I have been on the hunt for alternative ways to lighten my hair and finally found one!
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.
This trick is not only for making your hair lighter, but it is also great 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.
Methods I Tried
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Honey and lemon juice
- Vitamin C
- 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 1: 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 2: 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 3: 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.
Step 4: 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.
Step 5: Repeat
The only downside of 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.
Step 6: 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.
- You may not realize how light your hair actually is until it's dry.
Step 7 (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.
Is Vitamin C the Best Solution to Lightening Hair?
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.
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.
Connie on August 15, 2020:
Do you put the mixture on dry hair?
misti on July 18, 2020:
i did the vitamin e one.. the question is how often can you do this
Bunny on July 09, 2019:
I've used this method on almost every hair color i've had for years. On dark brown or blak hair is doesnt work as well but it can lift it a little. I also find it works best if mixed with dandruff champoo rather than just any shampoo.
Meagan on February 26, 2018:
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.
Jayne on January 21, 2018:
Can i use vitamin c tablets to lighten my hair that have citrus bioflavonoids??
diy momma on September 16, 2017:
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
birds on February 08, 2017:
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.
Brandy on February 05, 2017:
Does this work on black hair dye?
felicia on February 02, 2017:
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.
Kym on January 03, 2017:
I went from vibrant blue using this method :) Is it as effective from going from dark brown to blonde?
Sky on May 08, 2016:
Whats the reason behind getting the unflavoured tablets?
Kaitlin on April 02, 2016:
So do you put the mixture on your hair dry or wet?
nancy on February 10, 2015:
Why is is pink and blue?
Shamika on October 25, 2014:
Oh yes! It works great on African American natural hair perfectly.
Andrea on July 15, 2014:
do you need to wet the vit C/shampoo solution to lather it on your head first?
bluh on July 08, 2014:
it doesn't work
Life and Luxury from South Beach, FL on January 24, 2014:
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!