DIY All Natural Hair Lightening Spray

By JULIE - 1:54:00 PM

Last winter I started to dream or tan skin with sun-kissed highlights in my brown hair, and bronze toned makeup, hidden behind sunglasses of course.  Well the time is finally here when I can get those sun kissed locks.  I knew that Sun in and lemon juice works (I've tried it straight with nothing else just hung out in the sun and it worked great), from some hair experimentations I did as a teen, but what else works?  I did a bunch of research, created what I thought would be the most simplest and hopefully least damaging lightening spray that would really work, but not work so well that us brunettes will be horrified after emerging from our leisure in the sun.

Test Your Hair First
Crazy me I tried this lightening spray without testing it first.  I tend to throw caution to the wind when experimenting.  For example for the Fourth of July I made up a recipe for sweet potato brownies to bring to a cook out with friends.  I decide to make it the mourning of (we were meeting at 1:00) having just made up the recipe never having made it before.   Luckily, it turned out great!  I will post that recipe next! 

Don't be crazy like me test it first, especially if you are a brunette.  If you have black hair I would not suggest using lightening spray.  Obviously if you do decide to anyways, you MUST test first. How do you test your hair?  I would suggest putting your sides and the top half of your hair up and to test on a section in the back of your head.  Choose a section that you can easily cover if it turns out funky. 

My Results After One Application
This is my naturally brunette hair after one application of my hair lightening spray after sitting in the sun for an hour.  I sprayed the ends and not my roots, notice the difference between my ends and my roots.

My hair is medium to dark brown and has not been dyed at all.  My results of my lightening spray turned out great, despite my medium to dark brown hair.  I wanted natural sun kissed highlights with no roots that I will need to grow out.  So I choose to spray my lightening spray in streaks randomly in the top half of my hair only concentrating at the ends and less at my roots.  I am very happy with the results.  It was so subtle, I actually forget to check my hair after applying it, and like a week or two later I was looking in the mirror and noticed that I thin my lightening spray actually worked.  I held up my ends and compared it to my roots and the back of my head (where I did not put it before), and it was noticeable lighter with  golden tone (see above picture).   

This Will Damage Your Hair So Try to Avoid Damaging it More and Condition It 
I also do not apply any heat to my hair or sulfates in shampoos, so it is very health hair. After one application of my lightening spray after sitting in the sun for about an hour, I did notice that there was permanent damage to my hair.  It was very obvious since my hair is virgin and very healthy hair.  Unfortunately, this is unavoidable side affect to lightening your hair.  I suggest you try to minimize your damage to your hair by leaving this spray in your hair for the shortest time necessary (max 1/2 hour), and avoiding heat damage to your hair, and use a gentle natural shampoo with no sulfates (I use Trader Joe's Tea Tingle Shampoo).   

 I added olive oil to this formula to help counter balance the damage to your hair.  It also might help lighten your hair more.  I could not find concrete scientific proof of this, but I did find several websites that claim this.  I choose olive oil for this reason (also because many people have it in their pantry anyways).  You can sub many other oils for this (other great oils for hair are: avocado oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil, or almond oil), just don't use coconut oil because it won't work due to the fact it is a saturated fat, (you need to shake the product to mix the oil and water together since we are not using emulsifiers in this and coconut oil is in a solid state when not melted since it's saturated.)

I would suggest using an extra conditioning treatment to help counter the damage caused by lightening your hair.  I like to use hot oil treatment about once a week, and leave in conditioner on the ends of my hair in addition to using a normal conditioner ( I use Trader Joe's Nourishing Spa Conditioner) every time I wash my hair.   I use a sulfate free (sulfates are commercial grade cleansers that are very stripping to your hair)  shampoo and only shampoo every other time I wash my hair. 

DIY All Natural Hair Lightening Spray

You Will Need:
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil (I used extra virgin) Can sub avocado oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil, or almond oil
  • Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
  • Water
  • Sterile spray bottle
Other Possible Add Ins:
image credit: Free People
  1. Fill half of bottle with water (can sub chamomile tea which will help lighten hair more)
  2. Add in any desired add ins from the list above (honey, chamomile or lemon extract, cinnamon, etc.)
  3.  Add in desired amount of olive oil (I added probably 1 tsp to 1 Tablespoon I just eyeballed it)
  4. Add hydrogen peroxide to about 2/3 of the bottle (1/4 of the bottle volume) Note: use less if you are concerned about damage, however it will not be as affective
  5. Fill the rest of the bottle almost up to the top, just leave a little space to shake the bottle (about 1/4 of the bottle) with lemon juice and shake. 
  6. Store in a dark cool place (hydrogen peroxide degrades in the light).  Repeat above steps until you get the highlights you want.
Test your hair first!  Put your sides up and spray only in a small area that could be covered up if the lightening spray doesn't achieve your desired effect, (especially if you are a brunette or darker).

Shake bottle each time before applying (oil and water don't mix so you will need to shake each time before spraying).

Before shaking Oil will rise to the surface: shake before applying!

After shaking before applying.  The oil will rise to the top again shortly after shaking, so shake before applying every time.

Spray on hair before going in sun (for best results the lemon is heat activated the hydrogen peroxide is not so you will still get some lightening results without the sun just not as much), leave in for a maximum of 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and condition hair after treatment (do not shampoo).

Try not to leave in for more than 1/2 hour to minimize damage.  Your hair will get damaged from this lightening spray.  The less time it's on this less damage to your hair.  As far as I could find online 30 minutes should be enough to produce some results.  I would not leave it in for more.

The more heat you use, the greater the lightening effects, but just be careful as the hydrogen peroxide can cause damage to your hair and heat can damage your hair too.

Allover Lightening: Spray hair thoroughly, making sure to cover surface and under sections.

Highlights: Spray on select strands from root to end. .

Root-Blending: Part hair into 1 inch sections and spray on roots.

  • Recommended for blonde to medium brown hair, test first!
  • Not recommended for dark brown or black hair.  Reddish results may occur in dark brown hair. Test first!
  • Not recommended for color-treated or chemically treated hair 
  • Do not use on regrowth of less than an inch. 

Safety Warning
Warning: for external use, on scalp hair only. Contains hydrogen peroxide. Wash hands immediately after using. Avoid contact with eyes and other sensitive areas. If this occurs, immediately flush thoroughly with water. Discontinue use if you experience skin irritation or redness. Do not use on a sensitive, irritated or damaged scalp. Store container away from heat and light. Protect surrounding fabrics from overspray. Not intended for use on medium brown or darker shades of hair. This product will permanently lighten the color of your hair. Keep away from children (you wouldn't want them to drink hydrogen peroxide or for them to get it in their eyes even if it is natural)!

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