5 Things To Know About At-Home Hair Lightening Sprays

Trust us, these work way better than lemon juice.

Woman on Beach with Long Blonde Hair
Photo: Corey Jenkins/Getty Images

Remember in the 80's and 90's when Sun-In was the "it" product of the hair product world? The neon bottle angled itself as the easiest way to lighten up your strands — no salon appointment or box of hair color needed. While it was great in theory, many women, especially those with darker strands, ended up with a funky orangey-red hue instead of a beautiful blonde.

Recently, hair lightening sprays are having a resurgence, and thanks to their new and improved formulas, they won't leave you looking brassy. Here's everything you should know about the newest bottled blondes on the block:

Just say no to hydrogen peroxide

Before you scoop up a product, check the ingredient list first to make sure the formula doesn't have hydrogen peroxide. "Sun-In contained hydrogen peroxide, which a bleaching agent that can work on blondes but can cause orange or brassy tones," explains Franck Izquierdo, co-founder of IGK Hair Care. Instead, look for chamomile and lemon extract that help naturally brighten and lighten strands. "It's a more subtle effect that will look natural, won't cause brass or orange-tones and won't dry out your hair," he furthers. Try a spray like IGK Hair Care's SUMMERTIME Hair Lightening Spray ($27, sephora.com) that also had coconut oil and coconut water in the formula for extra hydration and softness while you're in the sun.

All hair colors can benefit from them

Yes, even brunettes can use these next-gen lightening sprays. "On lighter hair, products will have a more noticeable lightening effect, but darker hair types can benefit as well," explains Izquierdo. "I would avoid products with bleaching agents because it can be difficult to control the end result on any hair type, and they can dry out the hair." For darker tones, apply the spray from the mid-shaft to ends for the most natural effect.

WATCH: How Southern Women Keep Sweat From Ruining Our Hair

Application is simple

Since they have a gradual lightening effect, it's difficult to make a mistake. "You can apply it all over or just on select pieces for a highlighted effect," suggests Izquierdo. Other things to keep in mind? Damp hair is best for application and make sure your hair is down since applying it while your hair is styled in a pony or braid can lead to uneven results.

If you don't like the results, there's an easy fix

For strands that are looking a little more copper than you'd like, use a purple shampoo as a toner. After a few washes, your hair should be back to normal. If you take a risk and decide to use a product with bleaching agents, you can also use a toning product like this one to counteract the effects. For any serious mane mishaps, book an appointment with your stylist asap.

There are so many brands to choose from

Unlike Sun-In's past dominance in the beauty aisle, now there are tons of at-home sprays for brightening up strands. Check out some of these hair lighteners we can't get enough of:

Klorane Sun Lightening Spray With Chamomile and Honey, $18, sephora.com

Ouai Sun Of A Beach Ombre Spray, $24, sephora.com

Sun Bum Hair Lightener, $14.99, target.com

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Controlled Lightening Spray, $8.99, amazon.com

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