Here's how to lighten your hair with lemon juice to save yourself a trip to the salon

A natural alternative to bleach...

17 Oct 2018

We're total suckers for do-it-yourself beauty at GLAMOUR. Whether it's shaving with coconut oil, learning how to thread our own eyebrows or treating ourselves to an at-home blood facial (yes, really) – if it's going to save us time or money, we're up for it.

And with hair colour trends like balayage and 'blonde roast' reigning supreme for autumn, it seemed as good a time as any to broach an old wives tale: bleaching your hair with lemon juice.

Here's how to do it:

You'll need:

  • Fresh lemon
  • Warm water
  • Spray bottle
  1. Roll, cut and squeeze the lemon juice from your fresh lemon into a bowl.
  2. Add in warm water, estimating at two parts water, one part lemon juice.
  3. Mix together and pour into your empty spray bottle.
  4. Spritz through damp hair, focusing on the areas you want to lighten.
  5. Sit out with your hair in the sun for 1-2 hours (wearing sun cream, of course!)

You see, lemon juice won't work as a natural alternative to bleach on its own; it needs to be combined with sun exposure.

"The juice of the citrus fruit is heat activated, so once the sun’s heat opens the hair cuticles, it can be used to lift the colour", a spokesperson for explains.

If you're expecting a complete brunette-to-blonde transformation, you'll be disappointed. "The results are very minor", says Trichologist, Sally-Ann Tarver, from . "Lemon juice works best as a natural highlighter in the sun for people with blonde and dark blonde hair."

And while this low-cost lightening method isn't as drying as bleach, lemon juice is still acidic and can have a dehydrating effect.

"You will need to thoroughly wash and deep-condition your hair afterwards to remove the strong lemon aroma", says Sally-Ann.

Love DIY beauty as much as we do? Here's how to make your own hair masks and dry shampoo: