Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lighten Hair Color Naturally

I used to love highlighting a few strands of my hair for a style change. Depending on the year, you could find me with a shade of brown, blond, or red streaks. My hair was the canvas, a box of semi-permanent chemical dye was the paint, and my plastic-covered hands were the brushes. The artistic process was fun, the result was a masterpiece, but the masterpiece eventually deteriorated into damaged, thinning hair. I did not realize that with the cuticle lifting and cortex interaction, the hair can be weakened and suffer damage.

Included below are some natural recipes you can try at home. The first one requires sun exposure, while the last two do not. I recommend trying the last two since prolonged sun exposure may degrade and weaken the hair structure.

NOTE: Several repeated applications may be required to produce more dramatic color change over time. Realize that natural alternatives may not yield the same shock effect as chemical dyes or bleaches, but they are certainly less damaging to the hair.


Lemon and chamomile are natural bleaching agents.

1 cup lemon juice
3 cups chamomile tea (brewed, & cooled)

Mix ingredients, pour over damp hair then let sit for an hour while you sit in the sun, wash out. Follow with a good conditioner. Do this a few times a week to notice the highlights.


Honey and cinnamon are both natural peroxide agents. The honey acts as a peroxide through dilution with distilled water. Cardamom, cinnamon and extra virgin olive oil are peroxide boosters. Ground cinnamon is known to cause some tingling and redness, so be sure to perform a skin sensitivity test prior to application onto the scalp.

1/2 cup raw uncooked honey (Jarrah honey works best)
1 1/2 cup distilled water
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon or cardamom
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Saran Wrap
Swimming Cap

Mix the honey, water, cinnamon/cardamom, and olive oil together.  Allow the mixture to sit for an hour.  Then coat the hair with the mixture using a root applicator bottle, spray bottle or a brush.  Wrap your head in Saran wrap and put on a swimming cap in order to prevent the hair from drying and rendering the mixture ineffective.  Leave the mixture on the hair for a few hours or over night then shampoo as normal.



Red henna (like neutral henna) is green in color and contributes to the hair's thickness and shine. UNLIKE neutral henna, it contains a red-orange dye molecule that combines with the hair's natural color. Acidic substances (e.g., lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, etc.) must be added to the henna to release this dye. I assume the more acidic the substance, the more red-orange the color result. (Note, lemon is more acidic than vinegar which is more acidic than orange juice.)

Here is a sample recipe for medium-length hair:

100 g body art quality henna (Mehandi Shop)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water

It is encouraged that you read the following link thoroughly before using henna:

For more color recipes, check out. You may need to tweak the ingredients depending on your hair length and thickness and how subtle/dramatic you want the color change:


Copa-canary said...

Oooh, great ideas. Esp. since summer is coming!! I think the natural way is the best to go with color since introducing chemicals into your hair can be unpredictable and hard to correct when things go wrong. The honey-cinnamon sounds simple enough and I have those two ingredients :Q.

Marilie said...

I love this! Thanks for posting the recipes. I was thinking that I might want to try some color, but I know I have to leave the permanent dyes alone.