Introduction: Lemon Juice Highlights

Ever wanted natural-looking highlights without dropping mucho dinero for the salon version? This Instructable will show you how to get subtle and natural-looking highlights from lemon juice and sunshine.

Friendly warning: I do mean natural and subtle highlights. Brown or black hair might go red, not blond.

Step 1: How It Works

The lemon juice acts like an accelerant to the sun's natural hair lightening abilities. It's magnifying the amount of lightening the sun can do, which creates the subtle highlights.

This is permanent.

It may fade with time, but treat it like permanent hair dye. Luckily, the color change is so gradual that it is very easy to control.

Step 2: Supplies

What you'll need:

1. A bottle of real lemon juice (not lemonade).
I like the little lemon-shaped ones, the squeeze tops work perfectly.

2. A shower or water squirt bottle. Something to get your hair soaked.

3. A towel. A hand towel or washcloth is okay.

4. Sun protection gear. Specifically sunscreen and sunglasses.

5. A brush and/or comb.

Step 3: Getting Wet

You'll need to get your hair really wet. Clean and wet is even better. Like it's fresh from the shower. The simplest way is to do this is right after your shower.

For streaky highlights-- towel off your hair, so that it's damp, not dripping at all.

For soft highlights or all over lightness-- pat your hair with a towel, so that it's not dripping.

Remember: It's easier to get your hair drier than it is to get it wet again.

Step 4: Lemony Fresh

You'll be dropping lemon juice into your hair from your forehead, and working backward. Drips might run down (gravity is like that) and this could mean into your face. A hand towel or washcloth is handy to clean up these drips. Lemon juice shouldn't bleach your skin, but it will probably take off your makeup, so wait to apply cosmetics. Also, the lemon juice will be COLD, since it should be stored in the fridge between uses.

If you have a regularly-used hair part, part it now. If you tend to wear your hair pulled back, brush it back now.

>>For Parted Hair, All-Over Lightening-- Drop lemon juice along right side of the part, comb out away from part. Repeat on left side of part.

>>For Parted Hair, Streaky Highlights-- Drop lemon juice in a zigzag across your part. Comb both sides away from part.

>>For Pulled Back Hair, All-Over Lightening-- Starting near the center of your forehead, drop lemon juice just inside your hairline, moving down toward your right ear. Repeat on the left side. Brush back from forehead.

>>For Pulled Back Hair, Streaky Highlights-- Starting near the center of your forehead, drop lemon juice in short lines away from your hairline. Move from center to ear, one side then the other. Brush back from forehead.

Step 5: Mix It Up!

Feel free to mix up the lemon juice application (previous Step).

Try throwing in a streaky highlights layer once a month.
>>Drop lemon juice in a zigzag at your forehead hairline.
Put an application of lemon juice just in the front for a chunky fringe highlight.

Mother Nature likes to get a little crazy, and this highlighting is so gentle that mixing it up isn't drastic in any sense.

For people with longer hair-- you may want to try dripping some lemon juice on your palm, rubbing your hands together, then running your hands through your hair, especially the ends. (Be careful of little cuts... cut+lemon=big ouch!)

Step 6: Catch Some Rays

Now, you'll be heading outside to let the sunshine do its part of the job.
Be sure to wear sunscreen and sunglasses! Safety first, people!

You only need to spend 30-60 minutes with your hair in the sun. Make sure your hair has the best sun exposure. This means the top of your head is toward the sun.

I've used the sunbathing method, to lighten my hair and lessen my glowing whiteness at the same time.
>>I've also done the yardwork method, adding a hat when the 30 minutes was up.

Step 7: Drying Up

Some of you may have dry hair by now, others may still find their hair is damp.

Dry and style your hair as you'd like.

For those of you with less than 30 minutes to spend in the sun... or if your sun has been taken away by a nasty old raincloud... never fear!  Heating the lemon juiced hair will also lighten it, although the effect will be much much subtler. A quick blow-dry on high heat or curling/flattening iron will do.

Step 8: Repeat As Needed

The results of your first time may not be obvious for a few days. And even then it will be incredibly subtle. Remember: You're giving Mother Nature a boost... this will take time.

Repeat Steps 3-7 once a week, until you've reached the desired look.

Doing this more than once a week can leave your hair feeling dry and brittle. Let your natural hair oils work their magic.

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