Homemade Recipes for Natural Highlights

Going to the salon can be an expensive treat—ask any girl who has ever gotten a full head of highlights and been shocked by paying as much as $300. This cost completely depends on where you live. Whether your motivation is to save a little cash or to avoid harsh dyes and chemicals, we’ve rounded up some of the best homemade formulas to naturally lighten hair with ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

Lemons

Ingredients:

• 1 Spray Bottle
• Lemon Juice
• Water

We’re kicking off our hair color cookbook with the oldest trick out there—lemon juice. Create a mixture of half lemon juice and half water in a spray bottle and then douse your strands. It’s important to note that lemons are activated by heat, so this method is most effective when spending a day out in the sun.

Cinnamon

Ingredients:

• 3 tbsp Cinnamon
• Palmful of Conditioner

Cinnamon is one of the few hair lightening options that can leave your hair healthier and stronger than it was before. Because it has antioxidants, cinnamon can serve as a natural sunscreen and protect your hair from harmful UV rays. Simply mix cinnamon with a palmful of your conditioner to form a thick paste, slather all over your hair and leave it on overnight to work its magic. This ingredient won’t damage hair, so feel free to repeat this method for brighter, bolder highlights.

Honey

Ingredients:

• ¼ Cup Honey
• 1 Cup Water

Because honey is naturally formulated with hydrogen peroxide, it serves as an ideal alternative to hair dye. Combine one quarter of a cup honey with one cup of distilled water. Shake up the mixture and let it sit for an hour, as studies have shown honey works best when the mixture has been left alone for a while. Then, put the mixture all over wet hair, cover with a shower cap in order to retain moisture and leave it on for an hour or so before rinsing off. Added bonus: Your hair will not only be left looking silky smooth, but it will have a sweet scent as well.

Baking Soda

Ingredients:

• ½ Cup Baking Soda
• Water

Aside from brightening up your color, this method also helps cleanse hair of any product build-up. Although, it is important to note that getting the consistency just right can be a little bit tricky. If the mixture is too thin, it won’t properly coat the hair, but if the mixture is too thick, it will dry out too quickly and won’t lighten your locks. Start off with approximately half a cup of baking soda and add it to warm water and play with the proportions until you get it just right.

Chamomile Tea

Ingredients:

• 5 Chamomile Tea Bags
• 3 Cups Hot Water

This gold-hued liquid is not only a great bedtime beverage, but it’s also another great option to naturally highlight your hair. Steep five tea bags with a few cups of hot water and allow the tea to cool completely. After shampooing and conditioning, rinse your hair with the chamomile and let it air dry. If you’re planning on spending your day outdoors, chamomile can also be used in conjunction with lemon juice.

Vinegar

Ingredients:

• Cotton Balls or a Spray Bottle
• Vinegar
• Water

If you have red tones in your hair, vinegar is the ideal option for lightening your locks. Vinegar brings out brassy highlights and will create a more natural look on redheads. Simply spray vinegar all over your hair, or apply with a cotton ball to create bolder, less blended highlights. Leave it on for 30 minutes and rinse out as usual.

Keep in mind that different hair types will have different reactions to these combinations. Natural ingredients are the perfect platform for experimentation because they won’t cause nearly as much damage as a botched dye job (and the corrective color that comes afterwards). If you have any hesitations, always air on the side of caution and spot test a patch of hair before covering your whole head.