Can you get highlights without bleaching your hair?

without damaging the hair

Are you considering getting highlights but you don’t want to bleach your hair?


I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I have some bad news for you.

  • Traditional highlights require bleaching your hair. Wanting highlights without wanting to bleach your hair is like wanting to paint a picture without a canvas. It’s impossible because by definition, highlights require bleach.
  • However, there are a few ways to get a similar effect without needing to bleach your hair.
  • The three methods are: chamomile shampoo, super-lightening dye and pure chamomile.


As you can see, all is not lost.

There are always options that you can use to get to your goal, and in this case, you can get to your objective (highlights) without needing to pay the high price of bleaching your hair.

To make sure you’re fully getting it, I’m going to tell you something very personal that I think will help illustrate what I’m trying to explain.


I have always wanted to have thicker lips. And yes, of course, blondes want to be brunettes, people with curly hair want straight hair, and people with thin lips want Angelina Jolie lips.

I am part of that last group; my thin lips were the cause of many sleepless nights. I know what you’re thinking.

Why didn’t you get botox?


Yes, of course, that’s easy to consider, but after seeing many famous women’s disfigured lips, I decided that botox just wasn’t an option for me.

One day, when I was getting ready to go out with friends, my sister – who is a make-up expert – gave me three tricks to make my lips look thicker: lip liner, using a light lipstick in the center and lip gloss as a final touch.

Every time I’m with friends, they still can’t believe that I’ve been able to make my lips look fuller without getting any kind of surgery.

Do you see what I’m getting at?


 There are always intermediate solutions for when you don’t want to undergo some kind of chemical process.  

In my case, I wanted to avoid getting botox on my lips to make them look fuller.

In your case, you want to avoid bleaching your hair, but you still want to lighten your hair in some areas.


So, don’t throw in the towel just yet, because we’re going to keep fighting. Stick around because I’m going to tell you:

  • Why bleach is an essential part of highlights
  • Three techniques to imitate the effect of highlights without needing to bleach your hair


First you need to understand that highlights – whether they’re cap or foil highlights – require bleaching your hair. Why?


That’s what I’m about to tell you.


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Why you need to bleach your hair to get highlights

exposure times

In order to make the best decision, you should know all of your options.

In order to get perfect highlights like millions of girls on Instagram, you’ll need to bleach your hair. Just like I would need to get botox on my lips if I were to have perfect lips all like time like Angelina Jolie.


  • The reason is simple. To get a few strands of your hair to look sun-kissed, you need to get rid of the natural dark pigment in your hair.

Then, you’ll be able to use a dye with light pigments.

And in order to do that, you’ll need to bleach your hair, using hydrogen peroxide and a bleach powder to eliminate your natural pigment, allowing the new light color to appear in your hair.

And that’s a permanent solution, like lip botox.


  • But, like any chemical process, there are some risks, like damaging your hair. If you do your highlights with a professional, the process will be safer.


Now you know why it’s necessary to bleach your hair in order to get highlights. And you know the price you’ll have to pay to get that golden shine in your hair.

But, if you don’t want to run those risks, there are other techniques for lightening your hair that imitate highlights.


They won’t be those perfect highlights, but at the end of the day, they’ll still be highlights and you won’t have had to bleach your hair, which is what you want to avoid.


3 techniques for imitating highlights without needing to bleach your hair

All of these options are easy to do, and you can find all the ingredients you need in any hair-care store, pharmacy and even supermarket.

Let’s start with the first option.


Super-lightening Dyes

This is technique is the closest one to highlights, and it is ideal for women that are looking for that almost striped look in their hair.

Kits that include the lightest blondes out there, numbers 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, come with 40-volume developers.

That’s why they’re able to lighten your hair so much, since normal kits only include 20-volume developer, while the super-lightening kits come with twice as strong developer.


 I already know what you’re thinking. If it comes with a 40-volume developer, then how is it different from bleaching my hair? If you bleach your hair, then you’d need to use a bleach powder alongside a developer and in this case, you’d only be using a developer.  

That’s why it’s not actually bleaching your hair, just lightening it.


These kinds of dyes work perfectly well on any base shade, but you should keep in mind that if you have very dark hair, like black (1) or dark brown (3), then your hair might end up with an orange or copper tone to it.

That’s why I recommend that you use a chamomile shampoo first, then the lightening dye.

If your hair is dark blonde (6) or lighter, then you shouldn’t have this issue.


In these kits, you’ll find everything you need to do your highlight impression: a tube of dye, 40-volume developer, gloves and a post-color treatment.

There will also be the little plastic container that you’ll mix the developer with the dye in and it should also come with some kind of eyedropper to help you better apply the dye.

How should you use it?


It’s simple: all you need to do is apply the dye in a straight line from your root to your ends.

The number of lines you apply it to is the number of lines or stripes that you’ll end up with in your hair.


Step by step:

  • Brush out your hair so don’t have any knots.
  • Mix the dye with the developer and apply it to your hair from root to tip in a straight line, leaving half an inch between each line.
  • Let sit for 20-45 minutes, then all you need to do is rinse and dry your hair.

I recommend leaving half an inch between each line, but if you prefer your “highlights” to be more spaced out you can leave 1-1.5 inches between them. If you prefer them closer together you could leave a quarter of an inch.

After you rinse, you’ll see that you have stripes that look very similar to highlights.


Chamomile Shampoo

lightens hair some shades

Check chamomile shampoo price on Amazon


Chamomile shampoo is a classic from our grandmother’s time and it’s an ideal option for women that want to lighten all of their hair evenly.

Since it’s a shampoo, you apply it to all of your hair, and best of all, it doesn’t damage your hair and some formulas even contain argan or coconut oil to nurture your hair.


I even know some women who have darker base shades and don’t want to bleach their hair that use chamomile shampoo to start lightening their hair to later use a blonde dye without needing to bleach their hair.

It also makes your hair lighter, feel silkier and easier to manage.


 All you have to do is replace your normal shampoo with chamomile shampoo and you’ll see that your hair is lighter within 3-4 washes. 

You’ll be able to lighten your hair up to two shades in a month without any issues and without needing to use corrosive chemicals.


Pure chamomile

Pure chamomile is something that women who just want to lighten a few areas of their hair can use, like if you want to lighten your hair to frame your face. It’s easy to use and the results are instantaneous.

The benefits?


Chamomile is a natural lightener that doesn’t contain any chemicals and it doesn’t break any of your hair’s cuticles, since it just fades your color.

You can lighten your hair a few shades quickly, and it will work even better if you expose your hair to the sun.


Step by step:

  • Dab the chamomile onto a piece of cotton and apply it to the area of your hair that you want to lighten. Remember that if you expose your hair to sunlight, the chamomile will work quicker.
  • Let sit for 45-60 minutes and then just rinse your hair and wash it with your normal shampoo.
  • Since chamomile can dry out your hair, I’d recommend that you use a few drops of coconut oil to moisturize it.



  • To imitate babylights without bleaching your hair, use a super-lightening dye.
  • In order to get highlights throughout all of your hair without needing to bleach it, use chamomile shampoo.
  • To get highlights in just a few areas of your hair without bleaching it, use pure chamomile. 


Now you know what the techniques are that let you imitate highlights without needing to bleach your hair. Which will you choose?

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