Do-It-Yourself Summer Highlights
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Do-It-Yourself Summer Highlights

2 ways to get sun-streaked hair for summer.

Remember your teenage years, when all you needed for streaky summer highlights was a lemon and a lounge chair? These days, you probably hit the salon for sunny highlights -- but in a pinch, those do-it-yourself methods still work well! Here, the lowdown:

Two Types of Lighteners

Lemon juice: Great for natural blondes who just need to brighten up. You can use straight lemon juice for bold highlights, or juice diluted with water for more subtle effects. Brush or comb into desired spots throughout your hair, then sit in the sun. Note: The longer you sit in the sun, the lighter your streaks will be. Or try a product formulated with lemon juice, like John Frieda Lemon Lights Fresh-Squeezed Highlighter ($6.49).

Spray-in lightener: These lightening classics contain hydrogen peroxide, the ingredient that does the lightening (most professional hair colors contain peroxide, too -- it's what lifts your natural color away). While these products are a bit tough to control, due to their spray-on applicator, they give dramatic effects with just a little sun. Bonus: They'll work under the heat of the blow-dryer. The classic spray-in: Sun-In Spray-In Hair Lightener ($4.89).

How to Take Care of Lightened Hair

Because any type of lightening strips natural oils from the hair shaft, it's important to follow up a bleaching session with a rich conditioner. One containing ingredients like keratin or shea butter will add moisture back into hair, making it softer and healthier. Lightened hair also has a tendency to dry out quickly, so using a daily leave-in conditioner for ongoing dryness protection is a great idea.


If you have naturally dark brown or black hair, avoid do-it-yourself lighteners. These products -- and their effects -- are difficult to control, and using them on very dark hair can result in orange streaks, not natural highlights. For a guaranteed natural effect, head to the salon for your streaks.