Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review: Fun in the Sun

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review: Fun in the Sun

This post was most recently updated on June 15th, 2023

When summer arrives, blondes may call for hair lightener spray to amp up their tresses. This hair lightener angles itself as an easy way to brighten up your hair – no box of hair color is needed. Our Sun Bum hair lightener review finds out whether the product helps your blonde hair achieve that bright, sun-kissed glow in just a few sprays.

Without further ado, let’s start this review with a brief introduction about the brand itself and what they stand for.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review - Picture of Sun Bum being sprayed

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Sun Bum at a Glance

Back in 2010, Sun Bum started its journey making sun protection products. As consumer beauty care needs became complex over time, Sun Bum also evolved and became bigger by providing a variety of other beauty products. All Sun Bum products are rooted in surf lifestyle, sun, and simplicity.

Sun Bum offers various product lines, such as sun care, skin care, hair care, lip care, and even baby care. As for hair care, Sun Bum provides dozens of products, from shampoo to leave-in treatment. The brand even has a special line for blonde hair, i.e. purple shampoo, hair lightener, and hair toner.

Blonde Product Lines

Many people say that blondes have the most fun when it comes to dyeing their hair. However, blondies may face one big dilemma: a tendency to get unwanted brassy hair.

Sun Bum is there to help you combat such a major concern by providing four products for blonde hair treatments. Given below are the pictures and a brief description of the product’s benefits.

Sun Bum Blonde Purple Shampoo

Blonde Purple Shampoo: To gently cleanse your hair while also lightening and toning your natural or bottle blonde with each use.

Sun Bum Blonde Purple Conditioner

Blonde Purple Conditioner: Pairs great with shampoo to enhance the blonde color, deeply hydrate, and prevent frizz or breakage.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review

Blonde Hair Lightener: The best seller that helps brighten blonde hair by intensifying the sun’s highlighting effect.

Sun Bum Tone Enhancer

Blonde Tone Enhancer: A leave-in treatment designed to eliminate brassiness on natural or bottle blonde, giving cooler blonde tones.

Out of these four products, Blonde Hair Lightener is the best seller with over 11,098 reviews and sits at 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Thus, this article gives a big priority to covering all you need to know about Sun Bum Blonde Hair Lightener. Let’s take a closer look in the next section.

Sun Bum Blonde Hair Lightener Review

When applied to your hair, Sun Bum Hair Lightener gradually lightens while still complimenting your natural color. At a first glance, hair lightener spray seems pretty similar to bleaching. In fact, a hair lightener doesn’t completely remove your hair’s natural pigments, but only break them into small size instead.

While you spend the time during summer at the beach, the sunlight will bleach out the pigments due to UVA radiation exposure. That’s why a hair lightener makes your hair pigments colorless or less visible. Eventually, giving you nice blonde hair without significantly altering your natural color like bleach does.

Where can I get it?

You can buy Sun Bum Hair Lightener on Amazon at $15.79 for 4 fl oz. Moreover, this hair lightener spray works best if you take it together with the Tone Enhancer. If you stretch your budget thin, you can buy them as a bundle of Sun Bum Hair Lightener and Tone Enhancer for $18.99.

Currently, Sun Bum Hair Lightener sits at 4.4 out of 5 stars from 11,098+ Amazon reviews with 70% of reviewers giving it 5 stars.

Who is it for?

Generally speaking, Sun Bum Hair Lightener is suitable for all hair types and hair textures. When it comes to hair color bases, Sun Bum Hair Lightener works best on medium brown to blonde hair that has not been chemically treated.

If your hair is darker than that, the results may be less than desirable. However, the formula is not strong enough for black or jet-black hair.

  • If you have natural red hair, Sun Bum will give you a brighter strawberry blonde hair look. But, you may also end up getting yellow tones than the desired results.
  • Dark brunettes or dark brown can also use Sun Bum and may end up with warm hues like gold, amber, and honey.
  • If you use it on very dark hair, you probably will end up getting an orange appearance on your hair. Given the brassy orange tones, we recommend using a purple shampoo to remove the brassiness.

After all, hair lighteners are not magic. While it’s true to help illuminate your hair, they can’t lift color as dramatically as bleach does.

How to use it?

Sun Bum Hair Lightener is super easy and simple to use with no need for any complicated steps.

Here’s the important thing: Prep your hair with a hydrating hair care routine to improve your hair health, especially if your hair feels very dry or a bit too damaged. You can rely on Olaplex haircare treatment to rebuild the lost proteins and keep your hair strong.

You may need to do a strand test, especially if you have medium to dark hair (optional). Spray it on an inconspicuous piece of your hair to see if you like the results.

For all-over lighting, spray Sun Bum throughout dry or damp hair before baking in the sun or blow drying. For sun-kissed highlighting, spray it onto selected strands. All results are permanent.

Since Sun Bum Hair Lightener contains a bit of hydrogen peroxide, you should not use this spray more than once between washes to avoid over-drying and damage. According to the company, this product is intended to be used gradually, no more than 2 or a maximum of 3 times a week.

How does it work?

What makes Sun Bum Hair Lightener work is hydrogen peroxide. The molecules of this substance break down into free radicals, which then convert melanin into a colorless, lighter version.

Since Sun Bum Hair Lightener is heat-activated, either spending time out in the sun during summertime or blow-drying your hair will speed up the results. Eventually, this lightener spray subtly lifts dirty, dull blonde to a fresh, gorgeous version of itself.

However, while it’s true that sunlight is very helpful to speed up the results, it may also break your hair’s protein and moisture. Excessive UVB radiation may lead to hair damage, dryness, and brittleness, meaning you should be careful when spending time outdoors, especially with natural or bottled blonde hair.

Make sure to not spend too much time in the hot sun and always use SPF products to protect your hair and scalp from severe damage.

Please take note: If you plan on bleaching professionally soon or have already bleached your hair in the past few months, using a hair lightener is not recommended as it may cause unnecessary hair damage.

If your hair color looks a bit too brassy, you can refine it with other Sun Bum Blonde products like Purple Shampoo & Conditioner and Tone Enhancer. These treatments help to cool down unwanted warm or brassy tones of your hair.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener is also enhanced with hair-loving ingredients to balance your hair, making it less damaged. Let’s take a closer look at the next section.

Ingredients Breakdown

Hair lightener sprays have a somewhat unsavory reputation as it does help lift your hair shades but may also cause hair damage with improper application. But today, these sprays are having a resurgence and are packed with an improved formula that helps decrease the damage, for instance, Sun Bum.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener is free of DMDM Hydantoin, Gluten, Paraben, Phthalate, SLS/SLES, and PABA. Below is the full list of the ingredients:

Aqua (Water), Hydrogen Peroxide, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance/Parfum, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Silicone Quaternium-8, Disodium Phosphate, Phosphoric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Coumarin, Ext. Violet 2 (CL 60730).

Here are the benefits of Sun Bum product ingredients:

Hydrogen Peroxide

Commonly found in bleaching and permanent hair dye, hydrogen peroxide is the main lightening ingredient in the product. It can reach the hair cortex, the innermost layer of your hair that stores melanin (hair’s color pigment).

Eventually, hydrogen peroxide removes your natural hair pigment and makes it colorless permanently, leading to a bright blonde. This process can cause structural damage to your hair, that’s why you should not use the product too often and always use hydrating hair care.


Basically, fragrance is not the worst thing for you. But it is also not the best. Fragrance is added to Sun Bum Hair Lightener Spray to give it a nice scent that customers love. However, not all customers are equal. People with sensitive scalps may have allergic reactions to fragrances.

Polysorbate 20

This is a man-made ingredient that is used as a surfactant to blend all formula ingredients into a stable product. In Sun Bum, Polysorbate 20 is beneficial to create better-textured products that are easy to spread.

Polysorbate 20 also acts as a fragrance since it is derived from sorbitol which comes from sweet fruits. This helps to enhance the citrus-coconutty scent in Sun Bum Hair Lightener.

Pineapples and Lemons

Sun Bum Hair Lightener is infused with Costa Rican Pineapples and Meyer Lemons which are abundant in Vitamin C and help create natural highlights.

The citric acid in these ingredients acts as an oxidizing agent. It helps brighten your hair by reducing the color pigment of your hair (melanin). When exposed to heat, this substance speeds up the whitening process. It also makes your hair shinier, especially after spending time out on a sunny day. But again, you shouldn’t stay out in the sun too long as it may break your hair easily.

Silicone Quaternium-8

A water-soluble silicone that coats hair which then locks in moisture and leaves your hair smooth and shiny. However, silicone comes with some downsides. Since it seals your hair, this could prevent other nourishing ingredients from infusing your hair cuticles.

As time goes on, this can build up on your hair, making your hair look dull and easy breakage. However, Silicone Quaternium-8 is water-soluble, meaning it can be rinsed with water only without specialized shampoo, unlike non-water-soluble silicone.

Disodium Phosphate

It is a chemical added to Sun Bum that is used as a preservative or buffering to control pH. Our hair has a slightly acidic pH level. If the product is too acidic, it may cause extreme dryness, leading to hair damage. That’s why disodium phosphate helps to keep the product’s pH level similar to our hair.

Phosphoric Acid

Similar to disodium phosphate, phosphoric acid is also used as a preservative to control the pH level of the formula.

Disodium EDTA

Disodium EDTA is a salt of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid that functions as a chelating agent. It means EDTA can enhance the stability of the formula and make the job of the preservative ingredients easier.


Coumarin is a plant-sourced fragrance that gives the product a naturally sweet, vanilla scent. If you’re sensitive to fragrance, this may pose health risks, such as allergic reactions.

These are the ingredients of Sun Bum Hair Lightener. In the next section, we cover real-life user experiences along with before and after pictures.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Reviews – Before and After Pictures

Given are the results of verified buyers with various hair types, hair textures, hair lengths, hair colors, ethnicities, ages, etc.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review - 1

Results of a woman with wavy, medium brown hair. She also took purple shampoo to ward off the strawberry blonde hair after using the lightener, resulting in medium blonde hair.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review - 2

Results of a woman with wavy, natural medium brown hair. After using the product a couple of times followed by a blue shampoo, she got light blonde hair.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review - 3

Results of an Asian woman with the natural darkest brown, thick hair. After 2 weeks of use, her hair gradually changed to subtle auburn red.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review - 4

Results of a woman with medium brown hair who took the lightener and purple shampoo once a week. Her hair lightens up after a few months, resulting in medium blonde.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review - 5

Results of an adult woman with natural medium blonde hair. After taking a couple of sessions, she got the lightest blonde hair. The dark roots are also lightened up.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review - 6

Results of a woman with medium blonde hair who took the lightener once a week. After three times of use, her hair gradually lightened up, resulting in the lightest blonde hair.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review - 7

Results of a woman with highlighted wavy hair who took Sun Bum 2-3 days a week. After a month, her hair looks lighter than before, especially in the highlighted part.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review - 8

Results of a woman with dark brown straight hair. Her hair gradually changed to medium-light brown after using the product for 2 weeks.

Sun Bum Hair Lightener Review - 9

Results of an adult woman who has medium brown with highlights of red and blonde streaks. The lightener brought out her red undertones after 4 times of use.

These are the results after using Sun Bum Hair Lightener on different hair color bases. Now let’s take a look at the side effects.

Disadvantages and Possible Side Effects

Sun Bum Hair Lightener is not as bad as people rave about, but it’s also not too great either for your hair. Some ingredients can cause excessive hair dryness and damage, especially if you overuse the product.

Here we cover the possible side effects or downsides of Sun Bum Hair Lightener:

Excessive use may lead to hair dryness

Since it contains hydrogen peroxide and lemons, heavy use of a hair lightener may cause your hair to be prone to damage and dry, which could lead to breakage. We recommend only using Sun Bum for a short time until your hair has been lifted as you desire.

May leave brassy tones on dark hair

Sun Bum Hair Lightener works best on light brown to blonde hair. If you have very dark hair, for instance, black or darkest brown, the results may give you brassy orange hair. Thus, you should use purple shampoo or hair toner to get rid of that brassiness.

It’s not silicone-free

Silicone Quaternium-8 can leave build-up on your hair and make it appear dull and dry over time. Although it’s water-soluble silicone, you should wash your hair at least once a week with detox shampoo to remove stubborn build-up after regularly using Sun Bum Hair Lightener.

Contains many fragrance ingredients

Sun Bum Hair Lightener contains fragrance/perfume and some people dislike its overpowering scent while others have no issues with it.

May cause scalp irritation

Hydrogen peroxide may cause scalp irritation or burning especially if you have a sensitive scalp. Try not to spray the product right onto your scalp to avoid these issues from happening.

Allergic reactions due to Disodium EDTA

Basically, this ingredient is typically safe and doesn’t penetrate the skin or scalp. However, if you have a very sensitive scalp or skin, you may develop a rash, redness, or swelling. Make sure to perform a patch test to avoid this issue.

Make sure to always apply moisturizing treatment to promote hydration and decrease the risk of breakage. A hair mask or hair serum will do wonders after using Sun Bum, especially if your hair is prone to damage, dry, or curly.

Now let’s check the alternatives to Sun Bum Hair Lightener.

Alternatives to Sun Bum Hair Lightener

There are similar products to Sun Bum you should check out to get that sun-kissed glow hair. In this section, we cover three hair lightener sprays offered by John Frieda, Sun-In, and Camomila Intea.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Spray

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Spray

Formulated with hydrogen peroxide and a special blend of citrus and chamomile, John Frieda Lightening Spray lifts your hair to 2 lighter tones. This lightener spray gradually brightens your hair, making it perfect to test out a new look without full commitment.

When it comes to pricing, John Frieda seems more expensive than Sun Bum ($18.79 for 3.5 fl oz). However, John Frieda Lightening Spray boasts a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars from 14,332+ reviews, higher than Sun Bum.

Sun-In Spray-In Hair Lightener

Sun-In Spray-In Hair Lightener

This alcohol-free hair lightener spray is packed with botanical extracts, such as aloe vera, marigold, chamomile, and flaxseed. Sun-In Spray-In has a lightweight formula, which won’t weigh hair down. Instead, it lightens your blonde or light brown look while leaving your hair smoother and shinier.

Sun-In Spray-In Hair Lightener offers the least affordable price with generous size among them (only $6.99 for 4.7 fl oz). It sits at 4.4 out of 5 stars from 3,320+ reviews, which is why Sun Bum seems more influential than Sun-In.

Camomila Intea Natural Blond Lotion

Camomila Intea Natural Blond Lotion

If you’re looking for vegan hair lightener sprays, Camomila Intea is your answer. Packed with chamomile flower extract, this hair lightener lifts your brown and dark blonde hair to 4 lighter hues. It also enriches your color and hair shine.

Camomila Intea offers the least expensive price among them ($27.99 for 3.4 fl oz). The product received  4.2 out of 5 stars from 859+ reviews, not quite as popular as Sun Bum due to many users buying it from other retailers. However, if you want to level up your hair lightener, then Camomila Intea is the best fit, especially if you have dark brown hair.

Sun Bum – Great Product to be Used with Precautions

Sun Bum Hair Lightener is the best option for blondes who want to gradually lighten their hair without necessarily bleaching it. The results are also not significantly transformative like bleach does. Sun Bum may leave orange tones on your hair, especially in dark hair. You should use purple shampoo to eliminate unwanted warm tones.

Spending time outdoors after using Sun Bum does accelerate the lightening, but it is recommended to not stay for a longer period. UVB radiation may do more harm to your hair which then leads to dry and brittle hair. Don’t forget to always apply sunscreen to protect your hair and scalp from sun damage.

Hope this review was helpful and let you gain clarity about Sun Bum Hair Lightener Spray. Click below to get Sun Bum Hair Lightener if you’re ready to buy it after reading our review. Leave us in the comment section with thoughts or questions you may have.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the Sun Bum Hair Lightener last?

Sun Bum contains hydrogen peroxide that works on the hair cortex level to convert your hair pigment into a colorless version. Meaning the lightener spray will give you permanent results. 

Is Sun Bum good for your hair?

When using a hair lightener, there’s always the risk that could come to yours, especially with excessive use. For instance, hair dryness, prone to damage, or even breakage. Make sure to take care of your hair with hydrating hair care regularly, be it conditioner, hair mask, and hair serum.

How do I get the best results of the Sun Bum Hair Lightener?

Apply Sun Bum Hair Lightener on dry or damp hair two or max three times a week. When you see brassy orange or yellow on your hair, use purple shampoo to get rid of those unwanted warm tones.

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