The Ultimate All-Natural Hair Lightening Spray

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UPDATE: This post originally ran on April 24th but with the holiday weekend and more time spent outdoors, we wanted to share it again!

For as long as I can remember, going to the beach without a bottle of lemon juice was unheard of.  My mom passed down this hair lightening trick to me when we would take after-school beach trips as I was growing up. Ever since then, sun kissed hair is what I look forward to during the warm months. As soon as I hop out of the salt water, I spray some lemon juice all over my hair before laying out under the warm sun. It’s the simplest thing to do if you want to lighten up your locks during the spring and summer.

As the north starts to get warm, we have beaches and pools on our radar. I wanted to create the ultimate natural hair lightening spray using some of my previous knowledge, but also wanted to find out about some other natural lighteners. After some research, I discovered the perfect combination of ingredients to lighten up your hair safely and naturally.

hair lightening spray

Lemons: When lemon juice is added to the hair, it acts as an accelerant to the sun’s ability to naturally lighten. The acidic properties of lemons mix just right with sunlight, giving off a gradual highlight.

Chamomile: The natural coloring and chemicals of chamomile flowers work together to bring out lighter tones in the hair. Chamomile also helps in fixing split ends.

Honey:  When honey is mixed with distilled water, it undergoes a chemical process that will allow you to quickly lighten your hair.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon naturally contains peroxide, which is a chemical used in hair lightening, but the cinnamon won’t dry out your hair…and it smells amazing!

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil won’t lighten your hair, but it will help to keep your locks moisturized so the other ingredients don’t dry it out.


First, brew some chamomile tea. I let mine steep for about 5 minutes. Aquire some sort of spray bottle (I used this one), and fill it up halfway with the tea. Next, add in all of the other ingredients:

Juice of 3 lemons

2 crushed up cinnamon sticks (or a teaspoon of cinnamon)

Squirt of honey

1 teaspoon coconut oil

Once all of the other ingredients have been added, fill up the rest of the bottle with warm water.

lightening spray on hair

Give a good shake to the bottle before spraying it on your hair to make sure everything is mixed up. You can spray it all over your hair, or apply to the ends for an ombre’d look. My favorite time to use this spray is when I’m at the beach. After dampening my hair with salt water, I’ll spray some on all over. The sun will maximize all of the ingredients’ lightening powers. You can also spray this on damp hair before bed. Just be sure to wear a shower cap since they honey in the spray will make your hair a bit sticky, then rinse it out in the morning!

girl with sunkissed hair

Over time, you will start to see your hair become gradually lighter. Enjoy!

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Tiffany -April 24, 2014, 12:22PM

Interesting, I wanna try this! I use a lightening spray already but its not natural. Thanks! Xx, Tiffany |

Priscilla -April 24, 2014, 1:38PM

Hi! I’m wondering where to buy these mini spray bottles online… I can’t seem to find the type you post with on your blog. Thanks **

Priscilla -April 24, 2014, 2:05PM

I clearly did not read the blog post in its entirety! Nevermind!!!

Stella -April 24, 2014, 2:10PM

I wonder if I can only use it fresh or keep the mixture in the bottle for a few days or so? <3

fp jana -April 24, 2014, 2:55PM

Hi Stella! You can keep the mixture in the bottle and store it in a refrigerator!

Valeria -April 24, 2014, 3:31PM

Will this work for dark hair too?

Mykaela -April 24, 2014, 4:50PM

Ah, love this!!

fp jana -April 24, 2014, 5:40PM

Hi Valeria! I have dark hair and it definitely works on mine :)

Natalie -April 24, 2014, 5:54PM

This is great! Always thinking about highlights but I’m really not into having it done with unnatural hair coloring. Thanks for sharing!!

Angela -April 24, 2014, 6:30PM

Does this work in dark brown Hair?

Julia -April 24, 2014, 7:41PM

Awesome I just made the concoction, hope it works! Since I didn’t feel like waiting 3-5 business days for bottles I found you can make it out of small Perrier bottles, or something of the sort, and the nozzles I had screw right on. Thanks Jana!

Rocio -April 24, 2014, 9:15PM

hi! i think this is really wonderfull, in summer i have natural hair lightening, but in winter can u use this product if im not under the sun often than im on summer. its work?

Enya -April 24, 2014, 9:28PM

I use red tea instead of chamomille to get some red-ish highlights :)

Emily -April 25, 2014, 12:13AM

This sounds great! I have medium brown hair, but how long does it take to work on your dark hair, Jana?

Alisa -April 25, 2014, 4:25AM

I am half asian and have dark brown hair and it worked on me too :) But it took almost all summer to see the effects but lemon really damaged my hair :( Maybe really moisturize it overnight with coconut oil :) But even today it is still light and I did this last summer, now it looks like a natural ombre :)

Alisa -April 25, 2014, 8:11AM

Can you use orange juice instead of lemon juice??

Reni -April 25, 2014, 5:09PM

Yes! I’ve been waiting for this one. Hope it’ll work on ginger hair!

Valeria -April 25, 2014, 7:46PM

Awesome! Thank you!:)

AllieMarie -April 26, 2014, 5:09PM

I actually made this concoction today but the teaspoon of cinnamon made it very gritty and thick. Is that how its supposed to be? And how did you get everything into a 2 oz. bottle? Mine was probably 4 oz. of mixture using the 3 lemons and everything else. Thanks fp jann!

Ann -April 27, 2014, 10:08PM

Is there a spritzer that won’t get clogged with the cinnamon? I tried grinding sticks myself and even pre-ground cinnamon. Both mixes clogged up my bottles.

Claudia Aguilar -April 29, 2014, 8:48AM

Does this work with dark hair? Just wondering…

Katia -May 1, 2014, 11:57PM

Can I use peppermint tea?

Keshia -May 14, 2014, 10:32PM

I tried this but it wouldn’t go threw the spray, I think it was from the cinnamon clogging it. help? :)

Mary -May 15, 2014, 4:08PM

Has anyone found a solution for the cinnamon clogging the spritzer? I can’t get my bottle to spray at all.

Paige -May 18, 2014, 8:43PM

Hi, I was just wondering if this spray lightens hair on the spot when you spray it on or if it lightens when you spend time in the sun? thanks :)

Emily The Strange -May 24, 2014, 9:03AM

How big is the bottle? 30-50 ml?

Jasmine -May 24, 2014, 10:47PM

Mine got clogged with the cinnamon, so I just put it directly on. My hair smelled like cinnamon even after I washed it, totally delicious :*

Flourish Design Co. -May 25, 2014, 1:35PM
Youssy -May 25, 2014, 8:43PM

Amazing trick! I’ll definitely use it this summer to get a “natural” ombre!

femmepetale -May 25, 2014, 10:57PM

Is there possibility of damaging the hair using this, or is it safe? Someone above also mentioned the lemon damaging her hair.

Izabella -May 26, 2014, 10:49PM

Do you know of this is temporary?

youna -June 1, 2014, 9:11AM

Izabella – not, it lightens your hair so it’s not temporary.

Svea -June 2, 2014, 11:27AM

How long can I store it? It`s a great idea, I can´t wait to try it!

Anonymous -June 21, 2014, 8:56PM

is it safe to use on dyed hair? like dyed medium brown or will it go horribly array ://

Penny -June 23, 2014, 5:37PM

Normally I just put a little bit of lemon juice in my hair and it works a treat! Bare in mind that you do need to keep it topped up, every half hour in the sun I would apply another lemons worth of juice. It is quite a lot but after 5-6 hours (or a nice chill day in the sun) my hair was noticeably blonder. Love it!

marissa -June 27, 2014, 1:33PM

hi , i was wondering how long does this last on your hair . i have dark brown black hair .

A -July 17, 2014, 10:28AM

@Marissa Im pretty pretty sure the results are permanent if you do it overtime.

Anonymous -July 17, 2014, 12:51PM

how do you prevent the bottle from clogging :(

kiley -July 18, 2014, 2:45PM

hi, also wondering if this is ok to use on already highlighted hair ? I once had a traumatic sun-in experience so I’m a bit nervy

Jewel -July 21, 2014, 10:44PM

I’m going to a pool party in Santa Monica could I wear while I’m thei?r because I was thinking about curling my hair to make it beachy could I just spray right after I’m done curling it instead of using a hairspray? & how light do you think it would make a dark brunette?

Anonymous -July 28, 2014, 5:40AM

how much chamomile should to use?

kate -July 28, 2014, 5:41AM

how much chamomile should to use?

Sam -August 10, 2014, 11:24PM

How many times do you have to use this to see a difference?

Natalie -August 13, 2014, 4:12PM

Do I have to maintain this to keep the color looking natural? Or can I just do it once??? I’m afraid if I do it once, that the color might fade in some areas???

Anonymous -August 17, 2014, 4:11AM

This didn’t lighten my hair at all, but that’s alright since it’s naturally jet black and I haven’t had success lightning it with any other DIYs. However, unlike the other DIY’s I’ve tried, this made my hair incredibly soft, something I haven’t felt I’m years. Defiantly making this again (minus the lemon juice) to use as a deep conditioning treatment!

Mariam -August 23, 2014, 11:32PM

Does it work on black hair? Also can you substitute the sunlight with a blow drier?

Jo -August 30, 2014, 8:57AM

Can I spritz my hair and go out or will it be too sticky? And will it be permanent??

Katherine -September 2, 2014, 4:25PM

Hi, Thank you for this post.

I have been doing some (or a lot by now) research on highlighting hair naturally and found many different ways to do so: using lemon with distilled water, using honey + cinnamon, or chamomile + water, and I was wondering if I could put all of these ingredients together to make a more potent version without damaging the hair and whether it would work (not decrease the effect by putting them together)… so I decided to google it to be sure and came across your blog! Thanks for posting it :) I’ve also read people who use olive oil to help during the process to moisture the hair.. Good to see coconut oil also works.

Furthermore, there are a lot of people who have also used Hydrogen Peroxide for highlights, but I don’t recommend that nor think that would be wise unless you REALLY want to bleach your hair, but if you wish to do so then you might as just well go to the salon and do it professionally (or buy a DIY kit) over damaging your own hair unknowingly..

Crystal P -September 8, 2014, 10:57PM

I think you’re supposed to let the cinnamon dissolve. Having steeped the chamomile the water SHOULD be hot enough to do so.
I am also wondering if a hair drier can be used instead of the sun since it’s getting cooler here and not much time is spent outdoors.

katie -October 26, 2014, 5:39PM

hi! thank you soo much for sharing this I always wanted to have some highlights in my hair naturally and thanks to you I finally can do it yay! you’re awesome but will it work on black hair????

Stacia -December 6, 2014, 1:44PM

If you are using this during the winter how can you get the same effects?

lea -December 7, 2014, 11:10PM

This will be my fourth day in a row using this treatment. And results are so far amazing! I actually wish I had taken before pictures. I made a few minor changes to the ingredients, instead of using the chamomile tea I used lemon ginger (no specific reason, I just didn’t have chamomile in my pantry) and I added an extra tablespoon of coconut oil for extra conditioning since there is a lot of lemon used. I soaked it in my hair for about an hour and a half before going to bed and immediately washed right after with regular shampoo and homemade conditioner. I did however use a a little finger dap of coconut oil for my ends after the shower to keep the conditioning.
For the clogged spray bottle I just ran hot water through tube part each time before use and kept the bottle refrigerated.
I didn’t use direct sunlight either because it was before bed time and I had black hair but now I’m getting a lighter brown tones.
I thought I was just paying attention to much to the color but it wasn’t until today when I got asked by a coworker if I color my hair and I was proud to say no (: and my husband also noticed a difference.

Lizard -December 31, 2014, 6:53AM

Can a UV light work instead of sun?

Jordan -January 2, 2015, 2:08PM

Does the lemon dry out your hair? I want to try this really bad but I haven’t touched my hair in over a year and I’m pretty nervous.

laurie leblanc -January 3, 2015, 8:15PM

Love this. Use cheesecloth for the cinnamon and small rubberband

teri -January 27, 2015, 8:55PM

It may help to put the cinnamon into a coffee grinder or a blender to make it a little bit finer.

crazyloverblue -January 30, 2015, 12:43PM

@Jordan and everyone else asking about lemon damaging your hair: yes , it can be damaging if you use straight lemon everyday in youe hair. However, the coconut oil is a natural SPF and coats your strands so that should counteract the lemon. Cha m omile also helps the hair. I still wouldnt recommend using it every day. Unless you are doing it for an event coming up very soon (a week) .

Manny -March 2, 2015, 4:47PM

Maybe with cinnamon tea?

LC -March 13, 2015, 1:33PM

How long does it take to see results?

m -March 23, 2015, 3:13PM


Mariell -March 29, 2015, 7:48AM

Hi, I was wondering, can you use lemon juice you get in a bottle, and if so, how much would I have to use? And does it matter what kind of honey you use, or is there one that is better? I really want to lighten my hair going towards summer now :)

apaar -April 7, 2015, 11:43PM

Will it make a difference in the result if I substitute the chamomile tea with black tea or any other tea? And is this permanent or will it eventually fade? Thank You … I’m gonna go watch Supernatural now… haha Bye… BTW I love your website!

fp julie -April 8, 2015, 9:35AM

Apaar – Black tea could actually stain your hair darker, so we definitely recommend sticking to the chamomile. The formula is for permanent results.

Amy -April 10, 2015, 11:36AM

Does it have to go on wet hair or can you spray it on dry hair in the morning if you’re going to be out in the sun all day?

nicole -April 15, 2015, 4:25PM

Is there an average timeframe that it takes to start seeing results?

I have a grown out ombre in my hair that I’m trying to redo. I’m constantly putting the mixture in my hair, when I go outside (which is a lot), but am not seeing any results aside from the fact that my blonde tips have gotten brighter. My natural hair is a dark dirty blonde/light brown and that hasn’t gotten any lighter yet.

Holly -April 26, 2015, 9:14AM

How lomg does it take to work on blonde hair

Jen -May 2, 2015, 9:08PM

the link to the bottle doesn’t work for me, so i was wondering how many mLs of water i need to add??

Bree -May 3, 2015, 8:24PM

I’ve read that honey and lemon juice mixed together is a natural hair remover. Will this make your hair fall out?

Carol -May 10, 2015, 9:58PM

This made my hair darker. My hair is light brown with blonde highlights.

Dawn -May 12, 2015, 3:32PM

No one seemed to have ever addressed the clogged bottle issue…did I miss something? I made this concoction and although it smells heavenly, I can’t even get it out of the bottle. I tried three different bottles…all clogged before anything could even come out. I tried adding more and more hot water to thin it, but it still didn’t work. The cinnamon doesn’t actually ‘melt’ into the water, so I’m guessing that’s the problem? Any advice?

Allesia -May 13, 2015, 8:48AM

Hey, wish to try this i have black hair how long will it take ?
How many mls of water do i add im using a different spray bottle (old cleaning spray bottle) ?
does it have to be loose tea leaves or can i use tea bags ?if so how many bags ?
Will cinnamon powder be ok or cinnamon sugar work ?
please get back to me wish to start asap to get my hair to blonde for my wedding

Kate -May 14, 2015, 2:51AM

Just a heads up, this lightens your hair VERY gradually. If you really want instant results, try adding just a bit of hydrogen peroxide- but be careful this stuff is powerful and can seriously dry your hair out. A concentrated hydrogen peroxide (not bleach) is used to “bleach” hair before dying it, but your average drugstore hydrogen peroxide is not so strong especially when diluted. My hair was a dark brown and I did this once and people asked if I dyed my hair (it looked like a true medium brown, but I still got compliments). Never use hydrogen peroxide every time you use this spray or your hair will get brittle and unnatural looking, and don’t do this if your hair is super dark black/brown because it might turn orangey.

Jen -May 20, 2015, 3:58PM

Thanks for the great recipe.
I found I had to filter the product through a coffee filter as the cinnamon/honey/coconut oil bunged up the spray nozzle which was very annoying.
I also added some sea salt for good measure since I don’t live near the ocean (1 Tbsp).

Joyce -June 1, 2015, 3:52PM

If you don’t want the cinnamon clogging up the spritzer, try boiling 2 cinnamon sticks and using the water in the mix instead of ground cinnamon

Stiainin -June 2, 2015, 6:44PM

Lemon, chamomile, honey, and cinnamon are all things with natural “bleaching” properties. I don’t know about the chamomile and honey, but lemon juice can be used to write “secret messages”, as can fresh, mashed ginger, I believe, by applying heat to the invisible message. Orange juice doesn’t react like that (sorry to whomever thought of using it), which is why it’s not used to keep cut fruit from turning brown or salads from wilting.
Also, to keep spray nozzles from clogging, try 2-5 drops of cinnamon essential oil instead. It contains everything that makes the cinnamon work for this kind of thing, without the grains that make it difficult to use, and since it’s concentrated, it won’t take as nearly as much room in your bottle.

Stiainin -June 2, 2015, 6:50PM

Pineapple juice should also work, since it’s the same kind of acid as lemon juice. It too can be used to keep other fruit from oxidizing, so my guess is that it would also react with heat (hence the sun, though a hair dryer or hot iron on a low setting -so as not to scorch the hair – would also work) to create a beautiful lightening of your locks.

Annie -June 4, 2015, 6:41PM

Hi jana. I was wondering if i had to put it in the fridge? Because my family doesnt know im soing this and theyll probably tease me if they do. Ive already made the mixture and its my second time using it now (its currently in my hair) and i was wonderinng if it might damage my hair or work differently if i didnt put it in the fridge? Thanks. Respond soon please <33

Annie -June 4, 2015, 6:44PM

Also, prior to the comment above, i have dark brown hair and does it really turn orange? This kinda scared me a little. I want my hair to be a little lighter but not too much!

Amylee -June 10, 2015, 1:37PM

Made this today but used almond oil instead of coconut (so it wouldn’t solidify in the air conditioning and clog up my spray bottle, I have a habit of doing that) and added about 10 drops of Rosemary essential oil to stimulate hair growth (and keep the flies away, no doubt they’d be drawn to the honey smell ;) ).

I love it! Smells great and gives a lot of texture too. Can’t wait to see the results over the coming weeks.

neutral -June 11, 2015, 3:53PM

I have heard that the only reason cinnamon and honey work to lighten hair is because of the peroxide they have but I have heard that you shouldn’t mix the two with lemon because it neutralises the peroxide I want to know if this is true also I have black hair and I wanted to know how long this would take to get my hair to a brown colour.

Isabella -June 15, 2015, 2:48PM

I thought of replacing the chamomile with green tea because I read that green tea can help stimulate hair growth and it softens the hair. Do you think that this would still work?

Fontanelle -June 16, 2015, 10:08PM

Isabella, green tea gives hair some natural coppery highlights (that even show on my dark brown hair!)
I find them really pretty but not everybody likes copper so…
By the way, chamomile does not lighten hair! just like green tea, it deposits pigment – apigenin, in chamomile’s case, which is a golden pigment that is also believed to fight cancer. Sorry, getting off track :D Just wanted to say that chamomile won’t lighten hair on its own, but instead give golden highlights.

Kristy -June 26, 2015, 4:15PM

Can I skip the cinnamon? I don’t have cinnamon at my house.

Georgia H. g -June 27, 2015, 12:32AM

Hi I was wondering if i could make a video for my youtube about this recipe? Its really awesome and i would really like to. Tysm

Arianna -July 3, 2015, 11:46AM

Wow! What a brilliant idea! Just wondering….I don’t have chamomile tea…..can I skip that part of the recipe?

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