Natural Hair Lighteners: Do They Really Work?

A common beauty myth out there is that foods like lemon and tea can naturally lighten your hair by themselves. Zelo has been dedicating quite a bit of time to blondes, researching the latest tips and how-tos to enhance and preserve those golden locks, and one of the biggest foux pas I’ve seen are tutorials that only require combining the incredients to the hair with a 15 min shower cap. These tutorials are missing the most important element: the sun!

Here’s a quick anecdote: A friend of mine has been volunteering in for Peace Corps in Peru for a little over a year. When she left America she had dark “dirty” blonde hair. When she came home this Christmas, she had bright, golden, ultra blonde surfer girl hair!

While we all know a year of sunlight can lighten your hair like a bottle of 40 vol developer and powder bleach combined, understanding the science behind it can save you A LOT of time and money. Simply put, Sunlight breaks down the melanin (color) in your hair.

So where does lemon juice come in? And what about chamomile tea? “Lemon juice contains citric acids that open your hair cuticles up,” (Health Mango). This makes the hair more receptive to sunlight and basically accelerates the suns natural bleaching process (oxidation), giving you months worth of sunshine in about 30 minutes.

This is why natural bleaching methods don’t work without sunshine. They’re accelerating what the sun does naturally. BUT, lemon is really bad for your hair and terrible for the skin in the sun. So if you’re planning on having a lemon sun bath, PLEASE, for goodness sake, deep condition and make sure you don’t get ANY on your scalp and skin. Can you say blisters, sunburns, and dark spots? Not cute at all.

Last tip: Squeeze your own natural lemon juice for best results. If lemon juice gives you patchy or overly bright results, try 100% brewed chamomile tea which has been known to give a more natural, all over, lightening affect.

This also works for brunettes too!

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6 comments

    1. Great information. I remember when I was a teen, I used a product called “Sunlight, ” I think that was the name. You’d spray it on your hair and go out in the sunlight. It would make my hair lighter, but it fried my hair.

      1. Yeah those sprays, even natural lemon sprays, are very damaging for the hair. I can definitely empathize with you on the fried hair. But at least it’s not as bad as bleaching. Thanks for the feedback

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