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How to use vinegar to lighten hair

Updated February 21, 2017

Vinegar can be used to clarify and condition hair, and it's also a popular ingredient used to lighten hair at home. You don't need expensive salon colouring to achieve a lighter and brighter shade of hair when you can do it easily and inexpensively with vinegar.

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  1. Rinse your hair with vinegar before you shampoo it. The vinegar will help remove build-up from styling products and will also impart a natural shine to it.

  2. Boil 500 ml (2 cups) water in a small pot, and then add 30 ml (2 tbsp) cider vinegar and leave it for 15 minutes. Allow it to cool and after you rinse out your shampoo, pour the mixture through your hair.

  3. Use white vinegar to bring out blond highlights and lighten your hair. Apple cider vinegar will bring out auburn tones.

  4. Mix one part vinegar and one part lemon juice in a spray bottle. For highlighted streaks, pull out sections of your hair and spray with the mixture. For all-over lightening and brightening, saturate all of your hair. Leave on 10 minutes or longer. To enhance the mixture's effects, sit outside in the sun.

  5. Rinse your hair with vinegar as often as you like, depending on your hair's condition. Many people can use the rinse up to three times per week, while some people should only use it once a week. Know your hair -- for most people, vinegar adds softness and shine.

  6. Let the vinegar stay in your hair for 10 to 20 minutes to further lighten your hair if you have time. Then rinse it out with warm water. The vinegar smell should evaporate as your hair dries.

  7. Mix 125 ml (1/2 cup) vinegar and 125 ml (1/2 cup) soy sauce to add subtle colouring to dark hair. Use as a rinse after shampooing just as you would with a plain vinegar rinse.

  8. Tip

    Vinegar restores your hair to its proper pH and also smooths its cuticle. Vinegar has been known to tame frizzy hair because of its smoothing effect.


    When you pour the vinegar onto your hair, be careful not to get it into your eyes. It might also burn sensitive skin, so avoid pouring it on your skin as well.

    Vinegar cannot remove hair dye. It will not strip the color the way chemical lighteners will. The effect of vinegar is more subtle.

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Things You'll Need

  • Apple cider, white or red wine vinegar
  • Water
  • Pan
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Soy sauce (optional)

About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.

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