My best summer beauty tip of all time, is probably this one: how to lighten your hair with lemon juice – naturally, safely and cheaply.
This is something I’ve personally been writing about and sharing with friends and family for years and years.
Why does lemon juice work?
Lemon is a natural bleach, and in this case, it will accelerate the sun’s ability to lighten our hair. This is a natural, safe way to lighten your hair. (As long as you make sure the lemon juice doesn’t go into your eyes or touch your scalp.) It’s also something I’ve done many, many times with no problems.
I learnt it as a preteen from my mom, and was something I did growing up a lot. It’s basically how to lighten you hair in a way that is all-natural, much safer than all those chemicals in regular hair dyes. Best of all, it’s very inexpensive. Not to mention, it’s so ridiculous easy.
Curious? Read on.
What you need:
I’ve been writing about how to lighten hair with lemon juice for years and it’s caught on, but unfortunately a lot of the info out there is wrong, or simply over complicated. There is certainly no need for vodka, cinnamon or any other ingredients.
The truth is, all you need are:
- a few lemons (depending on how much hair you want to lighten) because more hair = more lemons. (As an example, I have slightly over medium length hair, and I use 2 medium sized lemons.)
- a wide tooth comb or a clean toothbrush
How to: Lighten Hair With Lemon Juice
After getting all your tools, it’s time to begin! Here’s the step by step way to lighten your hair with lemon juice. (If you have any concerns or questions beforehand, read down for the FAQ section where I answer any questions you may have.)
1. To start, grab your lemon(s).
As I mentioned earlier, the amount of lemons will depend on how much you want to lighten or how long your hair is. gGab as many lemons as you think you will need. Usually 1-2 small lemons will be enough for short to medium length hair. For long to very long hair, try 3 large lemons.
If you’re just doing simple hair highlights, your work here is almost done, and so easy. Simple cut half of the lemon and rub it on the crown area of your hair, making sure to get as much lemon juice out as possible. (And make sure your hair is dry.)
And that’s really it – a slight dampening of your hair with lemon juice. After that, skip to step #4.
But if you’ve got all the lemons and now you’re using the lemon juice to lighten your hair all over, continue below.
2. Squeeze out the lemon juice into a small bowl.
After you’ve got your lemons, try to get as much juice out of them as possible, in whatever way you usually juice a lemon, and then remember to remove the pulp and seeds, to make sure it is pure lemon juice.
3. Grab a tool of your choice.
This can be a hairbrush, a wide-tooth comb, a toothbrush, clean mascara wands… like I said above, use whatever tool you like. I personally like to use a clean toothbrush (you can get them for $1 at the dollar store) as it really deposits the lemon juice onto the hair with minimal mess. But try it out and see what works best for you.
Next, dip your tool into the lemon juice. Shake it a bit so that the lemon juice isn’t runny on your tool, but that there’s just enough to properly rub into your hair.
Then, apply it on dry hair only until all your hair is soaked with lemon juice. I like to gently apply it onto the hair in several ‘layers’ to really get the lemon juice working. And I would recommend that as well – simply adding or patting on the lemon juice won’t really work as well, I find. Really rub it in! Just make sure no lemon juice touches your scalp.
4. Lastly, find some sun.
The juice will only work with some sunshine, so get out there and make sure your hair gets some sun. The longer your hair is in the sun, the lighter it will get. 20-30 minutes is more than enough to get a little bit of difference.
Personally, I do it up to an hour, or even as long as I am out in the sun swimming, but make sure you don’t get sunburnt. Sunscreen is key. Also, don’t let the lemon juice get it in your eyes or too close to your scalp either, it will sting!
Aftercare would be as normal colored hair – even though this is a more natural way, there still might be some slight damage to the hair, although it’ll be minimal.
At worst, your hair will feel a bit more dry than usual, so I recommend doing a deep conditioning hair mask for a week after. Or, I’d recommend using my all time favorite natural hair moisturizer: coconut oil.
Either way, regular conditioning your hair after shampooing is a great habit to cultivate for your hair health, regardless of whether it’s “healthy” or not, and in this case, will help tremendously.
There’s been so many questions regarding this lemon juice hair trick, so I compiled some of the most asked questions. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment and I can add it below!
How much will it lighter my hair?
The lighten hair with lemon juice method above will lighten your hair by perhaps half a shade. Yes, it’s a small difference, but that’s why it looks so natural. If you want to keep going lighter and lighter, do this several times.
Will this work on dyed hair?
To lighten your hair with lemon juice, I’d say it works the best on natural, un-dyed hair. However, it does still work on colored and/or dyed hair, but be careful that in doing this. This is because you’ll be lightening the chemical color; and it could end up looking brassy or even orange/green.
Will this damage my hair?
Yes, it is “bleach” after all. But the damage is minimal and you should be fine as long as you condition it well after. But proceed at your own risk, and see if your personal hair type can take this hair “treatment”.
Does the lemon juice make brown hair look brassy?
Like all hair dyes on dark hair, there is a chance it comes out brassy and even orange. For lemon, I’ve found that if you do it too often, yes it will look too brassy. I’ve done it up to 4 times in one month and my color was alright. But definitely don’t do it more often than 4 times a month, I reckon.
Can I use store-bought lemon juice?
I reckon you could. But I’d still recommend squeezing an actual lemon and using that juice. This is because store-bought fruit juices these days are loaded with sugar and preservatives, and you don’t really want all that in your hair.
Can I use a lamp (or artificial light) to lighten my hair instead of the sun?
Unfortunately I think this will need the sun only. How long will the lemon juice lighten my hair? This is a “natural” bleach, so it’s permanent until your hair grows out (or you put hair dye on top of it).
How long will it take to lighten my hair?
The method I wrote about will take awhile, since it’s so natural, but you should see results (albeit very slight) after the first time. If you still want to go lighter, do it maybe 4-5 times. Try to space it out though, as it can damage your hair.
Will this dry out my scalp?
Yes, it will! That is why I recommend to do this slowly and carefully so that no lemon juice touches your scalp – just focus on your hair.
I can’t see any results! Did I do something wrong?
That sucks! OK, so you probably didn’t do anything wrong. You can try it again and leave your hair out in the sun longer. Or, you probably haven’t seen results because you have really light hair already! I think this would be hard to do on blondes, since it’s so natural and the results are very slight. I reckon this method works best on those with very dark hair, since you can actually see the difference.
If you’re looking for a natural way to lighten your hair, look to lemon juice! It’s an easy, natural and safer way to lighten hair and create sun kissed color and tone to your hair.
Now over to you:
Have you lighten your hair with lemon juice?
What were the results? Do you have any other tips to add to this post? I’d love to know!