Hair Lighteners for the Sun

by Rebecca Rogge ; Updated September 28, 2017

Spritz your hair with lightening products, then let the sun do the work.

Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images

Whether blonde, brunette or redhead, many people like to lighten their hair in the summer time. From sun-kissed highlights to an overall lighter look, sun lightened highlights look natural and summery, and many products are available to boost the sun's lightening power. Whether you like the intensity of chemically lightened hair, or would prefer a more natural approach, choose from an assortment of products to lighten hair dye-free in conjunction with the sun.

Sun In

Sun In is the original sun-activated hair lightener. Cost-effective and easy to find, Sun In can be purchased in two scents (Lemon and Tropical Breeze) at most drugstores and mass merchandisers. Sun In contains hydrogen peroxide and is only recommended for blond to light brown hair; it may make darker hair turn orange. Sun In can be used both for an overall lighter look, and to add blonde highlights; simply target the spray on your desired strands. Sun In is activated by the sun, but you can also cheat and use a blow dryer to heat your hair, with the same results. Sun In can be harsh on hair, and should be used in conjunction with a regular deep conditioning regimen.

John Frieda Go Blonder Controlled Lightening Spray

John Frieda's Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Controlled Lightening Spray is recommended by "In Style" magazine as the best lightening spray for blond hair. The spray contains natural lighteners lemon and chamomile, which work in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide to lighten. Like Sun In, Go Blonder is heat activated, so spray it on and expose your hair to sunshine, or simply use styling heat — flat irons, curling irons, or blow dryers — to activate. Go Blonder includes thermo-protectants, which protect the hair against heat damage. Hair should look lighter within three to five uses.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is the lightening agent in most commercial sun-activated hair lighteners. Instead of purchasing a hair lightener, you can also spritz 3 percent hydrogen peroxide — available at drugstores — on your hair, and expose to sunshine. This should be avoided on damaged, fine or brittle hair, as it can be extremely harsh. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to touch up roots once your lightened hair begins to grow out. Straight hydrogen peroxide results in the most dramatic lightening results, and shouldn't be used on hair that is darker than light brown.

Natural Sun Lighteners

While natural sun lighteners are typically less dramatic than chemical ones, they are also usually better for your hair, and are often very inexpensive. The classic natural sun-activated hair lightener is lemon juice. Apply the citrus juice directly to your hair, or dilute with water and spritz over your hair before a day at the beach or the park. You'll smell citrusy and your hair will gradually lighten to a sun-kissed blond. Chamomile tea can also be spritz over hair — or used as a rinse — to lighten hair. Olive oil is another lightener that is perfect for highlighting; streak it through a few strands, before allowing it to dry in the sun.

Photo Credits

  • Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in northern Virginia, Rebecca Rogge has been writing since 2005. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Patrick Henry College and has experience in teaching, cleaning and home decor. Her articles reflect expertise in legal topics and a focus on education and home management.