Homemade Highlights

A while back I wrote a post about how I had stopped highlighting my hair.  I was tired of getting chemicals and foil put in my hair, then sitting and breathing in the fumes while my eyes watered, and finally having the chemicals washed down the drain and into the water supply.  After a long consideration, I decided to quit the highlights, which had the added bonus of helping out my bank account, too.  However, I was still conflicted.

Although I decided to get rid of the highlights for environmental reasons, I must confess that I really like the look of highlights in my hair.  I’m not opposed to making small changes to my appearance that make me feel better about myself.  For example, I have switched to an all-natural make up line that discloses all its ingredients, but I haven’t stopped wearing make up.  I like the way eyeliner and mascara make my eyes look, and so therefore I’ll wear it safely, which by the way has helped my eye allergies tremendously.  I have cut back on the nail polish, but still polish my toes in sandal season, again with safer polish from Honeybee Gardens.  And I’m certainly not about to stop shaving my armpits.  I’m not that kind of environmentalist.  So what’s a green gal who still wants lightened hair to do? Make my own lightener!

I had heard that chamomile tea would work as a lightener for people with dark blond hair, and everyone seems to know that lemons will lighten hair.  So… I came up with the following recipe.

Lemon-Chamomile Highlights

  • 2 chamomile tea bags
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup boiling water

Place the tea bags into the boiling water.  Squeeze in the juice of half the lemon, then drop in the lemon.  Reserve the other half.  Let steep for about 20 minutes, or until cool enough to use.  I liked that it was still a little warm when I used it.

When you want to apply it to your hair, get in the shower or apply it carefully leaning over a sink with a towel around your shoulders.  I just went outside and leaned over the edge of the deck.  Carefully pour it onto your hair.  I have very long hair so I used it all, but I would imagine you could save some for a second application later on if you didn’t use it all.  Then, take the remaining half of the lemon and run the cut side over your hair wherever you want to have extra highlights, like around your face.  Squeeze the juice out of the lemon and spread it out through your hair.

Then, find something to do outside for at least an hour.  I worked in the garden and was worried that bugs would swarm me, but they didn’t bother my hair at all. 

Here are the results…


It’s subtle, but you can see the highlights in the front.  The roots aren’t exactly the same color as the dye that’s growing out, but they’re closer.  I’m very happy with the results.

My hair has always been sensitive to the sun, lightening in the summer, so I had a feeling this would work.  I love the fact that this is inexpensive and easy to make.  The ingredients are safe, and you could even drink it if you wanted to.  I’d just caution about getting it in your eye, it will sting (I know).

What do you think?  Have you got any suggestions for hair lighteners or other homemade beauty products?


Filed under Living from Scratch, Outside, Sustainable Living

12 responses to “Homemade Highlights

  1. Wow! Beautiful! But, of course, you’re beautiful with or without highlights! I’ll never forget what one of your close friend’s Mom said to me while you were in high school. “Abbie is so pretty, but she acts like she doesn’t know it.” That’s natural beauty and it’s from inside!

    Now back to your post, I’m surprised that it worked so well, so quickly. Does the sun hasten it? I was going to add that you know your hair always lightens up in the summer time, too. How nice that you could help that along in a safe, healthy way! Did the lemon make your hair stiff and stringy? Do you wash it out afterwards?

  2. That’s great that you found something that worked for you. That looks great and very natural!! Like you said, I had heard of the lemon juice but not the chamomile tea. Maybe I’ll try this on my darker roots. I’m not sure that it will work for me because my hair is a few shades darker than yours, more like a light brown than a blonde. I haven’t had my highlights done since before my wedding so I’m almost getting used to looking like a hobo while it grows out. I’ve considering going back to the salon and having them take everything back to my root color (or close) and then just sticking with that. I’m the same as you though, I really liked how the highlights look!

  3. I”m not “that kind of environmentalist” either. :Like you, I like to find more natural alternatives and still look like your average person. Highlights look great.

  4. I’ve read that lemon juice isnt good for all hair types (ie the darker ones, but i think you’re in the clear) I was reading about this product a few months ago, and i couldnt find it at whole foods so i havent tried it out yet. http://feelgoodstyle.com/2008/11/12/healthy-shiny-lustrous-colored-locks-the-act-naturals-way/

  5. I love the suggestion. I also have long blonde hair, so I bet this would work for me. I might just give it a try, now that the warm weather’s here. 🙂

  6. Back when I was a teenager, I use to spray lemon juice on my pretty straight blond hair. I smeeled like the great outdoors! LOL

  7. Great natural beauty tips! I don’t color at all – never have – but love that you found a natural solution that works for you.

  8. Emilia

    My best friend’s sister (from Brazil) used to use lime juice in her dark hair while sunbathing. It never damaged her hair and lighten it.

  9. Lucia

    hey (: my name is lucia and im 13 ive always wanted blonde hair so im just going to try it now (: i was wondering for how long does this stay?? like when will the blonde go away??

    xxx thankyou ❤

  10. Ayla

    I love the highlights! I’m guessing that *like you said* the darker roots are your real hair color? If so, thats great because my hair is actually a shade or two lighter, so it should probably work for me 🙂 gonna highlight my hair before the fourth of july pool party/reunion with friends I have’nt seen 2 years or so 🙂 gotta show off, ya know LOL!

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