Can you mix lemon juice and baking soda to lighten hair?

Many people desire to achieve a lighter hair color but prefer to avoid chemical treatments. Natural hair lightening has become quite popular, and one of the most widely discussed methods is mixing lemon juice and baking soda.

In this article, we will delve into the science behind the method, discuss the benefits and risks of using it on your hair, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to mix lemon juice and baking soda.

Understanding Lemon Juice and Baking Soda Hair Lightening

Lemon juice has acidic properties due to its high content of citric acid. When applied to hair, it works as a natural bleaching agent that can lighten strands over several uses. Baking soda acts as a mild alkali that softens water and helps remove product buildup from hair.

When combined, the citrus in lemon juice reacts with sodium bicarbonate in baking soda, creating carbon dioxide gas bubbles that can help lift some pigments within the hair shaft. However, scientific studies have not been conducted on this mixture’s actual effect on melanin pigmentation within human hair.

While some people report noticeable results after using a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda on their hair for an extended period, others find it ineffective or even damaging.

Benefits and Risks of Lemon Juice and Baking Soda for Hair Lightening


  • Exfoliation: Lemon juice can remove excess oil from your scalp while baking soda acts as a gentle exfoliant.
  • Reduced Oiliness: Both ingredients are known to be anti-grease agents. When used regularly, they can keep your tresses oil-free.
  • Cost-effective: The method is affordable compared to salon treatments or boxed products.


  • Dryness: Overuse of lemon juice or baking soda may dry out your locks by stripping them of essential oils that protect them from environmental elements.
  • Frizz: Improper dilution or application may lead to frizz or severe damage, causing dryness and breakage.
  • Discoloration: Lemon juice can lighten hair color when overused on dark hair strands susceptible to orange or yellow tones.
  • Testing Precautions: Some people may experience an allergic reaction to citric acid in lemon such as redness, itching, irritation, or pain.

It’s essential to understand these factors before deciding to try this method of lightening your hair.

Steps for Mixing Lemon Juice and Baking Soda for Hair Lightening

What You Will Need:

  • Fresh lemons
  • Baking soda
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Bowl/plate/jar/bottle
  • Warm water (optional)
  • Honey or oil (optional)


  1. Start by mixing the baking soda with some warm water in a bowl/pitcher until it dissolves. The mixture should be a smooth paste.
  2. In another container, squeeze fresh lemons to extract their juices carefully.
  3. Add one tablespoon of baking soda paste into the container of lemon juice and stir well.
  4. Test the solution on a small section of your hair to ensure no allergic reactions occur.
  5. Use silk brushes/applicators/swabs/bottles/spray bottles/massaging/rinsing methods depending upon hair density and length.
  6. Leave the mixture on your hair for 10 – 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water thoroughly.
  7. You may apply a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar(1 tablespoon mixed into one cup) instead of conditioner at the end for restoring pH balance and cuticle smoothening but avoid using hot air after shampooing.


Some adjust ratios according to how much lightening they require based on natural condition while others suggest adding honey or oil like coconut oil or olive oil to avoid dryness which can vary from volumetric adjustments 0.25 cup/4 tablespoons of baking soda and juice of 1 lemon.


The mixture can be applied weekly once if minimal lightening is required, twice a week (3-4 days gap) if moderate change is needed.

Best Practices for Applying Mixed Lemon Juice and Baking Soda on Hair

Before proceeding with the treatment, it is better to follow some steps to ensure optimum results and less damage. Here are a few simple precautions to keep in mind:

  • To gain maximum benefits from this natural hair lightener, make sure your hair is free of build-up. Hair build-up often causes irregular uptake of the mixture.
  • Start by testing this method on a small section of your hair for determining how your hair reacts. This helps you avoid possible allergic reactions or undesirable effects.
  • Always dilute solution according to the density of hair or apply with oil/honey so that it does not hurt any open wounds on the scalp.
  • Avoid sunlight exposure during or right after application as heat can cause excessive dryness, splitting, and further damage. Wear UV protection hats or coverings while outside.
  • Don’t brush your locks while they are still damp because they tend to snap when wet.

Alternatives if Lemon Juice & Baking Soda Doesn’t Work for Hair Lightening

If you try using lemon juice and baking soda for lightening but find it doesn’t work for you or isn’t producing noticeable changes fast enough; there are alternatives like honey, chamomile tea, cinnamon, salt scrub massage over scalp’s upper layer that may work similarly.

Some market-available products like Sun-In claiming to have similar melanin-lifting agents as benzoyl peroxide might also help bleach strands slowly over several uses.

FAQ’s Regarding Lemon Juice & Baking Soda to Lighten Hair

Here are some commonly asked questions regarding using lemon juice and baking soda together in an attempt to lighten hair color along with their answers:

Q: Is it safe to leave this mixture on hair all night? A: No, leaving a combination of baking soda and lemon juice for more than an hour may cause severe dryness and damage.

Q: Can I use store-bought lemons? A: Using fresh lemons without any additives is suggested for the best results. Store-bought ones might have preservatives or other chemicals that might disturb acidic properties.

Q: How can I protect my hair from overlightening? A: Before applying the mixture, try diluting in water or adding honey/oil to reduce direct contact. Avoid leaving the mixture for too long by testing every 10 minutes.


Ultimately, mixing lemon juice and baking soda can be an effective way to attempt to lighten your hair color naturally. However, caution must be taken to avoid harm. It’s essential to test only small sections at a time and make sure your hair isn’t already weakened/dry before applying this technique regularly.

Just remember that natural processes do take longer than chemical processes or professional colorings when it comes to achieving serious change within the hair follicle. Understanding these points should help you decide if using lemon juice and baking soda is right for you based on your preference, time, availability of sources.


  1. Can mixing lemon juice and baking soda actually lighten your hair?

    Lemon juice and baking soda are popular home remedies for lightening hair, but is this combination effective? Find out if it’s worth giving a try.

  2. What are the benefits of combining lemon juice and baking soda for hair lightening?

    Lemon juice is acidic and can help strip color from the hair, while baking soda is alkaline and can open up the hair cuticles. Together, they may be able to lift pigment from your locks.

  3. Is it safe to use lemon juice and baking soda on your hair?

    While natural ingredients like lemon juice and baking soda may seem harmless, they can still cause damage if not used properly. Learn how to safely use these two ingredients for hair lightening without harming your strands.

  4. What other natural ingredients can lighten your hair besides lemon juice and baking soda?

    If you’re hesitant to try mixing up a DIY solution for lightening your locks with lemon juice and baking soda, there are plenty of other natural options. Discover which ones may work best for you!