Amongst our most favorite beauty products, how can we forget Sun-In? Nostalgia is probably creeping in as you recall the pride of owning your very own bottle or the thrill when stealthily getting a few spritzes from your sister’s. This miracle product would always leave us astonished, seeing how such a simple procedure would leave you with lighter and brassier hair to flaunt at your next friend get-together.
Now with the DIY trends becoming the new norm, the secret recipe of Sun-In has finally been revealed. The lightning effect from Sun-In can be significantly credited to lemon juice. Yes, you read that right, lemon juice is the fourth most abundant ingredient after water, hydrogen peroxide and aloe vera extracts. Which begs the question: Can you naturally lighten your hair with lemon juice alone?
The Science Behind the Magic
Guy Tang, a renowned colorist, revealed that it is not lemon juice alone that works wonders; it’s the reaction with UV light. No wonder it was called Sun-In.
“The sun will always affect the tone of the hair, but it is magnified with lemon juice due to the high acidity level,”
When you naturally lighten your hair with lemon juice, sunlight acts as a mordant because of the close pH ranges of lemon juice and your hair. Lemon juice has a pH of 2-3 due to citric acid, while our hair has a pH of 3.3-5.5, so the color can easily be altered.
Founder of Grettacole Salon and Spas, Gretta Monahan’s take on this is based on lemon juice’s acidity, which plays a major role in cutting down the darker pigmentation in the cuticle layer of the hair.
“When combined with exposure to sunlight, the citric acid accelerates the bleaching process, and basically, this reaction breaks up hair pigment to expose the underlying lighter color(s).”
Can You Naturally Lighten Dark Hair with Lemon Juice?
There’s pretty much no restriction to hair types when it comes to lightning your hair with lemon juice. You can apply it safely but cannot expect the same results for all hair. Common sense says that darker hair will have more pigment, so obviously, lemon juice will cut down melanin to a lesser degree, which means that darker hair will require many applications for a noticeable change.
Redheads will experience a more shiner and vibrant change to their hair with lemon juice with only a couple of applications. But with multiple times, redheads may even see bold gold locks. In short, the lighter your hair, the more noticeably you can lighten your hair with lemon juice.
However, the lightning effect will never compare to that as salon bleach but is definitely a more safe and natural alternative. Best of all, you can also make those light highlights pop with a few spritzes of lemon juice.
How to Lighten Hair with Lemon Juice Effectively?
Well, the pandemic has driven us to try out all kinds of natural home remedies for hair. So why not test your hand at this too? Do read this piece to the end so you may also become aware of the risks and concerns.
What you’ll need:
- Chamomile tea bag
- Spray bottle
How to go about it:
- Roll the lemon and squeeze the juice in a measuring cup. As an alternate, you can also use a vitamin C tablet. You just need to achieve the acidity that lemon provides.
- Make a strong cup of chamomile tea and let it cool.
- Mix two parts chamomile tea with one part lemon juice. If you skip the chamomile tea, you can just add essential oils to water in the mixture. In case you have brittle or frail hair, mix in a bit of your favorite leave-in conditioner.
- Spritz your hair with lemon juice using the spray bottle, or you can also soak a cotton ball and dab the areas that need more highlighting.
- Put on sunscreen and sit in the sun for about 1-2 hours.
- Rinse and wash your hair gently after.
- Use a deep conditioner or one with fewer chemicals.
- Repeat steps until you see a visible change depending upon your hair color.
- Give your hair a break after each lightning treatment.
Other than as a lightener, lemon has many benefits of hair.
If you want to add a shine to your dull hair, you can add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the above mixture and follow step 4 onwards. You can add a tablespoon of oil to balance the acidity too.
The lemon also acts as a dehydrating agent, so it is also a fantastic remedy for seborrheic dermatitis and oily scalps. Using the cotton ball method will be a better option if you want to reach the scalp effectively.
How Long Does The Lightning Effect Stay?
You can lighten your hair with lemon juice alone; the sun only accelerates the process. Similarly, the sun has an extremely unnoticeable lightning effect as well. So the already lightened hair will keep getting brassier with the exposure to the sun.
To some extent, we can say that the effects of lemon juice on hair are permanent. However, it does get dull and fades away over time. Once you have achieved your desired hair lightning, you may let the sun do the rest and allow your hair some rest because as safe as lemon juice can be, it also has some risks.
What You need To Take Care About When Using Lemon Juice On Hair?
When you naturally lighten your hair with lemon juice, make sure you don’t expose your hair beyond recommended acidity levels. There are a few disadvantages that lemon juice can have on your hair. Like I said before, lemon may have dehydrating effects, so realize that it can dry out and suffocate your hair leaving it brittle and dull in contrast.
This is why you need to wash your hair after and not leave the mixture in for too long. “This way, you reduce the amount of breakage and stress you are putting on an already stressed hair cuticle, and you counteract and stabilize the pH of your hair back to its healthy natural state,” Tang says.