As the old saying goes, blondes supposedly have more fun—but truth be told, they also spend more money at the salon. Lightening your hair is a lot of upkeep. It means frequent trips to your colorist, more advanced haircare, and at least some damage (no matter what products you use). So how can we have the joys of lighter hair without footing the bill for damaging foils?
The good news is there are a few natural remedies for lightening your hair at home (that professional colorists actually approve of). However, you should know that these methods aren’t as powerful at lightening hair as bleach, but could still deliver the result you’re looking for.
I. Why You Should Avoid Chemical Hair Dyes?
To switch up your look, lightening your locks can be a fun option. What’s less fun, though, are the horror stories we’ve all heard about bleach. However, it’s important to note that prolonged use of chemical hair dyes can take a toll on the condition of your hair.
Whether you’re bleaching your hair or dying it, both processes affect the condition of the cuticle. To change the color of your hair (especially if you want a lighter shade) you need to make room for pigment, this means removing the color that is currently there. In order for the color to penetrate the hair, the cuticle must be lifted via a chemical process to make it possible for the dye to permanently stay.
While bleach may be the simplest, most surefire way to lighten hair, it often comes at a cost. That’s because, while removing your strands’ pigment molecules, bleach also strips away the natural fatty acids found on the hair shaft. This can lead to weakened, brittle hair and, in extreme cases, even hair loss — which is why bleach, when needed, is best applied by an experienced colorist.
II. Consider Your Natural Hair and Skin Color
Warm and cool don’t just describe the weather. We also use these descriptors for hair and skin tones. So, when you’re choosing a lighter shade for your hair, consider your natural undertones.
An easy test to determine whether you have warm or cool undertones is to check out the veins in your wrists. Do they appear green? You likely have warmer undertones. If they appear blue, you’re probably cool-toned. Somewhere in the middle? You’re neutral.
Adding warm tones to your hair like honey or caramel shades can complement warm-toned skin, while cooler hair shades like ash blonde and platinum look awesome against cool tones. And if you’re neutral, congrats! You can rock pretty much any shade.
III. What Are The Benefits of Natural Hair Dye?
1. Less Harsh On Hair
Decreasing the number of chemicals that come into contact with your head is always better for your hair. Natural dyes don’t penetrate the hair cuticle as intensely as chemical dyes would so they won’t leave your hair brittle, frizzy, and dehydrated.
2. Won’t Strip Away Your Natural Oils
Unlike bleach and other chemical dyes, natural dyes won’t strip away your natural oils as much or leave your hair as dry. It’s important to remember that the oil your body naturally produces is what helps keep your hair and scalp soft, healthy, and hydrated. That’s why undyed hair has that coveted, silky-smooth sheen.
3. Safer For Your Body
Whatever you apply to your skin is absorbed into your body. When hair dye comes into contact with your scalp, it is also being absorbed so it’s important to be mindful about what products we apply and what ingredients they contain.
4. Less Expensive
Using natural dyes is a total money saver! Instead of heading to the salon every 3-4 weeks, you can do at-home treatments. Most ingredients used in natural dyes can be found right in your kitchen or the local grocery store. Saving trips to the salon for a do-it-yourself at-home treatment will help you save big bucks- especially if you’re someone who frequents the salon for regular touch-ups and maintenance.
5. Do Natural Hair Dyes Have Any Side Effects?
Unlike chemical dyes, natural methods of dying hair are significantly safer than what you would get at the salon or local beauty store. Just be sure to double-check that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients. Everyone’s body is unique and can react differently to certain products; even natural ingredients have the potential to irritate the skin. Whatever you plan on using for your natural dye, always do a test patch the night before on your body to see how your skin will react.
One of the most common side effects of using dyes, whether it’s a boxed dye or made from food, is that they can leave unwanted stains on your skin. Even though you are using natural dyes you absolutely still need to wear gloves to avoid staining your hands for several days—possibly even longer!
*Tips To Remove Unwanted Stains on Skin*
If the dye gets on your ears, face, or neck (which it often does) you can use lemon juice as a simple, convenient, and of course natural way to help lift the stain by slicing a lemon and rubbing it directly on your skin.
For a more diluted stain removal method, you can mix the juice of half a lemon with half a cup of warm water and use a washcloth, or simply soak your hands in this mixture if your fingers come into contact with any dye.
Another stain removal method that doesn’t involve synthetic chemicals is olive oil mixed with salt or sugar. Mix the two ingredients together and use them to exfoliate the area you need to remove the dye.
IV. At-home Tips For Dyeing & Naturally Lightening Hair
1. How To Dye Hair With Henna?
Henna is great if you want to darken your hair or add a reddish tinge to it. This natural plant-based product has been used for centuries on both skin and hair. Its soothing properties make it great for both the scalp (combating dandruff) and keeping hair shiny.
Natural henna can be found at both health food stores and online, but be sure to choose a henna that’s totally natural since synthetic chemicals can sneak in there depending on the brand. Henna is available in several shades and usually comes in a powdered form that must be mixed with water to create a creamy paste, though some can come pre-mixed.
Leave the henna in your hair for 1 to 2 hours depending on how intense you want your color to be, then rinse thoroughly. The color will continue to develop even after you wash the henna out, which is why we strongly recommend doing a test patch on your hair 24 to 48 hours before you do your whole head.
Note: If you do decide to dye your hair with henna, be sure that this is the color you would like to stick with, as henna can be quite difficult to remove. Due to its metallic properties, it cannot be removed with bleach, and therefore will need to grow out on its own.
2. How To Lighten Hair With Lemon Juice And Honey
This simple, two-ingredient concoction is the perfect way to change your hair color if you’re looking to go lighter. Both honey and lemon juice contain properties to naturally lighten hair, while honey has antibacterial properties for your scalp and helps strengthen hair.
a. Lighten Hair With Lemon Juice
Lemon juice does lighten hair, but it can also be dangerous. Because it’s so acidic, it can burn your hair. The best way to use it is by mixing it with conditioner or even with coconut oil, so you get those important hydrating and reparative benefits.
To try it, squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon into a spray bottle. You’ll want to add a little water to help dilute the juice’s acidity, in addition to mixing in conditioner or coconut oil for moisture. Now, spritz it on, either covering your full head of hair or targeting the specific parts you want to lighten. Then, head outside to soak up some sun for about 30 to 45 minutes before you rinse, and don’t forget your sunscreen.
b. Lighten Hair With Honey and Cinnamon
This is one sweet-smelling solution for how to lighten hair naturally. When you mix honey and cinnamon together, something magical happens. Honey combined with cinnamon activates the hydrogen peroxide in the honey. This combined with honey’s glucose oxidase produces a chemical reaction that causes your hair color to change (to) one or two shades lighter if you have light brown hair.
Create a mask by combining two tablespoons of honey (raw is best), one tablespoon of cinnamon, and one tablespoon of olive oil for extra hydration. Mix it all together and add a bit of conditioner if it’s too thick. Then, let the mixture sit for half an hour, giving the cinnamon and honey a chance to mix and the hydrogen peroxide time to activate. Apply the mixture to your hair, secure it in a bun, and top it off with a shower cap. Leave it on for at least four hours. It’s even better if you can let it sit overnight.
3. Combine Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
On its own, regular hydrogen peroxide from the drugstore won’t lighten your hair because it will dry before any chemical reaction can take place. Combining hydrogen peroxide with baking soda, though, creates a paste that can sit on your hair and work magic, lightening it by one to two shades.
Despite the popularity of this hair-lightening method, both baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are quite harsh chemicals that can damage the cuticle and irritate your scalp if you add too much paste to your hair and hold it for too long.
To try out this method while mitigating the risk of damage, combine one cup of baking soda with no more than three tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Mix it up and apply the paste to your hair, letting the mask sit for 30 minutes for lighter hair and 45 minutes for darker. As an extra precaution, you can protect your hairline with petroleum jelly and apply a moisturizing mask right after dying.
4. Hair Extensions For Added Color
A super easy and non-permanent way to instantly add color to your hair without having to deal with dye is using hair extensions. Use a lighter shade to add some brightness to your look or darker extensions for warmth. You can even add balayage or highlights instantly with no trip to the salon.
Operating in the hair business for decades, AZ Hair Vietnam is proud to be one of the most professional and reputable Vietnamese organizations in hair manufacturers and trading natural raw hair, virgin hair, and Asian human hair across the globe. We are proud to be the first Vietnamese hair company that has been verified by Alibaba – a major player in the B2B eCommerce space.
As always when it comes to styling your hair, especially with DIY methods, it’s always best to consult with an expert before taking the plunge. Experiment with methods that are less permanent first, and if you’re happy with the results, give more permanent natural dyes a try. If you’re looking for a change without altering your hair, simply invest in a set of colored hair extensions to satisfy your urge for change.