How to Use Lemon Juice to Lighten Hair with Results

Learn how to use lemon juice to lighten hair, including dark hair lightening, blonde and brown hair lightening using lemon juice remedy. So, does lemon juice lighten hair? See also before and after results as well as reviews.

Does lemon juice lighten black hair? Will lemon juice lighten hair? Can lemon juice lighten hair? These are common questions that often pop out in online forums and if you are eager to learn about lemon juice in as far as hair lightening is concerned, this article has got you covered. We’ll not only explain how you can use lemon juice to lighten hair but also share with you some before and after pictures to give you an image of typical results from hair lightening treatments using lemon juice.

How to Use Lemon Juice to Lighten Hair
Hair Styling: How to Use Lemon Juice to Lighten Hair

Does Lemon Juice Lighten Hair?

Can lemon juice lighten hair? Does lemon juice lighten dark brown hair? Lemon juice is a great hair lightening remedy; it is in fact one of the most commonly used home remedies to lighten hair.

Lemon juice is also one of the most versatile bleaching or hair lightening home ingredients and it is not surprising that most combination home remedies you will find on the internet have lemon juice as one of the ingredients.

For example, while some people use lemon juice alone (diluted with water), others prefer to add it into the deep hair conditioner, and yet others use it in combination with olive oil for enhanced hair nourishment and bleaching.

The good thing about lemon juice is that if used properly, it is less harmful than the chemical hair dyes that can damage your hair. Lemon juice in particular needs to be diluted with water to reduce its drying effect on the hair; otherwise it may leave your hair dry or even gray in color.

You may however have to repeat lemon juice treatment on your hair several times before you can get the results you desire since lemon juice has a more subtle hair lightening effect compared to the chemical dyes.

Why Does Lemon Juice Lighten Hair?

So, why does lemon juice lighten dark hair? You are right now perhaps wondering why lemon juice lightens hair. Well, lemon juice contains citric acid which is the one responsible for the lightening effects on the hair strands. The citric acid bleaches the natural pigment in the hair and when used over time, the hair strands often gets a lighter shade of color and/or make highlights to your hair.

A combination of sunlight and lemon juice works even more powerfully because on exposure to sunlight, the citric acid gets activated. This opens the hair cuticles, thus exposing the hair strands to ultraviolet light.

Ultraviolet light naturally has a bleaching effect on the hair. It reduces the double bonds in the hair pigments to single bonds, thus bleaching the hair strands. Addition of lemon juice magnifies the effect of UV light by speeding up the process. This is manifested in a relatively stronger hair lightening effect when lemon juice is applied to the hair and the hair is then exposed to sunlight.

Hair Style - Use Lemon Juice to Make Highlights
Hair Style – Use Lemon Juice to Make Highlights

How to Use Lemon Juice to Lighten Hair

Now that we know that lemon juice can help to lighten hair and why, let’s discuss how to use lemon juice to lighten hair.

You will require:

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed). You can also use lime
  • Spray bottle


  • Combine the lemon juice and water in a small bowl
  • Pour the solution in a spray bottle
  • Spray it on your hair as needed. You can spray on the whole head if you want to lighten all the hair or in some parts if you only want to make highlights on your hair.
  • Sit in the sunlight for 30 to 60 minutes. Be sure to slather some sunscreen on your skin to protect your skin and prevent getting sunburn
  • Rinse your hair with water, shampoo your hair and finish by using a natural deep conditioner to counteract the drying effect of the lemon juice.

There you have it! That is all it takes for lemon juice to lighten hair. It is important to note however that this remedy will only lighten your hair a few shades. You may have to repeat the treatment several times before you can get the results you desire, but you can expect your hair to get progressively lighter with each treatment.

A word of caution though: don’t go overboard treating your hair every hour and then or every day. One to 2 times week at most is recommended.

One good thing about using lemon juice to lighten your hair is that it eliminates the challenge of growing roots as is typically experienced after using artificial home dying kits and getting salon dying treatments.

The only downside with lemon is that you can never tell for sure the exact color to expect; there is always a room for surprises.

How to Lighten Brown Hair with Lemon Juice

As we have already mentioned elsewhere, lemon juice gives the best results when used on blonde or light brown hair. For dark brown and black hair it is realistic to expect only subtle effect.

It is also prudent that you test the lemon juice on a small portion first if you have dark brown or black hair since they sometimes turn orange when lemon juice is applied on them.

As a matter of fact, if you have dark hair that appears to get a reddish tint every time you are out in the sun, chances are that you will get an orange or brassy highlight if you use lemon juice to lighten hair. So, don’t dive into using lemon juice right away without testing it on a small section.

For those with lighter shades of brown, lemon juice is most likely to have a great brown hair lightening effect and you have nothing to worry about. If you are however not sure what shade of color your hair is, consider doing a strand test first.

If you have dry hair, you should consider mixing the lemon juice with a natural deep conditioner rather that warm water and then apply it on your hair as required using your hands. A wide-toothed comb can also help to distribute the mixture through your hair.

Lighten Hair with Lemon Juice Results – Before and After Pictures

As you may have already noticed by now, we are great believers in the saying that a picture speaks a thousand words. So, here are “Before and after” pictures showing real results from using lemon juice to lighten hair courtesy of Eva Tornado of ko-te.

Hair-lightening-before and after

As you can see, the hair strands in the second picture are lighter than those in the first picture.

Hair-lightening-before and after 2

This other lady was also able to lighten her hair a bit with lemon juice alone. This is in spite of the fact that she reports having not been going out in the sun, which could most likely have given her better results.

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