How To Lighten Your Hair Naturally With Honey

by Annie Crawford

Everything in life is sweeter when the summer months are here. So you might as well double down on sweet and sun by learning how to lighten hair with honey. Creating natural highlights with honey is a gentle way to lighten hair without using harsh chemicals. Seems like a miracle, right? If you're all into organic hair products, this is one must-try organic hair dye that can save you serious salon money.

To get all science-y for a second, honey has an enzyme called glucose oxidase that produces hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide acts as a bleaching agent when applied to your gorgeous locks. Much like the way you can lighten hair with lemon, using honey as a natural bleach is a multi-step process that brightens hair in stages. Not only is honey a mini hair miracle, if you find yourself in a jam, The National Institutes of Health reports that the antibacterial properties in honey's glucose oxidase make for a natural wound dressing. So, you know, if you fight a bear and have only his honey stash to heal yourself, you're totally gonna be OK.

Nature Nate's Raw & Unfiltered Honey, $11, Amazon

If you're game for this at-home hair lightening challenge, remember to use a honey with high levels of hydrogen peroxide for best results and distilled water in the mixture. The minerals in tap or filtered water can negate the bleaching properties in the honey, so buy ye a jug of distilled agua from the market.

Just follow these easy instructions and get your mane in full summer mode with a super sweet natural bleaching dye.


  • Honey
  • Distilled water
  • Shower cap
  • 2 uninterrupted hours

Optional Ingredients (To Step Up Your Game):

  • Slow pour bottle (a recycled shampoo bottle will do the trick)
  • Cardamom
  • Swim cap

1. Mix the honey and distilled water in 1 to 4 ratio in a container

Nature Nate's Raw & Unfiltered Honey, $11, Amazon

For example, 1/4 cup of honey requires 1 cup of distilled water. You are welcome to mix it in a bowl if that's all you have on hand, but a shake-it-up and pour bottle (like an old shampoo bottle) will be so much less messy than scooping the goop onto your head with your hand. If you're adding a teaspoon or two of cardamom (which also has bleaching properties), now is the time.

2. Let the honey do its thing

Leave the honey and water mixture alone for one hour at room temperature. Ktani's Hair Sense has done a round up of experiences and reports this creates optimal outcomes.

3. Apply honey mixture to wet hair

Graduated Color Applicator Bottle By Sally, $6, Amazon

You can go for the all over application using a applicator bottle, or if you're feeling crafty, you can brush on honey highlights with a stiff makeup brush or a basting brush from your kitchen.

4. Keep hair wet

To keep the honey's hydrogen peroxide doing its bleaching thing, you have to keep your hair wet. A shower cap will work, but might get wonky if you have longer hair and the honey wants to slide around. Susie J at BlogHer shares that after many go 'rounds with honey highlights, she has found a shower cap to work best for containing the mess.

4. Relax & let honey mixture soak in

Now you just get to hang around for an hour or more with your sweet self and let the honey develop. Don't use a hair dryer, it won't work. Don't sunbathe, like you would when using lemon to lighten hair. Just sit tight and read some fabulous Bustle articles.

5. Rinse with conditioner

Skip the shampoo and rinse the honey mix out with conditioner. If your hair feels weird, try an apple cider vinegar hair rinse to clear off any residue. The honey, a natural humectant, should make your hair feel super moisturized and lush, as it attracts and retains water molecules. You will also shine, shine, shine.

That's all it takes!

Repeat the process as often as you like. Unlike getting bleach highlights, this will be a soft, natural tonal shift and may take several times to get the look you want. This gradual change is great if you're uncertain about going lighter, and allows you control over the process. If you repeat it on a regular basis, you also get the benefit of having ultra soft hair. Just don't be surprised if your co-workers start subtly smelling your hair.

Image: Bionic Grrl/Flickr; Giphy