Natural ingredients to lighten hair with less damage?

Make tea from (some of) the ingredients below, put the strained liquid in a spray bottle and spritz all over hair.

I recently tried a concoction of dried chamomile flowers, honey and fresh lemon juice for about a week before going to the beach every day, and my hair is subtly but visibly blonder, without the damaging effects of chemical dyes.

Popular natural lighteners, blonde enhancers / herbal dyes:

The Sun: Letting your concoction dry in the sun will boost results, since heat is supposed to help activate some ingredients, and sunshine is a self-evident natural bleacher. Natural is obviously not equal to non damaging though, so don’t overdo it.


Chamomile: the most popular of the lightening enhancers, chamomile is said to work wonders for blondes. I doubt it works wonders, but it seemed to help lighten my hair a bit nevertheless.

Lemon: an age-old natural lightener and photosensitiser. This oxidiser works like peroxide, only much weaker. Heat and sunshine will help the process along though. Can be quite drying, so use at own risk.

Rhubarb: high concentration of oxalic acid, supposedly making it a good lightening agent. Also supposed to give off a yellow tint, restoring golden hues in greying blondes.


Honey: contains an enzyme that produces peroxide, but these peroxide and PH levels are much too low to have a significant effect on hair.


Cassia Obovata: a plant that contains faint golden dye, also known as natural henna. May give light blondes a slight reddish tint though.

Less common natural hair lighteners:

The following ingredients I found online and haven’t tried myself. I’m especially sceptical about these, but we’d love to read about your experiences with them in the comments below!


Joking aside, the ingredients listed here will unfortunately never work nearly as effectively as chemical dyes, but I see no foul in playing around with them, since most are harmless or even good for the hair. So if you’re not expecting dramatic results and you find cooking up beauty concoctions more fun than actual cooking, you’re in for a treat. Otherwise, I suggest you skip on the blonde or visit a good hairdresser.

Extra Tips:

  • Optionally add strengthening or moisturising ingredients like egg yolk or yoghurt to the mixture to give your hair a healthy boost, and treat your hair to a coconut oil treatment afterwards (I wouldn’t use it during, since it could interfere with optimal absorption).
  • Use a spray bottle. Since I didn’t have one handy on holiday, I simply poured my liquids into an empty water boter and drenched everything over my head on the beach. I imagine my method was slightly less handy or elegant than spritzing.
  • Test on a few strands of hair beforehand to determine the effect, especially with ingredients that stain or dye the hair. Or don’t, and then lean back and laugh.
  • Reapply after about an hour in the sun. Because practise makes perfect.

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