Learning how to lighten your hair can be tricky when you’re first starting out. Use our tips and tricks to learn to basics about lightening hair.

Natural blonde or beautiful brunette, chances are you’ve thought about changing your hair color at some point. Lightening some or all of your strands can be a good way to add sunkissed dimension to your mane without getting too drastic with your hair color. But how to go about it?

Whether you’re adding highlights, going for a trendy ombre, or planning a full beach-blonde transformation, here are a few tips on how to lighten your hair without the damage of bleach.

Consider Your Natural Hair and Skin Color

Warm and cool don’t just describe the weather. We also use these descriptors for hair and skin tones. So, when you’re choosing a lighter shade for your hair, consider your natural undertones.

An easy test to determine whether you have warm or cool undertones is to check out the veins in your wrists.

  • Do they appear green? You likely have warmer undertones.
  • If they appear blue, you’re probably cool-toned.
  • Somewhere in the middle? You’re neutral.

Adding warm tones to your hair like honey or caramel shades can complement warm-toned skin, while cooler hair shades like ash blonde and platinum look awesome against cool tones. And if you’re neutral, congrats! You can rock pretty much any shade.

Choose a Lightening Method

Bleach, dye, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice—there are several different ways to lighten up your locks.

If You Have Darker Hair

If your hair is dark, or if you’re going for a more radical transformation, you’ll probably have to use bleach. Although bleach can be very damaging, it’s easy to end up with undesirable red or orange tones if your hair is naturally dark. A professional stylist can mix the perfect solution to lighten dark hair without creating any unnatural warm tones.

So if you want to naturally lighten darker hair, bleach will be your best bet in getting the best results without dark undertones peeking through your strands.

If You Have Lighter Hair

If you have blonde hair but want to lighten it on your own without the use of bleach to avoid damage, these different methods:

1. Use Hair Lightening Products

There are a lot of lightening hair products that can help you achieve that lighter shade. Try opting for blonde lightening shampoo, conditioner, and spray. This trio is safe to use on natural and color-treated hair, that can take your blonde up to 2 shades lighter.

2. Natural Bleaching Agents

Natural bleaching agents like apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, chamomile tea, or cinnamon and honey can lighten hair gently and naturally with minimal damage. Here’s a breakdown of how these ingredients can help, but what you should also be wary of:

  • Apple cider vinegar. Benefits of incorporating apple cider vinegar to lighten your hair naturally include reducing frizz and residue buildup. There is less risk of damaging your hair, but achieving results will take a few sessions to work through.
  • Lemon juice. This is a natural bleaching agent that can be added to your conditioner with a little bit of water to reduce its acidity. However, lemon juice can be dangerous as excessive or improper use can lead to hair damage and dryness, so try with caution.
  • Chamomile tea. This ingredient has much gentler properties as it promotes hair growth while gradually lightening your hair. This isn’t the best option for darker hair, and even with lighter shades of blonde, results are more subtle for those who want minimal change.
  • Cinnamon. Including cinnamon in a DIY hair mask can naturally lighten your hair as it can interact with the hair's proteins and cause oxidation, leading to subtle color changes. When applied and left on the hair, it can gradually lighten the hair over time with repeated use.
  • Honey. Honey naturally lightens hair when its properties are activated by sunlight, aiding in gradual lightening and brightening of the hair. This method is great for darker hair colors. Honey can also be mixed with cinnamon to create a DIY hair mask.

Rinse your hair in a solution of warm water and one or more of these lightening agents, then sit in the sun to dry. The sun’s rays will intensify the effect, creating subtle, sunkissed highlights.

Shop Lightening Shampoo

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Care for Your Lightened Hair

Whether you use a chemical bleach and peroxide solution or a natural lightener like lemon juice, your hair is going to need a little extra TLC.

brassiness from forming in your newly-lightened locks by washing with purple shampoo. Make sure to moisturize and lighten your blonde tones with a blonding conditioner to keep your hair feeling soft or even a deep conditioner to maintain its vibrancy. Bleached locks are more prone to dryness and breakage, so after washing your hair use a repairing mask for blonde hair to help strengthen damaged strands and protect them for a softer, healthier blonde.

Love your new look? Check out more John Frieda hair ideas here.

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