I interviewed my 52 year old Aunt who was visiting from Seattle. She was very close with my grandmother, who I never had the opportunity of meeting, and I asked her questions about things that her mom taught her. She did have a couple things that she fondly remembers her mother teaching her, one of those things was surprisingly teaching her how to lighten her hair with lemon juice.
Collector: “Are there any other things that your mother taught you when you were young?”
Informant: “Lets see… well, when I was about 12 or 13 years old I really wanted blonde hair. Because I knew I was never going to have blonde hair, the closest thing to it was just to lighten my hair. At first I tried a few different methods on my own with over the counter hair lightening treatments, but none of them worked and they just made my hair turn a weird color which I hated. My mom saw me struggling with this and showed me a trick that her mother showed her. The process was to combine lemon juice and warm water in a spray bottle, spray it on your head and then sit in the sun for an hour or two. Then just repeat this until you get the color you want. I was shocked at how well it worked and it is definitely something I would recommend doing for someone looking to lighten their hair.”
This was very interesting to me because I have actually heard of this technique before, and to see that my grandmother and even great grandmother were familiar with it was very surprising. I tried to do some research on the origin of this technique specifically but could not find any information. I did discover, however, that hair coloring has been around for a long time. In the 1661 book Eighteen Books of the Secrets of Art & Nature, different methods of hair coloring are explained. This includes turning your hair black, gold, green, red, yellow and even white which are mostly very unnatural colors. I found this topic very interesting.