Will Lemon Juice Lighten Hair?

Will Lemon Juice Lighten Hair?

If anyone is familiar with the television show “How I Met Your Mother,” and the escapades of five friends as they live their lives in New York City - never to be confused with Friends of course - you may remember a time when Ted Mosby went blonde. At first, Ted joked about how during his tenure as a lifeguard during a summer break he was “lathering a little lemon juice into the old mop, playing with some natural highlights” ; but eventually he is tricked into dyeing his hair blonde.


Will Lemon Juice Lighten Hair?


But I can remember distinctly when I recently watched this episode wondering if that old joke about lemon juice on your hair to make it lighter was actually true or not. After doing a bit of research and understanding the properties of lemon juice a bit more, I learned there are several benefits that lemon juice can provide your hair.

Unknown Benefits

Lemons have served multiple purposes in health and beauty outside of the normal sticking a lemon in your water for a bit of flavor. Lemon for hair growth has been a trusted regime to fight the most dreaded enemies of hair growth – dandruff and hair fall. Rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin B, Folic Acid, and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium and calcium make it the perfect solution to aid in the revitalization of voluminous, healthy hair. 

Dyeing Your Hair: Possible?

Putting lemon juice in hair is a popular and natural treatment for lightening the color of your hair. You should understand, however, that lemon juice is not a bleach and will only serve to lighten your own natural hair color. For example, it will only make dark brown hair a lighter shade of brown and it will not turn your hair a blonde color, like bleach or peroxide will. So, the idea that you will get a bottle blonde look naturally from lemon juice probably isn’t going to do what you want unless you are already a blonde.

In order to lighten you own natural hair color you can simply rub lemon juice into your hair. The way that you apply the lemon juice to your hair is important, however, because unless you want highlights on only one section of your hair you should work the lemon juice across all of your hair evenly in order to provide a professional and even looking result. I have done this most effectively by taking my hair in sections and take the lemon juice in a dropper and apply it at the root and massage/spread it over the section with my fingers.

After you’ve done this, but you aren’t getting the results you want as quick as you want, you can always go out and stand in the sun. Go with me on this. Spend about half an hour right after you apply the lemon juice; direct sunlight is preferable, but even if it is cloudy you will still find that the sunlight speeds up the process. After you have done this immediately wash the lemon juice from your hair. This works because the UV rays from the sun will lighten your hair over a long period of time and putting lemon juice in your hair will simply speed up the process and will produce a lighter hair color within a few days. Though you may try to recreate this effect using a blow dryer, simply using a blow dryer on hair with lemon juice in it does NOT have the same effect and will Not Work.

Things to Keep in Mind

When using lemon juice, be careful of a few things:

  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice is preferable over packaged juice as it is free of damaging preservatives.
  • Lemon juice is acidic and excessive use can make hair dry and brittle, so use in moderation.
  • Do not apply on open wounds or cuts.
  • Lemon is also a bleaching agent so do not leave on for over 10 minutes.

Another thing to keep in mind - that a friend of mine learned the hard way - is to avoid using lemon juice on your hair if you have been (or intend to) swimming in a chlorinated pool or have recently colored your hair with chemicals. This is because if you put lemon juice in your hair in these situations you may actually end up with an undesirable hair color, such as green or some other weird color. And trust me, as cool as green hair sounds, this is not a good look for anyone.

As with any new style or trend technique: BE CAREFUL! Do your research and check with your stylist before you try anything drastic.

What are your favorite ways to lighten your hair? 

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