Not all methods are created equal when it comes to harnessing the sun’s rays to achieving subtle streaks.
So, what’s the healthiest way to lighten your hair in the sun?
First, Know if Your Hair Type is Suited to Natural Highlighting
Lightening your hair in the sun is totally tempting for anyone who would rather go outside and play instead of heading into a salon appointment. But unfortunately, it’s really only best suited for those whose natural shade is already lighter–and with a fine texture.
Why then, should lasses with darker tresses avoid lightening their strands in the sun?
While you might not know it from first glance, darker hair is built on red and orange undertones–which means these will be the first colors exposed whether hair is lightening naturally or in a stylist’s chair.
And, even though red is making a comeback this summer, there’s a definite difference between the results of a fiery copper hair dye and the ruddy orange that peeks through darker hair after it’s been exposed to the sun for long periods of time.
Assuming you’re already working with fair hair, here’s how to harness the sun for summer highlights the way grandma used to do it–sans potential dryness and split ends.
Grab Some Lemons (but Don’t Go Full Lemonade!)
If you’re an ideal candidate for sun-induced summer streaks, know that lemon juice is an effective DIY option that’s relatively safe for your strands.
However, proceed with caution! Lemon juice is acidic–meaning that it can burn your hair.
The best way to use lemon juice to achieve natural highlights is to first mix the yield from a freshly squeezed fruit with conditioner or coconut oil. This allows you to lighten during some fun in the sun, while still protecting delicate ends (and experiencing some restorative benefits).
What’s the best ratio of ingredients to use?
If you’re planning on applying the solution without styling your hair, simply mix two parts coconut oil or conditioner per one part lemon juice.
However, if you’d like to apply a sun-lightening solution and still be able to go out in public with some semblance of a hairstyle, try this home recipe for a naturally lightening sea salt spray. The added salt not only provides beachy waves, but slightly opens the hair cuticle to the sun for extra lightening power.
Grab a mini spray bottle and mix:
- 2 tsp. Coconut Oil or Conditioner
- 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp. Sea Salt
Fill the remainder of the bottle with home-brewed chamomile tea, then shake the bottle to mix and apply to damp hair for beachy waves that will gently lighten to reveal sun-kissed streaks.
Just remember that, no matter what color your hair (and whether natural or dyed), repeat exposure to UV rays will result in fading–just like the sun eventually fades the paint on a car. So, once you’ve reached your desired lightened shade, pick up some UV-protective spray to keep strands from turning brassy over the summer months.