Lightening Your Hair With Lemon Juice: Here’s What You Need to Know

Written by Arshiya Syeda

If you spend time outdoors, you have perhaps acquired that naturally streaked hair, thanks to the effect of sunlight. But for many, the only way to get striking highlights is by spending dollars at the salon or bleaching their hair. However, with a bit of patience, a natural hack may work for you – lemon juice. Yes, lemon juice not only boosts your immunity but also lightens your hair to give you a fresh look.

But is this just a myth, or does lemon juice lighten the hair for real? Read on to find out.

Lemon Juice To Lighten The Hair: How Does It Work?

To understand how lemon juice can lighten your hair, you must first know how bleach works. Bleach oxidizes the melanin of your hair and depletes your natural hair color, giving it a lighter appearance instantly. Citric acid, the main component of lemon juice, is a natural bleaching agent (1). It absorbs into the hair easily and works with the UV rays from sunlight to accelerate the brightening process. Just like bleach, it oxidizes the melanin of your tresses, resulting in visibly lighter hair.

Now that you know how lemon juice can help lighten your hair, find out whether it works on dark hair or not.

Can You Use Lemon Juice To Lighten Dark Hair?

No. According to beauty enthusiasts and bloggers, lemon juice generally works for brunette and blonde hair. As citric acid is a mild bleaching agent, using it on dark hair will not make any noticeable difference. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that using lemon juice on dark hair results in the appearance of red-orange tints.

If you have blonde hair and are looking for subtle highlights, follow the steps in the next section to lighten your hair with lemon juice.

How To Lighten The Hair With Lemon Juice

This is a simple and easy process that works best on unwashed hair.

You Will Need

  • 1 cup of lemon juice
  • Conditioner
  • Lukewarm water
  • A spray bottle


  1. Fill the spray bottle with lemon juice.
  2. Top it up with a conditioner in a 2:1 ratio. You may also use water instead of the conditioner, but it may dry your hair out.
  3. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients.
  4. Add some chamomile tea or honey for brighter highlights.

How To Use

  1. Spray the mixture all over your hair for uniform coloring. You may also apply the spray on certain sections of your hair that you wish to highlight.
  2. Expose your hair to direct sunlight for at least a couple of hours.
  3. Wash your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water and follow up with a deep conditioning routine.
  4. Let your hair dry naturally to reveal subtle, gorgeous highlights.

Now, let’s have a look at what other benefits lemon juice has on your hair. Scroll down.

Benefits Of Using Lemon Juice For The Hair

  • Alleviates various scalp conditions like itchiness, dryness, and flaking.
  • Improves the pH balance of your scalp.
  • Helps clean the scalp and unclog hair follicles, which can help reduce dandruff.
  • Controls excessive production of oil on your scalp. · Helps maintain scalp health and combat dandruff and scalp acne (2).

Summing It Up

Lemon juice is used across the globe by bloggers and enthusiasts to lighten the hair or brighten the streaks. But lemon juice only works well on blonde hair and may also make your locks dry and rough without a proper conditioning routine. However, it is safer to use lemon juice than chemical bleaches to dye your hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to lighten the hair with lemon juice?

You will need multiple sessions to see a gradual but permanent lightening effect on your hair with lemon juice.

Can you use store-bought lemon juice to lighten the hair?

No. It is better to use freshly squeezed lemon juice to lighten your hair as packaged juice is highly processed and contains chemicals.

Does lemon juice lighten the hair without the sun?

No, the citric acid in lemons requires the sun’s UV rays to lighten your hair.

Can you lighten your hair with lemon juice permanently?

Yes, lemon juice oxidizes the hair pigment to cause a permanent lightening effect until new roots grow out.

Are there any precautions for lightening the hair with lemon juice permanently?

As lemon juice tends to dry out the hair, follow up the hair lightening routine with a deep conditioning treatment.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Preparation and Characterization of Natural Bleaching Gels Used in Cosmetic Dentistry
  2. Ethnopharmacological survey of home remedies used for treatment of hair and scalp and their methods of preparation in the West Bank-Palestine –

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).