Changing your hair color is one of the biggest ways to change your look, but many women are deciding it’s not worth the risk of damaging their hair with harsh chemicals. Commercial hair lightening products usually contain hydrogen peroxide, a bleaching agent that removes melanin from the hair shaft. Bleaching can cause hair damage, breakage and possible loss over time. Lightening your hair naturally is one way to avoid hurting your hair when you lighten it.

Squeeze Lemon Into Your Conditioner

Lemon juice has long been used to give hair a sunny look. There’s one big problem with this natural lightening solution – the citric acid in lemons tends to be drying. Stylists suggest mixing a small amount with your normal conditioner or with a natural conditioner like coconut oil before applying it to your hair. UV exposure activates the lightening agent in lemons, so you’ll need to spend some time in the sun before rinsing.

Brew Chamomile Tea

It’s pretty difficult for brunettes to go platinum without bleach, but chamomile is known to add a healthy glow to almost any hair color. Steep a tea bag in a cup of boiling water for at least 10 minutes. When the tea has cooled, pour it over shampooed hair and catch it in a bowl. Re-use the liquid in the bowl and pour it over your hair several more times. Wring your hair out and let the chamomile do its magic for at least one hour before rinsing.

Use Honey and Cinnamon

It may sound like a sticky way to lighten your hair, but combining honey and cinnamon activates the natural hydrogen peroxide found in honey. You can make a mask with one tablespoon of cinnamon, one tablespoon of olive oil for moisture and two tablespoons of honey. Let the mixture set for at least 30 minutes, adding some natural conditioner if it seems too thick. Then apply to your hair and cover your head with a shower cap, leaving the mask on for at least four hours before rinsing.

Spray on Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has properties that brighten the hair by removing built-up residue of minerals and metals. Mix 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup distilled water in a spray bottle and apply to clean hair. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse. For lighter highlights, apply the mixture to individual strands using a cotton ball instead of spraying. To add even more shine, rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar before shampooing.

About the Author

Catie Watson

Catie Watson is a freelance writer with a lifelong love of fashion and interior design. She has a degree in English, attended the Art Institute of San Francisco and spent several years working as a theatrical costumer. She writes for HERLIFE Magazine and a variety of websites and print publications.