Gray or white hair can be a beautiful sign of maturity, but it often becomes brassy and looks dull. Using hydrogen peroxide is one of the best methods to remove brassy yellowish tones from grays.
Keep reading to learn how to whiten gray hair by removing yellow with hydrogen peroxide so you can enjoy your beautiful gray hair once again!
What Makes Gray Hair Turn Yellow?
So, why does your stunning gray or white hair turn yellow? There are a few potential causes. Below are some of the things that may be turning your hair yellow:
- Tinted hair products (shampoo, conditioner, etc.) may discolor your hair.
- Chlorine exposure or water with hard minerals can cause hair discoloration.
- UV exposure, meaning substantial time in the sunlight, can cause your hair to yellow.
- The natural oil from your scalp may cause a yellow tinge if there is an excess.
- Smoking and air pollution can cause light-colored hair to yellow over time.
- Heat damage from curling irons, hair dryers, and straighteners can turn gray hair yellow
If you want to prevent brassy yellow tones on your gray hair, here are a few tips for you:
- Wear a hat when in the sun
- Lower your hair appliance temperature or use the cool settings
- Use a water softener in your shower
- Use clarifying shampoos and light-colored hair products
- Shower more frequently
The best preventive measure will depend on what causes your gray hair to turn yellow. Try to identify the source of the yellow before testing different solutions.
Pick the Right Hydrogen Peroxide for Yellowing Gray Hair
The most suitable hydrogen peroxide for whitening gray hair is non-food-grade 3% or 10 Volume.
Many people do not realize that there are different levels of hydrogen peroxide, and not all are suitable for hair.
The density of peroxide ranges from 3% to 100% using the formula H2O2. Do not use any hydrogen peroxide higher than 3% on your hair. Higher percentages of peroxide may cause permanent damage to your hair.
Avoid anything marked as “food grade” as these are more potent. And keep in mind, bottles with 3% hydrogen peroxide may say “10 volume,” which means the same thing.
What Does Hydrogen Peroxide Do to Gray Hair?
Ideally, hydrogen peroxide will get rid of yellow in gray hair!
To put it more scientifically, the peroxide oxidizes an amino acid (methionine) that prevents the melanin from functioning, effectively whitening the hair.
Peroxide will not turn your gray hair blonde, but it will lighten the current color.
How to Get Rid of Yellow in Gray Hair with Peroxide
You should never treat your hair with chemicals before doing some research, as you may ruin your hair. Make sure you follow precise instructions.
If you want to use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of yellow in gray hair, you can follow the steps below.
- Use 10-volume hydrogen peroxide or 3% hydrogen peroxide with a white or clear conditioner. The mixture should be half conditioner and half peroxide. Do this in a small plastic or ceramic bowl.
- Apply the peroxide conditioner mixture to your hair starting at the roots. Use a comb or application brush to pull the mixture down the hair shaft.
- Once you have comprehensively covered your hair with the mixture, place a plastic cap over your hair. Set a timer for 20 minutes. If you have very thin hair, set a timer for 15 minutes.
- In the shower or sink, rinse the mixture out of your hair. You may use shampoo, but it is not necessary.
- Once you’re sure you rinsed out all the peroxide conditioner mixture, condition your hair as you normally would. Let it dry naturally.
If it does not brighten your gray hair by removing yellow, you may repeat this process. But should wait at least four to six weeks as hydrogen peroxide bleaches your hair. The waiting period between bleaching sessions is mandatory else it will permanently damage your hair.
How Long Does Peroxide Take to Whiten Gray Hair?
As mentioned in the instructions above, you only need about 20 minutes to get rid of yellow in gray hair with hydrogen peroxide. The entire process may take 45 minutes to an hour.
People with thinner hair may want to rinse out the hydrogen peroxide sooner for a few reasons. If your hair shaft is thinner, the peroxide will seep in and remove the yellow color quickly. Your thin hair may also become damaged from a full 20-minute soak in peroxide.
On the other hand, for very thick, dense hair, you’ll need to let the peroxide mixture sit for slightly longer, like 25 minutes to half an hour. If you’re unsure if your hair is thick or thin, follow the standard 20-minute instructions.
All you need to get rid of yellow from gray hair is a bottle of 3% non-food-grade hydrogen peroxide, a light-colored conditioner, and an hour. The peroxide will not change your hair color, only lighten it.
Remember, you should not use hydrogen peroxide often as it can damage your hair badly. But you can refer to this guide regularly to prevent yellowing and keep your gray hair light.