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Ways to Lighten Your Hair Naturally

Ways to Lighten Your Hair Naturally

How to Get Your Lightened Look

If you want to lighten your hair these days, you are certainly not alone. A lighter look is a nice, bright way to usher in the summer months or bring a little joy to the dark winter months. Many of us find ourselves scrambling to find the most effective, cheapest, and prettiest way to get our golden locks. You may be overwhelmed by the plentitude of blogs, sites, and resources screaming their methods at you. We’ll help filter through it all. Here you’ll find a helpful overview of some of the popular options on how to lighten your hair. But first, let’s take a look at why.

Why We Desire Lighter Hair

The reasons are plentiful and varied. Some of us want lighter hair, to suit the season, as mentioned before. Maybe lighter hair will also lighten our mood in dark times. Perhaps we lighten our hair to feel younger and more free. Maybe we just need a change.  Lighter hair may help us to have more fun, some might say. Unfortunately, so many of our beauty desires are based off of our admiration of someone other than ourselves.

This sort of coveting isn’t something new. Ancient Roman women, according to Aveda Georgetown Beauty, attempted to lighten their hair because they liked the shade of hair of the Northern Captives. People were already using Hydrogen Peroxide to lighten their hair in 1818 after being shown as a possible method at an Exhibition in Paris. No matter how long or why we’ve been lusting after these lighter looks, it is clear, that for some the desire remains–and the desire may remain very strongly! But don’t jump into lightened locks without learning about your options. Here, you’ll get an overview of how to lighten your hair; natural methods; dangers of some chemical methods; suggested pages for more information; as well as some specific recipes to follow.

How to Get Your Lightened Look Naturally

DIY & Crafts is a great place for looking in order to gather and compare ideas for lightening your hair. Take a stroll through the various methods to get an idea of what is out there. Keep in mind the desired outcome you are aiming for, as many methods are tailored towards a specific end result. Also, remember some ingredients are better suited for certain types of hair over other types. Don’t be reckless with your decision; this is your beautiful hair we are dealing with! At DIY & Crafts, the ingredients range from rhubarb to cinnamon and time investment can be as little as 10 minutes with some methods. Here are a few of the highlights from DIY & Crafts:

Honey and Vinegar

This recipe is slightly more elaborate than some of the others, but each ingredient plays a special role to cover all of the important bases in hair care.

You’ll need:

  • distilled vinegar (2 cups)
  • honey (1 cup, raw and uncooked)
  • extra virgin olive oil (1 tablespoon)
  • cardamom or cinnamon (1 tablespoon)

Once you’ve gathered and measured your ingredients, you’re practically finished. Simply mix them all up, dampen your hair, and apply. Use a comb to spread the mixture thoroughly throughout, unless you want location specific highlights. This formula should stay on over night. You can use a shower cap or a plastic wrap to keep it from rubbing out.

Why it works: Honey contains a bit of hydrogen peroxide, which lightens. The oil, cinnamon and cardamom help to encourage the lightening process. Oils are simply amazing and under utilized home products that can help treat many ailments such as dry skin conditions Angular Cheilitis.

Vitamin C Tablets

If that last recipe was a bit too complicated for you, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of this next approach. Take a look at the streamlined ingredient list!

What you’ll need: 

  • vitamin C tablets
  • shampoo

Once you have found your vitamin C tablets and shampoo, you’re ready to begin. All you have to do is simply grind up 8 or so of the vitamin C tablets. Then, mix the ground tablets in with your usual shampoo and wash your hair as usual. If you usually condition your hair, continue with that as well.

Why it works: Vitamin C lightens hair while also keeping your hair healthy. It’s a 2-in-1!

Henna and Chamomile

This hair lightening idea is a sweet-smelling and soothing alternative if you’re looking to make your hair lightening a bit of a spa experience at the same time. You’ll feel more relaxed just while preparing this hair-lightening concoction. Imagine how good you’ll feel after applying the remedy.

What you’ll need: 

  • henna powder
  • chamomile (powder)
  • boiling water

Use the same amount of both ingredients, depending on how big of a batch you want to make. Now use the boiling water to make a paste with the henna and chamomile powder. Make sure the paste is sufficiently cooled before applying it to your hair. When cooled, it should be combed through your wet hair. Cover your hair and leave the paste in for 1-2 hours depending on how dark your hair is.

Why it works: Henna powder, when mixed with chamomile, becomes an excellent lightening method. And, it smells great!


If you aren’t achieving your lightened look by the summer sun alone, try brightening your hair using some of your summer garden. That’s right. The rhubarb from your backyard can be, according to some, used to make your hair a bit blonder.

What you’ll need:

  • rhubarb (1/4 cup)
  • water (2 cups)

The next time you’re strolling through your garden, grab a few stalks of rhubarb. Make a batch, or multiple batches, based on the proportions given above. Chop the rhubarb and add it to water. Heat the water and rhubarb mixture just until it starts boiling. Then, let the mixture cool down. You’ll strain the mixture, using the liquid portion as your lightening rinse. The rinse should stay on your hair for 10 minutes or so. After it’s set, rinse normally with water.

If you aren’t already hooked on one of these methods, take a look at the other great recipes from DIY & Crafts.

The Nourished Life also agrees with the principle of ditching the chemicals for perseverance with more natural methods.

You can find out more about Elizabeth’s methods at livingthenourishedlife.com. Their methods overlap with the previously discussed routines, however, they have their own elaborations along with a few new tips. Elizabeth suggests natural methods such as:

  • REAL lemon juice
  • Chamomile
  • Honey
  • Olive oil
  • Good old-fashioned sunshine!

Healthy Hair is Pretty Hair

No matter how light you want your hair or how light you actually manage to make your hair, one thing is for sure: healthy hair is more beautiful than damaged hair. So not only should you be careful about which methods you should choose when altering your natural state of hair; but you should also take the time to ensure the general health of your locks. If you keep your hair healthy, the blonde (or whichever shade you are going for) will glow and glisten even more. The effect will only be enhanced by healthy hair. And who better to ask about hair beauty than Cosmopolitan? Cosmopolitan gives us 9 ways to make our hair healthier. Here is a look at how:

Keep the Moisture In

There are many ways that our hair becomes drier. It could be the weather, it could be the indoor climate (heat) of your workplace. You could be drying your hair out with the products you choose to use. Avoid excessively dry hair by:

  • Filling a bowl with water and leaving it by your bed. The air will become less dry, as the moisture from the evaporated water is added to it.

Turn Down the Heat

Blowdryers and other styling tools can really damage your hair. The heat from these machines may be the cause of your dry and dreary state of hair. If this sounds like you, you’ve damaged the protective part of your hair strands. The outer layer is important for both basic protection as well as maintaining the appearance of your hair. A few ways to fix this problem:

  • Use your dryer less, if possible.
  • Use a cool setting if available.
  • Apply some sort of hydrating creme to act as a sort of manmade protective cream layer between your hair and your chosen heated methods of beauty. Cosmopolitan suggests a few products, though the other sites referenced would surely suggest a natural cream.

Ditch the Split Ends

I know it’s tempting to just let your hair grow, and grow. Cutting it seems counter productive. And yet, cutting it is exactly what you should do. Depending on how fast your hair grows, as soon as you catch a glimpse of split ends it’s time for a cut. Here are a few other ways to avoid split ends:

  • Reduce use of flat ironing.
  • Use less artificial high lighting and dyes.
  • Stop the split with a temporary sealer.
  • Get a hair cut.

These notes on hair health are just a gentle reminder to take care of not only the beauty of your hair and body, but also the health. The healthier you are the more beautiful you will look and feel.

How Not to Get Your Lightened Look

When you decide you want blonder hair, you may be tempted to go to any lengths to get the desired lightness. Here are a few important don’ts when you are on your quest for lighteners. Don’t:

Use too much hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is not only a somewhat dangerous chemical additive, it will dry your hair out and leave it so lifeless that you won’t even notice what color it is (Nature Hacks). If you are really aiming for this strange, fake hue of blonde, hydrogen peroxide will work, but it will dry your hair out in the process. You may even damage your skin along the way.

Use hair dyes. Sure they work, but why go this expensive and chemical route when you can make your own alternative at home? Depending on the quality of the dye, you may actually get a pretty decent color by dying your hair. But, there is always a catch. The catch when dying your hair with artificial dyes and products is simple: It hurts your hair. Over time, these dyes may contribute to hair loss, a lower quality of hair, deterioration, some types of skin damage.

Proceed blindly. Whichever method you choose, be sure to do your research. Know the ingredients and how your unique body will respond to them. Try a sample on a  small amount of hair first. And as always, if you are using something new or feeling unsure, it is best to consult your physician with any concerns along the way.

Confidence is Beauty

Despite all of these suggestions, recipes and warnings you may decide that you don’t want lighter hair after all. And that’s okay. Your natural hair color, no matter what it is, is yours. And no society’s expectation of beauty can take that away from you. Before you take the plunge into blonder hair, ask yourself why you are going for it. Is it for you? Is it for others? What’s so bad about your natural shade? If these questions leave you doubting yourself, focus on your hair health before making a change in color. Keep your diet healthy, reduce your use of products, turn down the heat on hair tools–and love the way you look!


  1. Nature Hacks, Natural Ways to Lighten Hair, website.
  2. DIY & Crafts, 10 Ways to Lighten Your Hair Naturally, website, 2013.
  3. The Nourished Life, How to Naturally Lighten Hair.
  4. Aveda Georgetown, Brief History of Hair Lightening, website, 2011.
  5. Cosmopolitan, 9 Ways to Keep Your Hair Healthy.
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An enthusiast for living healthy. Not dramatic life changes, but simple configurations to make you feel that much better. The benefit to effort ratio has to be extremely high, i.e. a little effort goes a long way.