3 Natural Ways To Lighten Hair or add Highlights Using Cinnamon


So you want to lighten your black hair or add reddish or burgundy highlights and you are wary of going through the whole hair dying process, especially since you know that dying the hair with synthetic dyes comes with a whole host of chemicals that can strip and make your hair look awful in the long run.   Well, I wanted to do the same thing myself and I have tried the following three methods and they really make the hair lighter or add highlights

At first I was skeptical because I could barely see any difference at my first try, except if I went into the sun and turned the mirror at certain angles to get the glimpse of a lighter color.  I was a royal pest to my husband after trying the following recipes after the first couple times but then something miraculous happened, I could see the color change for myself, after three or so applications.   These ingredients are completely natural and they are actually good for you and your hair.


Yes, the same cinnamon that can be found in the supermarket spice isle.   Some persons use the sticks or the powdered version.   Who knew that this sweet smelling spice was a mild hair bleacher and to top it all off it smells very good.   Additionally, cinnamon is not only known for its bleaching effects, it has a ton of health benefits.   It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

Several studies suggest that 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower cholesterol.   It has a regulatory effect on blood sugar, it can relieve arthritis pain, and it inhibits bacterial growth in food and smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.

How To Use Cinnamon To Lighten Hair

After trying several versions of this recipe, this one seems to work the best.


1-cup deep conditioner (moisturizing)

1-cup honey (optional)

1 tsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp. Cinnamon (organic)


Mix together all the ingredients and apply to damp hair, concentrate on the areas that you want highlights or just apply all over.   Cover the hair with a plastic cap and leave on hair for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.

Wash out thoroughly;  little cinnamon granules can be caught in the hair so washing will take a while.   After three to four applications the hair will be noticeably lighter.

Honey is optional because without using it, the hair is still lightened, however, honey adds moisture and it hastens the lightening process.   Expect the mixture to smell really good.


For Red Highlights

This will involve the use of hibiscus or Jamaica sorrel.   This is sold dried in health food stores or ethnic stores.   In October to March, persons living n tropical countries can get this flower fresh.   The color is a rich red and it can give you beautiful red highlights when used in hair.   Jamaican sorrel prevents hair loss, enhances hair growth, discourages split ends and thickens hair.

2 cups Jamaican sorrel (dried or fresh)

2 cups water

2 Tbsp honey

Directions:   In a small saucepan bring the water to a boil pour it over the sorrel and cover the container (preferably non-aluminum).   Let it soak for three or more hours or overnight.

Strain off the water, it should be a rich red color.   Add the honey to the water.   After shampooing hair, pour the liquid over the hair, massage in the scalp ensuring that all areas are covered.   Wrap with a plastic cap and leave in hair for an hour or more.

Variation:   Add a tablespoon of cinnamon to the mixture, for quicker red highlights.

Caution:   This mixture can stain your counter tops or clothes so make the necessary preparation to avoid this.


For Burgundy Highlights

This will involve the use of Beets. Beets are rich in antioxidants, iron, folates, Vitamin B’s and C. Very useful vegetable to have around both internally and externally. To use as a dye for hair the process is simple.


2 Beets

1/2 Tbsp water

1-cup deep conditioner (moisturizing

Directions:  If you have a juicer, run the beets through the juicer.   You will get pure rich red liquid.    Add liquid to conditioner slowly.   Do not let it become too runny.    On damp hair, preferably after a shampoo, massage the mixture from the root of the hair to the tip.   Leave on for 3 to four hours under a plastic cap or overnight for a deeper richer color.   After three to four applications the color should be more obvious.

Variation:   If you don’t have a juicer, you can use a blender, heat up the water and add to chopped beets in blender.   Make sure you blend the beets as smooth as you can, strain and then proceed as above.

Author: Brenda Barrett

Brenda Barrett is an author and freelance writer. She has written for several websites, including her own- blackhair101 and fiwibooks, on topics ranging from healthy hair care maintenance, human resources, and publishing. She is an avid reader of fictional novels from all genres, a habit that she picked up from she was very young. This love of fiction spilled over into writing and she currently has several novels on the market.

Share This Post On


  1. If I could post pics for proof I would..I have long thick dark auburn hair..the other day I did a mix of conditioner/cinnamon/peroxide mix..left it in 4 hours n rinsed with 2 egg yolks mixed in conditioner let sit for 1 hour..it was brilliant red..next day I tried cinnamon/honey/conditioner/baking soda..it was dry n went back dark brown..so tonight I’m sleeping with conditioner/cinnamon mix..well see..best conditioner tho is for thin hair 2 egg whites with conditioner or thick hair egg yolks

    Post a Reply
  2. It’s better not to apply cinnamon to the roots coz it might cause hair fall

    Post a Reply
  3. i’ve read that it’s bad to apply conditioner to your scalp. it will clog your scalp pore and ended with dandruff .so is it good if i change the coditioner with other subtitute ?

    Post a Reply
    • You can use yogurt instead, it’s an amazing conditioner.

      Post a Reply

    Post a Reply
    • I know people who have reported their hair falling out notice it IMMEDIATELY and it’s always, always, always caused by an additional element being mixed (some people even mixed hydrogen peroxide in with the cinnamon!)and even then, it’s because of an underlying issue such as a parasitic infection. Actually, cinnamon –along with olive oil and coconut oil– are all natural remedies for baldness and patterned baldness. I think you should do some more research first, from all sides of the argument, not just one.

      Post a Reply
    • Yeah… so I did the lemon juice, cinnamon and condition recipe over a year ago and my hair has yet to fall out. On top of that, the day after I did the lightening treatment, I dyed my hair with Shea Moisture hair Dye…nothing catastrophic happened to me, pretty sure nothing will happen to you. I have 4c hair and have now been natural for 2 1/2 years now. I left the treatment on for 15-20 minutes and I saw a difference in the color for sure!

      Post a Reply
  5. I recently colored my hair black and it is too dark for me. How can I quickly and naturally lighten it to be dark brown?

    Post a Reply
  6. This is my first time trying out natural hair lightening. I tried the cinnamon mixture on my dark brown-black hair. I used the mixture on multiple, individual 1/4″-1/2″ locks of hair. I left the mixture in my hair for 4 hours. It did not work.

    Post a Reply
    • the author said in the post that it takes multiple application for there to be any noticeable change.

      Post a Reply
      • I read a lot of interesting articles here.
        Probably you spend a lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot of work, there is an online tool
        that creates high quality, google friendly articles in minutes,
        just search in google – laranitas free content source

        Post a Reply
  7. Piece of writing writing is also a excitement, if you be familiar with after that you can write if not it is difficult to write.

    Post a Reply
  8. Hi, I’ve always had light auburn hair, after my 1st child it turned to a dark brown with red high lights. Now my hair is still a dark brown with a lot of gray, Everyone thinks I should die my hair to get the gray out.
    However I have Lupus and the chemicals that are in the hair dyes makes my lupus go into a flair. so I can’t dye my hair, but I would love to try these recipes since all the products are natural, with no chemicals. Will it help with the gray along with adding red highlights back into my hair? If so that would be awesome.

    Post a Reply
  9. This is brilliant as I have done terrible things to keep the gray away and save my natural red color. It’s been stripped and recolored a brownish color right now- because my hair was taking the red dyes and making them bright purple so we covered that up with a darker color that I hate. So -would this work on colored hair? Would it ruin the high lights I spent a small fortune to get? With my hair going thru so much – would hate to cause more trouble!! Thanks for any opinions or knowledge you might have – anyone!!

    Post a Reply
  10. I don’t see any answers to the questions left by others before….however, I’m trying for the first time today. I figured with the conditioner and the honey, if it doesn’t give me the results I want colorwise, at least it will moisture my hair 😉

    Post a Reply
  11. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me.

    Post a Reply
  12. how do i know this really works? and what will the color come out like?

    Post a Reply
  13. I’m trying the lemon, honey, vinegar, and cinnamon to highlight my hair. The only hair product that ever gave me the sandy brown and blondish highlights was by a company called African Pride and the product was called “Hi Lites”. Any other process I’ve used and the one time I had a beautician do my hair it came out orangy instead of light golden brown like I wanted. Since African Pride has discontinued it’s product (Why I don’t know it was GREAT), I’m going to try this natural thing and see how it goes. I’ve just put the product in and I will keep it in for about 4 hours. If you see a picture posted you know it went well. If not, then I’m out shopping for a wig……LOL

    Post a Reply
    • Did this method work for you?

      Post a Reply
  14. I would like to see pictures of the results. Is that possible?

    Post a Reply
  15. Before actually doing this to your hair, you should cut a strip of your hair from the back , in the middle, so it isnt noticable, and do a test strand, incase you dont like the color.

    Post a Reply
  16. Love these ideas! I’ve been dreading the thought of bleaching my hair to get a lighter colour, from my natural black. I’ll definitely try these out!

    Post a Reply
  17. I color my hair friday left on 45 min burn
    My hair I mess up color is light blonde

    Post a Reply
    • Are you saying you messed up mixing the color you wanted or that the mixture damaged your hair?

      Post a Reply
  18. I have three questions…
    1. Has any of these natural alternatives ever worked ?
    2. How long will it last for ?
    3.If applied to the whole hair would it dye the whole hair the same colour or do you apply it like applying highlights ?

    Post a Reply
  19. I have three questions…

    1.Has any of these natural alternatives ever worked ?
    2.How long will it last ?
    3.If you apply it all over your hair will it dye your whole hair the same colour or would you apply it like applying highlights?

    Post a Reply
  20. This information is an exceptionally wonderful alternative to chemicals .

    Post a Reply


  1. Dying Afro Hair, 6 Color Ideas You’ll Love! – That Sister - […] from cherry red, ombre red, wine red and plum red. A great tip before coloring your hair red is…
  2. Haargroei problemen? Probeer kaneel! - MyBlackHairMyBlackHair - […] bron, bron foto’s: pinterest en […]
  3. Receta para conseguir un cabello más claro.. | Mirak | Blog - […] suceder que las mujeres rubias o pelirrojas van oscureciendo su color de cabello con el paso de los años. También les…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *