Although spring has just arrived, summer will be here before we know it! Your summer days might include beach trips, pool days, and time to enjoy the bonus hours of sunshine each day.
However, extra hours at your colorist might not be in the budget or sound quite as fun, or maybe you are looking for a more subtle change. If you're hoping to lighten your hair for the summer season, try one of these all-natural highlight boosters and hair lighteners to do just that or to extend the life of your color and add a few highlights without breaking the bank.
Natural Ways to Lighten Your Hair Color
1. Try tea
For lightening all shades of hair, tea can be an incredible ingredient. Chamomile, black, and rooibos teas can add dimensions to blond, brunette, and red hair colors. The benefits of using colors derived from nature are numerous.
Not only are you skipping the harmful chemicals found in commercial hair color and bleach, but the effects will be subtle—and safe. The bonus is you won't have to worry about the damaging effects that bleach can have on the hair.
2. Boost with beer
This volumizing beer hair treatment can also lighten hair if you opt for a lighter shade of beer. It'll also boost shine, which is always a good idea.
The essential oils present in hops are rich in antioxidants [source]. The alcohol is cleansing for the hair shaft, and it softens hair as well. The minerals will also benefit your scalp if it tends to get oily. Beer rinses have been around for decades, and now you know why—added body, shine, softness, a cleaner scalp, and lighter hair.
3. Combine lemon and honey
Lemon and honey also round out our hair lightening ingredients. Honey's glucose oxidase enzyme lightens the hair as it produces hydrogen peroxide [source]. And you won't have to trade hair health for a lighter color because honey is also a wonderful conditioning agent.
Lemon lightens hair when the citric acid present in lemon juice heats up in the sun and lifts pigment from the hair shaft. This spray can be used all over the hair or spritzed just on the ends, depending on where you'd like to add natural highlights. It is most effective when paired with time in the sun.
DIY Hair Lightening Spray
The following measurements are for an 8 oz spray bottle, but you can cut this recipe in half if using a 4 oz bottle:
- 4 ounces chamomile tea (brewed and cooled )
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Warm water to fill remainder of bottle
- Dark glass bottle*
*A dark glass bottle is ideal as it will help prevent premature oxidation of the spray.
Pour the tea, lemon juice, cinnamon, honey, coconut oil, and water into a glass bottle. Shake well before spritzing on hair. Ideally, you'll want to spray your hair when you plan to spend some time outdoors in the sunshine. The heat and sun will work their magic when combined with these ingredients.
Natural Hair Care FAQ
I would love to color my hair naturally, but I need something that provides more coverage. Any ideas?
Thanks to modern science, there are quite a few products on the market now that are nontoxic, are almost 100% plant-based, and provide great coverage!
A few to check out: Matrix Biolage has a line of plant-based, henna-based dyes that provide coverage and are gentle enough for even the most damaged hair. Herbatint is vegan and cruelty-free, while it touts 100% coverage of gray, and Madison Reed is a popular at-home hair color kit that is free of ammonia, phthalates, and paraben.
Any other things I can do for my hair with tea other than lighten it?
Plenty! Tea is full of antioxidants [source] and provides many benefits for hair. Green tea, in particular, is minimally processed and provides stimulating effects for the scalp. Try this matcha green tea hair mask or rinse.
My struggle is with lackluster hair, and I could really use some help in the shine department. What do you recommend?
If you haven't tried an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse, I would highly recommend starting there. ACV contains numerous probiotics and nutrients and clarifies the hair, removing any gunk or buildup causing dull, limp hair.
Does taking biotin really work for hair?
While not a ton of research has been done on biotin for hair, there has been some promising data showing that it stimulates keratin production [source]. Many who take biotin regularly report an overall improvement in hair quality.
Do you have any tips or tricks for lightening hair naturally? I'm so thrilled that the days of the coppery orange Sun-In are gone, and now we have so many natural and healthy options to subtly lighten the hair.
DIY Hair Lightening Spray
- 1 dark glass bottle
- Pour the tea, lemon juice, cinnamon, honey, coconut oil, and water into a glass bottle.
- Shake well before spritzing on hair. Ideally, you’ll want to spray your hair when you plan to spend some time outdoors in the sunshine. The heat and sun will work their magic along with these ingredients.
Bolton JL, et al. The multiple biological targets of hops and bioactive compounds. Chem Res Toxicol. 2019.
Mandal MD, et al. Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2011.
Lambert JD, et al. The antioxidant and pro-oxidant activities of green tea polyphenols: a role in cancer prevention. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2010.
Patel, DP, et al. A review of the use of biotin for hair loss. Skin Appendage Disord. 2017.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified physician with more than 20 years of practice experience. Learn more about Hello Glow's medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.279