DIY Recipes To Lighten Your Hair At Home

New hair, new you! If you are in the mood to switch up your current look, doing something different with your hair is a great go-to. Even if your hairstyle has served you well for the last few years, there comes a time when you are ready for something new and fresh. Whether you choose to chop off your locks or mix things up with the perfect bangs for your face shape, there are so many ways to give your hair a makeover. Lightening your locks is one of them.

While dying your hair is exciting in theory, it comes with a hefty price tag. According to Fash, getting partial highlights at a salon costs $50 to $70, whereas going for full highlights skyrockets to $80 to $100. The good news is, people have been highlighting their hair for thousands of years (via Healthline). And the Ancient Greeks weren't sitting in salons back in 4 B.C., that's for sure. There are numerous natural hair lighteners to use at home, from lemon juice and apple cider vinegar to sea salt and chamomile. Not only will these solutions put less of a dent in your wallet, but they also won't expose your hair to harmful or toxic chemicals. Whether you have dark, brunette tresses or you already have sun-kissed locks, we've compiled a list of natural lighteners that work for all sorts of hair types. 

You can use lemon juice and conditioner

Lightening your hair with lemon juice is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and it's a classic for a reason. The best part? You probably have at least one of these citrus fruits sitting in your fridge already. "Lemon juice does lighten hair, but it can also be dangerous. It's so acidic it can burn your hair," celebrity colorist Aura Friendman told Teen Vogue. "The best way to use it is by mixing it with conditioner or even coconut oil, so you get those important hydrating and reparative benefits."

This fruit juice works best on naturally blonde or light-colored tresses, and needs a good dose of sun and heat for maximum impact (via Ipsy). Apply this mixture to your hair before spending a day outdoors and you'll be golden (literally). For an added boost, Healthline recommends substituting lemon juice with lemon vodka for an even lighter and more intense look.

You can also use apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar makes another great natural lightener. You may even be able to skip the trip to the grocery store, as many homes already have this common kitchen ingredient lying around. While it may smell potent, the effects of this vinegar on the hair are extremely subtle. Rachel Bodt, a senior colorist at Cutler/Redken Salon, recommends creating a blend of one part apple cider vinegar with six parts water. "This is a gentle way to lighten strands — but you may have to do it a few times to get results," she told Teen Vogue

Similar to lemon juice, this solution works best when it's combined with natural light and sun. If you are worried about the strong scent, don't be. According to Healthline, the vinegar aroma will dissipate over time. This multi-purpose formula not only helps lighten your hair, but it also has some bonus benefits as well. Apple cider vinegar can help dissolve oil, and remove unwanted residue from your hair and scalp. Oh, and it also helps make your hair extra glossy and shiny (via Ipsy).

Sea salt also works as a great alternative

Another foolproof solution to lightening and brightening your hair is sea salt. When you come home from a day at a beach, there's a reason your hair looks a little more sun-kissed, and its actually because of the salty sea. While taking a dip in the ocean may be the best way to approach this method, not all of us live within driving distance of the shore. According to Healthline, an alternate method is creating a table salt and water concoction with a 1:1 ratio. For maximum effectiveness, the mixture should be left in your hair for at least 10 minutes, and you should spend some time outdoors while the saltwater solution soaks into your roots. An added perk to using sea salt? You and your light, wafty waves will smell like you just spent a day at the beach!

As with many natural lighteners, consistency is key. "It may not be as extreme the first day but if [you apply sea salt] continuously, you could see a significant difference," Anita Sun, a hairstylist at Eliut Salon in New York City, told Ipsy.

Chamomile isn't just for drinking

Fun fact: Chamomile is not just a soothing tea for drinking. According to Wellnesse, chamomile is a rich source of apigenin, which assists with hair lightening, as well as mitigating hair loss. While this solution is particularly effective for those with light hair, it is also one of the few natural ingredients that also works for brunettes (via Hair Sentry). As Anita Sun notes, this solution will not give the user highlights so much as an entirely different hair color. "This [chamomile] would create almost a tonal change that might be more noticeable in bright lights or in natural daylight," she shared with Ipsy.

According to Healthline, the first step to using chamomile as a hair lightener is to soak half a cup of this delicate little flower in boiling water. Once the flowers have been marinating for 30 minutes and the water has cooled, use a strainer to remove the chamomile from the liquid. After washing your hair, pour the cooled chamomile tea over your hair at least 10 times. Healthline recommends using this tactic at least once a week for the most impact. 

Henna is excellent for those with dark hair

Henna makes a great natural lightener for all you brunettes out there looking to switch up your luscious locks (via Healthline). In fact, henna should only be used as a lightener for those with either dark brown or black hair. If your hair is lighter, henna will actually have the opposite effect and end up darkening your hair. Similar to chamomile, henna will most likely change your overall hair color, not give you highlights. "It doesn't have the natural capability on its own to lift color; however, it can change the tonality of your hair," Anita Sun told Ipsy. By using this solution, expect your current hair shade to transform into a redder or more orange hue.

To use henna as a lightening solution, you will need 3 tablespoons of henna powder, half a cup of boiling water, and a shower cap. Stir the henna powder and boiling water together, and allow the mixture to sit overnight. The following day, apply the formula to your hair and allow it sit for two to three hours while wearing your shower cap. Once a few hours have passed, rinse your hair, and you should see results.

Hydrogen peroxide is less subtle than other natural lighteners

Another lightening and brightening solution geared towards brunettes is none other than hydrogen peroxide. This solution is less subtle than many other natural lighteners, meaning it will have a discernible effect even on darker hair (via Healthline). Teen Vogue recommends combining this ingredient with baking soda for the best result. While using hydrogen peroxide on its own might have a more visible impact on darker locks, it's also likely to dry in your hair before a chemical reaction is able to occur.

To use this solution, mix together 1 cup of baking soda with 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Then, apply the paste to your hair. Leave the paste in your hair for approximately 30 to 60 minutes, but no longer than one hour. When using this solution, expect your hair to turn one to two shades lighter than your original tone.

If you're nervous about using a more drastic solution, first conduct a test to see if you like the result. Take a small portion of the lightener and apply it to a hidden area of your hair, somewhere underneath the top layer (via Healthline). After the recommended amount of time, wash the solution out and see if the color is to your liking. If the answer is yes, then it's full steam ahead!