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

Don't just drink lemon juice; learn how to use it as a bleach substitute to lighten your locks.

Reviewed by Madison DufourMadison Dufour, Barber & Cosmetologist
By Arshiya SyedaArshiya Syeda  • 

Lemons are natural bleaching agents. You can use lemon juice for hair lightening to naturally achieve those sun-kissed highlights. You can get those fun golden streaks right at home without having to spend big bucks at the salons. The trick is to make sure you use lemon juice properly, or you may end up frying your hair.

This article discusses how to use lemon juice to lighten your hair. Follow the instructions carefully to achieve the best results. Happy hair goals!

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

Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent


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?

Woman spraying lemon juice hair spray on 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

Woman squeezing out lemon juice to make hair spray


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

Woman using lemon juice hair spray


  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.
StyleCraze Says
The combination of lemon juice and sun rays can lighten your hair in three to four days.

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

Woman checking her clean scalp after using lemon juice


  • 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).

Infographic: Simple Steps To Lighten Hair With Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a natural, safe, and affordable way to lighten your hair. The citric acid in lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent. However, remember that even though it is safe on the hair, it is acidic and can dry out your hair. The following infographic briefly summarizes the simple steps to lighten your hair with lemon juice at home safely. Scroll down and check it out!

simple steps to lighter hair with lemon juice [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The citric acid in lemon is a mild bleaching agent. When applied, it oxidizes the melanin in your hair and lightens your natural hair color. However, it may not work effectively for those with dark hair, while those with light brown and blonde hair can certainly bank on lemon juice to get those sun-kissed highlights. In fact, using lemon juice for hair lightening also nourishes the scalp and unclogs the hair follicles. However, have a proper conditioning routine in place if you choose to apply lemon juice to your hair to prevent dryness. Remember, using lemon inappropriately can fry your locks. So, practice caution.

StyleCraze Says
You can dilute two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with lemon juice and apply the mixture evenly to hair before rinsing it off with a conditioner. This can make your natural hair color look shiny.

Note: Do not use lemon juice to lighten your hair more than once a week. Lemon juice is acidic and can damage your tresses when used too often.

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.

Will lemon juice lighten dyed hair?

Yes. The highly acidic nature of lemon juice can strip dye from your hair.

Can you mix lemon juice and baking soda to lighten hair?

Yes. You can mix lemon juice with baking soda to lighten your hair. Applying this mixture to your hair and letting it dry for a few hours helps lighten the hair color.

Can I mix lemon juice with shampoo?

Yes. If you have an itchy scalp, mixing lemon juice with shampoo can help cleanse the scalp.


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 –
Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.