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Lighten Dark Brown Hair at Home With Natural Ingredients Full Guide of 2024

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lighten dark brown hair to light brown naturallyDid you know that over 70% of women dye their hair regularly? As a licensed cosmetologist specializing in color, I understand the desire to freshen up your look. However, repeated dyeing can damage hair. If you have dark brown locks but crave a lighter shade, consider natural methods first.

Lemon juice, vitamin C, and chamomile tea can gently lighten hair over time without harsh chemicals.

Let’s discuss homemade lighteners that can healthfully achieve the light brown tone you want.

Key Takeaways

  • Use natural citrus-based solutions like lemon juice or vitamin C treatments to gradually lighten hair over time through consistent applications.
  • Explore gentle activating blends like cinnamon and honey or chamomile tea rinses to lift color subtly.
  • Consider saltwater or apple cider vinegar rinses to mimic beachy highlights. Monitor hair health closely with these methods.
  • Seek professional guidance from licensed colorists for bleaching advice personalized to your hair. Allow certified stylists to perform bleaching rather than attempting high-lift color services at home.

Use Lemon Juice

Use Lemon Juice
You can lighten your dark brown hair by mixing fresh lemon juice with water and optional conditioner or coconut oil.

When using citrus, exercise caution and dilute lemon juice to minimize irritation. Contrary to myths, lemon juice alone can’t drastically lighten hair overnight without damage.

For sun-kissed strands, apply your mask mixture and expose hair to sunlight for 30-45 minutes before rinsing. Lemon juice’s acidic properties gently lift color over time, allowing you to safely lighten dark hair.

Rotate treatments with nourishing masks. With patience, you can naturally enhance highlights or brighten brown hair a shade or two, without resorting to bleach or ammonia-filled box dyes.

For best results, use fresh lemons and dilute juice to create a hair-healthy citrus-infused mixture.

Apply Vitamin C

Apply Vitamin C
You’re applying vitamin C by crushing tablets into a fine powder that can be mixed with water and applied directly to hair for subtle lightening.

Known for its antioxidant properties and ability to boost collagen production, vitamin C offers hair and health benefits when used topically or ingested.

By spritzing a vitamin C hair solution and letting it soak in for 30 minutes, you can gently lift color, eliminate mineral deposits, and support shine.

This technique has been recommended by hair experts since vitamin C interacts with hair protein and oxygen to create gradual lightening.

While not as dramatic as bleach, a vitamin C treatment makes for a more natural, conditioning color lift perfect for maintaining depth while introducing highlights or lifting brassiness.

With immune-supporting properties, vitamin C contributes to scalp health and also makes a fine addition to smoothies, juices and water.

Try a Saltwater Solution

Try a Saltwater Solution
After applying vitamin C, mix some salt into water and rinse your hair with it.

This saltwater solution mimics the lightening effects of ocean water, creating beachy, sun-kissed highlights without exposure to harsh UV rays.

As the salt adheres to strands, scattering light, keep your hair soaked for at least 20 minutes before rinsing clean.

For optimal results, step outside; sunlight enhances salt’s subtle bleaching properties through a gentle, natural chemical reaction.

Still, exercise some caution, as too much sun fades hair color. Maintain vibrant hues with sulfate-free shampoos and daily conditioning.

For homemade sea salt spritzes, DIY hair masks, or other creative citrus treatments, consult your stylist to avoid overdrying already delicate strands.

With the right natural ingredients and sunlight exposure tips, you can gradually lighten dark brown hair sans chemicals.

Rinse With Apple Cider Vinegar

Rinse With Apple Cider Vinegar
Its acidic properties can help lift your hair’s cuticle for a gentle lightening effect when you rinse your locks with a apple cider vinegar solution after shampooing.

Mix one part apple cider vinegar with six parts water to create a quick lightening solution for your brown strands.

Pour or spray the concoction over your hair and let it soak for about 30 minutes before rinsing clean.

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar works to increase shine by removing residue and balancing hair’s pH.

As an affordable, natural DIY haircare ingredient already likely in your pantry, apple cider vinegar offers hair-healthy benefits like sealing the cuticle to lock in moisture and color.

Repeating this soak biweekly maintains brightness in brunette hues overtime through gentle removal of mineral buildup without harsh chemicals.

Make a Baking Soda and Peroxide Paste

Make a Baking Soda and Peroxide Paste
How about creating a paste by combining baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to gently lighten your strands?

Exercise caution with this technique. Always do a skin patch test first to check for irritation or burning.

In a bowl, mix one teaspoon baking soda with a couple tablespoons hydrogen peroxide until you achieve a smooth, spreadable paste. Apply thoroughly to dry hair in sections. Wrap each section in foil or plastic wrap.

After 30-45 minutes, rinse thoroughly and deep condition. This can effectively lift pigment, but beware dryness or damage if left on too long or applied too frequently.

Many rave about the subtle lightening from this homemade concoction, but proceed carefully, assessing hair tolerance.

Use a Cinnamon and Honey Mask

Use a Cinnamon and Honey Mask
You can mix honey, cinnamon, and olive oil (adding conditioner if needed) into a hair mask that activates hydrogen peroxide when left on for at least 4 hours after securing it in a bun.

Honey’s humectant properties help retain moisture while conditioning hair. When combined with cinnamon, the mixture gently lightens overall hair tone via activated hydrogen peroxide.

Secure the mask in a bun or shower cap to maximize contact time. Leave on a minimum 4 hours for noticeable lightening without damage.

For best results, use weekly. With patience, this chemical-free mask lifts dark hair to a subtly lighter shade. Its delightfully scented and all-natural ingredients make for a spa-like treatment right at home.

Brew Up Some Chamomile Tea

Brew Up Some Chamomile Tea
You’re probably wondering if chamomile tea can naturally lighten your dark locks.

  1. Steep 2-3 bags of chamomile tea in hot water for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Allow to cool completely before application.
  3. Apply the cooled tea to damp hair, focusing on the midshafts and ends.
  4. Wrap hair in a towel and let the tea soak in for 30-60 minutes before rinsing.

The golden highlights from the chamomile will start subtle but become more noticeable with repeated applications. As an added perk, chamomile conditions hair, adds shine, and smells absolutely lovely! It’s one of the gentlest ways to achieve gradual lightening without damage.

Attempt a Beer or Vodka Rinse

Attempt a Beer or Vodka Rinse
After trying some of the previous methods, give your hair a beer or vodka rinse to lighten it naturally. These alcohol-based alternatives offer a DIY approach to gently lifting color without bleach.

For the beer rinse, use a pale ale or lager, letting it flatten first. Apply to shampooed hair, focusing on midshafts and ends.

Vodka can also be poured over locks post-shampoo for a subtle brightening effect. With both methods, finish with some sun exposure for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

Condition hair post-rinse to counteract any drying effects from the alcohol. Used sparingly, these unconventional rinses may lift dark hair a shade or two.

Beware Problems With Sun-In

Beware Problems With Sun-In
Its reputation for quick, dramatic lightening warrants caution about Sun-In’s potential long-term effects on your hair. While it may seem convenient, Sun-In works by creating a chemical reaction that damages hair over time.

If you’ve already used Sun-In, let your colorist know before appointments as they may need to adjust formulas during corrections.

For the healthiest results lightening dark brown hair, seek guidance from a licensed professional rather than relying solely on home methods. With an expert’s help balancing conditioning ingredients like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar with gentle lighteners, you can transition your shade gradually without causing excess dryness or breakage.

Seek Expert Help for Bleaching

Seek Expert Help for Bleaching
The bleaching process requires expertise to avoid damaging your hair. When opting for dramatic lightening, consult a knowledgeable colorist about the healthiest approach.

  • Schedule a consultation to review your hair goals, health history, and determine a gradual plan.
  • Ask questions about bleach types, volume developers, toners, and conditioning treatments.
  • Follow professional recommendations for waiting periods between sessions.

Rely on certified stylists instead of box dyes. They understand proper techniques, product formulations, and aftercare to lift your base color while minimizing breakage.

For gorgeous light brown locks, trust the guidance of hair professionals rather than attempting intensive bleaching solo.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will these methods work on color-treated or chemically processed hair?

Unfortunately, I don’t have enough context to provide a responsible recommendation regarding hair color.

The condition and history of one’s hair can significantly impact results.

I suggest consulting a licensed cosmetologist specializing in color services for a personalized consultation before attempting any chemical process at home.

An expert can evaluate your hair and goals to determine the safest, most effective approach.

How often can I use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar without damaging my hair?

You can safely use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar once or twice a week to gradually lighten hair without damage.

I advise patch testing first and diluting with water to determine your hair’s tolerance.

Exercise moderation, rinse thoroughly, and deeply condition after each application.

Overuse risks dryness, brittleness, and breakage.

My hair is already quite dry and damaged. Are there any extra precautions I should take with these methods?

Yes, since your hair is already quite dry and damaged, use extra caution with methods involving citrus, peroxide, or alkaline ingredients.

Start by testing on a small section first.

Apply deep conditioning treatments before and after, and minimize repeat applications to reduce further damage.

Focus instead on gentle, nourishing options like herbal teas.

Consult a trichologist for guidance.

I have scalp sensitivities. Are any of these methods likely to irritate my scalp?

With sensitivities, exercise caution.

The acidic nature of some ingredients, like lemon and apple cider vinegar, may irritate the scalp.

Focus on gentler options, like chamomile tea with honey.

Assess tolerance of small test sections before full application.

Nourish strands thoroughly post-treatment.

Prioritize scalp health alongside hair goals.

I have highlights. Will lightening the rest of my hair with these methods look strange next to the highlights?

Yes, lightening the rest of your hair could make your highlights look brassy and uneven.

Let’s explore alternative options that complement your existing highlights beautifully.


Honey, with patience and care, you can gently coax those dark tresses towards a lighter brown.

As tempting as it’s to rush dramatic color changes, think gradual when using household lighteners. They condition as they lighten, rewarding your strands over time with luminous, natural highlights.

So try lemon, chamomile, or vitamin C a few times weekly.

And if you still pine for quicker color, come see me for an expert touch up with minimal damage.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.