Last Updated on 28th September 2021 by Chauncey Morgan
Wondering how to naturally lighten hair? Yes, it is possible to lighten your hair and add some sun-kissed highlights without having to bleach it, and some of the solutions to get you the lighter tones you are after are sitting in your kitchen cupboard. Whether you are a naturally light brunette or a bottle blonde looking for a natural illuminating effect, keep reading to learn some ways to lighten hair naturally.
Who Can Naturally Lighten Their Hair?
If your hair is naturally light brown or blonde you can achieve a couple of shades lighter tones easily without dye, using natural remedies to lighten hair, or commercial products designed to imitate them. However, they all can dry hair and can react with the metallic salts in swimming pools so better avoid treating your hair before a day at the pool. And if your blonde hair comes from a bottle? You can still use the following tricks to lighten it, camouflage regrowth and make your blonde look like you just stepped out of the salon.
How to Naturally Lighten Brown Hair
Let’s be clear, natural remedies to lighten hair can only turn light hair lighter. Anybody whose hair colour (natural or otherwise) is darker than light brown shouldn’t put their hopes on natural remedies to lighten hair because they are simply not strong enough. Without first stripping hair of colour (bleaching) you can’t naturally lighten dark hair using products such as henna. Light brunettes will in the best of cases achieve caramel and honey highlights naturally, but beware of reddish undertones causing unwanted brassy results. However, if what you are after is a reddish tinge, check out the cinnamon method below.
So if you are wondering how to lighten hair naturally and without hairdressing dyes, here are some of your best options.
Lightening Hair Fast with Chamomile
Chamomile is a flower which contains apigenine, a natural flavonoid. It acts by depositing yellow pigments on the hair, creating natural golden highlights on light hair. Combined with sun exposure it also has a slight highlighting effect.
Lightening hair naturally with chamomile can’t be easier. Simply brew a pot of chamomile tea, wait until it cools off and soak your hair with it. Sit outside in the sun for about half an hour until your hair is dry, and you will see it becoming lighter. This kind of treatment can weaken hair, so wash with a good moisturiser shampoo afterwards and apply a rich hair mask. You can safely use this treatment once a week to naturally highlight your hair with golden tones.
How To Lighten Hair With Lemon
Lemon juice is a slightly more aggressive way to lighten up your hair, and can leave your strands feeling pretty dry. However, it is unbeatable if you want to naturally lighten hair fast and it’s particularly effective in summer. On the bright side, lemon juice is a natural remedy for oily hair and will leave your hair smelling amazing.
In order to lighten hair naturally using lemon you will need to squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon and mix it with equal amounts of water. Apply it to your hair and get out on the sun without rinsing it. The acid in lemon will gently lighten your hair and make it incredibly glossy, but don’t do this more than once a week or your hair will weaken and dry, leaving you with split ends.
If you use lemon juice to lighten your hair make sure to avoid swimming pools at all costs, or the chemicals in the water could turn your hair green when interacting with the acid from the lemon juice.
How To Lighten Hair Naturally With Honey
Honey has peroxide (also known as bleach) which means it actually lightens the hair and not just gives blonde hair golden overtones. However, using honey to lighten your hair has added benefits: honey is good for your scalp and has antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, which can help with dandruff and sensitive skin. Honey can also help your hair grow faster.
Since using honey on hair on its own is going to be a really sticky and uncomfortable mess, you will need to mix it with another liquid to make a soft mixture that is easier to spread. Mix honey with either olive oil (for dry hair), coconut oil (for normal hair) or apple cider vinegar (for oily hair) and gently massage it into your hair and scalp. Leave it to act for 10 minutes and rinse well. If you have used oil as a base shampoo your hair afterwards to remove all residue.
How To Lighten Dark Hair With Cinnamon
You can’t lighten dark hair to blonde using exclusively natural products. However, you can add beautiful lighter red tones to a dark or brunette base using cinnamon. It has a very gentle effect, but the more you use it the lighter your hair will become and you can reach sunkissed “beach babe” highlights after a few weeks, depending on how dark your hair was to start with.
Mix 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of honey with half a cup of water to make a paste. Spread all over your head (for full head colour) or using foils (for highlights). This mixture works better if you leave it to act for several hours, particularly if you have dark hair. So the best way to go about it is to wrap your hair using saran wrap and going to sleep, and washing it off the next morning. But you can also just do it on a day you don’t intend to go outside.
Most of these methods can also be used to enhance your colour, keep your blonde looking great between salon appointments and condition your hair.
As you can see, there are many effective methods you can use if you are wondering how to naturally lighten hair without dyes, but they are best suited for those with naturally light hair without red undertones, and those looking for a gradual and natural looking lightening effect.
Don’t start trying to color your hair without having a solid plan! Check out our guide to hair color levels so that you’ll be on the right track.