How to Get Natural Highlights Under the Sun: DIY Homemade Hair Lightening Recipe


Learn how to get natural highlights in your hair on the cheap and easy with this DIY recipe.

When I was younger, my older (and so cool) cousin would take me to the beach, and whenever she emerged from the sea after a dip, she’d pull out a spray bottle filled with some sort of elixir and spray her hair liberally before lying down to bask in the sun. At the time, I thought the spray bottle was magic – by the end of the summer, her hair had gone from light brown to decidedly strawberry blonde, with streaks of vibrant natural highlights running from the scalp to the ends. Later, I learned this mixture wasn’t so magic after all – it was a mixture of fresh lemon juice and water. Today, I bring my own spray bottle with me to the beach, only it’s filled with much more than just lemon juice. The following recipe is how I’ve adapted my cousin’s go-to natural hair lightener into an aromatic elixir that gives you the natural highlights without damaging your hair – to say nothing about avoiding dropping more-than-it’s-worth cash at the salon.

While this concoction had made my cousin’s hair lighter, I also remember it had made it quite dry and rough. Can’t have it all, right? Wrong. I have found out how to get natural highlights without the damage. Lemon is acidic and the sun jump starts its natural lightening ability, but in the process can dry out and damage hair. What my cousin should have done was pair it with a highly-nourishing natural oil. For this recipe for natural highlights, I add in olive oil to keep the locks moisturized and vibrant.

In addition to including lemons, this recipe boasts other common ingredients that also happen to be helpful in lightening hair. Chamomile, honey and cinnamon bring out lighter hair tones ever the more. Cinnamon, for example, contains peroxide, which is commonly used to lighten hair. Don’t worry, though, the cinnamon won’t dry your hair out. Honey and chamomile also contain chemicals that lighten hair. The sun accelerates the lightening process.

DIY: Homemade Recipe for Natural Highlights

Makes about 1.5 cups


  • 1 chamomile tea bag
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


Boil water and pour into a tea cup. Steep the chamomile tea bag in the water and keep it there until it the water is cool – will take about 30 minutes. Pour the cool chamomile tea water into an empty and clean spray bottle, filling it only halfway. Add the remaining ingredients, close the bottle, and shake until all is evenly combined.

When you are on the beach, spray it liberally onto wet hair and brush with a fine-toothed comb so that the liquid distributes across all strands equally.

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Photo Credit: love maegan