Hair Lightener: This '90s Trend Is Making A Comeback For Summer

Best Products for Healthy Hair

Hair Lightener Is Coming Back In A Major Way This Summer

27 April 2018
photo of woman with blonde hair on beach
Jelani Addams Rosa

Jelani Addams Rosa

Associate Editor,

As an employee of L'Oréal, Jelani brings her knowledge and passion for hair care to Before joining the team, she spent time at Celebuzz, Seventeen, and Cosmo for Latinas.

If there’s any season that can make you feel like a teenager again, it’s definitely summer. Days spent lounging at the beach, hanging out with friends—it feels like high school all over again. The only thing missing is a spritz of hair lightener to give your hair that natural-looking glow all summer long.

It turns out, you’re not the only person feeling a little nostalgic for that youthful glow. If you’ve been wondering how to lighten hair naturally (read: without stopping by the salon), the beauty industry has finally answered your prayers. This year, several brands have debuted a hair lightener.

How to apply hair lightening spray: Hair lightening spray can be applied to damp or dry hair. Simply spritz the spray on the part of your hair that you wish to lighten. For an ombré effect, concentrate most of the spray on the bottom half of your hair. For a highlighted effect, spray small sections of hair individually. For an all-over lightened look, lightly saturate your entire head of hair.

If you don’t have time to make it to the beach but still want to enjoy the glowy effects of hair lightening spray, simply use your blow dry to heat activate the spray for an equally gorgeous final result.

photo of Ouai Sun Of A Beach Ombré Spray

Ouai Sun Of A Beach Ombré Spray

Ouai, the social media famous hair brand started by celebrity stylist Jen Atkin, launches its own version of Sun In called Sun Of A Beach Ombré Spray in May 2018. The sun activated spray-in hair lightener is formulated with activated lemon-infused coconut water and pineapple juice. The formula helps to brighten existing highlights or add a touch of sunshine to virgin hair.

Ouai Sun Of A Beach Ombré Spray, $24.00 MSRP

photo of igk summertime hair lightening spray

IGK Summertime Hair Lightening Spray

If you’re too impatient to wait a whole month, IGK has its own hair lightener on the market. The limited edition Summertime Hair Lightening Spray, which works on all hair types, is formulated with natural ingredients like chamomile and lemon extract to help lighten hair gradually.

IGK Summertime Hair Lightening Spray, $27.00 MSRP, available from beauty retailers

photo of Sun Bum Blonde Hair Lightener

Sun Bum Blonde Hair Lightener

Sun Bum, the brand known for sun care products ranging from sunblock to tanning oil, also has its own hair lightener. Sun Bum’s Hair Lightener is specifically formulated to brighten hair by amplifying the natural highlighting effects of the sun. Formulated with pineapple and honey, the UV-activated blend creates natural subtle tones and beautiful highlights without brassiness.

Sun Bum Blonde Hair Lightener, $14.99 MSRP

photo of khlorane beach spray

Klorane Blonde Highlights Sun Lightening Spray

Klorane also has a hair lightener suitable for all hair types. Formulated with authentic chamomile and honey, The Blonde Highlights Sun Lightening Spray helps lighten blonde hair and gives beautiful honey-gold highlights to light-brown hair. The paraben-free, silicone-free, hydrogen peroxide-free formula works gradually and results are more pronounced with repeated use.

Klorane Blonde Highlights Sun Lightening Spray, $18.00 MSRP

Sun In Spray-In Hair Lightener

Last—but certainly not least—the OG hair lightening product we’ve all come to know and love is still around. Yes, we’re talking about Sun In. At the peak of its popularity in the ‘90s, Sun In was responsible for thousands of teenagers’ first highlights. You couldn’t go to beach or a pool without being surrounded by the lemony scent of the hair lightening spray. Sun In has stuck to its roots, but over the last few years the formula has gone through a much needed upgrade. The new and improved formula contains micro illuminators which help add an amazing manageability to hair.

Sun In Spray-In Hair Lightener, $4.99 MSRP, available at drugstores

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