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5 Goof-Proof Ways to Brighten Your Hair ASAP

Has the summer snuck up on you like it has on me? I may not be able to drop ten pounds before I have to put on a bathing suit, but at least I can get my hair summer ready super fast. In all seriousness—there’s nothing like lightening up your hair to head into summer feeling fantastic—bikinis be damned! And if you can’t find the time (or the money) to get in to the salon—don’t worry. There are a slew of new at-home hair brightening and lightening products that can easily brighten your hair and give it a quick pick-me-up.

Riza Hazan and L'Oreal Summer Lights Final

1. Rita Hazan Ultimate Shine Gloss, $26.

Rita Hazan is one of my favorite colorists in New York City. She works with celebrities like Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Katy Perry and runs an amazing salon on 5th Avenue—but the price to sit in her chair is more than a week of summer camp. No fear. Her at-home clear gloss instantly revives every hair color—whether it’s natural or from a box—giving it a fresh, light-reflecting effect so it looks brighter and healthier all around. 

2. L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Summer Lights Gelée, $7.

Enter the gradual self-tanner of hair lighteners. Apply this heat-activated lightening gel, then blast it with a blow dryer and watch your hair color turn to a beautiful I-was-just-in-St.-Barths look. Want it a little lighter? Keep repeating the process daily until you get to your desired shade, then use it again whenever you need to touch up. Brilliant!

Jacques Dessange John Frieda Beach Blonde Final

3. DESSANGE Paris Solar Blonde Lightening Gelée, $12. 

Want more of a highlighted look? The comb applicator of this leave-in lightening makes it easy to just add a few streaks here and there. Focus on the ends for a cool ombré effect. 

4. John Frieda Beach Blonde Sun Streaks Lightening Spray, $10.

I remember when John Frieda launched the Beach Blonde collection back in 2001—at the time I was the Beauty Director of Cosmopolitan. It was an instant hit—and beloved by all until it suddenly disappeared off the shelves to everyone’s dismay. But after much begging, it’s finally back! This lemon-infused spray is activated by the sun to give you a gorgeous beachy look. I spray it on my hair before going for a run outside—always multi-tasking! 

Clairol Sun Kissed Final

5. Nice ‘n Easy Sunkissed Collection, $7.

Can’t be bothered with brushing in highlights? Each of the eight shades in the new Nice ‘n Easy Sunkissed Collection has three salon tones in one simple step. This makes your hair look toned and naturally highlighted without futzing with a paintbrush or comb. All you have to do is apply it, then browse Momtastic for twenty-five minutes and rinse. Easy peasy.

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