Homemade Recipes for Natural Highlights

how to lighten hair naturally

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Going to the salon can be an expensive treat — ask any girl who has ever gotten a full head of highlights and been shocked by paying as much as $300. This cost completely depends on where you live. Whether your motivation is to save a little cash or to avoid harsh dyes and chemicals, we’ve rounded up some of the best homemade formulas to naturally lighten hair with ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

#1: Lemon Juice

We’re kicking off our hair color cookbook with the oldest trick out there — lemon juice. Among all at-home methods of getting natural highlights this one is probably the easiest.


  • spray bottle;
  • lemon juice;
  • water.

Create a mixture of half lemon juice and half water in a spray bottle and then douse your strands. It’s important to note that lemons are activated by heat, so this method is most effective and fast when spending a day out in the sun. Without sun it will give a less noticeable result.

#2: Honey

We know a lot of ways to use honey in home remedies. However, this one is something new and very surprising. Because honey is naturally formulated with hydrogen peroxide, it serves as an ideal alternative to hair dye!


  • ¼ cup honey;
  • 1 cup water.


  1. Combine one-quarter of a cup honey with one cup of distilled water.
  2. Shake up the mixture and let it sit for an hour, as studies have shown honey works best when the mixture has been left alone for a while.
  3. Put the mixture all over wet hair, cover with a shower cap in order to retain moisture and leave it on for an hour or so before rinsing off.

Added bonus: your hair will not only be left looking silky smooth, but it will have a sweet scent as well.

#3: Baking Soda

How to lighten hair naturally, using household products? This question may sound weird at first. But after trying such simple ways of lightening you won’t return to chemical bleaches again.


  • ½ cup baking soda;
  • water.

Aside from brightening up your color, this method also helps cleanse hair of any product build-up. Although, it is important to note that getting the consistency just right can be a little bit tricky. If the mixture is too thin, it won’t properly coat the hair, but if the mixture is too thick, it will dry out too quickly and won’t lighten your locks. Start off with approximately half a cup of baking soda and add it to warm water and play with the proportions until you get it just right.

#4: Cinnamon


  • 3 tbsp cinnamon;
  • a palmful of conditioner.

Cinnamon is one of the few hair lightening options that can brighten your hair, leave it healthier and stronger than it was before. Because it has antioxidants, cinnamon can serve as a natural sunscreen and protect your hair from harmful UV rays. Simply mix cinnamon with a palmful of your conditioner to form a thick paste, slather all over your hair and leave it on overnight to work its magic. This ingredient won’t damage hair, so feel free to repeat this method for brighter, bolder highlights.

#5: Vinegar


  • cotton balls or a spray bottle;
  • vinegar;
  • water.

If you have red tones in your hair, vinegar is the ideal option for lightening your locks. Vinegar brings out brassy highlights and will create a more natural look on redheads. Simply spray vinegar all over your hair, or apply with a cotton ball to create bolder, less blended highlights. Leave it on for 30 minutes and rinse out as usual. Raw apple cider vinegar will also do the same trick.

#6: Chamomile Tea


  • 5 chamomile tea bags;
  • 3 cups hot water.

This gold-hued liquid is not only a great bedtime beverage, but it’s also another great option to naturally highlight your hair. Steep five chamomile tea bags with a few cups of hot water and allow the tea to cool completely. After shampooing and conditioning, rinse your hair with the chamomile and let it air dry. If you’re planning on spending your day outdoors, chamomile can also be used in conjunction with lemon juice.

#7: Henna

Be careful if you want to use traditional henna for lightening, as for most hair colors it will only darken locks. However, it will marvelously turn very dark strands into reddish highlights. There exists one more type of this natural ingredient, called neutral henna powder. It doesn’t lighten hair at all but gives the illusion of highlights by making strands more reflective and thus shiny.


  • 3 tbsp of henna powder;
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon powder;
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water.

Mix two powders, add them to the half cup of boiling water. Leave overnight. Apply this henna mixture to your strands, keep for 2-3 hours, rinse. What are other main benefits of using organic henna except changing hair color in one day? It deep conditions your locks, adds volume and emphasizes their natural texture. Moreover, it has antibacterial properties.

#8: Olive Oil

Using olive oil for hair doesn’t cause the color change. Even the slightest. However, mixed with other, more powerful, ingredients it reduces their damaging effects.

For a natural lightener with olive oil you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup of raw honey;
  • 1/2 cup of water;
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon;
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Short DIY: mix all components and leave the mixture for an hour (hydrogen peroxide will be produced during this time), then apply the mixture strand by strand, leave it in your hair for an hour or two (or even overnight), then rinse. Voila, you may enjoy the result. Not really what you expected? Remember that all natural components just slightly lighten hair, a few shades only. So you can’t turn your black hair into blonde locks with homemade mixtures, never.

#9: Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most common hair lightening agents, that create highlights instantly.

Step-by-step guide how to bleach hair at home using it:

  1. To use this bleaching technique you will need a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, a spray bottle and cotton balls, hair clips, a towel.
  2. Wash and condition your hair, dry with a towel.
  3. Do a strand test: apply peroxide with the help of the cotton ball to see how much solution you need to apply for a better result.
  4. Section your hair, secure with clips.
  5. Apply peroxide by spraying it. Or define just some strands with a cotton ball.
  6. Repeat with all sections of your hair.
  7. Leave peroxide in your hair for 30 minutes (an hour for dark brown hair).
  8. Remove the solution with cool water.
  9. Condition locks once more.

#10: Coconut Oil

You won’t believe us, but we found one more use for coconut oil! No-no. It can’t actually bleach your hair. But it can be used as a natural treatment before lightening process.

So, what you need to do:

  1. Gently melt coconut oil, apply it from roots to tips.
  2. Cover your hair with a towel, go to sleep.
  3. Next day don’t remove coconut oil from your hair.
  4. Bleach hair as usual.

The main idea of this technique is to prevent locks from damaging, in order to get soft and shiny hair after bleaching with chemicals. Say goodbye to burned ends and itching scalp.

Keep in mind that different hair types will have different reactions to these combinations. Natural ingredients are the perfect platform for experimentation because they won’t cause nearly as much damage as a botched dye job (and the corrective color that comes afterwards). If you have any hesitations, always air on the side of caution and spot test a patch of hair before covering your whole head.

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