How to Lighten Your Hair with Lemon Juice? (Ultimate Guide)

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice has been utilized as a natural hair lightener since forever. I have used lemon juice to lighten my dark brown hair. However, I didn’t have much luck!

Seemingly, lemon juice works on bright hair only. It can be quite effective for light brown or blonde hair. Once you make a solution, the lightning process is simple.

Apply the solution to your hair and expose your hair to sunlight. Also, don’t forget your sunscreen. If you have no experience with this process, don’t worry. It’s very easy!

Just cut and squeeze the lemon juice from a fresh lemon into a cup. Mix with warm water, 2 parts water, 1 part lemon juice. Put into an empty spray bottle and spritz your hair.

Make sure your hair is damp. Focus on parts you want to brighten. Exposing the hair to sunlight matters. Sun exposure can alter your hair color and speed up the process.

Even if it’s a natural lightener, lemon juice may still cause damage! But, then again, so does bleach. Let’s learn how to lighten your hair with lemon juice properly.

How to Lighten Your Hair with Lemon Juice?

Lemon juice isn’t only for drinking. You can also apply it on your body or utilize it to improve the taste of food. You can also lighten your hair with it! How? Scroll down and follow the steps.

Step 1: Squeeze the juice from fresh lemons

Take three lemons and cut each in half. Take off the seeds with a spoon and squeeze each half into a cup or bowl. It depends on the length of your hair how much lemon juice you will need.

Step 2: Mix 1 part leave-in conditioner and 2 parts lemon juice

Mix 2 parts lemon juice and 1 part leave-in conditioner. Place the solution in a clean spray bottle. Shake your bottle to mix the solution. You can utilize water instead of a leave-in conditioner.

Step 3: Protect your face and body with a layer of sunscreen

You’re going to utilize the power of sunlight to activate the lightening effect of the citric acid. Make sure that your face and body are protected from UVB and UVA rays.

Apply a layer of sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Take it with you outside in case you go swimming, so you can reapply it. Otherwise, you may end up with a bad sunburn.

Step 4: Spray the solution all over your hair for a full coverage

For complete coverage, spray the solution all over your hair. Then, brush your hair lightly. Your hair isn’t supposed to be soaked with the solution but damp.

If you just want to brighten your tips, roots, or make highlighted streaks, focus on those places. If you’re going for an ombre look, focus on the bottom half only.

Step 5: Utilize a cotton ball soaked with the solution to apply to certain parts

Once you apply the solution to your hair, take a cotton ball and soak it with the solution. Roll the cotton ball down the parts you want to lighten. This will make highlighted streaks.

Don’t forget which strands you’re working with because you will need to repeat the lightening process a couple of times to get the wanted results. Wrap foil around the ones you’ve already soaked so you don’t double treat the same parts and neglect the rest. It’s time to head outside!

Step 6: Expose your hair to direct sunlight for 1-2 hours

Stay outside for at least 1 hour. The sunlight activates the lemon juice which causes the lightening effect but nothing comes without a cost. Your hair will start to feel a bit crunchy. This is normal. Avoid brushing at this point.

Step 7: Rinse the solution out of your hair

After a couple of hours, head back inside and step in the shower. Wash your hair as usual. Lemon juice is super drying. Therefore, make sure to rinse it out completely.

Step 8: Condition your hair as usual

Apply a deep conditioner. Utilize a quality product and leave it on for about 15 minutes or however long the instructions specify. Make sure to rinse it out completely.

Step 9: Dry and style your hair as usual

After the first treatment, you will notice subtle brightening effects. If your hair is still feeling dry, apply a moisturizing mask or a hydrating styling product. Utilize a small amount of your deep conditioner to the ends. This will calm down the fly-aways!

Step 10: Repeat the process for a few days in a row

Lightening your hair with lemon juice is a long process. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a few times for noticeable results. Apply the solution and sit outside for a few days in a row.

Or spread it out over a week. Combine whatever days work for you. Also, don’t forget to deep condition your hair after each session. Sun exposure can cause serious damage to your hair.

But if you take proper care afterward, you will decrease the damage. After 3-4 sessions, you may notice that your hair is lighter. If you had dark blonde hair, it would look light blonde.

If you have dark brown hair, expect light brown (I didn’t get the wanted results but maybe you will have better luck). If you have red hair, this process will result in golden highlights but if you have black hair, it won’t do much for you. You may notice no color change at all, unfortunately.

Does Lemon Juice Actually Lighten Hair?

Yes. However, it doesn’t work for everyone. Lemon juice is one of the most common and natural ways to lighten hair but if you have dark brown hair or black, it won’t do much for you.

How Long Does it Take to Lighten Hair with Lemon Juice?

It’s recommended to stay outside in the sun for 1-2 hours for the next 3-4 days. Repeat the process for a couple of days in a row and you will notice results. However, keep in mind that the results will be subtle. Keep in mind that even if lemon juice is cheap and natural, it still damages the hair.

Can You Lighten Dark Hair with Lemon Juice?

Unfortunately, lemon juice and sun exposure won’t do much for your dark hair. If you have dark brown hair (like me) or black hair, don’t expect tremendous results.

This natural lightening solution works for lighter hair only. For instance, if your hair is dark blonde, it will turn light blonde.  You could try but it takes a lot of patience.

Also Read: How to Lighten Black Hair without Bleach?

Does Lemon Juice Lighten Brown Hair?

If your hair is dark brown or black, most DIY natural treatments such as lemon juice won’t brighten your hair. This lightening treatment doesn’t work well with dark hair. On the contrary, it may cause unwanted results. Sometimes, lemon juice can make dark hair look orange-ish.

Also Read: How to Lighten Dark Brown Hair to Light Brown?

Does Lemon Juice Lighten Hair without Sun?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work without sun exposure. Lemon juice won’t perform as a natural bleaching agent unless there’s sun exposure. The juice of a lemon is heat activated. Therefore, once the sun’s heat unlocks the hair cuticles, it can be utilized to lighten the color naturally.

Is Lemon Juice Better Than Bleach?

It’s not as effective as bleach. However, the citric acid in this fruit acts as a bleaching agent. This is why lemon juice is used in the laundry (it gets white garments back to white).

Will Lemon Juice Permanently Lighten Hair?

Lemon juice combined with sun exposure can lighten your hair and create permanent highlights. It can fade with time. Think of this natural treatment as a permanent hair dye.

Also Read: How to Lighten Hair with a Developer and Baking Soda?

Final Thoughts

Regular use of this natural treatment can discolor your hair and cause damage to your scalp. The lemon has acidic nature. Therefore, it can make your hair dry and prone to breakage.

As I already mentioned, it won’t do much for black or dark brown hair but does water for light hair. It’s a cheap and natural way to lighten your hair. However, it’s not completely safe.

Monika Dimitrovska

A makeup freak who's passionate about books, beauty products, vegan food, daydreaming, and stargazing.

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