How to Lighten Hair with Essential Oils


Getting to a hair salon these days is not easy. Highlights can illuminate your face and give a more youthful appearance. Add subtle highlights to your hair, without visiting a salon. Learn how to lighten hair naturally with essential oils. Brighten up your locks with this easy Essential Oil Hair Lightening Spray recipe!

how to lighten hair naturally with essential oils

My hair grows super fast and after about four weeks my brown roots are more than obvious. I was a toe-head blonde my entire childhood. My hair turned brown literally the moment I turned 17. Dishwater I like to call it. I have spent a small fortune trying to keep my hair blonde all these years. 

The color of our hair is determined by a pigment called melanin, which is produced by hair follicles. As we age, the body produces less melanin, causing hair to darken and eventually turn gray. 

This is good news for hairstylists! The average woman will spend over $50,000 in their lifetime on their hair. Unfortunately, most conventional hair dyes contain various toxic ingredients like bleach and ammonia. 

Coloring your hair at home can be risky. Hairstylists are experts in their field and are specially trained in color chemistry. This recipe is not a hair dye but is designed to lighten hair gradually with essential oils and the sun. A diluted spray will give you subtle results, that can be increased slowly to obtain the desired color. 

lighten hair with essential oils

Natural Ways to Lighten Hair 

Lemon Juice

The vitamin C in lemon juice can lighten the hair. Lemon juice is great for whitening and brightening in cleaning, so why not try it on your hair. It can be mixed with water and applied to hair for subtle highlights. Lemon essential oil can be used in the same way. Sit out in the sun for an added benefit. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another common household ingredient that can be used to lighten your hair. Mix it with water to form a paste, and apply it as a hair mask. Rinse and shampoo hair as normal. Baking soda is cleansing and can help remove product build-up. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

This method is perhaps the riskiest. Peroxide strips hair of pigment. It can be hard to control the placement of the solution, and if not done correctly it can leave hair damaged. Too much peroxide can also cause hair to turn orange. Use caution with his method and be sure to dilute the solution and don’t overapply. Less is more!

Apple Cider Vinegar

If you are looking to gradually lighten your hair, apple cider vinegar is a good option. It works to balance the pH of your hair. Apple cider vinegar is great for removing build-up which may be dulling your locks. An apple cider vinegar rinse is great to add to your hair care routine. 


Tea can be used to both brighten and darken your hair, depending on the strength. Chamomile tea has a brightening effect. Seep several bags of chamomile tea in water and apply it to dry hair. The sun will help it dry and increase its effects. Roman Chamomile essential oil is extracted from the flowers and flowering heads of the plant. It can be used to support healthy-looking hair.


If you’ve ever spent a summer on the sand, you know that the sun can naturally highlight hair. The rays of the sun bleach out the melanin in your hair, giving it a lighter appearance. A tan face can also make your hair look lighter. Vitamin D from the sun is also great for our immune system and optimal health.

Use this natural hair lightening spray to give your hair a brighter, sun-kissed look!

essential oils to lighten hair before and after

Essential Oil Hair Lightening Spray



  • Add coconut oil and essential oils to a glass measuring cup. Stir. Mix in lemon juice. 
  • Carefully add to a 2oz spray bottle. Fill to the top with water. 

To use: 

Spray onto wet or dry hair, working in sections. Add a second layer of spray until hair feels saturated. Sit out in the sun for 30-60 minutes. Wash hair normally with shampoo and follow up with a deep conditioning spray (optional). Reapply the next day to achieve more intense highlights. 

Notes and Substitutions:

The coconut oil in this recipe is not only great for moisturizing, but it helps combine the essential oils so they mix evenly in water. You can also use vitamin E oil or argan oil

Lemon essential oil is acidic. You can reduce the lemon to 10 drops if you are sensitive to lemon oil. You can also substitute another citrus oil like tangerine or grapefruit. Simply increase the amount of lemon juice. 

I used this hair lightening spray recipe three times to achieve subtle highlights. I have red hues in my hair (my mom is a redhead) so my results were more of an auburn rather than light blonde. It really depends on the natural pigments in your hair. It is not effective on colored hair. 

More essential oil hair care recipes you might enjoy:

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