If you are someone who gets sick of your hair color — and who doesn’t, from time to time? — there is great news … there are several home remedies to lighten hair naturally. This is especially true if your hair is a dirty blonde or a lighter brown. Whether you want hair highlights or you want to lighten dark hair, a bottle of hair coloring or bleach may not be necessary. In fact, these artificial chemicals are bad for your both your health and your hair.
How To Lighten Hair Naturally With Sunshine
Right outside your window is a natural and incredibly strong force that will lighten brown hair in a relatively short time. That is, of course, the sun. You have probably noticed that your hair is usually lighter during the summer when you’re outdoors more. But if you want to know how to bleach hair naturally then simply lie down outside. Cover your body with cloth and spread your hair so that it will absorb those pure, golden rays. You will have incredibly beautiful — and natural — hair highlights, and, if you spend enough time outside, your hair coloring will be as light as you could possibly wish.
How To Lighten Dark Hair By Swimming
If lying in the sun is a great way to naturally lighten your hair, then going swimming first and allowing your hair to dry in the sun is even better. You can swim in all kinds of water: a pool, a fresh water lake or stream, or the ocean and get the same results. The chlorine in the pool seems to speed up the process even more.
NOTE: the safety of cholorine in a pool is questionable. Lots of folks who are interested in a natural life don’t like the chlorine in a pool – and I agree with them. But the bottom line is that if you’re going to swim in a pool it IS going to be chlorinated. Period. So if you’re going to swim anyway, you can take advantage of the chlorine to highlight your hair.
Hair Coloring With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has been used to lighten hair for decades. It’s not nearly as natural as sun and sea, but it surely beats a bottle of chemicals from the drugstore. Some people report success with pure hydrogen peroxide.
It is very important to first test out this concoction! Use a Q-tip and test on a small amount of hair near the back of the neck line. In this way, if something really funky happens, it will be hidden by your other hair. Wait 24 hours and see what’s happened and that everything is okay before you go ahead and use the hydrogen peroxide and ammonia on your hair.
One other warning: this stuff smells really raunchy!
Critical: never, never, never use any kind of bleach on your hair. It will damage both your skin and your hair and nobody should be breathing in those fumes.
Use Lemon To Lighten Hair
Lemon juice is a more natural alternative than hydrogen peroxide. One fresh lemon will give you approximately 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Mix this juice with approximately 6 tablespoons of water and rub it in to your dry hair [more juice if your hair is long, less juice if it’s short.]
Allow the juice to remain on your hair for several hours before you rinse it out.
If you repeat this for several days [the time depends on YOUR hair] you will have very natural hair highlights. Of course, if you also take your lemon juice covered hair out in the sunshine that will speed the process up. The best thing about using lemon juice as a hair colorant is that it looks very natural.
Hair Coloring With Tea
Yes, hair coloring with tea is possible. We are talking about ordinary tea that we drink every day and use in our favorite iced tea recipe. Tea, though, is funny — it can lighten hair but it can also darken light colored hair. Steep your favorite tea and allow it to sit until cool. Test it out and see what happens. This method requires patience because the changes will be gradual.
Hair Color With Henna
In a way, any mention of henna is inappropriate in this article — because it will not lighten hair. Yet good-quality henna will safely allow dramatic color changes. A blonde can quickly become an enticing brunette or red head and brunettes can either become and a total redhead or add gorgeous red highlights to her hair. However, there is no way to bleach hair with henna — in other words, a brunette will not become a blonde with henna.
The really great news about henna is that it is wonderful for your hair, as long as as you are using good-quality henna. In fact, colorless henna is recommended for the health of your hair and the resulting ‘henna hair’ is stronger and more beautiful than it was before. How cool!
Use these home remedies to lighten hair naturally before you resort to the bottle of chemicals. Your body and your hair will thank you.
I believe that you should stick with the color of hair God gave you. He made you perfect and there’s no use trying to change it, especially with bleach and hydrogen perioxide and stuff like that. Be happy with what you have don’t mess with what’s not yours to mess with. ;/
Caroline, I certainly won’t argue with you about hair color. I know that I severely damaged my hair by using chemicals, straighteners, etc. And our hair color suits the color of our skin. I have olive skin and have always tanned easily but when I was in high school I craved platinum hair. Fortunately, my mother wouldn’t let me do that. It’s only as an adult that I realized how ridiculous I would have looked with dark skin and blonde hair. Still, lots of people insist on changing their hair color and we wrote this article to help minimize the damage.
I’ve heard that the acidity in tomato ketchup is a good way of stripping hair dye and lightening hair. I’ve just made a concoction of tea, honey and ketchup in hope of being able to lighten my locks! It smells revolting! haha.
Don’t keep us in suspense … how did it work??? Seriously, we’d like to know.
Didn’t work well I’m afraid! I have quite dark brown hair though, so it may work on lighter hair colours :)
(I’ve now resorted to bleaching my hair. It’s cut regularly and I deep condition weekly. The ends of my hair aren’t damaged at all!)
Which method did you try? Regardless, whatever works well for you is what you should do. The only caution I have is that when I was younger I used lots of coloring and when I got older I paid for it. My hair really thinned out and it lost its luster for years. It’s recovered now although it’s never gotten as thick as it was when I was younger. Anyway, I hope you LUV your hair! :-) (Sydney Johnston)
I’m so happy I read this! Sunlight and chlorine always works for me. I know what I’ll be doing this summer!!!! xD
Countrygirl, that’s great. Why don’t you send us a picture? :-)
how long do i have to put the tea mixture in my hair and how long do i have to sit under the sun with lemon in my hair?
Sarah, I’m sorry but I can’t answer that question. It depends on the color of your hair. Obviously, darker hair will take longer. Plus some hair ABSORBS color much better than others. I know that tea takes some time – it was a couple of weeks before I saw any difference and even then it was gradual. The lemon juice + sunlight, though, was quicker. I could tell a difference quickly.
kayla d says
if you lighten your hair with lemon juice will it eventually go back to its natural color
It doesn’t so much that the hair strangs ‘return’ to their normal color as the fact that they grow out and our natural pigment reasserts itself. Have you used lemon juice, Kayla? We’d love to hear about your experiences.
I always thought it was strange that my hair was so much lighter when I was a little kid and now it is darker. But I was in South Africa then, so my hair had a lot of sunshine, and we had a large swimming pool which we swam in all the time so maybe the chlorine did something too? It was almost blonde. Then I moved to England and my hair went dark brown! haha I was so sad :p
I want to try some of these (probably the honey, cinnamon and lemon juice) to lighten it naturally. I don’t want to be crazy bottle blonde or anything, just have some lighter browns or something. I heard heat activates the lemon juice, so blow drying or using straightening irons can help if you don’t have much sun. I imagine it would cause more damage though.
I don’t want to use harsh chemical products, I used to dye my hair quite a bit but I have left it natural for a year or so now and I don’t want to ruin it.
It seems that our hair always gets darker as we get older, but you’re most likely right about the chlorine. It is used in bleach, of course, so when it mixes with sunshine it gets even stronger. I saw your pink hair – amazing – and I guess you’re letting it go natural? I’ve used lemon juice on my hair many times and it always worked well in the sun but I’m not sure if it was the heat or something else. You’re right about blow drying and straightening irons being hard on our hair. It’s really easy to ruin our hair – ask me how I know!!!
I’ll give it a go and see what happens, luckily its sunny and hot atm :) Haha yeah I had my hair pink, and although I loved having it that way I need to give it a break and go natural. Its not in very bad condition though, because I always condition it a lot, but it could be better.
Its so tempting to use all these damaging products though!
Cherry, I understand how much fun it is to change your hair. But, I can tell from your picture that I’m … well, a “few” … years older than you. :-) I had thick glossy hair in my youth but I tortured my hair in countless ways over the years and now it’s not great. Much thinner, although it’s come back a lot. Still, you’re wise not to do too much to your hair. (Sydney)
I just put in some lemon juice in my hair. How long should it take. IM VERY IMPACIENT!!!!! XD
Mallory, there’s no way of knowing. I can’t see your hair and I don’t know if you’re sitting in the sun or whatever? Best of luck with your experiment.
It depends…… if you have a blondish tone to your hair already and are becoming a bleach blonde or close to that it shouldnt take that long if your a brunette then a little bit longer than if you were a blonde. :) to speed up the process maybe change into your swimsuit and go sit out in the sun and get a little tan or go swimming but dont let the water touch your hair. hope it works great for you! i do this year round
Hannah, it’s great to get your personal feedback. I haven’t used lemon juice in many years so it’s good to know that it is still working well. Of course, it must be pretty tough to sit outside in the snow in your bathing suit. :-) (Sydney Johnston)
Nice tips to get lighter hair color without using some toxic ingredients. I heard that camomile tea lighten your hair. It usually takes some time but, exposing your hair to the sun constantly, you get faster results and hair gets much lighter. Thanks ;)
Angie, I’ve tried camomile but it wasn’t too effective on my very dark hair. But a friend who is dark blonde/very light brown got some beautiful golden highlights.
My hair is darker than it used to be because I don’t get as much sun anymore , but because of that it’s also kind of dull. These seem like good tips for lightening it but will any of them help bring back some shine to all of it? Thanks.
It’s hard to say if your hair will grow shiny again. It should – over time – but what destroys the shine and health is chemicals. So many of the products that we all use have strange, lab-created, never-found-in-nature substances and there’s just no question that they damage us. I have my fingers and toes crossed for you to regain your shine. :-) (Jessica Taylor)
i have dark hair will it still work
I used to have very dark hair and that’s where I learned most of these methods. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, so always test first on a small, unobtrusive spot.
I might have missed it among the many comments, but how should I apply vinegar or lemon or any of those remedies on my hair? Should I add them to my shampoo or just put them directly on my hair and comb through it to make sure it covers all my hair?
Vero, I’ve been using vinegar on my hair for years and it really helps. I shower in the evening so, in the morning when my hair needs some kind of styling, I use the vinegar. I simply put some water in the sink and add a bit of vinegar – you don’t need much. Then I rinse my hair in it. It makes your hair shinier and healthier. (Sydney Johnston)
Chamomile Tea works great without damaging hair. I have golden blonde hair and love a chamomile tea rinse during the winter months.
Wendy, thanks for the feedback. Those highlights are wonderful, aren’t they?
Does anyone know if any of these actually work? Please only say yes if you / or a friend has tried it and it works.
There are multiple comments on this page about results people have gotten from using these natural remedies. Results depend on what kind of hair you have. I used lemon juice + sun for many, many years as a way to get highlights in my hair without damaging it.
I used to use henna 20 years ago when I was in university and my hair was gorgeous. I haven’t been able to find the kind I used to use here (I live in Thailand) so have been alternating tea and coffee. Both do a great job, btw.
Nice tips. Thanks!!
Glad to hear about your excellent results, Rachel. Beautiful hair, no chemicals – what’s not to like?
It Comes Naturally says
lemon juice dose NOT damage your hair i have dark black hair and have been using the lemon juice tip for like several months after taking a quick shower i apply lemon on my hair then stay in the sun for as long as i want usually 5-6 hours then wash my hair with the best shampoo i could possibly get lighter then my hair colour but not damaging I hate to use anything damaging on my hair… I will never dye it even though im crazy to get it blonde from like dark black or atleast light brownI will not use toners or any chemicals… It might seem crazy but eventually i tried my very best and i got light brown hair! i was looking for light blonde but I will get that tone too just have to stick to my natural home remidies not damaging because the colour wares out if you like dye it or use anything un natural so it`s no use to damage your nice hair right? I got light brown hair from dark black hair… You can do it too you`ll see if you`re desperate to do it and will try your best without using any chemicals your hair will be any tone you choose and will probably never ware off the colour like from those wierd toners or dyes that i never used or will not try! It comes NATURALLY! why waste your money?
Yeah! I agree 100%. :-) (Sydney)
Ms. crazy4blonde says
how could i get from natural dark black hair to blonde hair forever Naturally without these toners and chemicals, dyes, etc. I`m crazy for blonde but never will do any damage to my hair either!!! Tell me just one tip Please i want lighter hair! naturally no chemicals or anything like that. Probably lemon would work? wouldn`t it?
See the comment of “It Comes Naturally” on this article. She (or he?) says she has dark black hair and still used the lemon juice to change her color. It worked for me and it worked for her. (Samantha)
Try mixing lemon juice with hydrogen peroxide and lie in the sun. Rinse out after a few hours. Works wonders on darker hair!
You’re so right, Allison. I did this in high school and it always worked for me. (Sydney)
nice natural tips… You can save a lot of money
But these should not lead to greying of hair. Do they?
I started getting gray hair when I was only 19. Years of reading have (mostly) convinced me that premature gray hair is the result of nutritional deficiencies. And that might be true for gray hair at any age. The famous nutritionist Ann Wigmore didn’t have gray hair in her 80s. If that is true, these remedies have nothing to do with the graying of our hair. Besides, they’re all external and gray hair is an ‘inside job’, so to speak.
Isabel M says
I just tried a lemon ginger bag of tea and have added it to my shampoo. Ingreadients listed were chicory and chamomille. I’m not sure if the chicory has lightening effects for the lemon and chamomille do.
Isabel, I’m not sure what chicory does either – if anything? What you did is great but it probably won’t have much effect on your color because it isn’t strong enough. Let us know.
I’ve wanted to get a lighter hair color. I am getting a }few” gray hair. My hair is not so thick nor thin. I can also get it curly and straight. Since Im on medication, its been coming out so I rarely wash it. Also, with all those lemons and tea suggestions, IDK. I read all the postings, and those are the ones I saw the most. Also that Hydrogen Peroxide was the first thing I heard of in salons. “PLUS” like my dad says “if you keep on going to salons, you’re gonna end up bald “LIKE ME!!”
Angela, I agree with your dad. When I was born I had super-thick hair but I did everything in the world to it and it got thinner and thinner. That was actually the reason I became interested in more natural remedies. Also, have you ever noticed hair that has been colored for many years? It loses its luster and shine. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t do ANYTHING to my hair except get it cut. (Sydney)
OK, I didn’t even know I had wriiten to this site?!? I was just looking for remedies AGAIN and have still to try any of these. The only thing I’ve ever done was highlights and it has been maybe over 13 years ago. And the thing is, I go to the hospital for EEGs, but IDK how often. That’s when they connect wires to your head for a couple of days. And the connection is with some special kind of glue that it is said can be taken off with either conditioner and other things. That is one thing I dont know about. I heard some where that I had to do it and wait 3 months before going back to the hospital and I do have a follow up on June. I’m gonna try something because Im desperate to do this.
[OK, I didn’t even know I had wriiten to this site?!?] = Welcome back. :-) With glue being attached to your head, your hair is most likely pretty stressed so you’re wise to try something less harmful, rather than using chemicals. Good luck with your experiment.
I have brown hair and I want to lighten them , I think lemon juice is the best but somewhere I read that lemon juice cannot lighten brown hair and is not good for brown hair .. please help me , I am kinda confused ..
Sara, I have brown hair and I used lemon juice for years with no damage. Keep in mind, though, that the juice gives HIGHLIGHTS and not a complete change in hair color. Pin up your hair and try it on a few strands at the back of your head, so that it will be covered up if you don’t like it. And it works more effectively if you sit out in the sun for a while.
ok my daughter’s hair is eventually black and she wants it to be brunette does the lemon gets it to turn brunette i don’t want to put chemicals in her hair that will just ruin it what am i supposed put in her hair? she is 10 years old she is turning 11 in march
Brynn, lemon juice will definitely lighten hair and I know because I used it as a teenager. But it’s much more effective if we can sit outside in the sun for a bit and this isn’t the time of year to do that, for sure. Also, remember that it isn’t a hair color, meaning it’s more like sun streaking than uniform color. But I applaud you for not wanting to use chemicals on your child!!!
Hi Brynn! I can’t help wonder if you are actually the mom speaking.. If I had a child that young she might be able to lighten it, but I wouldn’t ask on a site she WANTS it to be brown. Not trying to offend you or anything, I am just asking a simple question. Are you her mom? (not to mention you are not using the correct grammar or punctuation marks.)
I tried the hydrogen peroxide treatment, because I have naturally dark brown hair, but I could not see anything happening. do you know what might be good to bring them out more or is it a gradual process?
Paige, it is a gradual process, not an instant one. Also, sit in the sun for a few minutes – that will speed the process and this is a perfect time of year to do that. I had dark hair when I was younger (lots of gray now) and it worked for me.
I have just sprayed my hair with lemon juice and sat out in the sun for a while. I have been waiting for the summer sun to naturally lighten my hair and i didn’t want to destroy it by dying, so i tried the lemon juice remedy. After it dried, i mixed some bicarbonate soda and my conditioner in a container. I washed my hair with shampoo first, then finished up by washing this through my hair. This is my first day trying to lighten my hair and its already lighter, softer and shinier! This website was really useful :P
Wow, Kayleeh, this is great information! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome results. It will inspire others, no doubt. :-)
I have dark brown hair but its black now and just sick of this what can I do that will lighten my hair
Anita, you can CAUTIOUSLY try one of the methods listed here. “Black” hair is definitely the hardest to lighten, especially since you don’t want to turn your hair orange, which happens with some hair colors. When the weather is warmer you can try sitting outside with some of these color treatments on your hair.
I have long blonde hair and always have, but it’s getting darker and I really don’t like it. Would it affect my hair at all because it’s already blonde.