How to lighten your hair naturally at home using things like lemon juice or vinegar from your kitchen cupboard

MANY people are missing hair salons during lockdown, and with summer nearly upon us are wanting to turn to DIY methods to achieve sun-kissed locks. 

But is it possible to lighten your hair naturally with things like lemon juice and vinegar from your cupboard?

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Can you dye your hair using lemon juice?

Many people are familiar with the old wives’ tale that lemon juice can help to bleach your hair at home. 

However, hair guru Alex Brownsell, who is the co-founder of colour experts Bleach London, advised against the practise. 

She told the Standard: “The citric acid in the lemon juice strips away layers of protein from the hair, thus removing vital keratin structures from the hair.”

If you are desperate during lockdown, the lemon juice lightening treatment can work, depending on your hair type.

Alex advised: “If you’re lucky enough to have naturally light or fair hair to start with, then lemon juice can be known to lighten hair when applied and then exposed to sunlight.”

If you do use lemons, make sure you only apply small doses and mix it with conditioner to prevent the super-acidic properties from drying out your locks. 

Can you lighten your hair with vinegar?

Another DIY method that is popular is to use apple cider vinegar, which can be picked up cheaply from many supermarkets. 

This vinegar can help to lighten your hair, especially if your highlights are warm in colour. 

If you are keen to try it out, fill a spray bottle with water and apple cider vinegar in equal measure. 

Let it sit on your hair for a few minutes and then rinse it out, and repeat the process a few times a week over a month. 

What other DIY methods are there for lightening hair?

Many people swear by using baking soda to lighten their hair, and combine it with a little water to make a paste.

They then massage it into their scalp and all over their hair for the best results.

Another popular household hack is to combine honey with water, and apply it to hair.

Twist your wet locks into a bun and let the honey soak in for an hour or so.

To really feel the softening benefits of honey, you can also combine it with your hair conditioner.

How to dye your own hair

Fabulous spoke to celebrity Hairstylist Timothy David, and he offered up a few easy tips in ensuring you get the best colour from home.

He suggested contacting your colourist or stylist (if you have one), who should be able to give you the mixing ratio and number or code for your hair colour.

He said: "If you can contact your stylist I am sure they would be happy to give you the mixing ratio and number for your hair colour. I would normally do this for clients that are not solely highlights or balayage, as this can get too messy.

"Personally I give my clients who are usually tints or tints with highlight that just need to touch up immediate greys that are on show.”

Quick tips to consider when dying your hair

  • Buy two boxes – imagine doing half your hair and realising you've run out. Avoid this dilemma but having a back up, just in case.
  • Do a patch test  – hair dyes are made up of chemicals afterall, so it's always best to test it out to avoid an allergic reaction.
  • Protect your hairline – By this we mean keep it clean and untouched from dye by swiping some lip balm or vaseline along your hairline where you don’t want any dye to go.
  • Brush your hair before starting  – this will make it easier to section and create a smoother surface to apply the dye
  • Section your hair – the professionals will always section your hair into four parts. Down the middle, and then from ear to ear across the back of the head. Dye the front sections first because these are the most visible, so need the full processing time.
  • Don't use the provided bottle – while most would grab the bottle provided, it won’t give you a salon finish. Instead, play colourist and use a mixing bowl and a colour brush to apply the dye.
  • Use a toothbrush – If you're a fan of Pinterest you would have seen how well this works at giving you natural looking highlights.
  • Start from the top and work down – the roots will always need longer to develop, so start here and comb through the ends
  • Don't shampoo – when washing out the colour, don't use shampoo at first – just water – but when you do wash with shampoo for the first time, opt for a sulphate free product to avoid a change in the colour.

He also insisted on testing the colour at least 48 hours before by "taking some colour from the tint and apply behind your ear to make sure you haven’t or haven’t developed any allergies to the colour if it has been along time between colours".

When it comes to mixing the colour, Timothy suggests using a whisk to make sure you mix the colour until there are no lumps, and once it's smooth, separate your hair into four sections using a tailcomb.

Using a colouring brush, he instructed to dip the bottom 3mm of the brush into the colour and apply gently onto the grey hair or roots, dipping each time into the colour bowl each time you apply – to prevent over lapping your colour.

To avoid any colour disasters, he said: "I only really advise clients to apply on hairline and parting, and usually 3cm from the parting on each side.

“I would use the tail comb to take another straight section usually leaving around 3mm from previous. Making sure your lines are straight.”


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Should you wait it out?

While some of us can't bear the thought of going without a fresh colour, some experts don't recommend dying your hair at home, and instead suggest waiting it out.

Tom Baxter, Owner of Tom Baxter Hair and OSMO ambassador suggested staying away from box hair dyes altogether as most are "full of ammonia".

He told Fabulous: "You may not know the underlying warmth of [your] natural hair colour so when mixing that with the incorrect box hair colour, [you] could cause more harm than good and will end up having to spend more time and money correcting any mistakes or damage that has been created."

If you do decide to take your beauty maintenance into your own hands, we also shared how to remove your lashes at home  and shared with you the best way to cut your own hair, too.

Here are the best boxed hair dyes to get that salon fresh look.

We also revealed that people have been sharing the results of the #nohairwashchallenge after ditching shampoo.

And TikTok users have been showing off how you can curl your hair using a penicil.

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