How to lighten hair without bleach – 6 easy ways!

We all crave those sun-kissed locks, but sometimes we are looking for ways to change our hair without committing to anything too drastic. If you’re looking for a more natural hair color and don’t want to spend hours at the salon, then this post is for you! Here are some tried and tested tips and methods on how to lighten hair without bleach.

There are many ways to brighten up your look with ingredients you already have in your cupboards.

But they may not always be suitable depending on the color of your hair or even whether it has been dyed before.

This article will give tips on how to get lighter hair safely without using harsh chemicals so that your hair looks healthy instead of damaged.

The great thing about these methods is that they only take a few minutes to do which means no expensive trips to the salon either!

How can I lighten my hair without bleaching it?

Do you want to add highlights and brightness to your hair without bleaching it with harsh chemicals? You can!

The good news is, you can use a variety of products at home like lemon juice, honey, and baking soda.

These ingredients are natural and won’t damage your hair as much as bleach would. They also don’t have the harsh chemicals that some commercial products do. This is great news if you want to avoid damaging your hair or spending a lot of money on expensive treatments.

If you want to light up your locks but don’t know where to start, check out our methods below on how to safely treat your hair with these simple household items.

How can I naturally lighten my hair color?

#1 Lemon juice

lemon juice method instagram

Lemon juice is a natural hair lightener. It can be used to gradually lift your hair, without the harsh chemicals.

Lemons are a great ingredient in hair products because they contain citric acid which helps provide shine and brightness. Plus, it’s easy and cheap to use!

Just put some lemon juice neat into a bowl and brush it on (try using a hair dye brush) in places you would like natural highlights – your hairline, temples and fringe.

And that’s it! Go out into the sun and let the lemon juice works its magic.

Don’t expect miracles, but you can keep doing using lemon juice until you get the look you’re after.

Just seal the ends of your hair with some hair serum if the lemon dries it up in the sun.

Works best for: Blonde hair and already highlighted hair.

#2 Honey and cinnamon

honey and cinnamon natural highlights  instagram

Honey and cinnamon are two natural ingredients that can be used to put sunkissed golden flecks in your hair.

Not only is honey a great hair conditioner, it actually contains a teeny bit of hydrogen peroxide! That’s right friends – it’s a natural bleach.

The cinnamon works to activate the bleaching properties of honey and give them a little boost.

The best way to apply it is to mix together:

Then, apply it to your hair all over like a mask and cover your hair with a towel or shower cap.

Leave it on for a few hours, checking the color as you go. If your hair is really dark, you may want to wear it overnight. Watch out for your pillows!

Works best for: Dark blonde/light brown hair color.

#3 Vitamin C

how to naturally lighten your hair with vitamin C

Much like lemon juice, vitamin C can work to fade your hair color thanks to its color-stripping, citric properties.

It’s probably the least effective on the list as it’s more of a brightener than a bleaching agent. It removes all dirt, grease and grime from your hair which refreshes the color.

Crush up a vitamin C tablet and mix it with water before painting onto your hair in all the sun-kissed places.

Leave it to work it’s magic in the sunshine.

Works best for: Brunettes

#4 Baking soda

baking soda for dark hair instagram

Do you have dark hair that refuses to lift color despite all your efforts?

Baking soda is an amazing product with a lot of different uses. People have been using it for everything from cleaning their homes to deodorizing their shoes.

But did you know that you can also use baking soda to lighten your hair? It’s true!

Baking soda is a natural bleaching agent, and it’s gentle enough to use on your hair without damaging it.

The mildly abrasive nature of baking soda helps to remove stains and build-up from the hair, leaving it looking brighter and softer.

Here’s how to do it: mix equal parts baking soda and water, and apply it to your hair. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse it out.

You’ll notice a subtle lightening of your hair color after just one treatment. So if you’re looking for an easy and natural way to lighten your hair, give baking soda a try!

Check it at intervals to make sure it’s not turning your hair a nasty shade of orange! You may need to lighten dark hair with bleach to get the desired effect.

Works best for: Dark and black hair

#5 Salt water

salt water hair color instagram

If you already color your hair, head to the ocean! Salt water is a really effective natural way to fade some of your hair dye fast.

Salt water opens up your hair follicles which lets the sun in and the hair color out. It can be drying, so make sure you condition your hair with lots of love and a good deep conditioner that’s suitable for dyed hair afterwards.

Just mix up a salt water solution and spray some in your hair when you hit the beach.

For those who love the beachy waves look, it’s a natural, on-trend look that will get heads turning this summer.

Works best for: Colored hair

#6 Camomile tea

using camomile to lighten hair pinterest post

Camomile tea has long been used as a natural hair lightener, and it’s easy to see why.

The chamomile plant contains a compound called chrysin, which has been shown to have lightening properties.

When applied to the hair, chamomile can help to gradually lighten the color.

In addition, chamomile is rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that can promote healthy hair growth.

To use camomile tea as a hair lightener, simply brew a cup of tea and allow it to cool. Pour it over your hair, then wrap your head in a towel and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Rinse with warm water and shampoo as usual. You may need to repeat this process several times to achieve the desired effect.

Works best for: Soft and silky hair

Watch and learn: How to lighten hair without bleach.

Here’s a great video that shows you how you can lighten your hair using box dye step by step.

YouTube player

Is it possible to lighten hair without bleach?

You’ve probably seen a million articles and videos out there promising to show you how to lighten your hair without bleach.

And while it’s true that there are a few methods that can impart some color change, don’t expect to be able to go from brunette to platinum blonde without bleaching first.

The fact is, bleach is the only product that can truly lighten hair, so if you’re looking for a major color change, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and use some bleach.

That being said, there are a few ways to lighten your hair slightly without using bleach. If you have dark hair, using a clarifying shampoo can help remove some of the pigment from your strands.

You can also try using lemon juice or chamomile tea, which can both act as natural lighteners.

But again, don’t expect miracles – these methods will only impart a very subtle color change. So if you’re looking for a big transformation, reach for the bleach!

How can I lighten my hair quickly?

If you’re looking for a fast and easy way to add natural looking highlights to your hair, try using lemon juice.

Lemon juice is an effective natural ingredient that can help remove the darker pigment in your natural hair color and leave it lighter than before.

It also has bleaching properties that will brighten up your locks! You can use this method on any color of hair, but it works best if you have dark brown or black hair.

As well as painting it on like the method we recommend above, you can:

  • Mix one part lemon juice with two parts water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the mixture onto dry hair and let it sit for at least 30 minutes in the sunshine before rinsing out with warm water.
  • Repeat every few days until desired results are achieved!

This treatment will not damage or strip your strands of their natural oils like other chemical-based treatments might do, so there’s no need to worry about breakage, split ends or flyaways when trying this at home technique!

The only downside is that this process takes time – but we think it’s worth it!

How can I lighten my hair overnight?

If you want to try a method that doesn’t need sunshine and can be done overnight in a shower cap, read on!

You can use apple cider vinegar as an overnight hair treatment to strip color from your locks.

Apple cider vinegar is packed with vitamin C which helps break down melanin in the hair shaft, allowing color molecules to escape more quickly.

This method works best if you have dark brown or black hair because lighter colors don’t absorb as much pigment over time.

  • Mix together honey, cinnamon, olive oil and apple cider vinegar to make a paste.
  • Apply it to your hair so that it’s saturated all over.
  • Pop on a shower cap and sleep well!
  • Wash it off well in the morning and check the results!

Don’t expect miracles! It’ll probably only lift your hair a little at a time.

But it’s totally safe to repeat this process as often as you like until you get the look you love.

As well as cider vinegar, honey and cinnamon are also natural lightening agents. The olive oil will act as a deep conditioner overnight and soften and strengthen your hair without damaging your scalp.

How can I care for my lightened hair?

While lightening your hair, you’re also damaging it to varying degrees. To keep that damage to a minimum, use good quality products that are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.

Repairing shampoos are great for providing extra care but be careful because at first they may cause further brittleness so use sparingly until your hair is used to it.

All-natural oils can also help reduce breakage.

Mix equal parts of coconut oil, almond oil and olive oil together if your hair is dry or frizzy due to color damage or other environmental factors.

Apply it on your scalp before shampooing once a week for an intensive moisture treatment which will also stimulate the growth of new healthy strands!

Parting words.

So there you have it! A few natural ways to add sunkissed streaks your hair and keep it healthy.

We hope this article has been helpful for those of you who want to know how to lighten your hair yourself, or if you’re just curious about how these methods work.

The best thing about all of these top tips and tricks is that they’re perfectly safe to try them all to find the one that works best for you.

All in all, this process takes time but it will be worth it when you see the results! It’s easy enough for anyone who wants lighter locks without having to spend hundreds on salon treatments every month. And best of all – there are no harmful chemicals involved! So what are you waiting for?

Happy experimenting with your locks!


  • Nicola Freeman

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during Covid for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player. Win me over with a plate of sushi anytime!