How to Lighten Your Hair Using Vitamin C Pills

Updated on March 13, 2016

Lighten Your Hair Without Damaging It

I have a very short attention span. I'm the person who was always lost during field trips and who never knows where she put her keys. Consequently, I tend to change my hair color every couple of weeks. It's one of the perks of not being "conventionally employable," and I like to enjoy it.

Getting vibrant colors can be a chore, however. It usually involves quite a lot of bleaching and pre-lightening. For that reason, I decided to research some alternative methods of lightening hair.

For All Occasions

This trick is not only for making your hair lighter, but it is also great for if you're just trying to go a few shades lighter than your natural hair color or if you accidentally dyed your hair too dark.


  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Honey and lemon juice
  • Vitamin C
  • Bleach
  • Color stripping kits

Why Vitamin C?

  • Hydrogen peroxide works, but it damages and dries your hair.
  • Honey and lemon juice work well on natural hair—especially when subjected to light—but do next to nothing for already colored hair.
  • Meanwhile, bleach and color strippers don't tend to work well on vegetable-based dyes like Special Effects and Manic Panic.

This left me with vitamin C, which seemed bizarre, but I'm always up for a challenge.

Step One: Crush Up Pills

  • The pills that you need are just ordinary vitamin C tablets. However, make sure you don't get the ones with flavoring.
  • The ones I received were 500 MG, and I was advised to use 5 of them. However, I like to overdo things, so I ended up using 10 of them instead.
  • Crushing is fairly easy. Using a soup can or rolling pin is the fastest route. When crushing the pills into a fine powder, make sure that you are thorough. If the mixture is gritty rather than powdery, it will be difficult for you to mix.

Step Two: Mix With Shampoo

  • Your crushed pills should now be mixed with enough shampoo to lather your entire head—usually a one-to-one ratio.
  • You want to mix it very thoroughly. I used a plastic bag to do this.

Step Three: Lather and Cover

  • Work the mixture through your entire head, focusing especially on your roots and around your ears as these are the areas most commonly missed.
  • If you feel any grit while you lather, keep going until the graininess dissolves. The foaming action of the shampoo will help, but take care not to use too much water; you don't want the mixture to get runny.
  • Once you've finished lathering, cover your head with a shower cap.

Now the waiting begins.


While not common, some people experience burning or itching when using this method. If you start to experience this, stop immediately!

Step Four: Wait and Rinse

  • You should wait at least an hour before washing this mixture off. However, if any time you experience irritation or burning, you should rinse it off immediately. You may be having a bad reaction to the vitamin C.
  • Once the hour has passed, you should rinse off the shampoo mixture completely. However, you likely won't be done yet.

Original hair color.
Original hair color.

Step Five: Repeat

The only downside to using this method is that you normally need to repeat it at least two or three times. However, don't get discouraged if your hair doesn't seem light enough. You actually only need to lighten your dye to a reasonable level if you're interested in dying your hair a different color. Many people mistakenly lighten their hair too much, damaging it unnecessarily.

Hair color after two washes.
Hair color after two washes.

Step Six: Dry Completely

Remember to dry your hair completely between lightening. There are two reasons for this:

  • applying a lightening solution to your hair while wet is not as effective as applying it dry,
  • and you may not realize how light your hair actually is until it's dry.

Step Seven (Optional): Dye It Again!

After you've lightened your hair enough, you can feel free to do it again! Always do a test if you're not certain. Sometimes you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

After dyeing again!
After dyeing again!

Is Vitamin C the Best Solution?

There are a few things I want to note about vitamin C.

  • It can dry your hair and your scalp--it isn't a completely non-harmful method of lightening your hair.
  • Further, a color stripper can be a fantastic solution if you have conventional hair dye in, such as a deep brown or black.
  • However, for vegetable-based dyes, vitamin C is definitely the most gentle and least harmful option that I've used.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Meagan 2 months ago

        I found this very helpful. I have a peekaboo and the blue turned into a color that was not for my liking. I ordered a new color but was scared that the color would not come through completely because of the color of my hair. I tried this and it worked, though it says use like 10 pills, I ended up using more than 28 pills. It did work, but I’m going to do it again and then dye my hair. For the safe side.

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        Jayne 3 months ago

        Can i use vitamin c tablets to lighten my hair that have citrus bioflavonoids??

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        diy momma 8 months ago

        thanks for the info!! I'm an over-doer too so its good for me to find out any possible mis-steps or outcomes of "over engineering" as my husband calls it! lol

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        birds 15 months ago

        does this work for lifting out a green-blue teal color? it's very green based and i just need to lift out the leftovers from washing it out.. i'm going dark purple and don't want any icky undertones from the turquoise.

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        Brandy 15 months ago

        Does this work on black hair dye?

      • profile image

        felicia 15 months ago

        It does work. I just did it last night. It doesn't actually "lighten" hair though... if you have dyed hair it will strip the dye. It won't do anything to hair that has not been colored.

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        Kym 16 months ago

        I went from vibrant blue using this method :) Is it as effective from going from dark brown to blonde?

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        Sky 2 years ago

        Whats the reason behind getting the unflavoured tablets?

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        Kaitlin 2 years ago

        So do you put the mixture on your hair dry or wet?

      • profile image

        nancy 3 years ago

        Why is is pink and blue?

      • profile image

        Shamika 3 years ago

        Oh yes! It works great on African American natural hair perfectly.

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        Andrea 3 years ago

        do you need to wet the vit C/shampoo solution to lather it on your head first?

      • profile image

        bluh 3 years ago

        it doesn't work

      • Life and Luxury profile image

        Life and Luxury 4 years ago from South Beach, FL

        This is very unique. I have never heard of this. I am sure a lot of readers will be using this method to lighten their hair for Summer. Great hub!