How to Lighten Hair Naturally Without Damaging Hair

When most people color their hair, they lighten it a few shades, go bleach blond, or at least get highlights. But what if you don’t want to use bleach? What if your hair can’t handle it without getting fried?

There are a few ways to lighten your hair further if it’s already light or give it highlights if it’s dark. I mean the kind of highlights you see in the sun, not the streaks. Hey, don’t expect too much from lemon juice.


Different Ways To Lighten Hair Naturally at Home

So, yes, lemon juice is one method. But you don’t want to just go squeezing this wonderful juice all over your tresses. They will become dry and brittle and could suffer damage. There’s a set way to use lemon juice and all the other things on this list. There are also some no-no’s we’ll talk about that can lighten your hair, but if you use them, you may as well use bleach.

Lemon Juice

use lemon juice to lighten hair naturally

Lemon juice goes inside the hair strand to oxidize melanin pigments when combined with sunlight. Lemon juice also eats up the hair cuticle, so don’t go putting it into a spray bottle with water. It’s best to mix it with a hair conditioner instead. Yes, it will work more slowly. That’s better than damaging your hair.


Vitamin C

Using vitamin C is like getting the most powerful extracts from the lemon juice and putting that in your hair. Sure, it will lighten your hair, but ouch! The damage. It’s best to dissolve the vitamin C in water and add it to your hair conditioner, just like if you were using lemon juice. Then you can sit in the sun and let the active ingredient do its work.


Honey and Cinnamon

When combined, honey and cinnamon make a natural form of hydrogen peroxide to lighten the hair. But you don’t need sunlight for this one. Mix the two and apply to wet hair. Put it under a shower cap and leave the mask to do its stuff. Your body heat will help it to activate. The mask should stay in your hair for one to four hours.


Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar

use apple cider vinegar with honey to lighten hair naturally

Both honey and apple cider vinegar can work apart to lighten your tresses. Why not use them together? Besides, the humectant quality of the honey will help to offset some of the dryness apple cider vinegar can cause.

It will also help it stick to the hair without evaporating so quickly into the atmosphere. Combine the two and leave them on the hair for an hour before rinsing. Yes, sitting in the sun will aid the process.



Chamomile flowers contain a golden tint that looks nice on hair that’s already light in color. It probably won’t do much if you’re a dusky beauty, however. Make a strong cup of chamomile tea. When it’s lukewarm to the touch, pour it through your hair. Leave it in for twenty minutes and rinse.



use henna to lighten hair naturally

Henna is actually not a hair lightener, but it provides fantastic highlights to dark hair. You can use a red or burgundy color henna to get stunning highlights on dark hair. Follow the instructions on the package, which usually just say to mix the pack with warm water until it’s like the consistency of mayonnaise.

Then add to the hair. Cover it with a shower cap and leave it for four to six hours. Henna is very conditioning and strengthening to the hair and the hair follicles.


Ways to NOT Lighten Hair Naturally at Home

There are some DIY substances that are just too damaging to the hair to use for lightening, although they do work.

Baking Soda

Ways to NOT Lighten Hair Naturally - white vinegar and baking soda

Baking soda can lighten your hair, but it might be more dangerous than hair bleach. Baking soda is highly alkaline and lifts the hair cuticle. This leads to mechanical damage from combing, as the hair cuticle is simply sitting there, ready to be torn off.

When you rinse the baking soda out, your hair could easily develop hygral fatigue because of the amount of water that enters through the open cuticle. It eventually becomes extremely damaged and mushy, with the only solution being to grow a new head of hair.


White Vinegar

You can use apple cider vinegar but avoid white vinegar. It’s too stripping to the hair and you might spend a lot of time afterward trying to figure out how to make your locks moisturized again.


Salt and saltwater

Ways to NOT Lighten Hair Naturally - Seawater

If you enjoy trips to the beach, you may have already found how well salt water works to lighten your hair when you’re sitting around in the sun after a swim. Salt lifts the hair cuticles. After that, the sun is free to bleach the melanin inside the hair shaft. To lighten the hair, you need multiple sittings in the sun with salt water in your hair.

But there are a few problems with this. First is that beachgoers find their new blonde very dry and brittle. Second, salt has sharp crystals. These crystals get between the hair shaft and the cuticle and cause extensive damage. They also rub against the hair cuticle and fray it. There isn’t much good that can be said about saltwater when used in this manner.


Hydrogen Peroxide

The strength of hydrogen peroxide is actually right next to hair bleach when it comes to lightening your hair. It works wonderfully right out of the bottle. Hydrogen peroxide is actually found in some blonde dyes on the market. But it is corrosive to the hair cuticle.  It’s also a chemical, so it doesn’t make it to our natural list, although it can be useful in other DIY scenarios.



Just kidding. Please don’t put Clorox or any form of sodium hypochlorite in your hair under any circumstances. Hair bleach is actually made with hydrogen peroxide and oxidizing salts, not Clorox.



How can I lighten my dark hair naturally?

The tips on this list won’t significantly lighten dark hair unless you have very fine hair strands that are dark but without an excess of melanin. This kind of hair is relatively easy to lighten by one shade. Otherwise, these will produce highlights in your hair so that when you stand in the sun, your hair gives off a lighter aura.


Can natural hair become lighter?

If natural hair is brown to begin with and has very fine strands, yes, you can lighten it one shade with the tips on this list.


Can lemon lighten your hair without the sun?

Lemon can lighten your hair without sun, but sunlight increases its effects as it does with all the DIYs on this list.


How do you naturally highlight brown hair?

You can try to put streaks in your hair with these tips, but the reality is that they take multiple sessions to work. It might be difficult to find the exact same spots you’re attempting to highlight time after time.


Does the sun permanently lighten hair?

The sun will permanently lighten the hair that’s already on your head, not what’s growing in–unless, of course, you’re always in the sun.


How can I lighten my 4c hair without bleach?

If you have brown 4c hair with very fine strands, you can lighten it at least by one shade with the tips on this list.


Is it rare to have natural highlights?

Generally speaking, it’s very small children who have natural highlights as their hair changes from a lighter color in infancy to a darker one in childhood.


Does lemon make hair white?



How can I lighten my hair instantly?

It depends on your texture. If your hair strands are fine and contain little melanin, you can do one or two apple cider vinegar rinses to see a difference.


Are there any side effects of lemon on hair?

When lemon is put directly into the hair, it can cause dryness and brittleness. If left in for too long it can start to corrode the hair cuticle. If used in the sunlight, it can cause skin sensitivities.


Does seawater lighten hair?

When combined with sunlight, yes.


Does saltwater naturally lighten hair?

Saltwater can be used in conjunction with sunlight to lighten the hair.


How long does it take for vinegar to lighten your hair?

It depends on your original hair shade and how thin or coarse your hair strands are. If they are thin and your hair is brown or lighter, it only takes one or two applications of an apple cider vinegar rinse to show a difference.


Does seawater damage hair?

Yes, without washing the hair in between swims, the salt can be damaging.


What does saltwater do to blonde hair?

Saltwater can give blonde hair a bleached appearance.


Do surfers dye their hair blonde?

Blonde is not a natural hair color in adults. The natural hair color of surfers is bleached by the sun and saltwater.


What is sun-kissed hair?

Sun-kissed hair is hair that has blonde highlights added.


How can I lighten my hair naturally without the sun?

Yes, but it will take longer.


Does cold water lighten hair?