One of the most common questions I get is how to lighten dark hair to a light blonde color.

The question I am asked the most often is how to lighten dark hair to a light blonde color? Let me take you through the steps...

For instance, let’s say someone has very dark brown or black hair and they want light blonde hair.  The problem is that if you try to drastically change your hair in one process, it is probable that your hair will be very brassy and/or damaged.  There are a series of processes and factors to consider in order to get a desirable end result.  Let me fill you in…

How to Lighten Dark Hair:

First and foremost, I have seen a lot of people mess up their own hair while trying to lighten it, due to lack of experience.  Ultimately, I recommend having an experienced hair color specialist take your hair through the correct processes.  Trust me, you’ll regret it if you damage your hair beyond repair.

Next, I want you to know that to lighten dark hair, it must be done over a series of processes. You cannot go from black to blonde overnight.  You can try, but you will probably do a lot of damage to your hair (think: hair melting off, level of damage).  It’s probable that you will have very brassy, orange hair.

Next, I have to mention that hair that has been previously colored, reacts different from virgin hair (hair that has never been colored).  Virgin hair will be a lot easier to lighten than colored hair.  Read more about this from my popular article, “The Golden Rule of Hair Color“.  Lets say, for the sake of this article, that we are talking about someone who has previously colored their hair black and their hair is in pretty decent condition.  Also, lets pretend that they have never bleached their hair before.

The question I am asked the most often is how to lighten dark hair to a light blonde color? Let me take you through the steps...

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4 Comments on How to Lighten Dark Hair to a Light Blonde Color

  1. daphne
    May 29, 2017 at 9:02 AM (3 months ago)

    Hi there,
    I don’t want to go blonde – but I do want to go lighter – just a nice darker brown (so that my grey doesn’t show up so quickly and with such contrast). I have naturally black hair – and I color it with natural black to hide the grey – I’d say I am about 25% grey. My hair grows super fast, is very thick and naturally wavy. It’s also porous, so it takes color pretty quickly. Bleaching is scary to me. What would color oops do to my hair? I’ve read about it but it too scares me! lol – I was researching quite a bit online and found the Feria Hi-lift color – but that looks like it is only for virgin hair. Any suggestions? Thank you!

    • Hollee Wood
      May 29, 2017 at 9:33 PM (3 months ago)

      Hi Daphne! The hi-lift color will not work on colored hair. It would probably make your roots a really blonde color and won’t do anything to the rest of your hair. Color oops may lighten some of the color out, but probably not since I’m guessing you’ve probably colored over the colored hair many times. It will probably be pretty hard to lift out, but since you are only wanting to go to a dark brown, it can probably be done. My advice would be to go to a hairstylist to get it to the color you want. Then, it might be easier for you to match your outgrowth to that color on your own. Just remember that if you keep coloring over the colored hair, it will continue to get darker and darker. Please let me know if you have any other questions! Hope it helps! 🙂

  2. Emily
    May 4, 2017 at 3:14 PM (4 months ago)

    Hi Hollee, Love your blog 🙂 I’m wondering, will a toner work on a drugstore box dye? I used to use Garnier nutrisse in chamomile and got tons of compliments but I always felt it was wayyyy too warm and brassy. Wondering if a toner would work on that?

    • Hollee Wood
      May 4, 2017 at 3:17 PM (4 months ago)

      Thank you so much for the kind words and question! It should work because toners just deposit pigment to counteract the color you don’t want. It isn’t going to lighten your hair at all, but will help cancel out some brassy tones. My best advice, if you want to do it yourself, would be to go to Sally Beauty Supply and talk to someone (make sure they are experienced with hair color) about the best tone to use. Hope it helps!! 🙂


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