Sprays that Lighten Hair

Yang girl with lightened hair

Using lighting sprays is a quick and easy way to lighten your hair or to add natural-looking highlights. A hair lightening spray is designed to gradually lighten natural blonde and natural light brown hair. Most of these sprays are also working on colored blonde and colored light brown hair.

A lightening hairspray is designed to lighten up to two levels, depending on how much you are using and how frequently you apply it. Exposure to the sun and using a blow dryer or flat iron will speed up the process.

The lightening process is gradual. You’ll need to use the product a few times before seeing any noticeable effects. The results are usually visible after 3 to 5 application. If you have medium blonde hair, it may take about 10 uses to achieve a light blonde shade.

Lighting sprays work best for darker shades of blonde hair. Formulas designed for blondes are generally not intended for use on darker brown hair because they can’t lift enough and can leave red tones in dark hair. Most lightening sprays will make light brown hair slightly lighter. However, certain brands can be used on any shade of brown hair.

Most of these products are peroxide-based and potentially damaging to hair, especially if your hair is already damaged by frequent coloring.  Make sure to use peroxide-containing products in moderation.

There are also lightening sprays formulated with natural lightening agents, as well as nourishing and conditioning ingredients, that will protect your hair from heat and environmental damage and keep it soft and hydrated. Natural lightening sprays also have a more pleasant smell than their peroxide-based counterparts.

Active Ingredients in Hair Lightening Sprays

Most of the popular brands are formulated with hydrogen peroxide, including Sun in Hair Lightener, John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Controlled Lightening Spray, and Schwarzkopf Blonde Ultimate Lightening Spray. Make sure to check the ingredient list before making your purchase. It is advisable to select a natural based product formula to avoid damage to your hair. 

The other most commonly used ingredients in lightening sprays are citrus, chamomile, and honey.

Some lightening sprays contain a thermo-protectant, which helps prevent hair damage when you apply heat to intensify the lightening effect.

Benefits of Using a Lightening Hair Spray

  • A lightening spray for blonde hair helps to make a move toward bright blonde from dark blonde hair, keeping the color vibrant.
  • It keeps your blonde hair from turning brassy.
  • It gives you natural-looking highlights and saves the money you would spend on getting your hair professionally highlighted.
  • A lightening hairspray also enhances the highlights you already have so you don’t need to get them done as often as normal.
  • It also helps blend in your darker roots between color services, so you can go longer between professional touch-ups. This doesn’t apply to peroxide-containing lightening sprays, which can damage your strands and increase breakage. 

Natural Hair Lightening Sprays

Natural lightening sprays gently brighten up blonde hair without using bleaching agents. They usually contain chamomile, citrus, and honey as lightening agents and may also include natural oils to nourish hair and prevent dryness.

1)Klorane Sun Lightening Spray is formulated with plant-based ingredients including chamomile and honey and works on naturally blonde hair, as well as on color-treated, highlighted, and bleached blonde hair. It is made without bleaching agents and can be applied either to towel-dried or dry hair.

2)Gnarly Head Biodegradable Beach Blonde Gentle Lightening Spray produces subtle lightening effects using the natural lemon juice. The formula is free of harsh chemicals and peroxide. It contains chamomile and plant extracts to nourish and condition hair and to make detangling easier. For the best lightening results, the hair should be exposed to sunlight after application.

3)Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Blonde Brightening Mist Luminizer uses lemon, chamomile, and honey extracts to brighten highlights and blonde tones in natural and color-treated blonde hair. This hair mist protects hair from harmful sun rays, eliminates brassiness, and prevents color from fading. 

Peroxide-Based lightening Sprays

John Frieda Beach Blonde Sun Streaks Lightening Spray (the product from Walmart) will permanently lighten the color of your hair to a natural-looking beachy blonde or give you subtle natural highlights. It is designed to lighten either natural or dyed blonde hair.

The main lightening ingredients in this spray are hydrogen peroxide and natural lemon.

The formula is UV activated and makes your hair appear like it has been naturally lightened by the sun. It also helps to prevent brassy, orange tones.

For best results, apply to clean, towel-dried hair prior to exposure to sunlight. Use this product once between hair washings and avoid using on regrowth.

Hair Lightening Spray for Brunettes

Sprays that lighten hair are mostly made for blonde or light brunette hair. If used on darker hair they can leave reddish tones. Some lightening sprays are not suitable for color-treated hair. Keep this in mind before making a purchase.

Chamomile Intea Natural Blonde Highlights Hair Lightening Spray (the product from Amazon) is advertised as suitable for blondes and brunettes to achieve a lighter color and blonde highlights.  The formula contains natural chamomile extract.

The product description says that it lightens hair with natural chamomile and “the smallest amounts of Hydrogen Peroxide”. How small is “the smallest” amount of Hydrogen Peroxide? It is impossible to know if it is small enough to be completely safe for anyone’s hair?

How to Use a Hair Lightening Spray

Lightening sprays generally work best on damp hair. Spray the product onto towel-dried hair, focusing on areas you wish to lighten. If your hair begins to dry out, use a spray bottle of water to keep it damp.

For streaks, pull out and spray only those sections you want to be highlighted. For all-over lightening, comb through your hair after applying to evenly distribute the product. After application, to give the product ample time to work, don’t wash your hair the same day.

This product is heat activated. For more intense lighting effects, apply heat with a blow dryer or straightening iron, or spend some time in the sun to allow the spray to work optimally.

The repeated use of the product may be required to give you your desired results.

To retain the results, repeat the lightening procedure every few weeks.

It is advisable to apply lightening sprays in well-ventilated areas. Made sure not to inhale them and don’t apply them near your eyes. 

Be aware that the sprays do dry out your hair, especially those that contain hydrogen peroxide and drying alcohol. Always use a moisturizing conditioner after you shampoo. Use a deep conditioning masque at least once a week to fight the effects of dryness and keep your hair from becoming brittle.

Hair Lightening Gels

There is currently one lightening product available from a popular brand in a gel form.

L’Oreal Paris Summer Lights Hair Lightening Gelee is easy to use styling gel that gradually lightens hair with each application. For more intense results, the product needs heat from the sun or a blow-dryer.

This gel formula contains hydrogen peroxide and doesn’t work on hair that is darker than light brown. It is not suitable for color-treated and gray hair.

Medical Disclaimer

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