Recipes to fairer hair

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AS any Asian woman knows, being born with naturally black hair is a blessing. But it can also be a drag when you want to flaunt a lighter hue — naturally, in our sunny weather — without damaging your locks with chemical-based dyes that more often than not contain ammonia. Here are a few DIY hair-colouring tricks that you can opt to use instead. Bear in mind though, that the downside to this — compared to salon, or store-bought hair dyes — is that it does not promise to make you a brunette or blonde overnight; you will have to be consistent in your efforts to see results.

Cinnamon naturally contains peroxide — minus the damaging properties — and over time, will give your hair a lighter shade. Mix a tablespoon of this wonder spice with equal parts of honey and olive oil and evenly apply it all over your hair, or any part of the hair as desired. The olive oil is optional — it simply acts as nourishment for your locks, but won’t affect the colouring process. Alternatively, swap cinnamon powder with cardamom power, and though it will form a reddish-brown paste, don’t fret about it staining to fingers and nails. Leave it for about a good two-hours before rinsing off with your usual shampoo and conditioner.

Chamomile tea
This liquid goodness not only does wonders for your mind and body but helps give an extra oomph your crowning glory as well.  Seep a bag of chamomile tea in a pot of hot water and let it brew for an hour. Then, refrigerate it for a few hours or so.  Transfer the liquid into a spray bottle and spritz all over your hair.  A  point to note; try to avoid using hot liquid — be it water or anything else — as it will cause your tresses to frizz up.  It can serve as a leave-in spritz, or can be washed off in a few hours.

Lemon juice
This works as a natural bleach for both skin and hair by accelerating the lighting process. Squeeze the juice of one or two large lemons into a spray bottle and generously spritz it all over your mane. For best results, expose your juiced up hair to sunlight — which will speed up the colour transition process — though be sure to protect your skin against harmful UV rays with plenty of sunscreen. Similarly to the chamomile-tea-spritz, you can leave the lemon juice in your hair while running your daily errands.

As its golden colour, honey — over time — contains properties that will lighten your hair to a similar shade. In its natural molten form, honey tends to be sticky and gooey and will ultimately create a mess on your hair, not to mention make it extremely tedious to apply. Hence, dilute it by mixing it with water — four parts honey to one part water — to loosen up the concoction and gently massage it on your scalp and all over your head, making sure to coat as much hair as possible. Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave for no less than an hour and a half and wash off as usual with shampoo and conditioner.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 30, 2014.