Can Lemon Essential Oil Lighten Hair? (Explained)

When it comes to the process of lightening the color of your hair, there are many “do it yourself” techniques and methods that people try at home before turning to bleach. Whether it is because of the chemicals in bleach that they want to avoid, the damage that bleach can cause, or how expensive it can be, people are looking for alternative ways to get that blonde look at home. With all the sometimes weird and wonderful ways people have stumbled across to try to accomplish this, there is a popular trick has been discovered, and it has lead to the question – can lemon essential oil lighten hair?

Lemon essential oil can lighten your hair. Lemon essential oil contains large amounts of vitamin C, which, when exposed to the sun, opens the hair follicles and helps strip the hair of its color. This means that applying lemon essential oil to your hair and sitting in the sun can lighten your hair naturally.

Lemon essential oil is a tried and trusted way of naturally lightening your hair color. Many people use this method as an alternative to bleaching their hair, and it has even been used in many “hair-dye emergencies” when people have dyed their hair a shade or two too dark or even completely the wrong color.

Since lemon essential oil helps to lift the color of your hair, whether that color is natural or not, it can often help strip out a few layers of color from the unwanted hair dye color you ended up with in your hair. Let us look at how lemon essential oil does this.

Can Lemon Essential Oil Lighten Hair

How Does Lemon Essential Oil Lighten The Color Of Your Hair?

Lemons as a fruit are richly packed with vitamin C. Since lemon essential oil is a very concentrated form of lemon juice that has been cold-pressed from lemons or their peels, there is a very high concentration of vitamin C in the oil.

Vitamin C is the ingredient in the lemon essential oil that is responsible for the lightening of hair color. Vitamin C lightens your hair color by speeding up the natural lightening process that the sun does naturally to your hair.

The sun will naturally lighten your hair color over time; however, when vitamin C is added to your hair, it opens up all the tiny follicles in your hair and allows the sun to strip the color even faster than it usually would have had it not had the hair follicles open.

Does Lemon Essential Oil Permanently Lighten Hair?

What lemon essential oil does is it helps to strip the color out of your hair, not add a lighter color to it, so the color your hair is after the lightening process is completed will not fade, and it will, in fact, permanently stay the color it has been lightened to.

After the color has been removed from the hair, it will remain that lightened color unless a new color is added to it.

However, the lemon essential oil will only strip and lighten the color of the hair that you have put it on and has then been exposed to the sun, causing the reaction to take place.

It will not change the color of any hair that was hidden from the sun and not exposed during the “stripping” process, nor will it change the color of any new hair growth unless you chose to repeat the process on that section of new hair growth too.

What Method Can You Use To Lighten Your Hair With Lemon Essential Oil?

There are two methods that you can use to help lighten your hair using lemon essential oil.

Option One: You can apply the lemon essential oil just as it is to your hair.

You can use the lemon essential oil straight out of the bottle and apply it to the selected sections of your hair that you want to be lightened.

Option Two: You can make a lightening mixture with lemon essential oil added to it.

You can make a mixture in a little spray bottle using:

Fill half the spray bottle with lemon juice, then add one tablespoon of coconut oil, plus twenty drops of lemon essential oil, plus ten drops of chamomile essential oil, and then fill the top up the rest of the bottle with water and shake well before using.

Method For Lightening Hair With Lemon Essential Oil:

Whether you go with option number one or two, all the steps are the same. The only step that will differ is the actual mixture applied to your hair.

The first step is you will want to separate the sections of hair that you will want to be lightened from the sections of hair you do not want to be lightened using hair ties. If you are lightening all of your hair, then this step does not apply to you.

The second step is to prepare everything you will need during the application process so that you have everything you will need on hand.

It would be best for you to first put on an old t-shirt that you do not mind getting dirty or ruined. Then, lay a towel out in the sun where you will be sitting, try to find a spot that is in direct sunlight.

Have another towel ready to go around your shoulders to avoid getting lemon essential oil or the lightening mixture on your clothes and skin.

If you have any latex gloves or gloves leftover from an old box-dye box that you never used, it would be good for you to use them in this process; however, it is not necessary.

Make sure you have put on sunblock upfront and have a water bottle and some sunblock ready to go with you outside, as you do not want to get sunburned or dehydrated while sitting in the sun.

Next, brush out the sections of hair that you will be applying the mixture to thoroughly. Once your hair is knot-free, place a towel around your shoulders and begin to start applying the lemon essential oil, or the lightening mixture that you have made, into your hair, starting from the roots down, and combing it through your hair as thoroughly as possible.

Applying The Lemon Oil Lightening Mixture

Once you have coated all of the hair that you want to be lightened in the lemon essential oil or the lightening mixture, go and sit on your towel that you have laid out in the sun, and make sure that your hair is getting full sunshine on it.

If you are doing multiple sections of hair, or all of your hair, be sure to frequently flip the different sections of your hair over, exposing them to the sunshine, to ensure that all sections get enough sun.

Once you feel that all the sections of your hair that you wish to be lightened have gotten a good amount of sun (roughly 20 minutes per section), you can go ahead and wash your hair, making sure that you get out all of the lemon essential oil or lightening mixture.

You can safely repeat this process twice a week for as long as you wish, as long as it is not drying out or damaging your hair.

Alternatively, you can also put about twenty drops of lemon essential oil in your shampoo or conditioner and allow it to slowly lighten your hair in your day to day exposure to the sun.


Lemon essential oil is a great alternative way to naturally lighten the color of your hair. Not only is lemon essential oil good for lightening the color of your hair, but it also really good for your hair in general as it also helps fight dandruff and scalp acne.

Adding lemon essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner can help your hair be healthier, your scalp be acne free, and lighten your hair color all in one go!

All in all, if you are determined to find a great way to lighten your hair without bleach or harmful chemicals, lemon essential oil is the perfect solution.

Lemon essential oil is also an easy product to get your hands on with how popular it is, so go down to your local drug store and get your hands on some of this hair miracle in a bottle as soon as you possibly can!

Read more:

Grace Young

I love candles! I have personally tried over 100 brands of candles. The total burn time of these candles is over 5000 hours. I also talk about essential oil diffusers and reed diffusers. Essential oil diffusers and diffusers are also an important part of the scent in my home.

Recent Posts