Natural Beauty: Clean Ways to Highlight Your Hair

August 11, 2016

My hair is looking a little dull and mousy, so I’d like to lighten it a little while I’m on vacation next week. Traditional dye and bleach are out of the question, so I looked up a few ways to go about getting lighter locks naturally. It turns out that your kitchen may have all you need to beautifully highlight your hair.

Why You Should Avoid Dye and Bleach 

Although even green beauty devotees may have a few conventional products that they still cherish, traditional hair dye and bleach should be on everyone’s list of products to avoid. Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t closely regulate hair colorants–so it’s no wonder that the EPA has found that 69 percent of hair dyes contain carcinogens. The scalp, just like the rest of our skin, is porous and capable of absorbing quite a bit, so what ends up on your scalp likely end up in you. No, thank you.

In addition to sketchy chemicals, hair colorants have the potential to damage hair–a beauty nightmare. Many permanent and semi-permanent dyes contain hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, which can zap hair’s natural, protective moisture. Dry, damaged hair requires more attention, more preventative measures (don’t spend too much time in the pool!)–and more products ($$$) to keep it looking decent.

Easy and Natural Ways to Highlight Your Hair with Pantry Items:

Natural Beauty: Gentle Ways to Lighten Your Hair


1. 1 part lemon juice + 1 part water. Spritz in your hair and sit in the sun.*

2. 1/2 cup conditioner + enough cinnamon to make a paste. Apply to hair and leave on for at least three hours (or overnight).

3. Brew a strong cup of chamomile tea and use as a hair rinse. Alternatively, spritz chamomile tea onto your hair and sit in the sun.

4. 1 part vodka + 2 parts seltzer. Apply to hair and sit in the sun.

*Don’t forget your SPF! 

How do you color your hair without damaging it? Let us know in the comments below 🙂

Also by Elizabeth: 7 Beauty Positive Messages that Reject Narrow Definition of Beauty

Related: Holistic Hair Care for Gorgeous Locks

Finding Natural Hair Dye

My Cruelty-Free Hair Essentials

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Illustration: Elizabeth Stilwell

Elizabeth is the founder of The Note Passer, an inspiration for better, sustainable future; one that's full of more meaning and less waste. She is also the co-founder of and Director of Technology for the Ethical Writers Coalition. Follow Elizabeth on Instagram @elizabethstillwell.


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