How to Lighten Dark Hair to a Light Blonde Color

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...


Step 1: Color Remover

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...

The first thing you should do to lighten dark hair, is get as much black (or dark color) out of your hair as you can.

You may have to do this process a few times. Color remover, like “Color Oops,” works by entering the hair shaft and removing the artificial color molecules.

It does not remove any of the natural pigment in your hair. Because of this, this step will not work on hair that has not been previously colored.

Color remover will not return your hair to the same color it was before dying it.

The end result of using color remover is going to be a brassy color. You can tone this color and live with a more desirable tone of hair for a few weeks. Since the color remover may cause some damage, spend time reconditioning your hair.

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...


Step 2: Highlights

When your hair has recovered from the color remover, it is safe to add a little bit of highlights.

The highlights will help break up the brassiness of the hair, and look more blonde. I would only recommend adding some fine, natural highlights throughout the whole head at first.

Also, using color will not lighten your hair to the desired level of blonde; you need to use bleach.

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...


Step 3: More Highlights

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...

Over the next few months, you can continue adding more and more highlights to your hair over multiple processes. Having someone else do this step is crucial; they can make sure not to bleach the same sections, over and over again.

Do deep conditioning treatments to your hair in between processes.

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...


Step 4: The Final Plunge

After enough rounds of highlights, it should be pretty easy to lighten the rest of your hair to the same level without causing excessive damage.

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...

Remember that this process should occur over many months. You lighten a little bit at a time, and let the hair recover in between processes. That is the best way to lighten your hair without damaging it beyond repair or having bright orange hair.


Your Turn: Did you learn anything new? Have you ever taken your hair from dark to light? I’d love to read your feedback in the comments section below…

28 thoughts on “How to Lighten Dark Hair to a Light Blonde Color”

  1. I HAd 2″-3″ natural dark “dirty blonde” roots that I tried to color to match the rest of my long, blonde straight hair.
    I used both light ash brown and very light blonde streaks to create dimension. All of my roots came out brassy orange! I left both colors on for 45 minutes.
    What color(s) can I use on my roots to match the rest of my hair, a mix of dark and light neutral blondes? I used to use neutral blondes but tried “cool” ash Brown and blonde this last time since my darker hair pulls red at times.
    Please advise me on the low and HIGHLIGHTs to use to combat the orange.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  2. hi
    I used oops remover and applied 8N and 8A and it went red
    I let it grow out then did 9N on my natural roots and it also went red
    I wanted a blond colour.
    can u help?

    Reply
    • It really all depends on what the previous color was, the undertones of your natural color, how many times your hair has been colored, etc. Is your natural color dark? If so, you won’t be able to lift more than 4 levels with a color, if using 40v developer.

      If you could give me some more details about what developer you used, how many times you’ve colored your hair and what the starting color was, I can try to offer more advice 🙂

      Reply
  3. I dyed my hair Brunette and it’s natural gray tones. I would love to get my gray back with some beautiful silver. Is this going to be long process to do? What do you recommend?

    Reply
    • You have grey hair but dyed it brunette and now want the grey back, right? This is definitely a process. I would probably strip the color and then add some thin, natural highlights that blend in with your hair and tone them to a silvery color. This will help your natural hair grow out while blending with the colored hair. Obviously, it all depends on what your hair actually looks like and what you’re trying to achieve, but I hope that helps.

      You can also look for colors that are meant for “grey blending”… these colors will color your hair while leaving some grey highlights. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  4. hELLO hOLLEE,
    I HAVE DARK BROWN HAIR AND HAVE USED kALEIDECOLORS BLUE WITH A 30 VOLUME TONER WHICH LEAVES ME WITH TOO MUCH ORANGE THAT A WELLA T-18 WILL NOT FIX. so NOW I HAVE COVERED THE ORANGE WITH A PERMANENT DARK ASH BLOND WHICH IS JUST TOO DARK NOW AND I WANT TO TRY THE WHOLE PROCESS AGAIN. sHOULD i USE A 40 VOLUME TONER WITH lOREAL qUICK bLUE (WHICH i HAVE USED IN THE PAST AND IT LIFTED FINE.) i THINK THE KALEIDECOLORS WAS NOT STRONG ENOUGH. wILL THE 40 VOLUME GIVE ME THE BLONDE i AM LOOKING FOR OR IS IT TOO STRONG?

    Reply

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