Tag Archives: highlights

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

Back to my Roots

There was a time when I wouldn’t leave the house without my black eyeliner and mascara.  My hair was highlighted, blow-dried and sprayed, and I was as tan as an English/German/Irish/Swiss gal can be (which is not much) thanks to tanning beds or lotion.  My nails were done, red or pink on my toes and a light color or french manicure on my fingers.  I did everything myself, with the exception of the highlights.

Fast forward through my environmental enlightenment and I look different.  Less fake; more natural.  The black eyeliner has toned down to gray, and since replacing my eye makeup with Honeybee Gardens’ natural makeup, my allergies have gotten much better and my eyes are not nearly as itchy or irritated as they used to be.  And after building our house, running around town in my dirty, paint-covered clothes, without makeup and looking like a big mess, I have no problem running to the store without makeup.

I quit tanning a long time ago.  I always knew it was no good for my skin, especially since I’m so fair, but I did it anyway because I liked the results.  In my opinion, the lotions are no better, since rubbing chemicals on my skin was not something I wanted to do.  And who knows what kind of problems they could be linked to in the future.

I no longer paint my fingernails.  Teaching botany and working in the garden pretty much made that a waste of time.  I hated the smell of nail polish and remover, so to skip that is great.  I do still paint my toenails in sandal weather, but I only use Honeybee Gardens’ no-odor polish.  It’s so wonderful to paint my nails without the smell.

I made all of those changes, and yet I continued to highlight my hair.  I grew up with blond hair, and as I got older it started to turn a darker dirty blond.  I started getting highlights in high school and really liked the results.  It looked so “natural.”  I hated the smell of the dye, and sometimes the fumes made my eyes sting as I sat there under the dryer waiting for my hair to lighten.  But I loved the blond.  Looking into the environmental impact, I discovered that highlights were better than other dye, since the dye was contained in foil and wasn’t applied directly to my scalp.  So it was better for me, but not necessarily better for the environment.  So I kept making excuses and I kept getting my hair highlighted.


Me (in second grade) with my brother Jonathan and our pet deer Bambi

Until… I stopped getting it dyed.  It’s now been over a year since I last had it done.  (Embarrasingly, it had been a year since I got it cut, too.  Last month, I had Ed trim it for me.)  I stopped going to the hairdresser, and in the spring, summer and fall, you could hardly tell.  Since my hair gets lighter in the sun anyway, nobody knew I hadn’t gotten it dyed recently.  Now that it’s winter and I’m spending much more time indoors, I can see those inches of my natural color.  But really, it’s not that bad.  In fact, it’s fine.  My hair is dark blonde, not light blonde.  And nobody has noticed, until I point it out.  Of course I tell people I’m growing out the dye, going back to my natural color.  Everybody that knows me is not surprised, although some were surprised that I dyed it in the first place.  Ed’s opinon is the only one that really matters to me, and he thinks my hair is beautiful.


I’m content to just let it grow out, but at this length, it could take years.

Do you have changes that you struggled to make? How does it feel to finally make them?


Filed under Sustainable Living