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13 Easy Ways To Naturally Lighten Hair Without Touching Dye Or Bleach

Photo: Vkstudio, Danny Smythe, Billion Photos, Shen Stock via Canva
woman smiling with lemons and cinnamon

This generation is all about setting yourself apart with idiosyncratic choices, and when everyone else is just opting for chemical hair treatments in an attempt to learn how to naturally lighten hair, why not go for better and inexpensive methods using ingredients in your own home?

After creating a hole in your pocket with those expensive salon treatments that might make your hair frizzier than a poodle and rougher than a broomstick, you're looking for ways to lighten your hair without using bleach.

And this is why we are bringing you the best natural remedies to lighten your hair at home without touching dyes or bleach.

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Can all hair be naturally lightened?

The ability to naturally lighten your hair will depend on several things: the color, texture, and type of hair you have.

If you have darker hair (like black or dark brown hair), many of these DIY methods won't be strong enough to lift the pigment in your hair. However, lighter hair color will be able to use at-home remedies like lemon juice.

Thicker hair types can be lightened naturally, but you have to be careful to make sure you cover all of your hair in the treatment you choose. It can be hard to make sure every hair is treated, and some treatments will need to be diluted.

Be sure to note that each method may have different results depending on your hair, so treat it with caution when trying to achieve a naturally lightened color.

How To Naturally Lighten Hair — Without Bleach

Before trying these methods, be sure to prepare your hair well in advance. Oil your hair 3 times a week, do deep conditioning, or try a hair mask. This will make the process a lot easier and more effective.

It's recommended to expose your hair to the sun during the process or afterwards. Also, don’t forget to give your hair a nice massage with UV-protecting leave-in conditioner before you step out in the sun.

1. Lemon juice

You get the benefits of lemon juice not only when you drink it, but also when you use it for your hair.

The citric acid in lemon juice is a very weak oxidizing agent that reduces the production of melanin and lightens the hair naturally. The process is accelerated when you expose your hair to the sun. Keep in mind that prolonged exposure is also not advisable.

You need:

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup conditioner or a teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 1 spray bottle

Part your hair and spray the mixture from the roots to the tips. Wait until it’s completely saturated, sit under the sun for at least 20 minutes (now you won’t hate summers), and get ready to rock that diva-ish hair after washing them.

2. Honey and vinegar

This mixture might sound like a bad idea, but don’t worry — when the aftermath of the application will give you light as a feather and smooth as a silk scarf locks, you will personally thank us.

If you don’t like apple cider vinegar for its foul smell, you can always replace it with warm water.

You need:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (if your hair is really dry, mix a little amount of conditioner as well)

Make a paste of these ingredients and apply the mixture well with a nylon bristles dye brush. Keep it on for at least four or five hours, or you can let it sit overnight by wrapping a towel around your head.

3. Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide

Baking soda for hair is always a great option, and when it's combined with hydrogen peroxide, the amalgamation of both gives you diva-esque hair.

As many people tend to use only hydrogen peroxide, when the results are not up to par, they keep wondering why. Well, because using only hydrogen peroxide won’t lighten your hair.

You need:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3-4 teaspoons hydrogen peroxide

Mix them well and apply the mask in a generous amount. Keep the mixture on for no more than 60 minutes and wash your hair well.

4. Saltwater solution

A saltwater solution lightens your hair and removes dandruff and debris that are stuck to the roots of your hair, giving you an effortless, spa-like treatment at home.

This mixture is perfect for those who have already bleached their hair and want to keep the bleach for a longer period. Saltwater solution will only slightly open your hair cuticle, and sun exposure will give you better results.

You need:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • A pinch of salt
  • Spray bottle

Spray the solution onto your hair and leave it on for about 15-30 minutes while sitting under the sun. Then, rinse it off.

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5. Orange juice and club soda

Vitamin C in orange juice is an effective product for lightening hair.

Although the results may not be adequate, blending other ingredients in the juice not only makes it a great option for lightening hair, but it also removes layers of chemicals that haven’t been washed away. You can also crush 8 or 9 vitamin C tablets in case you run out of oranges.

You need:

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup club soda
  • 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 drop sage essential oil

Prepare a mixture in a spray bottle and shake vigorously to form a consolidated solution. Section your hair into four parts and spray the mixture from front to end.

Wear a plastic shower cap and allow the orange juice to penetrate your scalp. Sit under the sun for an hour and rinse it off.

6. Henna paste

Some women have been using this technique since the beginning of time, especially in parts of the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian Subcontinent.

You may be wondering why a product that is meant for darkening hair can lighten it at the same time. Only blondes are not looking to lighten their hair, but women with dark brown and black hair are.

You need:

  • 3 tablespoons henna
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Let the mixture sit overnight so the color activates. Apply onto hair the next morning and leave it for 2-3 hours. You can add a tablespoon of cinnamon powder to the mixture for a greater effect. Rinse it off with lemon juice or vinegar.

7. Cinnamon and conditioner

This pleasant-smelling mixture is so versatile that it leaves your hair with a powerful and irresistible fragrance, making it lighter and softer. You don’t even need to wash your hair with shampoo to remove the odor that other mixtures might give you.

You need:

  • 1/2 cup cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Make a thick paste and apply it. Tie your hair in a bun and leave the mixture on for 3-4 hours before rinsing. You can even add a tablespoon of honey for more satisfactory results.

8. Tea, lemon, and yogurt

Tea bags for under eyes, tea bags for an at-home bath spa, green tea for weight loss, and now chamomile tea for lightening hair? This herbal tea is a gentle and natural method for how to lighten hair.

The most basic way is to boil 4 to 5 tea bags. Allow the mixture to cool before you rinse your damp hair. To make it even more effective, add some natural hair-lightening ingredients.

You need:

  • 1 cup freshly brewed chamomile tea
  • 2 teaspoon lemon
  • 1 teaspoon yogurt

Mix all these ingredients well together until it forms a paste, and then apply it to your hair. Pin up your hair and let the mixture sit for 30-60 minutes.

Wash your hair and condition it well. If you are using only chamomile spray, instead of washing it, let it air dry.

9. Marigold petals

Who would have thought the benefits of marigold petals also included lightening hair? The best part about using marigold is that it also moisturizes coarse and dry hair, and gives you dandruff-free hair as it hydrates the scalp.

You can also use calendula tea for this mixture. Its lightening properties will give you both softer locks and lighter hair tones.

You need:

  • Marigold petals
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon almond oil
  • Spray bottle

Boil the marigold petals with apple cider vinegar. Filter the mixture and add almond oil to the already prepared solution. Spray the final mixture onto your dry hair and let it dry.

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10. Rhubarb

This species of plant is a controversial one, as we're still not sure whether it’s a fruit or a vegetable.

Rhubarb is a seasonal spring vegetable but it's considered a fruit. There's no doubt that with its exquisite name, it also has excellent benefits, and one of them is working as a lightening agent for hair.

You need:

  • 1/4 cup chopped rhubarb
  • 2 cups water

Boil them together and set the mixture aside to cool. After it cools down, strain the liquid either in a spray bottle or in a bowl if you think you would be able to pour it entirely onto your hair.

Leave it on for about 10 minutes and complete the wash with a conditioner.

11. Coffee

This method is highly recommended for women with brown and black hair. Not only can you use coffee as a hair mask or as a hair loss treatment, but you can lighten your hair and make it more manageable.

It’s recommended that you use organic coffee, but if you don’t want to spend a little extra amount on it, you can always add other natural ingredients to make the mixture powerful.

You need:

  • 2 cups freshly brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup conditioner
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Spray bottle

Allow the coffee to cool down on its own or by keeping it in a refrigerator. Pour half of it into a separate cup so that you have 2 cups of coffee separately.

Spray it all over your hair and sit under the sun for at least 20 minutes. Wash it normally and then pour the other coffee up onto your hair.

12. Vitamin C tablets

Vitamin C is a good go-to when it comes to lightening your hair due to the citric acid it contains. You should treat your hair with a vitamin C wash once a day until you see your desired results.

You need:

  • 10-20 vitamin C tablets
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

A vitamin C wash is simple to make. All you have to do is crush up some vitamin C tablets, put them in a spray bottle with water, and spritz it onto your hair.

13. Beer or vodka

Because beer has a pH of around 4, it's strong enough to slightly lighten your hair. It can also effectively hydrate frizzy hair.

You need:

  • 2-3 flat beer cans
  • Shampoo

Open two or three beers (make sure they are flat!) and take a shower. Shampoo as you normally would, and then pour the beers over your hair, working from root to tip.

Take a 30 minute break to sit in the sun before rinsing your hair off. Then, use a good amount of conditioner after shampooing. If you don't have beer, you can do the same thing with vodka.

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Vartika Puranik is a writer, content strategist, and social media expert whose work has appeared on Discover Magazine, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Forbes Advisor, and SYFY, among others.

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