How to Lighten Hair Naturally with Apple Cider Vinegar

After having such success with using foods to colour my hair naturally, I had quite a few suggestions from others on how to lighten hair (especially from those with black hair, who found that using turmeric to dye their hair wasn’t as effective for them).

It was recommended to me that I try out apple cider vinegar, as it’s been shown to work really effectively at lightening locks naturally! Apple cider vinegar helps to balance the pH of hair, and can give hair a real shine too (added bonus!). But don’t worry about the smell — the vinegar scent dissipates as it starts to dry.

acv hair lightening 2

The after effect of lightening my hair with apple cider vinegar for a week.

Combining chamomile with apple cider vinegar can also help to enhance the lightening effects, or adding lemon juice too, as it has a natural bleaching effect on hair.

I tried using apple cider vinegar on my hair for the course of one week, and had fairly good results with it myself! (I combined apple cider vinegar with sunlight to enhance it’s lightening effect by using the sun as a natural bleacher):

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How to Give Natural Highlights to Hair Using Apple Cider Vinegar

I used a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water (distilled water is recommended), and sprayed it all over my hair, then sat out in the sun for 1-2 hours (it was recommended to sit out in the sun for a minimum of 15 minutes, but I stayed out longer as it was winter at the time, and the sun wasn’t as strong). After bleaching my hair in the sun, I then left the spray on my hair for around 2-3 hours after, and then rinsed my hair with warm water (no shampoo or conditioner). On every third day I washed my hair properly.

acv hair lightening

For this to work effectively, it’s important that you do the apple cider vinegar spray over several consecutive days, to compound the effect of the sunlight & ACV bleaching hair naturally.

If you find plain apple cider vinegar, water and sunlight just aren’t enough, you can combine the apple cider vinegar and water spray with chamomile and/or lemon juice! So the quantities will be:

  • 1/4 cup chamomile tea
  • 1/4 cup ACV
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Simply combine the ingredients together in a bowl or spray bottle, saturate hair, then leave it on for a minimum of 3 hours (or all day if you can for an enhanced effect). Going out in the sun for a minimum of 15 minutes (can stay out longer to boost bleaching effects), may help speed up the lightening process. Then finally, rinse out with water and dry as usual.

I did 50/50 ACV & water, but you can also add in chamomile tea and/or lemon juice to boost the sprays’ lightening effects, as both chamomile and lemon have been shown to have a highlighting effect on hair.

This lightening process works best when done over several days. It’s not as effective (and you won’t tend to see much change) if done just once. Doing it consistently over a few days is key.

Before and after; the effect can be stronger in the summer sunlight, when the sun’s stronger, but I found it to work pretty well in winter too. I did, however, sit outside for 1-2 hours to ensure I had lots of sun on my hair to help lighten/bleach it naturally. 

Oh, also! You can alternatively apply these ACV sprays on hair with a cotton ball or brush for strands of highlights instead of spraying it all over for an overall lightening effect.

I learnt this second method for lightening hair with chamomile and ACV from Healthline.

acv hair lightening 3

To give a look of “natural highlights” to hair, rather than spraying the ACV mix all over hair, you can use a cotton ball or brush to create strands of highlights 🙂

Have you used apple cider vinegar before to lighten your hair? How did it go? Share below with us! I’d love to hear your experience.

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa