Natural Ways To Highlight Your Hair At Home

Highlights are a great way to give your hair that little extra something it's been missing. But what bleach really does to your hair, other than give you super cute results, might leave it permanently damaged. Even if you've done all the research you can about bleaching your hair at home, the method's harsh chemicals will still break your locks, leaving you with split ends or worse.

Still, that doesn't mean you can't have some fun. There are tons of other ways you can give yourself highlights: all you've got to do is crack open your own pantry. These all-natural methods are a lot gentler than the hydrogen peroxide and ammonia found in most bleaches. While some hair breakage is inevitable when it comes to changing your hair color, going natural will minimize the damage. If you've got fine hair, or are tired of the toll bleach takes, these natural highlighting tricks could be your new favorite thing.

Stronger highlighting methods

If you want brighter highlights, these methods might be your best bet. Apple cider vinegar, in comparison to other natural bleaching methods, is pretty powerful. There are two recipes you can try if you want to go down the ACV route. The first one is the simplest: mix a 1:6 ratio of vinegar to water together in a spray bottle. Before you spray, give it a good shake. Since you don't want to lighten your whole head, spray the mixture onto a cotton pad before applying it to the desired sections of your hair. After it's applied, sun your hair for about 15-30 minutes, depending on how dark your hair is. 

If you have darker hair, you might want to take the second recipe for a spin. According to Wow Skin Science, this one calls for a ¼ cup of ACV, a ¼ cup of chamomile tea, and 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice. The added lemon juice makes this mixture's bleaching properties more powerful, while the chamomile will soothe your hair. After this mixture is applied, repeat the same steps as required by the first recipe. Be sure to rinse either mixture out as soon as the process is complete.

It may take a few tries before you reach your desired effect, but be cautious: using too much vinegar too often can ultimately leave your hair broken and damaged. Lightening your hair every 2 weeks or so will ensure it remains healthy.

Gentler lightening options

If you're looking for more subtle highlights, lemon juice could do the trick. The citric acid found in lemons contains mild bleaching properties that'll give your hair that sun-kissed look. 

To start, you'll need a 2:1 mix of water to lemon juice. As with the ACV recipes, this one also requires sun exposure to unlock the full effect, Heathline recommends a couple of hours. You might need to repeat the process, but don't be hasty: if the phrase "citric acid" didn't tip you off, lemon juice is acidic, stripping your hair of its natural moisture. Make sure to continually rinse, condition, and nourish your hair afterward.

The second method involves honey. For this method to work, and to truly be natural, you'll want to pick up some raw, organic honey the next time you're at the supermarket. This minimizes the amount of chemicals you're putting on your hair. Start off by mixing a 4:1 ratio of honey to water. The mixture should be left at room temperature for 60 minutes. Next, grab some gloves and slather it on the parts of your hair you want to highlight. This method requires a longer sitting time than the others, topping off at about two hours. To retain the moisture, use a shower cap. If you haven't noticed any changes, you can leave it in overnight. Just be sure to wash it out with warm water the next day and let it air dry when you're done.