Published on August 5, 2020

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Photography by Alex Suprun for Unsplash

When you were a teen, did you sit out by the pool with a trusty bottle of Sun-In and douse your hair with miscellaneous chemicals in the hopes of lightening your hair? I remember soaking my dirty blonde tresses in that solution and praying to the hair gods that when I got up from my lounge chair they would be golden. And although it did kind of work over time, this ritual didn’t perform any miracles. So I went in search of the best hair-lightening sprays on the market. 

Thankfully, this practice isn’t stuck in the ’90s anymore: It’s back, grown-up, and available in sleek containers you can easily slip into your road-trip bag. Skip the salon and save a few bucks with these tried-and-true spritzes.

The One to Bring to the Beach

This pick comes courtesy of none other than Kristin Cavallari, who designed the mist in partnership with DpHue. It’s packed with anti-pollution and UV-protection ingredients (including raspberry seed extract, a natural UV inhibitor) so your locks won’t get washed out under the sun’s rays. The product is also especially great for bringing second-day hair back to life: Spray it onto your finished style before you log on to your first Zoom meeting of the day. Planning to spend your weekends lounging poolside? Give damp hair a generous spritz and reapply as needed. 

The One With a Cult Following

Almost 500 passionate 5-star Target reviews can’t be wrong. The citrus and chamomile formula works gently, but don’t be fooled by the natural ingredients—per the brand, your hair should lighten by two whole shades after just three to five uses. It’s long-lasting, too. According to one devout fan, it keeps her away from the salon for six months at a time. The major bonus of this product is that it’s heat-activated by styling tools, so if you’re not going to make it to the beach this summer, you can simply use a hair dryer for quick results. 

The One for Everyday Use

Expect a light, subtle update with continuous daily use over three weeks. One Domino editor loves this for everyday use, though she does warn that it’s a bit heavy (compared to others on the market) and can sometimes feel sticky—but she swears it lightened her brown hair to golden blonde over the course of a summer. This product also works best when used in tandem with Klorane’s entire lightening range (including a shampoo and conditioner) to brighten and fight brassiness all at once.

The One With a Signature Scent

That cute packaging seems innocent enough, but be prepared: It’s highly effective. It currently has almost 1,800 reviews on Amazon with an average of 4.5 stars—including more than a few medium-brunette fans who love the natural-looking highlights that come from this little bottle. The hydrogen peroxide, pineapple, lemon, and honey blend imparts a gorgeous, subtle brightness to hair. It’s most effective in direct sunshine, so spritz on damp tresses before heading outside. It doesn’t hurt that it smells like summer in a bottle either.

The One That’s Vegan

With an ingredient list that stars chamomile, lemon, and coconut oil, you don’t have to worry about harsh bleaching agents. IGK’s formula works gently over time, boosting shine and hydration with each application. It also does double duty as a texture spray, for a messy, lived-in look that will make it seem like you’ve spent the season by the sea. Pro tip: This product activates in the sun, so be sure to slather on that SPF before heading outdoors to try it out. 

The One That Hydrates

This drugstore classic not only subtly lightens your locks, but it also acts as a leave-in conditionersaving you time in the shower by eliminating an entire step. If you’re looking for a way to combat dryness, pick up a bottle of this to keep your hair feeling silky smooth. The formula detangles, prevents frizz, and promotes shine—honestly, what can’t it do? 

See more wellness stories:
The One Quarantine Habit That’s Actually Making You Healthier
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7 Bath Lovers Share Their Go-To Methods for a Superb Soak

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