3 Natural Ways To Lighten Your Hair

UPDATE: This post originally ran on  June 13th but with summer at its peak we wanted to share it again!

I have brown hair, but by the end of the summer it is a definitively lighter shade of brown than in winter.  I love the natural highlights, especially against sun-kissed summer skin. Time spent in the sunshine can bring out natural highlights in many hair colors, but there are also natural products you can use to make the sun bring out those highlights even more. Here are a few all natural home remedies to lighten up your locks – what’s your favorite way to lighten your hair?

lemon juice to lighten hair

I used to put lemon juice in my hair all the time back in high school! This is probably the most common natural hair lightener. Lemon juice is a citric acid, and when it heats up in the sun, it opens hair cuticles and lifts out the pigment. Squeeze some lemon juice into a spray bottle, and spritz on your hair before spending a day in the sun!

chamomile to lighten hair

I never knew this, but chamomile tea is another great way to lighten hair! Brew a batch of the tea and rinse your hair with it after showering – or add some to your shampoo and conditioner and watch as your locks gradually lighten over time!

honey to lighten hair

Lastly, honey is another product you probably have at home that you can use to lighten hair.  When mixed with distilled water, a form of hydrogen peroxide forms in the honey, which can then be used as a natural “dye.”

natural ways to lighten hair

Which of these all natural remedies would you try? If you have any other methods share them in the comments!

More beauty tips from the BLDG 25 Blog.

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10 years ago

Amazing! I am using that honey trick for sure!

10 years ago

What about salt water? I have always heard that it lightens hair

10 years ago

You can also use olive oil or beer!

10 years ago

When I was in highschool I tried a product called “sun in”, I think I mixed lemon juice in it too. But it turned my brown hair, an orangey blondish color. I probably used too much too. It was bad! Don’t ever use that stuff!

Oh, be careful with the lemon juice too. It gets crunchy like gel or hairspray, and burns a little too. Lol.. Camomile works I think. It’s in all my hair products, and I have nice natural highlights now.

10 years ago

Remember that the lemon juice will fry your hair. It’s acidic and combines with the sun (which is damaging unto itself) you might be left with dried out, damaged hair.

10 years ago

*combined not combines. :)

10 years ago

I had no idea honey could be used. I assume this could get a bit sticky. :)


10 years ago

Honey is also extremely moisturizing and a great humectant, I use it as part of my moisturizing pre-poo routine along with yogurt, olive oil, coconut oil and argan oil – and sometimes an avocado if I didn’t eat them all. I might add some chamomile tea to this next time. :)

10 years ago

Make a rosemary tea and let it cool. Use the cool tea as your last rinse in the shower. Totally worked in my brown hair. I think I got this from ym magazine. Haha.

10 years ago

Keep in mind that the Lemon will give brunettes an orange-ish hue and that the chamomile can actually darken already blond hair. A spray bottle of peroxide will also lighten your hair but for brunette’s holds the same threat of yielding the dreaded brassy/orange hue that the lemon can create. Vary coarse dark hair can be lightened up to 2 shades (if applied and left on overnight) with a mixture of cinnamon+olive oil+lemon+conditioner. Try 1/2 cup of Conditioner, 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 4 Tbsp organic cinnamon and the juice of one lemon :)

10 years ago

Great post! I am always looking for natural ways to lighten my hair. Thanks for these great tips, I usually use cinnamon to lighten my hair. :) Can’t wait to try these!

Karen Z.
10 years ago

If hairdressers could take one product off the shelf, it would be Sun In. More corrective color has been done over the years from that product ruining someone’s hair than anything else. True…hairdresser for 30 years!

10 years ago

Stefanie, or another — could something natural be used in place of the conditioner? I’ve got coarse, curly, dark hair and I don’t use manufactured shampoo or conditioner because of all the damage it causes. (Home brews work much better, curly girls!) Is there something about the chemical cocktail in conditioner that causes a reaction with the other ingredients? My knowledge on hair chemistry isn’t so great… egg yolk or something fatty?

On another note… has anyone tried baking soda? Know it’s good for teeth whitening and “shampoo,” as long as it’s balanced with something acidic like vinegar or lemon juice.

10 years ago

I’ve tried lemons, but as someone mentioned above, the juice definitely fried my hair to some degree. Lemon juice will give you gradual highlights if your hair is medium blonde/brown. It takes more than a few sittings. Worth it? I dunno.

I do also notice my hair getting lighter when I’m swimming in the ocean, so try that. It’s more fun than squeezing lemons onto your head. I say use the lemons for your skin instead !

Going to try chamomile and honey though. Sounds delicious for hair health, even if it doesn’t work.


10 years ago

my cousin got 3rd degrees burns from putting lemon juice in his hair while tanning, it got onto his shoulders and boom! bad!

10 years ago

Lessan- Baking soda is often used (diluted or in shampoo) as a clarifier, which means it strips the hair of all the dirt, oils, and products. While it’s great every other week or so to get the excess products off, I don’t think it works as a hair lightener. It shouldn’t hurt you to try, just don’t use it more than once a week at the most, as it can be damaging.

And, just as a side note, a lot of people use vinegar as a natural conditioner. I have no idea what it does mixed with baking soda, except for in the science experiments (:P), but you could try, just, again, be careful with it and do your research before you do something crazy!

10 years ago

Apple cider vinegar is actually really good for dandruff, as it kills all fungus and ive heard that it also works as a good lightener.

I used Chamomile for ages when I was younger and it gave my light brown hair a reddish shade that wasnt very nice.

I might try that olive oil, lemon, cinnamon and conditioner suggestion tho, sounds good.

10 years ago

These are some great suggestions! I might just go the all natural route though and just use the sun! If it lightens my hair, great! If not, that’s ok too!

10 years ago

Any suggestions for red/auburn hair? I love my hair color, but want to have more natural highlights this summer; and want to go lighter, too.

10 years ago

I have not try this way which lighten my hairs but I think it is a very good way. I will try this when I I was free at home.

10 years ago

I wonder if I could just test these different items using some hair from a hair brush and leave a braid hanging in my bedroom window all day. If it turns a funny shade of red or gets all dried out I will know not to use it.

10 years ago

i have naturally light brown hair which has been bleached light blonde and dyed medium brown,

i used crushed vitamin c tablets (which removes hair dye), lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon, mixed with conditioner, left that for around 2 hours, then rinsed with cold cammomile tea. my hair is a good 3 to 4 shades lighter (bleached/dyed part) and around 1 to 2 shades lighter (natural part, where my roots are coming through)

i think you are meant to leave it on for 4-8 hours though, but i still got a lot of results from only 2hours

10 years ago

Would lemon juice still work if I have like jet black hair?

10 years ago

Empress looks just like Gagoo!!!!!!!!!!!! Eucharia, My lips are sealed. in order, Mona, Bukky, Rita, Ruky, Stephanie