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Dying to lighten your locks for a summer glow without the shock of a salon price? Look no further than your own pantry.  

June 07, 2017

With summer in full swing and the sunny months looming ahead, many ladies are thinking it’s high time for some highlights to turn heads at the next cookout or beach lounge.

But why spend the time (or the cash) hitting the salon when the secret to a light, luminescent, smooth, and healthy shade is readily available in your own kitchen?

Hair masks are as much of a trend as they are a time-honored staple of the DIY beauty craze – and you can solve many hair care issues with some in-house ingredients and the courage to slap it all over your scalp. Ever heard of the wonders that beer can do for damaged hair? Or even Coca-Cola for a quick volume and body solution to limp, lifeless hair?

When it comes to self-lightening, however, there’s two simple alternatives to the line of Sun-In products — a solution for blondes, yes, but also brunettes and those with noir-shaded manes who are scared of a brassy, orange hue.

1. Mayonnaise & Lemon Juice

If your ends are burnt out, dry, brittle, or severely split, we have one word for you: Hellmann’s.

The secret to mayonnaise treatments lies in this condiment’s ample oil and egg-white base, where proteins help to moisturize hair cells as a deep conditioner and delivers an unmistakable softness to the touch. Allure shares that mayonnaise treatments bring astounding soft velvetiness to even those with sleek, pin-straight styles.

The power of mayo as a moisturizer is heightened for blondes and fair-haired brunettes when harnessed alongside lemon juice. Livestrong says that lemon juice, a prime citric acid, coaxes pigments within your hair cuticles out naturally when exposed to UV rays. For smooth tresses with the best natural highlights condiments can buy, try these simple steps:

  1. Mix a quarter cup of real mayonnaise with three teaspoons of lemon juice and a splash of water to dilute the power of the citric acid. Slap it on throughout the hair and scalp, and head outside for 40-minutes to an hour of full sunlight.
  2. Rinse out the solution and give your locks a good scrub with your go-to shampoo as you would on any other day.

If you have a fuller head, or are rocking a shorter cut, feel free to mix as much solution as you please. Remember the golden rule when it comes to lemon juice and acidity, however, and that’s to keep the mayo to lemon juice at a 3:1 ratio.

A word of caution: this solution is for natural blondes, redheads, and those sporting the lightest shades of brown hues. Stay away from pools after rinsing for a good while – chemical reactions can bring on a greenish hue.

Citric acid can add rusty shades of orange to those looking to add natural highlights to darker hues, which is where the next ingredient comes in handy…

2. Avocado & Honey

Mashing a ripe avocado into a smooth consistency – we’re not looking for guacamole here, so don’t get crazy – is the first step towards a great conditioner for those who can’t exactly run a brush through their hair. Loaded with vitamins A, D, and E, Livestrong also reports avocados as jam-packed with natural oils to moisturize any kind of damaged, dry hair.

Photo: Cultura RM Exclusive / Danielle Wood / Getty

But blondes can’t have all the fun, so if you want to lighten your amber, chestnut, or terracotta shade, the key ingredient is honey. The avocado and honey mash up will act as a deep conditioner, lighten your own shade without any brass mishaps, and, as a side bonus, will smell fabulous.

Credit: aaboikis/Getty

Honey becomes magical for ladies lusting after summer highlights when an enzyme within honey, known as peroxide, is activated – and is achieved when mixed with distilled water.

For luscious, restored locks straight from the pantry, try the following:

  1. Find a regular-sized ripe avocado and smash it alongside 1/4 cup of warm olive oil (to fight frizz). In the same bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of honey and a splash of distilled water.
  2. Slosh the mix all over your scalp and find a sunny spot outside for 20 to 30 minutes. As with the mayonnaise mask, rinse and shampoo immediately after.

It’s that simple – two different base ingredients, two different natural lightening agents found in your home, and one stunning result for all you kitchen mavens this summer.