The potential uses of lemons go beyond flavoring water and culinary dishes. This popular citrus fruit is a good source of vitamin C, which can boost your immune system and reduce inflammation.
Lemons also have bleaching properties, which is why they’re often found in cleaning and skin care products.
When it comes to your hair though, lemons are most beneficial when applied topically in liquid form. Lemon juice can be used to:
* naturally lighten hair, especially lighter hair colors
* create shinier hair
* reduce oil and dandruff
If you’re thinking about using lemon on your hair, read on to learn how it works, as well as the potential drawbacks and side effects.
Hair lightening
If you search for natural hair lighteners online, you’ll likely come across anecdotal articles about lemon’s lightening effects on your hair.
According to these articles, the citric acid in lemon juice is a natural bleach, or oxidizing agent. It whitens hair by chemically reducing your hair’s color pigment, or melanin. When exposed to the sun, the citric acid accelerates the bleaching process.
The lightening effects of lemon juice tend to work best for lighter hair colors, such as blonde and light brown. Darker brown and black tones might see some of the effects, but they won’t be as noticeable.
To lighten your hair with lemon juice, try one of these three methods:
* Dilute fresh lemon juice in water and rinse your hair with it.
* Mix a few drops of lemon essential oil in a carrier oil and glass of water and apply to your hair.
* Crush vitamin C tablets and add them to your shampoo for a more gradual lightening effect.
No matter which method you use, you’ll see the most results after your freshly lemon-infused hair has seen some sunlight.
** shinier hair**
No matter what color your hair is, lemon juice can make it look shinier, especially after you’ve been in the sun.
For best results, add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the lemon juice rinse of your choice (see options above). Evenly distribute through your hair and let it sit for a few minutes before applying conditioner and rinsing out.
**Reduced oil and dandruff **
The benefits of citric acid in lemons can even address the root of your hair problems — literally. This is especially true if you have a dry scalp or dandruff.
When you apply your lemon juice hair rinse, make sure you massage the mixture into your scalp, too. If you have a type of dandruff called seborrheic dermatitis, lemon juice may help absorb excess oils that lead to this common scalp condition. Such effects can work for all hair colors.
**Can lemon juice damage hair?**
Fresh lemon juice will not dry out or damage your hair. However, prolonged exposure to the sun can damage your hair’s outer sheath, called the cuticle. For this reason, you’ll want to limit the amount of time you spend in the sun after applying lemon juice to your hair.
Try sitting in the sun just until the lemon juice has dried — no more than one hour — then rinse and apply a conditioner to your hair. You can also try adding a teaspoon of oil to your lemon juice solution for added protection.