Beauty

The French Girl Guide to Lightening Your Hair at Home

While end-of-winter hair can be dry and dull, here are French girls' favorite beauty tips for refreshing your hair for spring.
Reading time 6 minutes

One of the top seasonal beauty trends we see year after year, is the habit of introducing a bit of color to our hair as warmer temperatures slowly approach in spring and summer. It's common to want to take a leap into lightening up your locks; maybe to suggest you've been spending some more time in the sun, or that you're ready to have some more fun with your hair now that it won't be hiding behind a winter hat any longer. 

However, a common deterrer for most may be the fear of using chemicals on the hair and the damage it causes. Even more so now, while in quarantine at home, we don't have access to our favorite salon professionals to help us avoid any inevitable box dye kit nightmares. Yet if your new found time at home has you wanting to try out a new hairstyle risk-free, we have the perfect solution – natural products. Yes it is possible to achieve a new hair color with products you already have in your kitchen pantry. We asked our favorite French beauty-lovers to share with us their best tricks to lighten our hair at home until we can reunite with our beloved hairdressers. Scroll through below for a chemical-free guide to your next hair transformation.

Honey

Known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, honey also contains a natural bleaching agent which makes it possible to use as a tool to lighten your hair several shades while simultaneously deeply hydrating it. This method is quite gentle and its effects are subtle. If you're looking to make a more dramatic change, you must be patient and apply a honey mask several times before seeing a more noticeable result.

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STEPS: In a bowl, mix honey with enough water (or apple cider vinegar) to create an applicable mixture. Then, using an application brush, apply the mixture from root to tip on all of your hair, either wet or dry. Cover your hair with a plastic cap and leave for an hour. Rinse out with shampoo.

Chamomile

For years, chamomile has been a secret ally to nourish blonde hair. The small white flower is renowned for its lightening properties and helps brighten light hair. It can also produce golden reflections and highlights in brown hair.

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STEPS: Put a handful of chamomile flowers or several sachets of chamomile tea in boiling water. Infuse for ten minutes then allow to cool. After shampooing, use this infusion as rinsing water on clean hair. 

Lemon

Composed of a natural bleaching agent called citric acid, this citrus fruit works miracles for lightening hair. While it can be very effective, lemon can also cause dryness, so use with caution. Try pairing with moisturizing ingredient such as honey to dilute the drying effects.

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STEPS: You first have the choice between using a pure lemon mixture or a less concentrated one. In the first case, squeeze 3 lemons and add ¼ liter of lukewarm water to a spray bottle. On dry hair, spray the mixture wherever lightening is desired. Brush through the hair to distribute the mixture evenly and leave in for 2 hours before rinsing. As mentioned earlier, you have the option here to apply a moisturizing mask to replenish any dryness caused by the lemon. Apply once a week.

If you would like to apply a less concentrated mask, add a teaspoon of conditioner, one egg, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of cinnamon all to a bowl and mix. Transfer to a spray bottle and distribute over the locks you want to lighten. Leave for 1 hour and rinse with warm water.

Spiced Coffee

Attention brunettes! Cinnamon allows you to produce copper reflections in your hair without turning it orange. Which is thanks to peroxide, an active lightening ingredient. One caution to this particular ingredient is that it can be irritating to the skin or hair. To avoid any risk, it is best to do a test on a small section of hair before apply to the rest of your hair as well as avoid applying it too closey to the roots.

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STEPS: Mix cinnamon powder with your conditioner of choice to create a mask. Leave on for 30 minutes to 2 hours before rinsing. Repeat once a week. If after testing your hair has a tolerance for the mix, you can also use pure cinnamon, mixed with mineral water exclusively, to create a more concentrated paste. Apply the mixture to damp hair and leave on overnight before rinsing thoroughly with clean water and shampooing.

Vinegar

If there is one ingredient that we all need to have in our kitchen cabinets, it's vinegar. In addition to making a great natural cleaning agent, it also is great for lightening hair. Our French beauty experts swear by this particular ingredient and report that after a single application, there is a very noticable difference in hair tone as well an increased healthier shine.

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STEPS: Mix a 1:1 combination of apple cider vinegar and water which provides a balance that does not dry out the hair. Apply the mixture over all through the hair and leave in for 15 minutes. Rinse out thoroughly. You can apply this mixture once a week.

Salt

As you're probably familiar with the effects of salt water on the rest of the body, it also can be isolated to help lighten hair. For quicker results, combining salt water with sun exposure (yes, like creating an artificial beach at home) can create an even more effective mixture.

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STEPS: Dissolve a small amount of salt in water and then let the water heat to a boil. Remove from heat, and let the water cool to room temperature before applying the mixture to the hair. Apply all over your hair and let the mixture set for 2 hours before rinsing thoroughly with clean water.

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