9 ways to naturally lighten your hair

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When life gives you lemons, will you make lemonade, or will you squeeze the lemons onto your hair in the hopes of attaining subtle, sun-kissed highlights? Understanding that many women are seeking a natural yet safe method to lighten their hair, This ILLUME article will assist you in finding natural and safe methods that you can attempt at home.

Photo by: Karthik Kumar, MBBS

Is it true that lemons may lighten your hair? We surveyed hair care experts to find out how to lighten hair naturally, and it turns out that lemon juice works…sort of.

Natural lightening only works if you have fair hair with a fine texture to begin with, according to Rachel Bodt, a senior colorist at Cutler/Redken salon. “When you are working with darker hair, you are dealing with red and orange undertones, and these will be the first colors to be exposed,” Rachel says.

So, before you lighten your hair, think about the outcomes you’ll get. If you have blonde hair, it will get even blonder with time. If you have light brown hair, there’s a chance that some dark blonde will peek through. It’s possible that redheads will turn into strawberry blondes. Lemon juice and other DIY natural recipes, on the other hand, will not lighten dark brown or black hair. (If you have dark hair and want to spice it up, Rachel suggests using a mineral-removing shampoo like Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo to make your hair smoother and lighter.)

Lemon juice, among other things, can lighten your hair a few shades if you have light hair. Learn how to lighten your hair naturally using things you probably already have on hand!

  1. Mix lemon juice with conditioner

Photo by: Layla Hair

Lemon juice, according to celebrity colorist Aura Friedman, works…but proceed with caution. “Lemon juice does lighten hair, but it can also be dangerous,” Aura warns. “It’s so acidic that it can cause hair to burn. The ideal method to apply it is to mix it with conditioner or even coconut oil to get the hydrating and reparative benefits “she continues.

  1. Give your hair a vitamin C boost

Photo by: Shutterstock

Because of its citric acid, vitamin C is an efficient hair-lightening agent. Rachel often recommends vitamin C washes to her customers. “That one is easy. You take some vitamin C, crush it up, put it in a spray bottle, and spritz it on. It removes mineral build-up and brightens hair “Rachel explains. (If you use vitamin C powder, you can totally skip the crushing step.)

  1. Make a solution with saltwater

Photo by: BBC

If you’ve previously colored your hair and haven’t yet fallen to the bleach bug, you can use the sun to lighten it even more. “Spray your hair at the beach with a mixture of mainly water and a pinch of salt if you’re color-treated. This will open the hair cuticle slightly and expose it to the sun,” says Rachel. But keep this in mind! “The sun will bleach your hair no matter what color it is,” Aura adds. “Consider how car paint fades in the sun. When it comes to hair, the same thing happens “she explains.

Stock up on UV-protecting shampoo and conditioner if you want bright, glossy, just-stepped-out-of-the-salon color. Remember, if you want to go full-on platinum, leave it to the pros.

  1. Use chamomile tea

Photo by: thienkhoigarden

The brightening effect of chamomile tea is well-known. Apply chamomile tea to dry hair after steeping several bags in water. Allowing your hair to dry in the sun will enhance the effects of chamomile tea.

  1. Add Apple Cider Vinegar

Photo by: Lac Hi

Apple cider vinegar will not only softly lighten your hair, but will also remove oil and residue buildup in your hair and on your scalp. In addition, apple cider vinegar detangles and frizzes your hair. It’s a hair care winner all around.

“To remove buildup (for example, chlorine), mix one-part apple cider vinegar with six parts water”, Rachel says. “This is a gentle technique to lighten strands — but you may need to repeat the process a few times to see effects.”

  1. Apply henna powder

Photo by: Getty Images

Henna can lighten and leave reddish highlights on very dark brown or black hair. Apply the henna powder to your hair after mixing it with half a cup of warm water and letting it sit for 12 hours or overnight. Wait 2-3 hours before thoroughly washing it off for a natural shine.

  1. Make a Paste using Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Photo by: Shifrah Combiths

Combine baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Regular hydrogen peroxide from the drugstore will not lighten your hair on its own since it will dry before any chemical reaction can occur. When hydrogen peroxide and baking soda are combined, they form a paste that may sit on your hair and do its magic. Mix up one cup of baking soda and three teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide, then apply to your hair. If you leave the mask on for 30 to 60 minutes (but no more than 60 minutes), your hair will be 1-2 shades lighter!

  1. Use a Cinnamon and Honey Mask

Photo by: Kristina Duda

This is a delicious-smelling remedy for naturally lightening hair. When you mix honey and cinnamon, something miraculous happens: the trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide in honey are activated by the cinnamon, and if you leave the mixture on your hair for long enough, it will lighten up to two shades. Combine 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to make a mask (for extra hydration).

Mix everything together, and if it’s too thick, add a little conditioner. Leave the mixture to rest for 30 minutes to allow the cinnamon and honey to blend and the hydrogen peroxide to activate. Apply the mixture to your hair, bun it, and cover it with a shower cap. Allow it to sit for at least four hours. It’s even better if you can leave it sit overnight (just remember to cover your pillow with a towel to avoid staining your pillowcase!).

  1. Treat your hair with natural oils

Photo by: Cleveland Clinic

Natural oils like coconut oil and argan oil assist to deeply hydrate your hair. Furthermore, they are capable of healing damaged hair caused by heating tools. You can use these oils to form a mask or simply run them through your strands from bottom to roots, keep it on for 20 minutes, then rinse it off. Take a generous amount of olive oil and comb it into your hair before stepping outside for approximately an hour to let it dry. When you wash away the oil, your hair will be considerably more moisturized and, of course, naturally lighter in color. To enhance its efficiency, add a little lemon juice to the oil before combing it through your hair and applying it throughout the hair, focusing on the ends. Finally, completely rinse away the oil. Repeat three times a week until you see the desired highlights.