Lemon Juice Hair Dye

how to lighten your hair with lemon juice

by Katie on May 11, 2011

So, I’m a dirty blond. I was born with this cute bleach blond color as a little baby but my hair has faded into this guessing game of greasy blond or brunette lately. I’m sure there’s a few of you out there who can relate.

Anyways, lets talk solutions: lemon juice and sunshine baby! Easy peezy.

Lemon Juice Recipe

  1. Mix 1 cup of lemon juice (about 4 lemons) with a 1/4 cup of warm water
  2. Put it in a spray bottle (I got my cute blue one at Vitamin Cottage for $2)
  3. Spray the mixture in your hair until damp
  4. Expose your hair to sunshine for 30-60 minutes
  5. Take a shower and use a generous amount of conditioner (my favorite is Organic Excellence Wild Mint Conditioner…so good)

Why? The reason this whole process works is because lemon juice is very acidic which lightens the pigments in your hair and then the sunshine just magnifies the affects. But, because the lemon juice is acidic, it dries your hair out so the conditioner replenishes your mane. Okay, before you all run to the nearest lemon juice store, here are a few things to note:

  • This will lighten your hair just a few shades, which is good, because you don’t have to deal with that artificial roots problem that salon-dying causes. The downside is, you really don’t know what color to expect. Consider it a surprise party for your hair.
  • Also, the more times you juice and sunbathe, the lighter your hair will get. Duh. Ok, ladies. Let’s talk moderation. Do not do this every day and then sue me when your hair falls out. Maybe, do it once every week or so until you get the color you desire.
  • Warning: Do not put lemon juice in your hair and then go swimming. I have never tried this but I can pretty much guess what would happen. Green hair and tears. Don’t let this happen to you but if it does, please send me a picture. Haha. I’m just kidding…but seriously.
  • Double Warning: Don’t get too excited about your new lemon highlights and forget to put on sunscreen please…if you do though, aloe vera can ease the pain of sunburns.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lemon Juice Lightening

Does lemon juice work on dark brown or black hair?

The answer is maybe. Lemon juice will most likely have no affect on dark hair. It is tough to know without trying though because everyone’s hair reacts differently. Sometimes darker hair types will turn orange when mixed with lemon juice. If you have dark hair and notice a reddish tint when you are outside, then you are probably going to be someone who would result with orange/brassy highlights. There are products such as Sun-In and Go Blonder by John Frieda that use more intense ingredients but be careful with these. The chemical ingredients in them aren’t great for your hair. For you dark haired people, I recommend trying a small chunk of hair first before doing your whole head.

Can I use limes instead of lemons?

The reason lemons are recommended is for their high level of citric acid. Citric acid opens up your hair cuticles and with the combination of UV rays (from the sun) and oxygen, a bleaching process begins. Lemons and limes have about the same percentage of citric acid (up to 8%) so, the answer is yes, you can use limes instead of lemons.

Do I need to go in the sun or can I blow dry my hair? 

As far as I can tell, blow drying hair does not do anything to magnify the affects of the lemon juice. People who perpetuate this myth think that it is the heat from the sun doing the lightening when in reality, the UV rays are responsible for the bleaching. People who put lemon juice in their hair and then blow dry it, could see results…but that is only because of the lemon juice and has nothing to do with the blow drying.

Best of luck hippie hair dyers and please let me know how this summertime hair chemistry works out. I will post some pictures soon.



{ 785 comments… read them below or add one }

Samantha May 31, 2013 at 1:08 pm

i have the almost perfect shade of blonde in the summer. but i was looking to lighten it just a bit. im afraid to do ANYTHING to my hair because last time i did blue and it faded to green and it was horrible, and i had to go and get it professionally fixed to look normal again. i dont want anything dramatic but a little lightening is all
i have a few questions too:

1. should i dilute the lemon juice with water?
2. how long should i stay in the sun for a slight effect?
3.will this look funky after a year or so once my hair grows out?


Ellanor Smith August 11, 2013 at 10:26 am

As whoever wrote that ^ stated, if you blow dry you hair he colour will lighten less so maybe blow drying your hair would be better and lighten it less. Hope I helped.


Janie July 26, 2014 at 5:37 pm

You should stay in the sun for at least a hour and a 1/2 or more. Depending on how light you want your hair.


Sami June 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I was just wondering will the color I get stay, even a little, during the winter? and if not about how long will the color stay?


Engelk June 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm

It will stay, permanently. You are not putting color into your hair, which eould fade over time. The sun’s rays bleach your hair naturally, as they do bones in the desert or furniture that sits under under a sunny window, and the lemon juice just magnifies this process. Once the color has been removed it doesn’t come back


Katie June 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm

But your hair will return to its normal shade as it grows out, yes? So as long as you don’t do this continually, you will eventually arrive back at your normal shade just due to your hair growing out.


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Janie July 26, 2014 at 5:38 pm

How is the color removed?


Kendra K June 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Can I mix Lemon and Lime Juice when I am doing this? Will it make a difference? I didn’t have quite enough Lime Juice so can I add Lemon Juice to the Lime Juice?


hellokitty5008 August 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm

last time i did both and it was fine


Maggy P June 17, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I actually did this the other day but I just found this article today. I went swimming at the beach and in a pool after I did this and my hair didn’t turn green or any weird color. Although, I was in salt water before the chlorine water so it may have washed the lemon juice out but nothing bad happened!


kortney June 18, 2013 at 11:55 am

would it work if i used lemon juice in the bottle ?


kortney June 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm

please reply soon


Bryn July 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Yes it would


kortney June 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm

i bleached my hair lastnight and i had black hair the top of my hair is bleach blonde and the rest is redish orange.. and i am planning on doing this. would it work ? and would it work with lemon juice from the bottle ?


mary June 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm

my hair is definitely the same type! I can’t wait to try this, to lighten my hair for the summer!


danielle e June 21, 2013 at 11:13 am

where do i put the lemmon juice at on my head?


Ellanor Smith August 11, 2013 at 10:27 am

You spray the lemon juice wherever you want it lighter.


jamie July 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm

This is really funny because at my work, I told somebody that my hair was dirty blonde and they didn’t believe me…. They ended up asking everybody I worked with if my hair was blonde or brown and everyone said brown.. I was so frustrated!


Ellanor Smith August 11, 2013 at 10:29 am

I’m still in school and my hair is actually a really light dirty blonde and there’s this one girl who is obsessed that I have brown hair until our Spanish teacher called it blonde.


hellokitty5008 August 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm

exact same with me!!


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Jenni August 5, 2013 at 3:36 am

i have a tint of red hair when i’m out in the sun but when i’m not outside my hair is just black. I want a light brown hair color. If i use lemon juice, how long do i have to stay in the sun for? i don’t want much of an orange hair color.


NYCgirl0606 August 17, 2013 at 10:45 am

I have darkish brown hair and i just want the bottom and bottom-middle to be lighter. To have sortuv and ombré look. I have a couple questions.
1. What color will it be
2. will it look good to have it as an ombré look?


Janie July 26, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I think it would look fantastic!


hellokitty5008 August 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm

last time i tried this, i think i maybe went a little easy but my head was still soaked for 1 hour and a 1/2. It made almost no difference. I really wanted to lighten it kind of ALOT! So will re-applying constantly help, or making the lemon stronger, or doing the process more often, or trying a stronger ingredient help? I really need answers soon because I want my normal blonde back for school! Usually my hair is super blonde this time of year, but i stayed out of the sun alot this year, and i feel really dark… :’( help…


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Take a long slow drive through deiffrent neighborhoods and check out the color schemes along the way this helps in the real world Personally I like earth tones have fun!


shay September 13, 2013 at 10:41 am

will this work on african american hair?


Turquoise September 30, 2013 at 8:43 am

I have AA hair which has a red tint in the sun. I got a reddish brass look to the edges of my hair (the lemon juice really went to my ends). I liked it.


Kaca January 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Does it have to be in the sun? Or can I just sit under a lamp?


Janie July 26, 2014 at 5:42 pm

You could do either one. But I prefer the sun.


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So I have a question if you put lemon juice in your hair before swimming will hair turn green and can you take this out. I Have blonde hair btw… what shade of green would it be…????


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Emily March 10, 2015 at 9:21 pm

I have dark brown hair but in the summer it turns sort of lighter an has a small red tint in the sun. Will my hair turn red or light brown if I used the Lemon juice? Please respond


sammi July 24, 2015 at 2:34 pm

it should turn light brown


Rachel March 15, 2015 at 1:47 am

Hey so I had light brown hairish and then I got professional highlights which I don’t like and I want the ombre dye and my mom won’t let me so I was hoping that I could do it this way but the problem is the sun isn’t out yet cuz I did this around 2:10 am today / night, I know in weird will it work without the sun? I could just re- apply it couldn’t i? Or would that damage my hair? And also the longer I stay out the lighter it gets am I correct ? I am going for light brown going into Carmel blonde or a tinch lighter, will it get lighter? Thanks!!! Please write back soon!


Kaylee May 10, 2015 at 10:00 am

Hello! So I want to go swimming in a pool, after I shower will it be green then?


sammi July 24, 2015 at 2:34 pm

hey this has been so good just one question, i did this last night and it look really light yesterday but now it just looks like the normal colour it used to be. Is that normal??????


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