Can You Use Toothpaste To Lighten Your Hair?

Explore how and whether you should make use of paste formulated for your teeth on your hair.

Reviewed by Tiffany Young, Certified Trichology Practitioner
Written by Ramona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach
Edited by Eshna Das, Certified Skin Care Coach
Fact-checked by Swathi E, Certified Skin Care Coach  • 

The internet is always buzzing with strange hair hacks. One of them is using toothpaste to lighten your hair. There is no scientific logic behind this hack. However, many beauty vloggers are going wild over it and claiming it works. If you have been thinking of trying this, hold that thought for a while and read this article to find out the truth. Scroll down.

protip_icon Did You Know?
The year 1780 saw the production of the first modern toothpaste.

Does Toothpaste Lighten Your Hair?

Toothpaste spilling out of its tube
Image: Shutterstock

There is no definite answer to this. Toothpaste may (or may not) alter your hair color a bit, depending on the type and formula.

Many toothpaste brands claim to whiten your teeth as they contain hydrogen peroxide. This ingredient is also used as a hair lightening agent in bleaches and dyes (1). In salons, hair colorists use hydrogen peroxide solution to lighten or bleach the hair before coloring.

This is one reason why people put toothpaste on their hair strands to lighten or bleach them. Does that mean using any toothpaste with hydrogen peroxide can lighten the hair? Not necessarily.

First things first, toothpaste is not meant to be applied to the hair. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide required for teeth whitening is way too low than you need for bleaching. Hence, leaving toothpaste on your hair for long may slightly fade the hair color, but the results may not meet your expectations.

Moreover, it is not safe to apply toothpaste to the hair. Most toothpaste formulas contain baking soda and other antibacterial ingredients that may dry out the hair and cause breakage (2).

Note: While home remedies can be a great option for personal care and grooming, it is important to keep in mind that not all DIY hair care solutions are safe and effective.

protip_icon Trivia
It is believed that ancient Greek women applied a concoction of gold flakes, olive oil, pollen, and lemon juice to lighten their hair.

While applying toothpaste to the hair is messy, removing dry toothpaste from the hair is tough. In the next section, we discussed easy ways to remove toothpaste from your hair.

How To Remove Toothpaste From Your Hair

Woman detangling her hair after washing toothpaste off
Image: Shutterstock
  • Separate the hair section with dried toothpaste and clip it away from the rest of the hair.
  • Use warm water to soften the dried toothpaste and comb the section gently with a wide-toothed comb to remove the product. 
  • Shampoo your hair. Leave it on for a few minutes to dissolve toothpaste residue.
  • Wash off the shampoo and repeat 1-2 times if the hair feels sticky.
  • Detangle your hair with a wide-toothed comb after washing.

The bottom line is that you should not use toothpaste to lighten your hair. Most toothpastes contain hydrogen peroxide, which is the lightening (oxidizing) agent in many hair dyes. But the amount of hydrogen peroxide in toothpastes is much lower than in hair dyes. Also, it is advised not to apply toothpaste to your hair as it contains many ingredients that can leave your hair and scalp dry and lead to breakage. It is important to consult with a professional, especially if you are unsure about the safety of any natural remedies. If you want to lighten your hair, you can try bleaching kits, getting your hair lightened at a salon, or trying some natural lighteners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can vinegar lighten hair?

Yes. You may use apple cider and distilled white vinegar as diluted hair sprays and leave for around 30 minutes to lighten your hair to some extent.

Can saltwater lighten hair?

Yes. People who swim in the ocean find their hair lighter as the saltwater alters the natural keratin in their strands.

Can toothpaste and cinnamon lighten hair?

No. Toothpaste and cinnamon do not have any hair-lightening effect.

Can honey lighten hair?

Yes. Raw unpasteurized honey has hydrogen peroxide that may help lighten your hair. However, you should mix honey in water or apple cider vinegar (in a 4:1 ratio) and leave it on for 2-8 hours to achieve noticeable results.

Key Takeaways

  • Hydrogen peroxide is present in hair-lightening products and toothpaste for teeth whitening.
  • However, there is no evidence to support the claims that toothpaste can act as a hair-lightening agent.
  • Applying toothpaste to the hair may dry your strands due to baking soda and other ingredients.
  • Shampooing your hair at least twice and detangling it with a wide-toothed comb can remove any applied toothpaste on the hair.

Does toothpaste really lighten hair? Find out in this video! Check out the video to explore the science behind it and see if it really works.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide in Tooth Whitening Products
  2. No Sulfates, No Parabens, and the “No-Poo” Method: A New Patient Perspective on Common Shampoo Ingredients
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