Hair Lightening Without Bleach or Damage

Lightening your hair the natural way can reduce the damaging effects of chemicals.

Photo: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Lightening your hair can add pizzazz to your look and give you a sun-kissed radiance that draws flirtatious looks at every turn. Problem is, bleach and commercial coloring products can play havoc with the health of your hair, leading to split ends, brassiness and the dreaded frizzies. But don’t fret. There are ways to lighten your tresses with way less damage. Highlighting your hair the natural way will also save you tons of money by eliminating constant salon visits. Your bank account and your hair will thank you.

Rinse with Lemon Juice

Lemon juice may lighten your hair a notch or two. Because lemon can be acidic, it’s best to dilute it with water. “Real Simple” magazine suggests simmering two sliced lemons for two hours, draining and pouring into a spray bottle. For an extra dose of lightening, suggests mixing lemon juice with olive oil, which lightens hair, and makes it soft and shiny. Rinse with diluted lemon juice everyday for a subtle lightening effect in blond hair or highlights in brunette or ebony hair.

Smell the Flowers

Grandma’s Home Remedies suggests using chamomile blooms to naturally lighten locks. Drop the flowers in a cup of boiling water, let sit for 30 minutes, strain, cool and use it as a hair rinse. The website recommends rinsing with the flower mixture at least three times and letting it soak into your hair for 15 minutes before washing out. For stronger lightening, use real flowers instead of chamomile tea bags, advises Want an even bigger lightening boost? Mix the chamomile concoction with lemon juice.

Sit in the Sun

Steal a secret from beach bunnies and surfer girls. Many of them have a natural blonde look thanks to the bleaching effect of UV rays. Sitting in the sun is a super simple way to get a lighter mane without the mess of mixing rinses. Simply lie face down and spread out your tresses to soak up the sun’s lightening effect. Be sure to use sunscreen or cover your body to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging effects. By the end of the summer, you hair should be noticeably lighter.


Even these natural lightening methods can dry out your hair, so protect it by avoiding over-washing, recommends a CBS News article. Instead of shampooing everyday, reduce the frequency to three times a week. And don’t tie your hair back in braids, ponys and buns day after day. Braids and ponytails — especially if they’re too tight — can cause hair breakage. Also be aware that extensions and weaves can cause hair to break or become brittle over time. Give your sunny new hair color plenty of TLC to maximize its health and beauty. You’ll say hello to a lighter, brighter future without turning to nasty chemicals.

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