How to Lighten Your Hair Using Sun-In Spray Hair Lightener

Updated on November 12, 2019
hellovictoria profile image

Tori is a 28-year-old, three-time animal mom and DIYer living in Northern Atlanta with her boyfriend.


Does Sun-In Really Work?

I've been using Sun-In since high school. It works great if you've got natural hair that you're trying to lighten just a shade or two, or if you are looking for a way to add some natural-looking highlights into your hair for the summer!

Sun-In is a less stressful alternative to bleaching your hair and much cheaper than going to the salon if you're just looking for a little bit of a change. There are a few ways to use it depending on what you're looking for and how fast you want to get there.

In this article, I'll tell you all about Sun-In, what makes it work, and the different ways you can use it to achieve the natural blonde highlights or all-over lightening that you're looking for so that you're prepared for the spring and summer months!

About My Hair

To start off, I'll tell you a little bit about my hair, so you can get an idea of what Sun-In will do for your hair. My hair is naturally dark blonde, and does tend to go towards the yellowy side when I lighten it. My individual hairs are actually pretty thin, but I have a lot of it, so my hair is pretty thick when you put it in a ponytail. The last time I used Sun-In, my hair was down to my waist, so I did have to use a couple of bottles over time to achieve the look I was going for.

Sun-In: What Is It?

Sun-In is a spray-in hair lightener that has been around for over 30 years. It uses two main lightening agents to help lighten your hair: hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice. The spray also contains a couple of other ingredients to help moisturize hair and protect your scalp while you're using it, such as aloe vera leaf juice and chamomile flower extract.

Overall, Sun-In is pretty safe for your hair no matter which method you choose to use it to lighten with, and will not cause damage to your hair.

As a side note, Sun-In may react differently if your hair is previously dyed. If you have dyed your hair a dark color it may turn out more brassy than it will if your hair is natural. Also, if you have naturally dark colored hair, it may take a lot longer to achieve the desired results. Sun-In works best on medium to dark blonde hair.

Sun-In has two different bottles that they sell, and I've used both of them. One comes in a pink bottle and is labeled "Tropical Breeze," and the other one comes in a yellow bottle and is labeled "Lemon." I haven't really noticed much of a difference between the two of them other than the smell. They both work the same and give the same gradual lightening transition over time. I do prefer the smell of the lemon, though!

You can purchase Sun-In at a variety of different places, and it is pretty inexpensive. You can find both kinds on Amazon, or at Walmart or Target, with one bottle being between six and eight dollars no matter where you purchase from.

This is Sun-In's hair lightening matrix, to give you an idea of what to expect.
This is Sun-In's hair lightening matrix, to give you an idea of what to expect. | Source

Step 1: Spray or Paint

There are a few different ways you could use Sun-In to achieve your desired highlighting effect prior to applying heat.

Let's say you're just looking for one section of your hair to be lighter, such as your bangs, a chunky streak, or only the pieces lining your face. Because Sun-In comes in a spray bottle, it can be a little tricky to aim it to apply only to small sections. For smaller sections, unscrew the cap and dip a 1/4 inch paintbrush into the bottle. Paint the liquid on to the strand you are trying to lighten, and then apply heat in your preferred method.

If you want the bottom half of your hair (closest to your neck) to stay dark and you only want highlights on the top portion of your hair, section out the bottom half of your hair and put it in a bun, and cover with plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Then spray the Sun-In onto the hair that you are looking to lighten and comb through to evenly distribute the spray.

If you just want a few pretty highlights, Pull out the strands you want to highlight and hold them straight. Spray the solution on and use your fingers or a comb to evenly distribute throughout the strand. If you're not confident in your spraying ability, you could use the paintbrush for this as well.

For all-over lightening, spray liberally everywhere on your hair and comb through to evenly distribute the mixture. If you choose this, depending on the length and thickness of your hair, you will be using more. To protect myself from running out when I'm not done, I always buy two bottles as a safeguard.

From here, there are two different methods you can use to get the Sun-In to work!

Step 2: Activate the Product

Option 1: Sit in the Sun

As its name indicates, Sun-In provides subtle highlighting to your hair as you sit in the sun. So naturally, the first method that I'm going to recommend is to lightly spray it in your hair while it is dry, and go to the beach or the pool for a few hours. The more of the spray that is in your hair, the more highlights you will have, so spray liberally. You will probably not notice a difference right away, but after a couple of visits outside regularly, you will start to notice natural-looking highlights coming out of the woodworks. Make sure you rinse your hair after you are done!

If you choose to get in the water with Sun-In in your hair, it will wash out and the desired effect most likely won't be achieved as quickly, so just be mindful of that. If you've already been out for a couple of hours and you're ready to jump in and don't mind it washing out, don't worry about it! If you do get your hair wet you can always spray more in after you get out. However, the water in your hair may dilute the spray's mixture, so just be mindful of that.

Keep in mind that you probably don't want to wear your hair in a ponytail or other kind of style while Sun-In is in your hair. Because it uses heat from the sun, parts that are not exposed to direct heat from the sun will not lighten. That means that you may end up with a faint line where your ponytail holder was. So, it's best to keep your hair down and just keep rotating which side of your head your hair is on so that all parts of your hair will get enough sunlight for the lightener to take effect!

Option 2: Spray In and Apply Heat

I am an impatient person, so I'm going to be honest with you when I say this is my preferred method! The reason for that is because it works a lot faster than sitting in the sun all day. Plus, my family does have a history of skin cancer, so I do like to limit my sun exposure and usually stay covered with a towel or light blanket when I am in the sun (in addition to wearing lots of sunscreen).

When you're using a hairdryer you'll want it on the hot setting. Now I will preface this by saying your hair will not be immediately six shades lighter, it will still take time. All you need to do is spray the Sun-In on the desired sections of hair (or all over, if you just want a shade lighter everywhere like I typically do). Use a vented brush and a blow dryer to heat your hair up and blow dry for about 10 minutes or longer depending on the length of your hair.

As I mentioned, Sun-In works via heat application, not actual sunlight, so this is why this method works too. You can repeat this process every day on dry hair until you achieve the desired level of lightness. If you wanted to you could probably do two rounds in a day.

Are You Going to Try Sun-In?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • My hair is dirty blonde I’ve used this product twice and my hair is almost orange. Should I continue using the hair lightening product I have been or would it make my hair worse?

    You can continue using the product, but I would recommend a toner and a purple or blue shampoo depending on the shade of orange once you have achieved the lightness you are looking for. Wella Color charm T18 is a great toner, and I like Ion's purple and blue shampoos. That will help get it towards a neutral tone!

  • How long should I wait to blow dry my hair after applying the Sun-in?

    I usually put the sun in into my hair and then immediately blow dry!

  • Does Sun-in spray continue to lighten your hair after it has dried?

    Yes - if it dries and you are in the sun afterwards it will continue to subtlely lighten until you wash it out.

  • How many washes until Sun-In comes out of hair?

    The effects of Sun-In are not able to be washed out. It contains peroxide and is lightening the natural color of your hair.

  • For the before and after pictures included at the top of this article, how many applications of the sun did it take to achieve the end result?

    Daily applications for about two weeks!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      2 months ago

      I love using sun in lemon but have never been sure whether I have to wash it out or not? I usually do it in the morning and deep condition at night.

    • profile image


      3 months ago

      Where can I buy sun in from struggling to find somewhere in Tasmania or Australia or a website that is not out of stock

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      Does it come out

    • profile image

      Faith Kuszay 

      5 months ago

      Can I use sun in in between getting my hair colored? I want it for my bangs

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Be careful when using the blow drier method, if you hold it one spot for too long you can burn off a chunk of hair like I did!

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      P.S. you can even spray sun in on your hair and put on a hat and it will still work because the hat will keep the heat from your head from escaping so your hair will still get warm.

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Your post has some inaccuracies. Hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice will still lighten your hair without heat applied but heat makes your hair more porous and will increase the lightening effects. That being said, heat from the sun will still lighten the bottom layers of your hair, you don’t need to have each section exposed. Hydrogen peroxide can absolutely damage your hair! Be cautious of putting your hair in a pony tail after using sun in because this can cause breakage and leave you with some unintentional layers.

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      I LOVE SUN IN. and not just me... my boyfriend says i look hotter blonde (hes not wrong) and but he also disaproves of that because ALL the guys are after me now. Its like by completley changing my body, style and look they all want me. im pretty darn sure its bc of my new blonde hair. i used 21 bottles (yes it SOUNDS LIKE A TON buuut i used a bottle a day for 3 weeks and my hair went from brown to platinum in less than a month) SO I ABSOLUTLEY LOVE SUNIN ohh and another thing. i did my hair riht before a trip to mexico on a cruise and i couldnt walk from my room to the pool without AT LEAST one guy asking for my number ANDsome woman telling me how pretty i was or how much she liked my hair. Id like to say sunin "made me a total chick"(quote from Jack my bf) so yeah thats what i have to say on that. BUY SUNIN IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE IT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY AND if youre lucky you might get a few guys too ;)

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      im so excited to try sunin. i have REALLY LONG AND REALLY THICK hair so i bought 9 bottles (my hair is down to my calves and sooo thick) hopefully it works bc i just spent $63+tax. still WAY cheaper than any salon though. Im really really excited!! Ill post about it on my blog if you want to see.

      check it out!!!! luv u guys remember to have an awesome day... OH and inspiring quotes of the day

      -dont accept criticism from people you wouldnt go to for advice

      -once you start seeing your worth youll find it harder so sty around people who dont

      -you are beautiful. period.

      -be who you are and say what you say because people who mind dont matter and people who matter dont mind (dr seuss)

      -yer a wizard harry and a bloody good one too

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      Sun in actually works!

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      I am actually going to use sun in today at Disney world and since Florida has a lot of sun exsposure that’s why this is every helpful

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      How many bottles did it take you total?

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      I was wondering does it continue to work after it has dried


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)