What's the deal with those 'natural' hair lighteners on Instagram, and should I use one?

If you've been slithering around the interweb as of late, chances are you've seen those posts about 'natural' hair lighteners doing the rounds on Instagram. You know the ones? They're *everywhere*. 

Omg, look! Here's one here:

Anyone else having a massive throwback to lying at the beach, like, 10 years ago, with their hair drenched in lemon juice? Listening to your Discman and reading Dolly magazine? No? Just us?

Unlike our DIY mixture/the cheap stuff we bought in the chemist, these trendy hair sprays like SunBabe claim to do all kinds of Good Things to our hair and naturally "lighten locks without hassle or damage". 


Sounds great, right? But we have QUESTIONS, you guys.

Like, are these kinds of sprays actually better for our hair than all the other s**t we used to use? (We're looking at you, Sun-In Hair Lightener and lemon juice). Or are all these companies just trying to pull a fast one on us?

Watch: Speaking of hair and such, here's five easy ways to lift your hair game. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

To find out if we need to get on board this 'natural' hair lighting biz, we asked Faith Williams from BLONDEE what she thought about the trend.

What are those 'natural' hair lighteners trending on Instagram?

"These lighteners aren't actually anything new," said Williams. "I remember using the Sun Silk spray lightener in my hair when I was 14 years old. I'm sure they have improved since then! Hopefully, anyway!"

Image: Giphy 

If you're not a dinosaur like the rest of us and have absolutely no idea what we're talking about, hair lighteners basically work by lifting pigment in the hair to achieve a lighter shade. 

They're like the cheaper (and quicker) alternative to professional highlights, and you can usually use 'em on most hair types - including colour treated hair. 

Thing is, though - they used to damage the absolute s**t outta your hair.

So, are the new hair lighteners healthier for your hair?

While these new formulas won't require you sitting out in the sun for hours on end like you used to (you can just set your hairdryer to a low setting and it'll do the trick), Williams said the ingredients aren't really all that different to the stuff you used back in 2001.

"Basically, the ingredients in these lighteners are made up of lemon juice, ascorbic acid and hydrogen peroxide," said Williams.


Did you say lemon juice?! We thought... wait, what?

"Peroxide is what is used in professional hair colours to help activate the chosen colour, for both blondes or brown colours. The strength of peroxide determines how much lift or depth you get. Ingredients such as lemon juice are high acidity which accelerates the lightening process and breaks up the hair pigment exposing the underlying colours."

Listen: Here's all your BIGGEST hair questions, answered. Post continues after podcast. 

What sorta results can you expect to see?

Sure, they work. Just... maybe not as well as what you see on Instagram. We know, we know - why are we all so shocked by this?

According to Williams, these kinds of products will never lighten your hair to a bright clean blonde, unless you already have existing blonde underneath the colour. So if this is something you're after (or if you want an all-over even colour) - you might be best just heading straight to a pro.

"Don't always believe everything you see on Instagram," said Williams. "These products can lift your natural hair, absolutely! However, some of the results you see on Instagram may have already had some previous colour work underneath their hair from a previous hairdresser."



"The ingredients will budge your natural hair colour, plus more, sometimes." Eek! 

"The thing is though, you can’t control the lightening as well as a hairdresser can, because you are spraying the solution onto the hair as a whole rather than into certain sections like a professional would."

If all this jazz doesn't really bother you, and you're just looking for a spritz of something to zhoosh up your locks and make them look all beachy and sun-kissed, this might be the ticket. Just don't go too crazy with it. 

'Cause Williams said using these products a lot will still continue to break down the hair cuticle, which may result in more split ends, frizz and breakage. No good.

"These products only have minimal lift, so chances are they will be a warmer tone rather than a cool caramel or creamy blonde. Just remember, applying heat to your hair via the sun or hairdryer also dries your hair out a lot."

I kinda want to give it a go! Any advice on how to use hair lighteners?

"If you are only wanting a subtle difference it should be ok, as long as you don’t mind risking having some extra warmth in colour," said Williams. 

"Just make sure you shampoo it out and follow with a hydrating hair mask."

Feature image: Instagram; @sunbabehair

Would you try one of these hair lighteners? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.