Coloring your hair at home can be a dangerous game, and over the past few years, we’ve debunked some of the craziest DIY hair coloring methods on the internet (including soaking your hair in coffee and fruit juice). We thought we’d seen it all until discovering another household item that’s been rumored to take your current hue a shade or two lighter: toothpaste.
After a bit of internet research, we found that some swear by the minty fresh product for achieving lighter, brighter hair. Does lightening your hair with toothpaste actually work? Here’s everything we know.
Can toothpaste dye your hair?
Before we delve into the fact or fiction of lightening hair with toothpaste, let’s break down where the idea came from. Many of the whitening toothpaste brands that you likely have in your bathroom cabinet contain hydrogen peroxide. If you’re not familiar with bleach, hydrogen peroxide is the lightening agent in most bleach products (and also a main ingredient in many salon bleach formulas).
If you've ever made an appointment with your colorist for a few highlights, you probably know that it’s impossible to lift color from hair without the help of bleach. This is why some believe that whitening toothpaste works as an at-home alternative to a lightening service at the salon.
How much truth is behind this method, exactly? Well, despite the presence of hydrogen peroxide, dousing your strands in toothpaste still isn’t a proven method of lightening hair. Plus, since toothpaste isn’t specifically formulated for hair, there’s no way of knowing exactly what the result will be.
How can I lighten my hair without damaging it?
Many people look to DIY methods in hopes that they can avoid damaging their precious strands with bleach. The truth is, however, that in order to get a precise, even color (and avoid frying your strands completely), it’s best to book an appointment with a professional colorist for all of your hair lightening needs. While your colorist will need to use bleach to achieve highlights or a lighter hair color, they can also help to improve the look and feel of your strands before you leave the salon.
Once you lighten your hair, you’ll also need to switch up your at-home hair care routine a bit. First, swap out your regular shampoo and conditioner for a system formulated for color-treated hair like Kérastase Reflection Bain Chromatique Riche Shampoo and Reflection Fondant Chromatique Conditioner. This multi-protecting system is ideal for very sensitized color-treated or highlighted hair.
After sitting through one (or multiple) lightening sessions, your strands will likely feel a bit drier than usual. That’s why we recommend adding a weekly hair mask like Kérastase Reflection Masque Chromatique Hair Mask to your routine. This hair mask is formulated to protect and prolong color vibrancy for healthy hair color.
How can I lighten my hair quickly?
Here’s the deal: Lightening your hair the right way takes time, and there’s no quick solution to achieving the result you desire. Depending on the hue you’re going for, you might even need to return to the salon several times to lighten your hair safely.
If you’re looking to limit your time in the chair as much as possible, however, ask your colorist about Redken’s Flash Lift Bonder Inside. Unlike traditional bleach formulas, this all-in-one lightener formula gives you up to eight levels of lift, all with a bonder built-in—which can help to improve your strands elasticity, smoothness, and shine without any extra time in the chair.
Interested in professional hair color advice? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.