2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.
after my post about dying your hair darker with walnuts went live on AE, i’ve had lots of questions about how to lighten hair naturally.
lightening hair is always more involved, because it involves removing color from the hair (instead of depositing color for “darker” shades). by removing color, you’re typically using harsher chemicals and are being harder on your hair. your hair can become more brittle and dry by going lighter.
with that in mind, we need to make sure our hair’s getting a little extra TLC –
- keep your hair conditioned
- scritch and preen to use your natural scalp oils to moisturize the length of your hair (video HERE)
- look into using leave-in conditioners
- if your hair becomes brittle, give it a dose of protein with an egg yolk mask or gelatin mask
since we’re steering clear of the toxic stuff, here are some tried n’ true ways to naturally lighten your hair (over time, of course. ’tis the price we pay for being crunchy)!
quick note: these methods work best on hair colors that are not very dark (not dark browns/black), and these are more than likely NOT going to have “dye-like” effects. the shades you’ll get will be more of the sun-kissed variety.
- honey –
on already wet hair, slather as much raw honey as needed to cover you hair from root to tip. really work it in. cover your hair and let it sit for a couple hours to overnight. then rinse with cool water. (yes, the honey HAS to be raw. don’t try that teddy bear crap lol)
- chamomile –
make a very, very strong batch of chamomile tea and use it as a rinse on dry hair. catch what runs out and re-rinse a few times. let your hair air dry, preferably in the sunshine. rinse well with water. there should be no immediate need to condition from this method.
- cinnamon –
when mixed into a paste (either with your favorite all-natural conditioner or with raw honey), cinnamon acts as a lightening agent on hair. mix a couple tablespoons into your conditioner or honey to form a thick paste and apply it to damp hair. let it sit for a couple hours, preferably drying in sunshine.
- lemons –
juice a lemon or two, and mix it with 1/4 amount of water (ex: if you have 1 cup of lemon juice, mix it with a 1/4 cup of water). put the mix into a spray bottle and spray away on dry hair. let your hair dry in the sunshine. rinse with water only after and condition.
- sunshine –
with spring and summer fast approaching, be sure to let your locks soak up the rays! sunshine has a natural bleaching effect on hair.
i’ve seen some posts on using rhubarb root, but that just stains hair a yellowy color. it doesn’t actually lighten hair. that might be disastrous for some hair shades.
here’s a couple mixes you can try:
- lemon juice & chamomile tea:
make a strong pot of chamomile tea and add the juice of lemons (for every 2 cups of tea, use the juice from 1 lemon). on dry hair, either spray or rinse the mix throughout your hair. let it sit for a couple hours, preferably letting it dry in the sun.
- cinnamon, honey, & lemon:
for every tablespoon of raw honey needed to cover your hair, add 1 tablespoon distilled water (low mineral content), 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. mix well. apply this to damp hair and let it sit for a couple hours to overnight (wrap hair in saran wrap and then a t-shirt). if you’re not leaving it in overnight, let your hair dry in the sun.
hope you love your new sun-kissed locks!!
please keep in mind it’ll take several tries to see lightening (especially depending on your current hair color), but it’ll get there!
& don’t forget to share your hair lightening stories below!