porous, this could easily happen.
3. If you used toner and your roots, or other areas of your hair, came out too silvery and now you look like your hair is just gray and not blonde—use a soap cap. This graying effect often happens when “ash” toners are used and left on for too long, or if you started by toning your roots first.
4. If you want to "break the base" (which simply means to apply it to the roots to lighten any re-growth), then blend the rest of the mixture through the hair to even out the entire head of color.
The developers used to mix with bleaching powder and toners (or in this case, in your soap cap mixture), all have some amount of peroxide in them. The 20 Volume Developer contains 6% peroxide, the 30 Volume Developer contains 9%, and the 40 Volume contains about 12% peroxide. The bleaching powder and your toners are activated when mixed with the developer.
How Do I Make A Soap Cap? – General Mixture #1
First things first: wear gloves!
Then, mix equal parts of bleaching powder, shampoo, and 20 Volume Crème Developer. I wet my hair and towel dry first to dampen my hair a bit. This is because the mixture goes through hair more evenly and with more ease than it goes if your hair were completely dry.
Start with the roots if you’re trying to lighten re-growth. Then, mix all the way through the hair after the roots are also covered with the soap cap mixture. Cover your hair with plastic wrap or a plastic shower cap. The bleach will continue to process as long as it is wet, and the heat from your scalp also contributes to its activation.
Tip: If you don’t have a shower cap or plastic kitchen wrap, you’ve probably got a gazillion plastic grocery bags in your pantry cupboard. Use one of those, and tie the handles of the bag to secure it. I have used Wal-Mart bags on more than one occasion. Recycling rules!
Soap Cap Mixture #2 - Go Blonde Without Bleach
Again, wear gloves.
Now, if you don’t have any bleaching powder, or you’d just prefer not to use it, you can still lighten your hair significantly by making a soap cap with equal parts of shampoo and developer, and then add some peroxide and a small quantity of baking soda.
Be careful not to over-do it with this mix—I can see how tempting it would be to use a stronger developer like 40 volume to add extra peroxide, or to leave it on your hair too long. However, if you do any of those things, you risk causing serious damage to your hair that can not be rectified without having your head shaved.
Going without the bleach is less harsh on your hair. I use 20 Volume Developer, which is 6% peroxide, and then I added a little extra peroxide. It also makes sense here to use 30 Volume here instead of 20 without adding any additional peroxide. However, because I don’t need to use 30 volume for any other reason, it would be a waste of money for me to do that. I use the 3% hydrogen peroxide that can be purchased in most supermarket over-the-counter pharmacy departments. (Incidentally, always keep your peroxide bottle stored away from direct light as it degrades easily.)
I used the following mix for this “no-bleach soap cap:”
- 6 capfuls of 20 Volume Developer
- 2 capfuls of 3% peroxide
- 2 capfuls of baking soda
- 6 capfuls of shampoo
I also add two or three capfuls of conditioner to make this a milder mix, and to create a protective buffer for my hair. The capful* I refer to is the cap from the developer bottle. Of course you can use measuring spoon measurements if you have a set of those—just be sure the parts you measure are equal parts of each ingredient. The main thing is to get those ratios right. So, it doesn’t matter what you use to measure the product. I just do it this way because I know how much I need to mix without having any leftover. In this mixture, it is the reaction of the baking soda and the peroxide/developer that causes your hair to lighten.
Note: It has also been pointed out to me that this mixture technically is a bleach. However, as some of you are sensitive to harsh hair processing chemicals, this is a great alternative.
Also, do not keep any mixture if you have some leftover—throw it away immediately.
I prefer to use Wella 20 Volume Developer—Wella is my personal choice. While there are other brands which are equally as good, Wella just seems to work better for my own hair.
How Long Do I Leave The Soap Cap On My Hair?
The soap cap will usually work very fast, so please don’t go away and make coffee or sit down with a magazine. You’ll need to check the progress of the soap cap after 5-7 minutes, and then incrementally at the same intervals. If you see your hair looking obviously lighter, rinse the mixture off your hair immediately using cool water. It will help to keep a small snippet of hair (cut from way underneath) close by so you have something for a comparison. You will need to wet the hair swatch or the comparison will be false – as you are aware, your wet hair will always look darker.
If you see your hair looking obviously lighter, rinse the mixture off your hair immediately with cool water. It will help to keep a small snippet of hair (cut from way underneath) close by so you have something to compare. You will need to wet the hair swatch, or else the comparison will be false—as you know, your wet hair will always look darker.
If you’re going from very dark hair to blonde, you might want to have some toner on hand to cancel out brassiness that could easily result from leaving the mixture in for too long. If you just need to remove excess dye or toner, and you come out orange or yellow, then you’ve stripped too much color from your hair. So, you will need to tone again.
Tip: Always time the process from the minute you begin applying the soap cap to your roots, then save this record for future reference. Start by doing both sides of the top of your head first, then each lower side. In doing so, the amount of time the top is covered with the mixture will be equal, otherwise you risk having one side of your hair darker than the other. If the underside is darker, it does not matter as much. You can start with the underside first the next time you do a soap cap if you prefer. You will have noticed, of course, that the underside of your hair is darker anyway because of sun exposure to the outer layers. Hence the reason for leaving that section of your head until last.
Also, always rinse your soap cap out with cool water and then deep condition your hair. If you have time, the easiest and one of the most effective deep conditioning treatments I have used, is coconut oil. Apply the coconut oil, then wrap your head and leave it on overnight when possible. Be sure to protect your bed linen with a towel. If overnight isn't an option, wrap your head and leave for an hour or two in the afternoon as you go about your business at home.
Coconut Oil For Ultra Deep Conditioning
I hope this helps you out! Let me know if you try it. Once again, I am not a professional hairstylist. I am writing from personal experience having followed tips and advice I received from a trained hairstylist.
Would you try this method to lighten your hair?
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.
© 2013 Kerry