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How To Lighten Your Hair Without Bleach

Discover 10 ways to lighten your hair without bleach that will give you that post-beach look every time.

Everyone knows bleaching your hair is harmful, but the results are what make it so worthwhile. But what if there were ways to lighten your hair and produce the same results while using natural substitutes?

These are ten of the best ways to lighten your hair without bleach, from the classic lemon juice to honey and even apple cider vinegar. You never know what you might already have in your pantry that could be included in your next hair treatment to give you all the blonde and none of the damage.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is one of the most common ways to lighten your hair without bleach. The lemon juice mixture is created with half distilled water and half with lemon juice. This mixture is used all over the hair, and often in the combination of direct sunlight. 

So soak your hair in the juice, lay out by the pool, and lighten your hair all in one. This will help to lighten dark blond or light brown hair, without leaving reddish tones in the hair, unless of course you already have red undertones. 


Though pure sunlight does not brighten every hair color, it can certainly bring the light out of blonde, dark blonde, and light brown hair. We have to mention this method of lightening your hair without bleach because it can be combined with each of the rest of our methods, much like we suggested with lemon juice. 

As one of the most au naturel ways to lighten your hair without bleach, sunlight will always be the common denominator when it comes to that summery look. 

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a great ingredient to mix into your at-home hair lighteners. Often combined with honey, the two make a great duo. And if you are looking to take it one step further, honey, olive oil, and cinnamon is also an option. Adding cinnamon to honey will help you to achieve a warm blonde, with some red undertones. And the olive oil is used to moisturize the hair while you are lightening. 

Mix one cup of honey with two cups of distilled water, add a tablespoon of cinnamon and one tablespoon of olive oil, and mix! Apply this mixture evenly to wet hair, and cover your hair with a shower cap before bed. In the morning, the mixture will have done its magic overnight, and all that's left is to wash it off. 

Baking Soda

A bit of a strange ingredient to lighten your hair without bleach, but baking soda will do the trick just as well. Used as both a shampoo and a hair lightener, the product can be used daily or weekly, depending on how light you want to go. 

To create this mixture, you will want to mix about 1/3 of a cup of the baking soda with a small amount of water until it transforms into a paste-like substance. Apply the paste to your hair like you would a regular shampoo, and rinse the paste to immediately follow up with your normal conditioner. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

If you have dark hair and want to go from brown to blonde with minimal damage or are looking to achieve reddish highlights, apple cider vinegar is the ingredient for you. This can also be used to clean and lighten your hair, much like baking soda. You'll only need to mix 1/4 cup of the apple cider vinegar with one cup of water, and apply the mixture after completing your shampoo and conditioner routine. 

You will leave the mixture in your hair for about 20 minutes like a hair mask, and then rinse with cool water. This lightning will occur gradually over time, and can be used regularly to receive the best results. Plus, it's also great for washing out the unwanted chemical build-up from styling products used in your hair. 

Chamomile Tea

Another popular method to lighten your hair without bleach is chamomile tea. An age-old method to lighten dark hair, brewing a strong cup of chamomile tea to let it cool is the only preparation you'll need to do. Often used to apply highlights to the hair, you will apply the cooled tea to individual strands of the hair for this technique. Or, if you want an all-over lightened look, pour the tea over the entire head. Much like lemon juice, you will then allow the sun to let this dry for around 30 minutes, and wash out as normal. 

Another method to use chamomile tea is to add a few tablespoons to your regular conditioner for a more gradual lightening. 


Honey, like we mentioned before, is a great lightening ingredient, and can also stand on its own in the category. Aside from lightening the hair, it also has anti-bacterial properties that can be used for a variety of different medical purposes. 

Due to the hydrogen peroxide found in the ingredient, this is what brightens and lightens the hair. To create your mixture, you will mix two tablespoons of raw honey into a cup of water and apply directly to the hair, spreading evenly. Now, it's time to test your patience, as you have to let it sit for about one hour with this coating your hair. 

If you don't have the time for this, you can also mix honey with your conditioner, about 1/4 a cup of each. You will apply this mixture to your hair after showering and put on a shower cap before preparing for bed. Then, let the treatment work overnight, and you'll wake with refreshed and lightened hair.


We bet rhubarb isn't the first ingredient to come to mind when it comes to lightening hair. One of the most interesting techniques to lighten your hair without bleach, you will have to chop up enough rhubarb to fill about 1/4 cup. 

Then, mix the rhubarb with two cups of water, and bring the mixture to a boil in a pan. Once it has cooled, you will strain the liquid from the pan and into a bottle. Apply the mixture to your hair as a hair mask, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water, and your treatment is complete. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is great for many reasons, but who knew it could also double as a hair lightener? Well, now you know, and the process is easy. There are two options to apply this ingredient to your hair, the first being the easiest. You will crush about eight to nine vitamin C tablets into a powder. Then, you will add this powder to your shampoo, and go about your normal shower routine like usual. This will allow the hair to gradually and naturally lighten. 

The other method is to crush about 15 to 20 tablets into more powder, and add the powder to a small amount of anti-dandruff shampoo. This will soon form a paste, so don't add too much shampoo to the mixture. Then, you will have your vitamin C hair mask, and you will apply the paste like normal, covering the entirety of your hair. Put a shower cap on, and let the mixture do its magic for about one to two hours. Rinse with cool water, and you're done!


To complete our list of the best ways to lighten your hair without bleach, we couldn't forget about the salt method. You will dissolve one tablespoon of any kind of salt with 1/2 cup of warm water. 

Apply your new mixture to your hair, and leave it on for about 15 minutes. This method is much like applying a sea salt spray or products along those lines. You will be able to achieve that post-beach light in your hair without stepping foot in the sand. Rinse the mixture out after 15 minutes with cool water, and after a few uses, you will notice a huge difference in the color of your hair. 

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