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The Best UV Activated Hair Lightening Sprays of 2018

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One fun fact about me is that I am obsessed with changing up my hair color.

Have you ever heard people talk about getting tattoos…aka the whole ‘once they start they can’t stop’ notion? How I feel about changing up my hair color is definitely along the same lines. Summer’s approaching fast so I’m in total hair lightening/highlighting mode. For those of you who want sun-kissed streaks for the upcoming warmer months, but don’t want the hassle of full-on bleaching your hair, consider adding UV activated hair lightening sprays to your beauty routine.

You’ll find that these products are typically recommended for blondes. Why? Because many people with darker hair will end up with messy, brassy, orangey results. Don’t fret though…it is possible for us brunettes to get in on a piece of the action. My natural hair color is a warm medium to dark brown, and I’ve never had issues using UV activated hair lightening sprays. If you’re like me and have naturally dark locks, I would consider using these products at your own discretion…but if you’re determined to get those sun-streaked highlights, keep reading and I’ll let you in on a little secret to help get rid of those orangey hair tones!

The best UV activated hair lightening sprays to try in 2018:

  1. Sun In

An oldie but goodie on the UV activated hair lightening sprays market. There’s a reason why it’s been around so long.

I mean…Sun In is pretty much the generic term now used for all UV activated hair lightening sprays. Over the years Sun In has made some awesome changes in their formula so it doesn’t smell as potent or leave your hair with a ton of damage.  Sun In is the OG, and you can get it at any major retailer for just over $7 a bottle…if that.

2.  Sun-Bum Blonde Formula Hair Lightener

Sum-Bum is all about the sun care, with products ranging from sunscreens, tanning oils, and of course, UV activated hair lightening sprays.

This hair lightener I’ve tried (for about $15 a bottle) and I can say I’m super happy with the results. I’ve used Sun-Bum on my already color treated hair to blend in my roots, as well as lighten up my already existent highlights. It smells super yummy and tbh… Sun-Bum packaging aesthetics are top notch (thank god it lived up to the pretty bottle).

When I use this UV ray activated lightening spray, I like to get my hair wet in the pool and spray it generously all over my head. If you want to be more specific on where you’re highlighting your hair, you’ll definitely have to be a bit more selective in where you spray.

After using Sun-Bum & Sun In, my hair feels a bit drier post-shower. Of course, with any lightening treatment, you will be damaging your hair slightly. To counter the dryness, I would 12/10 recommend using a leave-in conditioner for some added moisture.

The Best UV Ray Activated Hair Lightening Sprays of 2018

  1. John Frieda Beach Blonde Sun-Streaks Lightening Spray

John Frieda is pretty dependable when it comes to creating fabulous hair products. For $10 a bottle, lemon infused magic works to subtly get you those lighter highlights you’ve been looking for.

I can’t say from personal experience that I’ve tried this, but using other John Frieda hair products, I would imagine that it doesn’t disappoint…besides it does have pretty good reviews on Amazon!

  1. IGK Summertime Hair Lightening Spray

If you’re looking for something a bit higher end, Sephora has a *new* IGK Summertime Hair Lightening Spray for $27 a bottle. The formula uses chamomile and lemon extracts to highlight your hair delicately and naturally. Being a new product, it does not have many reviews…but when as Sephora ever steered us wrong?!

  1. Klorane Sun Lightening Spray

Who knew Chamomile had these magic powers?! Rather than lemon, Klorane uses chamomile and honey for a natural and gradual lightening. At $18 a bottle, it’s a bit more expensive than other options but worth a try.

Honorable Mention: Blonde Brilliance UV Activated Hair Lightening Sprays.

While doing my research for this post, I immediately thought of the ‘Blonde Brilliance’ line at Sally Beauty because I love it so much. Their products are absolutely amazing, and what I currently use to lift and tone my dark hair to its current bronde shade.

While I never used this product, it must have been discontinued. Maybe they’re working on putting out an even better creation? One can only hope.

The Best UV Activated Hair Lightening Sprays of 2018

*Related Post: Learn how I DIY my hair highlights at home here!*

As I mentioned earlier, these products are often recommended for blonde hair. Yet, if you’ve got that brunette swagger and you want to add a little summertime hair dimension, don’t be discouraged by these warnings– you can absolutely get amazing results using these products.

My advice to you: DO NOT FEAR the brassy, orange results. There are some additional steps you can take to achieve those ashy blonde hair highlights you desire.

I present to you, the magic of ~*~ toning your hair. ~*~

When we use lightening products, brown pigments in each hair strand are stripped of their color. Unlike blondes, brunettes have more reddish and orangey tones, so when we take away the browns and blacks we are left with leftover shades of red and orange.

When toning techniques are applied, brassy colors are neutralized using blue/purple products resulting in cooler blonde shades. Lucky for you [and not my hair], because I process my hair a lot I know some of the best products you can use to tone your hair.

The Best UV activated lightening sprays of 2018

Purple Shampoo & Conditioner –

One of the easier methods to tone hair is by using purple shampoos and conditioners. Although it can take several washes to really see results, this purple (and I mean PURPLE) shampoo and conditioner, revamps faded hair, removes yellowy tones and leaves your color treated hair looking post-salon shiny.

Shimmer Lights is one of the more popular brands on the market, but I’ve noticed more and more companies are releasing purple products.

Hair Toning Treatments & Masques –

Similar to purple shampoos and conditioners, more and more companies are releasing masques and treatment products to give your hair the de-brassing TLC it needs. Unlike shampoos and conditioners, you’ll see quicker results by using weekly treatments.

Toner –

Of course, this is the fastest but also the harshest method to toning your hair. Because a hair developer is involved there will be mild damage to your luscious locks. However, the results are obvious immediately and without question post-shower. These toners have long-lasting results, and you can treat and repeat as often as you seem fit.

I’ve used both Wella brand toners, and well as Blonde Brilliance toners. They both are great options to add to your hair care routine.

Sun-kissed streaks will never go out of style in the summer. Avoid the hassle of going to a salon for maintenance every six weeks and give UV ray activated highlighting sprays a shot. If you’re gonna be out in the sun, you might as well add a little dimension to your hairdo. 😉

I’m always looking to try new beauty products…what are your fave highlighting or toning goods? Comment in the box below!

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