Sun-In or Sun Bum: Which is one is best for lightening dark hair?

coppery highlights

  • If you have dark brown or black hair and want to lighten it choose the Sun Bum
  • If you have light brown hair and want to lighten it choose the Sun In


As summer approaches, I always start to think of idyllic, beautiful beaches, where I can forget my worries tanning in the sun.

But that’s not the only thing I think of. I always get a bit obsessed with lightening my dark hair.


 It is possible to lighten dark brown or black hair without using bleach? 

If you’ve ever had that question, you’ve got to try Sun Bum.



Because I did and got exactly the copper, sun-kissed highlights, I wanted.

Now, it wasn’t easy. But thankfully I had the help of my friend Angela.


As I said at the beginning of this article, I wanted a new look as summer approached, and so did Angela.

And what was the first thing we thought of? Changing our hair, of course.

works on blond hairs

Check Sun-In price on Amazon


Angela had light brown hair, while mine was a deep, dark brown.

And I had already tried similar lightening products in the past, but they didn’t work in my dark hair.

  • Angela had always used Sun-In to get golden streaks that were the envy of every surfer girl on the beach.
  • But she warned me that Sun-In is designed for light hair so that I wouldn’t get the same results in my dark brown hair.


I can’t even explain how disappointed I was. When she saw my face, she just smiled and pulled a product out of her backpack: Sun Bum!

I felt like it was meant to be. I could almost hear it calling to me:

“Get those sun-kissed highlights with Sun Bum.”

for brown and black hair

Check Sun Bum price on Amazon


And with that glimmer of hope, I was once again happy as a lark.

If you’re wondering how Sun Bum worked in my dark hair, keep reading.


Because here we’re going to discuss:

  • Can Sun Bum really lighten dark hair?
  • How to correctly apply Sun Bum
  • How to care for your hair after using Sun Bum.


Are you ready to embrace summer with new hair color?


Can Sun Bum really lighten dark hair?

comes in spray

Before I answer this question, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not going to transform your hair from dark brown to platinum blonde.

Miracles happen, but you’re not going to find any in a bottle of Sun Bum.

To take your hair from jet black to blonde, you have to bleach it. As you probably know, bleaching is a harsh chemical process, and I wasn’t willing to do that to my hair.


Now, let’s pretend we’re going to paint a picture and are mixing colors on a palette. You have some black paint, but want to lighten it.

What do you do? Add some white paint, of course. Depending on how much white you add, you will create a different shade of gray.


  • Sun Bum can lighten dark hair, similar to how adding white paint to a dark shade will lighten it.
  • But hair color works a bit differently than paint color. Unlike paint, black hair is composed of various pigments and may turn red or orange before becoming blond.
  • Because Sun Bum is a lightener, but not bleach, it can only lighten dark hair to reddish or copper tones. So Sun Bum does work on Dark Hair,
  • but it can only lighten it in two or three tones.

Here's a tip:


As well as highlights, you can use Sun Bum to create a sombre or ombre effect in your hair.

Keep in mind that if you apply the product evenly throughout your hair -which is not how it's intended to be used- you'll end up with orange hair.


Both Sun Bum and Sun-In are designed to lighten a few strands of your hair to create highlights, mimicking how hair naturally lightens in the sun.

In other words, to create the "sun-kissed highlights" effect.


 Keep in mind that it takes two or three applications of the product to lighten your hair noticeably. 

But thankfully, it's really easy to apply.


How to correctly apply Sun Bum

  • To apply Sun Bum, you’ll first have to get your hair wet. I don’t mean that your hair should be so wet that it’s dripping on the floor. Instead, it would be gently towel-dried and damp.

And remember, please don't spray the product directly on your scalp, and avoid getting it in your eyes. Remember, this product contains hydrogen peroxide, which can be very irritating.


  • When applying the Sun Bum, imagine where you want the highlights to be, and apply them to those strands.


  • After applying the Sun Bum, dry your hair with a hairdryer.

Then take a look in the mirror.

And see what you think of your new highlights.


  • To create lighter highlights, reapply the product in the same way until you've reached your desired color.

Don't get disappointed if you don't get your dream color after the first application.

Remember, The Sun Bum works gradually. So you will likely need three or four applications to reach your desired color.


Now, what if you have light brown hair?

If that's the case, I would recommend Sun-In.

Let's discuss why.


Why Sun-In only works on light brown hair

works in light hair

While Sun Bum works on darker shades, Sun-In is designed to create golden highlights in light brown hair.

It offers a less expensive alternative to professional highlights, and of course, a much faster option than waiting for the sun to lighten your hair.


But before we learn why, let me give you a piece of advice. There are two versions of Sun In available, and they come in different colors: pink and yellow.

  • The pink version is designed for dark blond hair
  • The yellow version is designed for light brown hair


Sun-In is a spray-in lightener that's been around for over thirty years and uses two main lightening agents: hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice.

This product also contains a few other ingredients, such as aloe vera and chamomile extract, to moisturize your hair and protect your scalp.


How to care for your hair after using Sun-In or Sun Bum

I'm going to be straight with you. While these products will lighten your hair, they will also dry it out.

Everything comes at a price, including looking like you just got back from a beach vacation.


  • Because they contain hydrogen peroxide, these products will dry out your hair.

That being said, this was a much more serious issue in the 80s. Since then, the brands have changed their formula and added conditioning ingredients to neutralize any damage they may cause.


  • So don’t be afraid to try some sun-kissed highlights. After two or three intense hydration treatments, a hair mask, or even just coconut oil, your hair will look just as radiant as it was before.

At least, that's what happened to me.

I used Sun Bum to create a few highlights in my hair, which made me feel like summer is already here.


Now that you know which one of these products is best for your hair color, it's your turn to share.

Have you ever used Sun-In or Sun Bum?

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