Welcome to the Art for Hair Blog!

We love creating hand-crafted hair sticks, hair forks and matching jewelry to show off the beauty of long hair! Our blog features our designs, different ways to put long hair up, as well as how to care for and grow long hair and features on other Etsy craftspeople.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lightening Hair for Summer

As one of those people who had very blonde hair as a child, which darkened with age, I well know what it's like to want to have lighter, blonder hair. The sun can bleach blonde hair, making it lighter, but there is always a temptation to try something to accelerate and enhance this process. However, if you want to grow long hair, you need to always be aware of looking after it and not causing unnecessary damage, so how can blonde and light brown hair be lightened without damaging it?

Lemon juice
Lemon juice is one of the most popular and well-known methods of lightening blonde hair, and it does work. However, the acidity of lemon juice is very damaging to hair, and those who have used lemon juice often complain that their hair is now 'straw-like' and vow never again. The acid of the lemon juice weakens the proteins in hair, causing long-lasting damage that is hard to repair. Lemon juice is best avoided if you wish to maintain healthy, long hair.

Sun-in and temporary hair dyes
First, temporary hair dyes work by depositing a layer of color on hair, and cannot lighten it. The only way to lighten hair with chemical dyes is to strip the natural color. This is permanent and will also damage hair to some degree. Sun-in is a form of bleaching, and will cause damage.

Honey is not a well-known method of lightening hair, but it is one which definitely works. Not only does it work, but trials by many of the long-haired at the Long Hair Community have recorded no cases of damage to the hair. Honey may leave a slight residue if not washed out properly, but even if this happens, washing again or using a vinegar rinse produces healthy, lighter hair. The current recommendations from the Long Hair Community's honey thread and honey guru ktani, are to use a 4:1 dilution of honey to water by weight. This means mixing 1/8th cup honey with 3/4 cup distilled water, for example. This should be applied to dry hair and left for about an hour, covered with saran wrap to keep it moist. It should then be shampooed out. Any honey should work, but darker honeys, and Jarrah honey in particular, have been found to work best. If it doesn't work, try a different honey. Honey works by producing peroxide, but other honey components are believed to protect the hair from damage. The effects of honey will obviously be more gradual than a chemical dye, but the pay-off is healthy hair. For more information, see the Long Hair Community's honey thread and current honey recommendations in full. If you like, a little extra virgin olive oil can be added (up to a tablespoon), as this boosts the effects. Too much will not be damaging, but will leave an oily residue. Honey lightening has also been reported to work on henna'ed hair.

Another natural method of hair lightening discovered at the Long Hair Community is the use of cinnamon. Cinnamon generates a weak peroxide, and again, no cases of damaged hair have been reported. Cinnamon is a much weaker bleaching agent that those in chemical products, which much reduces its damaging effects. Cinnamon can be added to a honey lightening receipe, but caution should be exercised as cinnamon is a skin irritant. Patch test your mixture first and avoid it coming into contact with your skin.

If you'd like to lighten your hair this summer, we hope that this was useful in enabling you to make an informed choice about which method to use!


Beat Black said...

I very much want to lighten my hair but I dyed it black last month. I don't suppose the honey and cinnamon would work on dyed hair, would it?

bah! you don't even have to bother answering that, lol I know it won't

thanks for these tips, I'll be sure to try em out next summer.

Art for Hair said...

beat black, I *think* people have found honey and cinnamon have worked on dyed hair, but obviuosly it is a very gradual process. Check out the link I gave to the Long Hair Community honey thread - everyone there is very helpful and there is a lot more info there :)

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Amy1491 said...

I have dark black hair, and i wanna use honey jus for conditioning purpose. I may be interested to lighten my hair temporarily but do not want it to be permanent. So, is lightening of the hair by honey permanent or wil the effect wear off as time passes???

Miss Terri said...

Amy, the honey will lighten your hair but it goes away after it grows out. Be careful, some dark haired folks find that their hair turns auburn. This is because of orange undertones in some dark colored hair :) I would recommend doing a test patch. Oh and btw.. It does last a LONG time (until it grows out) but it does not have much effect. For me (I have dark blonde/light brown) colored hair and it gave me pretty golden highlights. But obviously it depends on what undertones your hair has.

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