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Honey has been used in hair preparations since the beginning of time.  It has been proven to nourish, condition and moisturize the hair.  But does it do anything else beyond this?  Does honey lighten your hair too?

This question has been asked thousands of times, and the answers have been just as varied.  Some say it doesn’t do anything to change the color of the hair.  While others say it definitely lightens the hair and they swear by it. Some even wonder if honey turns hair white!  So, what is the answer?

When people ask me if honey lightens hair, I can only answer based on my own experience.  I have very dark hair and never have noticed a lightening effect.  But could I have just failed to pay close attention?  Well, I decided to find out for myself for once and for all, and in order to do this, I had to do my own experiment.

Update: I tried this experiment again with manuka honey and I really wet the hair instead of just dampening it and I did notice a lightening effect. So you will need to experiment to see if it work for your hair.  If one type of honey doesn’t work, try another.

Here’s what I did.

The Experiment

1.  I took two pieces of natural unprocessed virgin hair.  On one piece I dampened it and then saturated it with honey and let it sit undisturbed for two weeks.  I used multi-floral honey.  I didn’t do anything to the other piece of hair.  I wanted to compare the experimental lock with this “control” piece to see how much, if any, the hair changed in color.

2. After the two week period, I washed all the honey from the experimental lock.  I let it dry and then compared it with the other piece.

The Results

I examined both pieces of hair very carefully, and guess what the result was?  There was no change at all!!  Nope, nothing.  I was a bit surprised by the results, to tell you the truth.

So why do many people say that honey lightens their hair?  There could be a number of reasons for this, but here are 4 top reasons why honey may have seemed to lighten their hair.

Why Do People Say Honey Lightened Their Hair?

1.  Could it be that different types of honey affect hair differently?  Like I mentioned before, I used raw multi-floral honey.  Some types of honey, such as buckwheat have more antioxidants than lighter colored honey.  Darker honey also have more minerals and iron, so maybe this difference alone accounts for the lightening of the hair.

2.  If you read most any recipe for using honey to lighten the hair, honey is usually accompanied by at least one more ingredient.   Olive oil, cinnamon, vinegar, lemon juice, certain shampoos and conditioners, and various teas have been suggested to use along with the honey to lighten the hair.  Most of  these ingredients are proven lightening agents.   So if you use any of these and add honey, it would appear that the honey is lightening the hair when, in actuality, another ingredient could really be the culprit.

3.  My experimental hair locks were not in the sun at any time.  I wonder if the sun has anything to do with it.  Over time, the sun can certainly cause items to fade.  If a person uses honey and is in the sun often, perhaps there may be some lightening of the hair.  Something to think about.

4.  Could it be that honey has a cumulative effect?  I soaked my hair in honey for two weeks.  If a person used honey on their hair for many months, perhaps a lightening effect will occur.  I don’t know, but I doubt it.  Still, perhaps this is a possibility, although most people who claim honey lightens hair report it does it fairly quickly.

The Evidence

Here is a picture comparing the two locks of hair.  This is the way both locks appeared before the honey was applied.   Notice how dull and dry it is.

This is the untouched lock of hair.

This is the untouched lock of hair.

Okay, below is a picture of the lock that had the honey applied for two weeks.  Notice how shiny and nourished the hair is.

This is the lock that had honey applied.

This is the lock that had honey applied.

Absolutely no change in hair color.  But, if you’ll notice, the lock that had a honey bath for two weeks is visibly more beautiful.  I couldn’t believe how soft and shiny the hair looked and felt after I rinsed and dried it.

So, I hope my experiment has put to rest the question  – “Does Honey Lighten Your Hair?”  I suppose if you wanted to really lighten your hair and didn’t want to use chemicals, you might try using honey along with lemon or vinegar or some other lightening ingredient.    If nothing else, the honey will leave your hair feeling lovely and looking shiny.  Another one of the benefits of honey!

How many of you use honey and other ingredients to lighten your hair?  Have you ever done a similar experiment, if not why not try one and let us know your results?


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