The Smart DIY Way To Lighten Your Jeans

Ask anyone with their finger on the pulse of fashion this year, and they'll tell you: faded jeans are back (via Who What Wear). Along with other very-nineties trends like layered gold necklaces, square-toed pumps, and hoop earrings, you're likely seeing more of this now-classic style of jeans lining store shelves and online boutiques. But at risk of sounding like your grandmother: why spend a ton of money on jeans that look like they're old and beat up? Sure, you want to jump on the cool throwback trend, but what if there was a way to get that same lightened, distressed look at home for a lot less money? 

We're betting you already have products in your house that could help you achieve this look with ease. Once you get your hands on an inexpensive pair of jeans, no matter how saturated the color may be, here are some tips to fade and distress them to your heart's content.  

Get the faded denim look at home

In order to lighten the color of your jeans, first consider how light you want to go. For more gentle lightening, you could try a color-remover like Rit Dye's Laundry Treatment Color Remover, which works in your washing machine (via Byrdie). Products like this one exist for this exact purpose, so the instructions on the back of the box should help you get the results you want. 

If you are looking for a more extreme or faster fade, you could use bleach or hydrogen peroxide (mix one cup of the active ingredient in one gallon of water). Swirl the denim in this mixture repeatedly over a couple of minutes. If you choose bleach, please make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands.

If you are hoping to create some natural-looking distressed spots on the jeans as well as fading the color, Cosmopolitan suggests starting with the pockets and edges, places where jeans naturally start to fray. In order to do this, you can use either a disposable shaving razor or sand paper, but make sure to be careful of your hands. You can also rub the knees and other spots with sandpaper to create a softened, thinner fabric that appears like natural wear. 

Pair with a crop top, a plaid shirt, or a bodysuit, and you'll be perfectly on trend!