Fake It Until You Make It: Highlights Without the Salon

Augusta Falletta
blonde highlights


For as much as we love experimenting with new hair colors, the damage that can happen as a result of dyeing and bleaching our hair can take a toll. Now that it’s summer, though, we want lighter hair without the bad side effects of thin or breaking hair. What’s a girl to do? Go the natural route and get some sunkissed strands without the chemicals. To do the same for yourself, follow the tips and tricks below to get natural highlights!

Lemon Juice: Lemons are a natural way to lift color (i.e. stains) from fabric, so they can do the same with your hair by lifting darker pigments, thus creating highlights. Squeeze an entire lemon into a bowl and mix it with equal parts water. Be sure to remove any large pieces of pulp or seeds from the liquid. If you want all over lighter color, you can pour the mixture into a spray bottle and saturate your hair from root to tip. For highlights, dip a toothbrush into the mixture and begin brushing through from root to tip, covering your entire head. The toothbrush method takes a bit longer, but it gives you more control over where the lighter hair will be. Sit in the sun (with SPF!) for about 30-40 minutes. Once your hair has lightened a bit, wash with shampoo and conditioner to take the lemon juice out of your hair. Repeat this once every two weeks or so and you’ll see lighter results each time. But, be sure to keep conditioning your hair as you do it as lemons can be a little drying.

MORE: Semi-Permanent Hair Color, Explained

Chamomile Tea: Essentially the same thing you did with a lemon juice and water mixture can be done with chamomile tea. Brew a pot of tea and steep about five tea bags (more or less depending on how strong you want it to be) in the water for 10 minutes. Let the tea cool down for about 20 minutes, or until it’s warm — not hot. For all over lightening, pour the entire pot over your hair to drench your strands. For carefully placed color, again use a toothbrush to highlight areas around your face, etc. Sit in the sun for 30 minutes or so, then rinse out with shampoo and conditioner.

Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar: Honey’s known to help naturally heal scars, partially due to its ability to lighten pigments, like it can in your hair. Mix four parts honey and one part apple cider vinegar into a bowl and apply to your hair for whichever results you’re looking for (all over or individual color), then leave it on for about an hour. For extra richness, you can cover your hair with a plastic shower cap and aim a blow dryer on a medium setting all over your hair. The heat will help to activate the honey. Rinse clean with shampoo (getting all of the sticky residue out of your hair) and condition, and you’re good to go!