How to Bleach Hair Without Bleach at Home

Updated on July 8, 2016
weavesandbraids profile image

I am an African Woman and almost always have my hair in weaves and braids. I am an enthusiast and write about it.

Natural Blonde?

Natural looking blonde hair. Darker at the roots. Reddish highlights.
Natural looking blonde hair. Darker at the roots. Reddish highlights. | Source

Although the words "dumb blonde" plague many a light haired person, a whole lot of us want to achieve a lighter hair color or maybe just blonde highlights. The common opinion is that it makes us more attractive.

There are a great many options for bleaching kits, most of which can be safely used. Most hair product manufacturers carry a hair lightener line.

And yet some of us do not want harsh chemicals on our hair and want to bleach hair without bleach. It's great that the contents of your kitchen cabinet, things safe enough to eat, can lighten your hair.

Natural Hair Lightening

The products below will give you a lighter hair color but they may not bleach the hair till you are a platinum blonde. Most of them will lighten your hair a few shades but the highlights appear natural.

A great advantage is that damage to the hair is minimal.

The products listed here include tea, honey, vinegar, vitamin c and lots of other safe healthy options. The recipes for preparing the home made hair bleaches are included.

Hydrogen Peroxide as a Hair Bleach: A No No

Although hydrogen peroxide may be in your home, and is undoubtedly the most effective hair bleach, it is not the best home bleaching option. The color it produces is very pale and flat looking and does not in any way look natural, hence the term peroxide hair.

Trying peroxide on African American hair produces hair of an uneven dirty looking light brown color.

In addition peroxide hair is usually chemically damaged and very difficult to style.

1. Ascorbic acid

This is good ole Vitamin C, good for your flu and it tuns out good for your hair.

Recipe for Vitamin C Hair Bleach

  • 12 Vitamin C tablets (500mg)
  • Regular shampoo enough for one rinse.

Crush the tablets and mix with the quantity of shampoo you need for one rinse. Wash the hair first and rinse off the shampoo. Apply the vitamin C containing shampoo and leave it on for at least 5 minutes. Rinse as usual and use a conditioner.

2. Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)

Sodium bicarbonate is a great alkaline compound and can be used to treat hair. It helps to remove chemical build up from the hair. Surprisingly, it is possible to use it to lighten your hair color.

Recipe for Baking Soda Treatment

  • 4 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 2 liters of water

Dissolve the baking soda in the water. Wash your hair as usual and use the baking soda solution for the final rinse before conditioning. Used once a week, your hair color will slowly lighten.

3. Chamomile Tea Hair Lightener

Most teas and Chamomile tea in particular can be used to lighten your hair naturally. It achieves this by slowly altering the color of the hair pigments.

Recipe for Chamomile Tea Hair Bleach

  • Chamomile tea leaves enough to make four cups of tea
  • A teapot and water

Brew a strong pot of tea. Let it steep in gently boiling water for a half hour. Reduce quarter of the tea till its just a few tablespoons in quantity.

Wash your hair as usual and rinse using chamomile tea as the final rinse. Add the few tablespoons to your conditioner and use as usual.

4. Lemon for Paler Hair

This is the first natural hair lightener I ever tried. And it worked but very slowly. I ended up with lighter brown highlights not blonde hair.


  • Juice of one lemon
  • Water

Simply squeeze out the juice of the lemon and mix with enough water to wet your hair, concentrate on the tips. Leave it on for at least an hour before you rinse off. For best results sit in the sun for a while.

The acids in the lemon help in the lightening process but also dry out the hair. So be sure to condition your hair well. Also do not use lemon more than twice a month on the hair.

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice not the store bought variety
Use freshly squeezed lemon juice not the store bought variety | Source

Bleaching your Hair with Natural Products

5. Cinnamon Hair Lightener

With its distinctive aromatic aroma, cinnamon can do more than spice up your food. It can lighten the hair.


  • 4 tablespoonfuls of ground cinnamon
  • Water - enough to make a paste
  • Honey (Optional)

Make a paste with the cinnamon (and honey). Wash and condition your hair as usual. While the hair is still damp use your fingers to spread the cinnamon hair bleach evenly. Comb with a wide toothed comb and wrap for at least two hours. Rinse out and condition the hair.

For best results, cover with a shower cap or plastic wrap and leave it on overnight. Repeat as desired as the hair lightens gradually.

Natural Honey - Untreated and Uncooked
Natural Honey - Untreated and Uncooked | Source

6. Vinegar With Honey

Natural Hair Bleach

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Honey contains a little amount of hydrogen peroxide which helps to lighten hair. Mixing it with vinegar adds some acidity and works synergistically as natural bleaching agents.

This mixture if used alone will work effectively but may need to some hair damage, so incorporate a little olive or coconut oil.


  • Natural Untreated honey - half cup
  • Vinegar - half cup
  • Coconut or Olive oil - 2 tablespoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil

Wash and condition your hair, let it drip dry. Mix the ingredients together You want to leave the mixture on overnight and then wash it out in the morning. There is no need to sit in the sunlight.

This mixture works because honey has a small trace of hydrogen peroxide which is a lightening agent. Cinnamon and cardamom along with the extra virgin olive oil help to boost the lightening effect.

Questions & Answers


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      • weavesandbraids profile image

        Chuga 22 months ago from Africa

        So true about honey and the health. It also strengthens the hair, but remember to moisturize after treatment as honey used alone tends to dry out the hair.

      • poetryman6969 profile image

        poetryman6969 2 years ago

        I have a bit of fascination with the notion of putting edible food on one's face and hair. Honey shows up everywhere when it comes to things that are said to be good for humans.


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