When life gives you lemons, lighten your hair

When life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. Right?


When life gives you lemons, the first thing you should do is squeeze them within an inch of their lives for all the juice they’ve got, drench your hair with it and then go sit in the sun for as long as you can before your homemade sunscreen wears off. THAT’S what you do with lemons.

While lemon-based hair lightening is quite effective when you have several hours to spend in direct sunlight, it is naturally (no pun intended…) not as successful as a chemical-based treatment. A lemon lightener will not bleach your whole head or pale your hair two full shades; what it can offer is a nice highlighting effect to enhance your natural hair color. At least this is what I have found to be true for myself; I am already a dirty blonde, and I have never previously colored my hair. You may have different results…I can’t make any promises.

What I can promise is that lemon juice will be much lighter on your pocketbook than a chemical treatment, even a do-it-at-home lightening kit.


  • Sun-In Hair Lightener (4.7 oz): $5.29
  • PER OUNCE: $1.13/oz


  • Real Lemon Juice (32 oz): $2.49
  • PER OUNCE: $0.1/oz

But what about when life gives you honey? And cinnamon?

Hmmm. This is a puzzle my friend Monica and I have been trying to figure out for some time – ever since the dead of winter ushered out the blonde highlights of summer we love so much. There is a plethora of information on the internet about natural hair lightening both with and without the sun.  If you’re not using the sun, both honey and cinnamon are supposed to be two of your best bets, either used separately or in conjunction with each other. Many people claim to have had great success with honey and/or cinnamon lightening combos, but Monica and I have tried a variety of combinations, all – unfortunately – to no avail. (Sidenote – any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!).

However, we have found that a mixture of conditioner, honey and cinnamon makes an amazing overnight moisture treatment! It might not have been the results we were hoping for, but at least we got something useful out of it. You know what they say: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

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9 thoughts on “When life gives you lemons, lighten your hair

  1. I’ve heard that lemon mixed with a little coconut oil makes a great lightener/conditioner. Have you ever tried coconut oil?

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