Want to go a few shades lighter this summer without hitting the salon? First things first: Step away from the Sun-In. These natural methods use ingredients that are (probably) already in your kitchen to lighten, brighten and create highlights effortlessly.
Honey is the perfect lightening ingredient, because it contains a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, but it’s also deeply moisturizing to counteract the drying effects of lightening. Honey is, of course, super sticky and a pain to wash out of anything, let alone hair, so it’s wise to mix it with a bit of water or vinegar to make both application and removal a little easier. Coat your hair in the blend, then cover with a shower cap and leave it on overnight.
Chamomile’s natural golden hue, as well as its chemical makeup, work to enhance the blonde undertones in hair. Brew a strong pot of chamomile tea and let cool. Saturate your hair (or, alternatively, the areas where you want highlights) in the tea, then hang out in the sun until it’s dry. The sun will work with the chamomile to naturally brighten. And because chamomile is so gentle on hair, you can even use it to lighten salon highlights without concerns of brassiness.
Perhaps the most popular DIY lightening ingredient, lemon juice is full of citric acids that lift color and create subtle, sunny highlights. Combine a quarter cup of warm water with one full cup of lemon juice into a spray bottle and shake well. Lemon can be drying, so if you have Dry Hair you can add a little bit of conditioner or a nourishing hair oil to the mix for added hydration. Spritz it all over hair and get comfortable in the sun, reapplying the concoction every half hour to keep the lightening ingredients potent.
Dark Hair is quick to turn brassy when exposed to many lighteners, even just the sun, which is why a cinnamon mask is kind of a revelation—it lifts and subtly lightens dark hair without brassiness or orange tones. Dampen your hair and distribute conditioner throughout so that the cinnamon has something to stick to. Make a paste out of cinnamon and a small amount of water and work it into your hair, being sure to coat each strand from top to bottom. You can leave it in for as long as you like, but overnight will get you the most results. Cinnamon is one of the safest lightening ingredients, so there’s no harm in repeating the process frequently.