How to Lighten Your Hair, Safely

by Erica Stolman | 19 Comments

Summer is here, and girls everywhere are headed to their local beauty to salon to lighten their locks. Lightening your hair is often a long, and damaging process that takes years to reverse as it strips the color and the nutrients from your beautiful head of hair.

If you are one of the many looking to get some blonde highlights in your hair, then cancel that pricey salon appointment you have scheduled, and check out these alternative & safe ways to get the sun kissed shade you are longing for.

Henna: Henna has been used for centuries to dye peoples hair without causing damage, as henna is all-natural & is actually good for hair health. Not only will it change the color of your hair, but it also strengthens & thickens your hair. Visit your local health food store to get a light colored henna powder(they come in different colors), mix henna powder with 1 quart of boiling water and chamomile tea (seen below) until you create a thick paste. Once the mixture is cooled down a bit, apply the thick paste to your damp hair & comb through so that every strand is coated. Put a shower cap over your head and let it sit for 2 hours and then rinse and style as you usually would.

– Lemon: Lemon juice is extremely acidic, which when mixed with sunshine, will lighten the pigments in your hair. The acid can be drying on your hair, so don’t do it everyday & be sure to deep condition your hair after you use the lemon juice. You will get a gradual color change, so if you want it blonder then do this maybe once a week. Simply mix 1 cup of lemon juice with 1/4 cup of warm water into a spray bottle, spray the mix onto your hair until it is damp and sit in the sun for 30 minutes to an hour, wash your hair as normal and use a conditioning treatment.

– Cinnamon: Cinnamon naturally contains peroxide, which as you will learn in a minute, is known for lightening hair. The good thing about cinnamon, it is cheap & you probably already have some lying around in your pantry. Simply mix your favorite conditioner with cinnamon to make a paste and apply it thoroughly to your damp hair (you can’t use too much cinnamon, but too little could leave you with streaks of color), put your hair in a bun & cover with a shower cap, let it sit overnight. When you wake up in the morning, wash your hair as usual and style. If you want it lighter, you can do this as much as you want without causing any damage to your hair!


– Honey: Honey, like cinnamon, also contains peroxide naturally, and is often used as a natural way to lighten people’s hair. Mix 1 cup of raw, uncooked honey with 2 cups of distilled water, a tablespoon of cinnamon, and a tablespoon of olive oil and apply the mixture to damp hair with a brush or a comb (for even distribution), wrap your hair in saran wrap and sleep on it. Wash your hair a few times to get the mixture completely out of your hair in the morning and style as usual. Not only will you see that your hair is lighter, but it will also be extremely soft & healthy.

Chamomile Tea: Chamomile tea often works well to lighten hair gradually, plus it will cause no damage to your hair. To make a tea rinse simply steep chamomile tea for 30 minutes in a glass or ceramic pot (metal reacts negatively with the chamomile, lessening its ability to lighten your hair). Let the tea cool to a lukewarm temperature. Wash your hair normally & use the chamomile tea as a final rinse, catch the excess liquid in a bowl & repeat this process a few times. Let your hair dry in the sun & continue to do this as often as possible to keep your highlights fresh

– Hydrogen Peroxide: Last, but not least, you can use peroxide directly to lighten your hair. Many of the ingredients above contain peroxide and are natural, but you could go straight to the source by buying a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide at the drugstore. All you need to do is put the peroxide into a spray bottle and spray it on your hair and go hang out in the sun for a little bit. The one thing with peroxide is that it can be more damaging than the other natural methods, so be sure to condition well and keep it out of your eyes (that could sting a bit)!

** Note that these methods work best on darker blonde/light brown hair. Dark brown or black hair may need more drastic measures to lighten the color, but you can always test out these methods as well. All hair responds differently, so it is worth a try! **

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  • Myong Kovalcheck

    Chemical compounds present within chamomile have demonstrated the ability to bind GABA receptors, modulate monoamine neurotransmission, and have displayed neuroendocrine effects.`;^’

    Our favorite web portal

  • hi, i’m 15. I have really dark brown hair and it has thinned out alot over the past few years. I have gone from overly thick hair that cannot be put up in a ponytail to a not so thick braid…. is there anyway to restore my hair? Its really weird and my dermotologist said its probably because i’m missing some vitamins.
    The second thing is, since my hair is long( up to my butt), i want to make it ombre, dark to light brown but naturally. Any thing that won’t damage my hair?

  • Veronica

    Would it be safe to leave the hydrogen peroxide in your hair overnight?

    • Lyricjay

      I have medium/dark brown hair that turns red during the summer and it doesn’t dye easily. I ignorantly used hydrogen peroxide to clean my face (twice a day every day) over the winter once and after about 2 weeks my hair was blond! It wasn’t damaged at all either so leaving it on overnight shouldn’t be too harsh. Just make sure you wash and condition in the morning with products that do not contain alcohol or sulfates

      • Pascal Bethany

        I’ve read somewhere that putting hydrogen peroxide in your hair for more than 45 minutes can leave your hair brittle an extremely damaged. maybe mixing water in with your hydrogen peroxide will help leave your hair last damaged bu it will be a longer process, i still don’t recommend you use this method of putting peroxide in your hair.

    • samantha wilkinson


    • Pascal Bethany

      Considering that hydrogen peroxide is very damaging, leaving it in your hair over night will be extremely damaging, causing dry and damaged hair plus your hair will permanently change your hair color, your hair can not change in the spots you put the hydrogen in. I recommend you don’t leave it in at night or put it in at all because it will damage your hair A LOT.

  • meagan

    Gonna try the cinnimon, but I don’t want to wait until night to do I because I know I can’t vet up early enough to shower. Any tips?

    • Pascal Bethany

      try it on a free day when you have nothing else to do and just sit with it on all day lol

  • gracecats2

    Which method would work best for naturally strawberry blonde hair?

    • samantha wilkinson

      something more calm because your hair is already light

    • Pascal Bethany

      Nothing too harsh because your or your clients hair isn’t too dark so probably try honey and water or honey and conditioner.

  • JC Eck

    Would showering after u use the hydrogen peroxide method wash away all the new lightness or will it stay?

    • samantha wilkinson

      it will stay

    • Pascal Bethany

      it’ll stay

  • Jules

    If you mix honey and cinnamon into your conditioner, how many times will it take to change from jet black hair to a lighter shade of brown?

    • Pascal Bethany

      Probably months.

  • spidey

    I have medium brown hair and want to make it dark blonde. Which is the best way to use?