The Best Hair-Lightening Products

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On the quest for lighter hair, it can be tempting to use at-home dyeing kits and products that contain bleach. But according to Fekkai colorist Kelly Noonan, who spoke to Elite Daily for this article, the best hair-lightening products for at-home use should not contain bleach. “Everyone has a different texture, tone, and history with their hair. Bleaching without the expert knowledge of how those factors affect the lightening process puts people at risk for uneven and undesirable tones at best, and severe damage and breakage at worst.” She warns that especially if your hair has been previously colored, you’re going to want to avoid lightening your hair by yourself, even if you’re just using a semi-permanent or temporary dye.

Noonan says that at-home hair lighteners without bleach can leave hair looking brassy or yellow, but there are some great products out there. Look for ones that help keep already-lightened hair bright, such as any of the products featured below. These are great for lighter shades like gray and blonde, and sometimes light brown hair, but sadly, going from a dark color to a light one on your own is really tricky, which is why Noonan says that that process is best left to a professional colorist.

To see the best hair-lightening products for at-home use, read on.

1. Expert’s Pick: Best Hair-Lightening Shampoo

FEKKAI Baby Blonde Shampoo uses chamomile to keep blondes their brightest,” Noonan says. “Hair tends to oxidize over time and [this shampoo] helps to keep blondes as bright as the day you left the salon.” The sulfate-free formula is safe for color-treated hair, and because it’s free of silicones as well, it won’t weigh your hair down or cause it to look dull.

2. Experts Pick: Best Hair-Lightening Shampoo For Dull Hair & Hard Water

Noonan explains that mineral buildup can make hair look dull and brassy, and can sometimes even turn light hair green or gray, so removing these minerals will restore the vibrancy and tone of light blonde hair that’s become dull. She likes the Malibu C Hard Water Shampoo for this. It’s designed for people with blonde hair who shampoo in hard water, and it simultaneously strengthens and conditions hair as it removes metal and mineral buildup. Key ingredients include glycerin, panthenol, and hydrolyzed rice protein, and it’s topped off with a yummy, orange sorbet scent.

3. Best Purple Shampoo To Brighten Blonde Hair & Highlights

Noonan says that purple shampoos, like the Matrix Total Results So Silver shampoo, are a go-to for lightened hair that’s become yellow or brassy, but she warns her clients to be careful with these shampoos, too. “It’s actually depositing color to give the illusion of brightness, not actually lightening the hair. Using these types of toning shampoos too often can actually cause the hair to look dull and gray, so they are best used only occasionally,” she cautions. There are lots of different purple shampoos out there, but this one is a particular favorite among shoppers, with over 25,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and counting.

Here’s a pro-tip from Noonan: Mix a bit of purple shampoo with FEKKAI Baby Blonde once a week to brighten your blonde and neutralize brassy tones in one step.

4. Best Hair-Lightening Conditioner

For blondes who’ve lost their luster and need additional hydration and detangling, try John Frieda’s Go Blonder Lightening Conditioner. Made with lemon peel extract, sunflower seed, grapeseed, and malic acid, it’s designed to slowly lighten your hair over time, so it’s a gradual, gentle process that won’t lead to any mishaps. You can also pair it with the brand’s matching Go Blonder Shampoo, if you want.

Unlike purple shampoos and conditioners, which should only be used occasionally, you can use this conditioner every time you wash your hair.

5. Best Hair-Lightening Spray

A French pharmacy favorite, especially during the summer, Klorane’s Sun Lightening Spray uses chamomile, matricaria flower, and honey to gently lighten blonde and light brown hair, whether color-treated or natural. Over the course of 3 to 4 weeks of daily use, it will slowly bring out sun-kissed highlights in your hair. According to the brand, the lightening process goes even faster if you head out into the sun after spritzing, or use a hot styling tools on you hair.


Kelly Noonan, colorist at FEKKAI Soho Salon