Bleaching arm hair is a very real problem for many women who were born with darker hair and of hairier genes. It is a major problem for younger girls especially who do not want to wax, should not shave the hair, and have to face the world with arms that look more like a man’s.
Those from the Middle East and India know this problem all too well. Eastern Europeans do not escape it either. As such, it is a great option to lighten arm hair, effectively hiding it from prying eyes. But how does one go about bleaching arm hair?
In this article:
- The History of Bleaching Arm Hair
- Ways of Bleaching Arm Hair
- How to Bleach Arm Hair With Hydrogen Peroxide and Ammonia?
- Natural Ways to Bleach Arm Hair
- DIY Homemade Recipes for Bleaching Arm Hair
- The Pros and Cons of Bleaching Arm Hair
The History of Bleaching Arm Hair
First, it is interesting to note that women have always been looking for ways to get rid of body hair or hide it, one way or another. During the renaissance period, women often had a so-called “book of secrets”, wherein everything from cosmetics to body hair removal was included.
This went so far as to say how one removes hair from the full body, covered or uncovered. A recipe often seen was one where a highly alkaline solution would melt the hair away. Arsenic was part of the ingredients used, mixed with quicklime.
There were many recipes in each of the books, with the Italians especially keen on ridding themselves of that which was seen as manly instead of feminine. It was assumed that a woman with lots of body hair, particularly the dark sort, would not make for a good marriage partner, would probably be infertile, and more argumentative than necessary.
Bleaching body hair today is also considered a hair removal method, even though it does not actually get rid of the hair. What it does is work by removing the pigments from the hair before being removed with water. Generally it only sits for about 10 minutes, as extensive exposure can be harmful. It is similar to how one bleaches hair on the head blonde.
Finally, we remind all women that there is nothing wrong with having body hair, despite societal constraints. It is a natural part of being human and often helps protect the skin from allergens and harm. But since many do feel self-conscious about their body hair, bleaching comes in very handy.
Note: Bleaching arm hair, like bleaching upper lip hair, is effective to a certain extent, as those with really dark hair will not get very light looking results. Also, bleaching hair is not a permanent tactic, meaning that within 3-4 weeks, you will need to redo the process. Furthermore, those with dark skin will only be making the hair all the more visible by bleaching them.
Ways of Bleaching Arm Hair
First and foremost, you will need to grab yourself a bleaching kit. There are different types of bleaches, and you will need to grab one specifically for body hair. This means that it is stronger than most, but also gentle in its application. You might want to pick one up that matches your skin and hair type as well, with the sensitive skin version preferred for its milder ingredients.
Start off with a patch test on one part of your arm. Even if you have used such kits in the past, it is still recommended to do this step. Each kit has a different mix, meaning you might have an allergy to one of the ingredients yourself.
To do the patch test, mix up a small amount of the bleach cream, typically being one part powder and two parts cream. Apply a tiny bit to the inner arms, wait 10 minutes and wash with COLD water. If there is no irritation in the next 24 hours, go on to using it for the rest of your arms.
Before bleaching the whole of the arm, you will need to wash it with soap and cold water and pat dry. Warm water is not recommended as it opens up the pores and makes you more sensitive. A hot and steamy bathroom is a major no-no!
Measure out the amount needed to bleach the arm hair, use the tray provided to mix it up with the plastic spatula that comes with the powder and cream. To do this, you will need to scrape the powder towards the cream and smoosh it flat together, mushing and pressing round and round until it’s perfect.
Spread the mixture onto your arm with the spatula and wait for 10 minutes. Your focus should be where the hair is darker on the arms. Your upper arms and underside will generally not need any bleach, so forget about those areas unless you are especially hairy.
Note: At this point, it might sting a little but do not worry about it. However, if it burns or feels too uncomfortable, please remove with cold water immediately.
Scrape off the formula from your arms with the spatula, rinse off the cream and pat it dry. If you want to go even lighter, reapply for another 5 minutes but keep track of any burning sensations.
Note: Do NOT take a warm shower afterwards!
You can also use hydrogen peroxide and ammonia instead of the bleaching kit, which reduces the money spent. However, know that you are going to be really drying out the skin thus. You should also wait for a minimum of 6 weeks between treatments to prevent skin damage. Once again, this is not a permanent measure, as the hairs will grow out in about a month.
How to Bleach Arm Hair With Hydrogen Peroxide and Ammonia?
Mix ¼ cup or 60 milliliters of 3% hydrogen peroxide with ½ tablespoon or 7.5 milliliters of ammonia, with an added bit of 3-5 drops of lemon juice. Since the lemon is sensitive to sun, you might want to keep this procedure for the evening when the sun has already set, and the light won’t be touching your skin.
Before beginning with this, do an allergy test by dipping a cotton ball in the diluted peroxide and dabbing onto arm. After about 10 minutes, if nothing occurs, you may proceed to apply the rest of the solution to the arms, where it is darker.
Do not apply so much that it drips off the skin. You do not want it to be runny, so soap flakes can help turn it into a paste, made out of mild soap that’s been put to the cheese grater.
You should only leave it on for up to 10 minutes, not more. You may remove it in less if it begins to feel uncomfortable. Rinse with cold water and you are done!
Other solutions for bleaching arm hair also exist, including:
- Using hydrogen peroxide with water (mixing ¼ cup or 60 mL of the 3% peroxide with the same amount of water and waiting up to 40 minutes before washing off).
Natural Ways to Bleach Arm Hair
While using bleaching kits and chemical concoctions will definitely work better and faster for bleaching arm hair, there are many natural ways that women try and lighten their body hair color, used on the face, arms, legs, and otherwise. Just keep away from the pubic area, where the dangers of infection are much higher.
Also, since not all women are comfortable with removing hair, and also not comfortable with chemical use on the bodies, some of these homemade natural pastes and masks for bleaching arm hair should come in handy. With a lot of the ingredients, it is not only that they bleach the arm hair itself, they also help the hair fall out over time and use.
Some of the best arm hair bleaching ingredients to have in the home are:
- Tomato: The acidic nature helps lighten the arm hair, the juice extract cleanses the skin while preventing acne, and the astringent properties fight wrinkles.
- Lemon: The citric acid in lemons is good for bleaching arm hair, while also improving the skin tone. It can also prevent and address problems such as eczema, lightening darkened pores as well.
- Milk: Attributes in the milk help discolor hair follicles, tighten skin and cleanse it. It also lightens a suntan if necessary, and smoothes the skin against wrinkles.
- Orange Peels: This is a favorite as it lightens the hair color, evens out the skin tone, cleanses and closes the pores. It goes well with milk.
- Potato: Treating the skin as potatoes lighten the hair, this is also a favorite among women who would like to address their baggy eyes and dark circles as well.
- Yogurt: The lactic acid in yogurt is thought to be great for bleaching arm hair (and hair on any other parts of the body), closing open pores and treating blemishes. Just apply it on alone, leave for 20 minutes, and see what the results are in the end.
- Avocado: Yes, avocado is amazing for just about anything it appears, with bleaching effects also coming in handy. It will moisturize as you lighten the strands, smoothing the skin and nourishing it.
- Oatmeal: Finally, an oatmeal pack with olive oil is amazing for cleansing, soothing, and treating scars, dark spots, acne and dry skin. It is amazing for eczema as well, while lightening and bleaching the arm hair. It can be used alone or mixed with other household ingredients.
DIY Homemade Recipes for Bleaching Arm Hair
You can bleach arm hair naturally,
- Using chamomile tea, where you boil 1 cup of 240 ml water and add 3-4 tablespoons of loose-leaf chamomile to it, before cooling, straining, and applying it to arm until it dries. Apparently sitting under the sun until the tea dries also helps.
- Using lemon juice applied to the arms for up to 20 minutes while far away from the sun (it can cause burns or major discoloration otherwise), and moisturizing afterwards with honey.
- Using lemon juice and flour, mixed for a natural lightening, where some flour is placed in a small basin, lemon juice poured over and stirred very well to make a paste. The paste then attaches to the arms beautifully before rinsing off.
- Using lemon juice and sugar helps exfoliate the skin as well as lighten the arm hair, the lemon lightening, while the sugar helps weaken the hair follicles naturally, ensuring you lose some of it along the way over time. You will need to mix the two together in equal parts, apply it for up to 30 minutes, rub gently for 5 minutes, and wash it off with water. You will need to do this at least thrice a week.
- Using a lemon and honey paste, where fresh juice is mixed with honey, applied over the arm hair and left for 20 minutes, before washing it off. It can be repeated as many times as needed, without causing a rash or stinging.
- Using a paste made out of flour and water, where you apply it to your arms for up to 15 minutes before washing it off. It can also be used on the face or elsewhere on the body.
- Using a papaya and turmeric paste made from ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and raw papaya pulp, left on for 20 minutes and used once a week.
- Using a papaya and milk mixture (half the papaya pulp with one tablespoon of milk), left on for 10 minutes before washing off.
- Using a mix of half a cup of orange peel with one teaspoon of lemon juice, you get a concoction that not only lightens the arm hair but also exfoliates, giving your skin a radiant glow. You might want to try this on your face as well.
- Using a tomato juice mask where tomato slices are applied on the arms for up to 10 minutes for a minimum of two applications, and then washed off. For sensitive skin, adding rose water or cucumbers helps reduce possible irritation.
- Using a simple paste of dried and powdered orange peels with a few drops of lemon and yogurt, applying to the arms and leaving on for 20 minutes before rinsing off and repeating once again the next day for an even lighter look.
- Using a hot milk bath to not only moisturize the skin, but also lighten body hair, though not to the same degree as with the products above. Use lots of creamy milk on your skin once a day and it should be giving results after several applications.
- Using lovely paste made of one tablespoon of oatmeal powder, a tablespoon of olive oil and yogurt, slathered on and left for a few minutes before cleaning off.
You should remember that simply being exposed to sunlight will also slowly but surely bleach your arm hair, burning under its rays. Also, refrain from using soap for at least 6 hours after any lightening procedure in order to prevent irritation and keep the body moist.
Note: Since everyone’s hair is different, the results from each of the methods of bleaching arm hair listed will vary.
The Pros and Cons of Bleaching Arm Hair
There are multiple points both for and against bleaching your arm hair. The pros of bleaching arm hair are:
- It is a fast procedure, which takes a maximum of half an hour, generally around the 10-15 minute mark.
- It does not require an appointment or professional, instead, the process occurring in one’s own home.
- No skills are required, which means that anyone of any age will be able to take care of bleaching their arm hair, among other body parts.
- There is no pain involved in the procedure, nor any ingrown hairs that are the side effects of waxing and shaving, respectively.
- Best of all, though, bleaching arm hair is quite affordable and can be made with ease. A bleaching kit that can be used a few times over can range from $5-$15, depending on the size of the bleach and the body parts that it will be used on.
Some might consider bleaching arm hair pointless because of these cons:
- You are not going to have hairless arms, since you are simply lightening the bush as to speak. It will still be noticeable, particularly if you have quite a bit of hair on you.
- Not all hair or skin types will find its benefits, since darker skin tones will only show it better when blonde, while bleaching in general can only disguise mostly fine hair, including that on the arms.
- Furthermore, the hair will grow out again as with waxing, except it might be noticeable much sooner, while it might also have the unfortunate effect of lightening skin regions that last up to 3 days.
- Finally, there is a possibility for allergies to the ingredients or burning of sensitive skin.
Warning: Only use the bleach on body hair, and that where it is meant for (only the outside areas). Do not use near the eyes, inside nose, on the ears or nipples, on scar tissue or warts or moles, and definitely do not bring near your genitals.
You should not bleach your arm hair if you have a sunburn or inflamed, irritated or chapped skin. You will also want to avoid doing so if there has been fresh shaving or tweezing involved.
If you are using Retin-A, Alpha Hydroxy or glycolic acid, do not bleach. The package should be stored away from heat and sun, and never a metal should be used to apply the bleach onto your skin.
All in all though, once you learn how to bleach arm hair, there is no way to do it wrong thereafter. It is a generally simple process that takes little of your time and can be done with natural products, as well as the faster chemical products. Choose what is best for you and enjoy camouflaging those dark strands.
Photos via @phoebesoup, Instagram