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Lemon Juice to Lighten Hair: Instructions and Precautions
Lemon juice provides a safe, cost effective way to lighten your hair color. It also provides other hair benefits, such as reducing excess oil and calming an itchy scalp. Learn how to use.
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Why use natural hair lighteners
People have been coloring their hair for centuries. In fact, highlighting hair can be traced all the way back to Ancient Greece in 4 B.C. Back then, they used olive oil, pollen, and gold flakes combined with hours in the sun.
Today, you can find many rapid bleaching kits at your local drug or beauty supply store to chemically achieve hair lightening. But with these kits come the risks of using chemicals on your hair such as:
stiff, brittle, or otherwise damaged hair
irritation of skin or eczema
irritation of airways or asthma
possible Trusted Source Trusted Source
link to certain cancers (bladder, breast, leukemia), though more research
Trusted Source Trusted Source on humans is needed
The good news is that, just like the Greeks, you can still try more natural methods to lighten or highlight your hair. These options may be better for a variety of reasons. They involve less exposure to chemicals, fewer opportunities for skin irritation, and many times, a much lower price tag.
There are various ingredients you may have in your kitchen or bathroom that may be used to lighten your hair. You may want to experiment with different methods to see which works best for your hair color and type.
The vitamin C in lemon juice may bleach hair without the use of chemicals. The blog GoingEvergreen explains that this method works best on naturally light or blonde shades.
Supplies you’ll need:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup water
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle. Apply to hair, concentrating on root areas. Let dry for a few hours in the sun. Rinse and condition your hair. You may also use lemon vodka in place of the lemon juice for more dramatic results.
Shop for lemon juice.
Vlogger Jessica Lee uses chamomile tea to make her brunette locks blonde. She notes that these ingredients are drying to the hair, so she recommends following up with a deep conditioning treatment.
Supplies you’ll need:
2 cups chamomile tea (strongly brewed with 5 tea bags)
1/4 cup lemon juice
Pour solution into a spray bottle and apply evenly to your hair from roots to tips. Stay out in the sun until your hair dries. Then rinse and consider following up with conditioner.
Shop for chamomile tea.
Apple cider vinegar
According to blogger Carlynn at JJBegonia, combining chamomile and apple cider vinegar works great to lighten locks naturally. She explains that apple cider vinegar helps to balance the pH of hair no matter the texture. And don’t worry — the vinegar scent will dissipate.
Supplies you’ll need:
1/4 cup chamomile tea
1/4 cup ACV
squeeze of lemon juice
Combine ingredients in a bowl or spray bottle. Saturate hair. Leave on as long as all day. Going out in the sun may help speed the lightening process. Rinse and style as usual.
Shop for apple cider vinegar.
Vlogger HolisticHabits uses honey for at-home highlights. She explains that the honey and cinnamon act as “natural hydrogen peroxide boosters.” Make sure you use raw honey because processed honey doesn’t contain the same level of active enzymes.
Supplies you’ll need:
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup distilled water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine ingredients and let sit for an hour. Apply to damp hair for a few hours to overnight. Scale the ingredients depending on how much hair you have (keep ratio fourtimes the amount of honey to cinnamon). You may need to go through this process 10or more times for dramatic results.
Shop for raw honey.
Cinnamon alone may lighten hair. You’ll find this ingredient added to various other DIY hair “bleaching” recipes, but you may try using this ingredient on its own to achieve highlights and overall lightening.
Supplies you’ll need:
1/2 cup hair conditioner
2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
Combine ingredients into a paste and apply to damp hair. Leave on for three to four hours or overnight, covering your head with a shower cap. Wash and style as usual.
Shop for ground cinnamon.
Honey and vinegar
Vlogger Sarah Williams claims that plain vinegar and honey can lighten hair in as little as 10 minutes. You can even apply this solution at night and sleep your way to natural highlights.
Supplies you’ll need:
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup raw honey
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
Combine ingredients and apply to damp hair. You may want to comb through your hair for more even distribution. Alternatively, you may apply only to sections where you want highlights.
Once applied, wrap your hair in plastic wrap or a shower cap. Leave on for 10 minutes up to overnight before rinsing.
Even plain table salt may help lighten locks. Popular blog Brit + Co. explains that a dip in the ocean and being in the sun all day is the easiest way to try this method.
Supplies you’ll need:
table salt water
Mix ingredients in a half/half ratio. Leave on for at least 10 minutes, preferably when you’re outside. Rinse or leave in for a beachier texture.
Everything You Need To Know Before Using Lemon Juice To Lighten Your Hair
You can use lemon juice for hair lightening. Are you wondering how? Read on to learn how to lighten your hair with lemon juice and the benefits of doing so.
Home » Hair Care » Hair Treatment
Lightening Your Hair With Lemon Juice: Here’s What You Need to Know
April 27, 2022 Written by Arshiya Syeda
Lemons are natural bleaching agents. You can use lemon juice for hair lightening to naturally achieve those sun-kissed highlights. You can get those fun golden streaks right at home without having to spend big bucks at the salons. The trick is to make sure you use lemon juice properly, or you may end up frying your hair.
This article discusses how to use lemon juice to lighten your hair. Follow the instructions carefully to achieve the best results. Happy hair goals!
In This Article
Lemon Juice To Lighten The Hair: How Does It Work?
To understand how lemon juice can lighten your hair, you must first know how bleach works. Bleach oxidizes the melanin of your hair and depletes your natural hair color, giving it a lighter appearance instantly. Citric acid, the main component of lemon juice, is a natural bleaching agent (1). It absorbs into the hair easily and works with the UV rays from sunlight to accelerate the brightening process. Just like bleach, it oxidizes the melanin of your tresses, resulting in visibly lighter hair.
Now that you know how lemon juice can help lighten your hair, find out whether it works on dark hair or not.
Can You Use Lemon Juice To Lighten Dark Hair?
No. According to beauty enthusiasts and bloggers, lemon juice generally works for brunette and blonde hair. As citric acid is a mild bleaching agent, using it on dark hair will not make any noticeable difference. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that using lemon juice on dark hair results in the appearance of red-orange tints.
If you have blonde hair and are looking for subtle highlights, follow the steps in the next section to lighten your hair with lemon juice.
How To Lighten The Hair With Lemon Juice
This is a simple and easy process that works best on unwashed hair.You Will Need
1 cup of lemon juice
Conditioner Lukewarm water A spray bottleDirections
Fill the spray bottle with lemon juice.
Top it up with a conditioner in a 2:1 ratio. You may also use water instead of the conditioner, but it may dry your hair out.
Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients.
Add some chamomile tea or honey for brighter highlights.How To Use
Spray the mixture all over your hair for uniform coloring. You may also apply the spray on certain sections of your hair that you wish to highlight.
Expose your hair to direct sunlight for at least a couple of hours.
Wash your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water and follow up with a deep conditioning routine.
Let your hair dry naturally to reveal subtle, gorgeous highlights.
Now, let’s have a look at what other benefits lemon juice has on your hair. Scroll down.
Benefits Of Using Lemon Juice For The Hair
Alleviates various scalp conditions like itchiness, dryness, and flaking.
Improves the pH balance of your scalp.
Helps clean the scalp and unclog hair follicles, which can help reduce dandruff.
Controls excessive production of oil on your scalp. · Helps maintain scalp health and combat dandruff and scalp acne (2).
The citric acid in lemon is a mild bleaching agent. When applied, it oxidizes the melanin in your hair and lightens your natural hair color. However, it may not work effectively for those with dark hair, while those with light brown and blonde hair can certainly bank on lemon juice to get those sun-kissed highlights. In fact, using lemon juice for hair lightening also nourishes the scalp and unclogs the hair follicles. However, have a proper conditioning routine in place if you choose to apply lemon juice to your hair to prevent dryness. Remember, using lemon inappropriately can fry your locks. So, practice caution.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to lighten the hair with lemon juice?
You will need multiple sessions to see a gradual but permanent lightening effect on your hair with lemon juice.
Can you use store-bought lemon juice to lighten the hair?
No. It is better to use freshly squeezed lemon juice to lighten your hair as packaged juice is highly processed and contains chemicals.
Does lemon juice lighten the hair without the sun?
No, the citric acid in lemons requires the sun’s UV rays to lighten your hair.
Can you lighten your hair with lemon juice permanently?
Yes, lemon juice oxidizes the hair pigment to cause a permanent lightening effect until new roots grow out.
Are there any precautions for lightening the hair with lemon juice permanently?
As lemon juice tends to dry out the hair, follow up the hair lightening routine with a deep conditioning treatment.
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.
Preparation and Characterization of Natural Bleaching Gels Used in Cosmetic Dentistry
How to Use Lemon Juice to Lighten Hair: 15 Steps (with Pictures)
Lemon juice has long been used as a natural hair lightener and can be very effective. After you create your lemon juice solution and apply it to your hair, you have to expose your hair to sunlight, so don't forget your sunscreen! You will...
COLORING HAIRLIGHTENING HAIR COLOR
How to Use Lemon Juice to Lighten HairCo-authored by Gina Almona and Amber Crain
Last Updated: June 29, 2021 Approved
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Lemon juice has long been used as a natural hair lightener and can be very effective. After you create your lemon juice solution and apply it to your hair, you have to expose your hair to sunlight, so don’t forget your sunscreen! You will likely see results after about an hour of exposure, but the change will be extremely subtle. Repeat this ritual a few times in a row for more noticeable effects. Beware that although lemon juice is natural and inexpensive, it’s not necessarily a healthier way to lighten hair.
Part 1 Part 1 of 3:
Creating and Applying the Lemon Mixture
1Squeeze the juice from three fresh lemons. Cut each lemon in half, then remove the seeds with the tip of the knife. Squeeze each half into a bowl or measuring cup. You may need slightly more or less, depending on the length of your hair.
2Add two parts lemon juice and one part leave-in conditioner to a spray bottle. Transfer the lemon juice into a clean spray bottle. Add a small amount of leave-in conditioner to the bottle. Replace the nozzle and give the bottle a good shake to mix the two ingredients together.
If you don’t have a leave-in conditioner, you can use water instead. However, leave-in conditioner is generally a better option because lemon juice can leave your hair dry and brittle.
3Protect your skin with a layer of sunscreen. You are going to use the power of sunlight to activate the lightening effects of the citric acid, so make sure that your skin is protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Slather a good sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 all over your face and body.
Bring the bottle with you outside, and reapply it if you sweat or go swimming.
4Spritz the mixture all over your hair for a full dye. For full coverage, spray the mixture on all of your hair and then give it a few light brushes. Make sure your hair is damp, but not soaked with the mixture.
If you just want to lighten your roots, tips or create highlighted streaks, concentrate the spray on those areas only.
For an ombre look, concentrate the spray on the bottom half of your hair.
5Use a cotton ball soaked with the mixture to highlight specific strands. Once saturated with the mixture, slide the cotton ball down the strands you want to highlight. This will create highlighted streaks. Keep track of which strands you're working on, since you'll need several sessions to achieve significant results.
To make sure you don't double treat the same strands and forget to treat others, wrap foil around the strands you've already saturated with juice.
6Expose your hair to direct sunlight for 1-2 hours. Head outside for a couple of hours so the sunlight can activate the lemon juice, which creates the lightening effects. As the mixture dries on your hair, it will start to feel hard and a bit crunchy. This is normal! Tousle it with your hand, but don’t try to brush through it at this point.
Part 2 Part 2 of 3:
Rinsing, Conditioning and Repeating the Process
1Rinse the lemon mixture out of your hair. After 1-2 hours of sunlight exposure, head back inside. Hop in the shower and rinse the mixture out of your hair. Lemon juice is very drying, so be sure to rinse it out thoroughly.
2Apply a deep conditioner. Once rinsed, saturate your hair from root to tip with a quality deep conditioner. Leave it on for about 10 minutes (or however long the product specifies). Rinse it out thoroughly.