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How to Bleach Hair

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Bleaching tips

  • Apply bleach quickly and thoroughly to guarantee even results
  • Use the lowest volume of peroxide that will reach your desired shade
  • Don't bleach your hair more than once in a one week period
  • Always follow up bleaching with toner and repairing treatments

If you have dark hair and wish to dye it blonde, you need to be able to use bleach. More than that, you need to know how to use it safely to mitigate any potential harm. You don't have to end up as another bleach horror story, and by learning a little about how it works and what it can and can't do, you'll have hair that turns heads for all the right reasons.

How bleach works

Bleach powder is mixed with hydrogen peroxide and this is what activates it and creates an oxidizing environment when applied to hair. The concentration of peroxide used is the major factor that determines the strength of the preparation, and this oxidation is the reaction that allows bleach and permanent dye to work.

In the case of a permanent dye, this oxidation converts the dye into colored pigment that is embedded in the hair, thereby causing the hair to become a new color. In the case of bleach however, the oxidation acts on the pigment already present in your hair to disperse it and lighten your natural hair color.

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Generic vs salon brands

The lift potential of the different volumes of peroxide is true for generic brands of bleach. High quality salon brands like Wella and Indola offer bleach powder that can potentially lift up to 7 levels with only 20 vol peroxide. Use quality branded bleach to go lighter, with less damage and better results overall.

Wella Blondor Multi Blonde Powder Lightener, 28.2 Ounce
Wella Blondor Multi Blonde Powder Lightener, 28.2 Ounce

Wella Blondor is a high quality bleach powder and will allow you to get your hair lighter, with significantly less damage. Always use a quality brand like this for best results.

 

Volume of peroxide

When preparing bleach, you need to add peroxide to it to activate it in order for it to work. The concentration of the peroxide is what will determine the maximum lightening potential of the bleach, and this should be adjusted to suit your current hair color and scalp sensitivity. Increasing the strength of peroxide will increase the lift, but will also cause a lot more irritation to your scalp, and more damage to your hair.

  • 10 vol peroxide should only be used on hair that is already close to your desired color. You can use this concentration to lighten a color application that has turned out too dark, or for gentle lightening of 1 - 2 levels depending on the texture of your hair and your dye history. If you've dyed your hair a few times with dark colors, this concentration of peroxide will be ineffective for most purposes where any major lightening is required.
  • 20 vol peroxide is fairly standard for bleaching hair. This volume of peroxide will lift a potential of 2 - 3 levels with low-end products. This level of lift is enough to take dark brown hair to a light brown color, or to take light brown to a light to medium blonde color. It isn't strong enough to lift dark brown or black hair to blonde in one process.
  • 30 vol peroxide is strong enough that most people will notice irritation to their scalp. If you have sensitive skin, this formula is too strong for on-scalp application, but you can use it for foiled highlights as long as you don't apply it near your skin. Use of this concentration of peroxide will attain a lift of 3 - 4 levels.
  • 40 vol peroxide, mixed with bleach, should not be used on your scalp at all. It shouldn't even be used for highlights in most cases. Whilst you can buy this concentration of peroxide, it's mainly produced for high-lift blonde dyes. It's not meant to be used with bleach these days, and you'll risk injury to your scalp and damage to your hair if you attempt to use it like that. This is one of the mistakes that spawns bleach horror stories.

Hair undertones

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Lift potential of bleach

Peroxide Concentration
Lift potential
10 vol
1 - 2 levels
20 vol
2 - 3 levels
30 vol
3 - 4 levels

Hair level and base pigment

If you're going to bleach your hair, an understanding of hair depth and underlying pigments will lead to better results. All hair from black to the lightest blonde falls somewhere on the international color code level system. Black hair is defined as level one, and this goes all the way to level ten, which is a pastel blonde close to white, and the lightest possible hair color.

As well as all hair colors having a level that tells you how dark the color is, all hair colors have an underlying base pigment that contributes to that depth. In blonde hair, this base pigment is anything from pale yellow to golden orange. Black hair has a deep, dark red base.

When you bleach your hair, the color is stripped away to reveal this base pigment and you can estimate how much lightening has occurred by looking at the base color you've arrived at. You can also use the base color as a guide to what level of toner you should be using, and what color you will ultimately be able to reach after toning is complete.

As an example of how you would go about using this information, if you have identified that your current hair color is a level five, and you can lift it up to three levels with the bleach you've prepared, the lightest level you can reach is an eight. You can then see that your hair is now a dark yellow color which tells you this is correct. Now that you know what level you've reached, you know that you'd need an ash toner that is a level eight or nine in order to neutralize this yellow pigment to a natural blonde color.

Should you use bleach?

  • If your hair hasn't been dyed before and the color you desire is less than 3 levels lighter than your current hair color, you can use a dye instead of bleach. For 3 levels of lightening or more, bleach is more reliable.
  • If you've dyed your hair previously, you will generally need to use bleach to lighten your hair regardless of what color you want, because dye can't remove dye.

Preparing bleach

You should have a goal in mind before bleaching your hair. By combining the concept of depth levels and the lifting potential of the different peroxide concentrations, you should arrive at an estimate of how much lift you can achieve when bleaching your hair, and this will help you avoid mistakes and not hold unrealistic expectations when you use the product.

To prepare the bleach, mix the powder together in a one to one ratio of bleach and your chosen concentration of peroxide, unless the brand you're using specifies a different ratio. The product should be prepared and then used immediately as there is a chemical reaction taking place and it loses effectiveness the longer you leave it sitting. Always use gloves when mixing and applying bleach to avoid the risk of causing chemical burns or irritating your skin.

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Applying bleach

When applying bleach, a quicker application will reduce the chance of uneven results. In order to apply it quickly you should section your hair out appropriately into four easily managed quadrants. These sections should be clipped back with sectioning clips when you're not working on them in order to keep them out of the way so you can focus on one section at a time.

To divide your hair into quadrants, make a part from the center of your forehead all the way to the nape of your neck with a tailed comb. Finish by taking another part from each ear to form the four sections and clip each of them out of the way. When you're ready to apply the bleach to your hair, take the first clip out and begin applying the bleach with a tinting brush.

Bleach should be applied to the quadrants from top to bottom, as quickly as possible. You should start at the back of your head and apply the bleach to thin layers until you've completely covered one quadrant, then gradually work through the remaining quadrants one at a time until your hair is completely covered.

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Application time

The length of time that you leave the bleach in to process is largely dependent on your goal. The only thing to remember is that it shouldn't be left in for longer than an hour. If the bleach hasn't lifted enough pigment by that time, you will have to perform another application, and this shouldn't be done for at least a week, and only if your hair is still in good condition. Past this point, the bleach won't lift much more color as most of its lightening power has been expended. All you really do is increase irritation to your scalp and cause more damage to your hair from the alkaline environment.

If the bleach has lifted enough pigment before this time however, wash it out immediately to stop the process and avoid any unnecessary damage now that you've reached your desired level of lightening. Bleach needs to be watched to avoid over-processing, and you should check it every 5 - 10 minutes.

Rinsing bleach out

Bleach should be rinsed out thoroughly with plenty of cool water before you shampoo your hair. Any bleach that isn't rinsed out will continue to process and may cause damage to your hair, so it is important that you ensure it is all removed. Shampoo your hair twice to remove any remaining residue.

If you're going to be applying a toner immediately, avoid using conditioner. If you use conditioner before applying the toner, this can reduce the penetration of the dye and you may end up with brassier hair than you wish. Hair should be toned and then conditioner can be used after the toner has been rinsed out.

You can add a small amount of white vinegar to your conditioner to neutralize the pH imbalance that the bleach has caused. This is an effective way to close the cuticles and bring the hair back to natural balance much quicker. This will help make your hair feel smoother and look shinier.

Bleaching doesn't have to end in a horror story, nor does it have to damage your hair. To achieve the best results and maintain the integrity of your hair, remember to be safe when you use it, and to only apply it to hair that isn't already damaged. If you look after your hair like this, it will thank you by looking its best every day.

Do you have a question about bleach, or need more help using it? Leave a comment for tailored advice...

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272 comments

erorantes profile image

erorantes 2 years ago from Miami Florida

Hello, mr James. I like your article on How to bleach hair. Good job.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Thank you, I'm glad you like it.


Charlie deck 2 years ago

Hi, Mr. James. Um, well, i basically want to lighten my hair. i dyed it last year from a box dye that


Charlie deck 2 years ago

didn't really come on much, it came on the roots but not any through the rest of my hair. And i was just wondering, is it safe to bleach the rest of my hair, just not from the roots to get the desired colour/look or do i still need to strip my hair even though the dye never came on. i haven't done anything to my hair since last year either so i was just wondering what i should do


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi, Charlie, thanks for the comment.

I'm taking it your hair has been dyed before? Hair that's been dyed with hair dye can't be lightened with more hair dye. In this case, bleach is the only product that can lift the artificial color out. That would be why your roots lightened but the rest of your hair didn't.

As far as bleaching your hair goes, the short answer is that it's perfectly fine to bleach it now, as long as your hair is in good condition. The results will depend on what you're trying to achieve though.

You'll be able to lighten your hair about 3 or so levels with a single bleaching. To put this into context, this would take dark brown hair to a light brown shade. You can use the chart in my article to match your hair and get an idea of what level it currently is, then look at the color you want and you'll find out how many levels lighter it is compared to your current color.

The most important thing however, is that after you bleach it, you need to tone it with hair dye. When you bleach your hair, the base tone is revealed and it can look anything from red to golden. You need to tone this with an ash shade of hair dye to reach a natural color.

If you could tell me how dark your hair is at the moment, and what color you want to achieve, I'll be able to give you more advice.


Charlie Deck 2 years ago

Thank you for replying.

Well the hair that was mostly colored from my roots is more of like a golden brown, but since i have let my hair grow the crown of my hair is my natural color which is black. so the color that was dyed and came on my roots has gone a bit down but the rest of my hair where the dye never came on is really dark brown almost black. You can pretty much see the color in the light only.

The color that i am trying to get is more of like an ash/golden brown color but i don't really know how to get there. I just don't want my hair coming out another color. Moreover, my hair is in good condition, as i have never bleached it before, just used a box dye which was last year, after that i have not used any chemicals on my hair, but now i'm bored of my hair and it looks kind of weird to as i want it all one color which is a golden/brown color.

The box hair dye that i did use was nice 'n easy - champagne blonde.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Box hair dyes are notoriously bad, and the images the manufacturers place on the back are quite misleading.

You should be able to reach a golden brown quite easily. You will need to bleach it first, then tone it with dye.

When you bleach it, apply the bleach with a tinting brush because you need the precision as you shouldn't overlap over the hair that is already the right color. Because your lighter roots have grown out a little, you have a band of lighter color between your darker color and will have to apply the bleach to the roots, and to the darker lengths without overlapping. If you do overlap a little, the dye will cover it and mostly even it out anyway, but you want to avoid this as much as possible to prevent damage.

I'd recommend a quality salon bleach powder. Indola Rapid Blonde, Wella Blondor Multi Blonde, or Igora Vario Blonde Plus are a few great bleach powders. Generic brands and boxed bleaches cause more damage and don't lighten your hair as well. To this, mix 2 parts 20 vol peroxide to 1 part bleach powder. For example, if you had 1 scoop of bleach powder, you would need to scoops of peroxide to mix up the bleach.

When you apply the bleach, follow the instructions as in the article, applying it only to your darker lengths and roots. You need to leave it in until your hair lightens to an orange shade. This shouldn't take too long, depending on how resistant your hair is to lightening. In any case, you can leave the bleach in for up to an hour, but it should lighten to an orange color before that.

After you've bleached it, your hair is going to have a dreadful orange color because the base pigment is revealed, so don't panic thinking you've done something wrong. To tone out the orange, you will need to apply an ash dye, which will neutralize the base tone and give you a light brown color.

The dye you use is just as important as the bleach, and I recommend salon products as opposed to a box dye. Brands like Indola, Wella, Matrix, Igora, and Redken will give you the best results. This dye should be a level 6, which is usually called 'dark blonde', and you need an ash tone. Matrix Socolor 6A, Wella Koleston 6/1, or Igora 6-1 are a few examples of the right shade to use. I know you're aiming for a light brown color, the fact that it's a dark blonde shade of dye doesn't mean that it's going to dye your hair blonde. A light brown ash would likely overtone your hair and make it too ashy, which is why I suggest a dark blonde shade. This will tone your hair to a more natural golden light brown by neutralizing some of that copper tone the bleach reveals.

If you need some more information concerning how to use and apply a salon dye, feel free to read my article. It will also explain the level and tone classification system of hair dye, which are the numbers used to identify a hair color's shade: https://bellatory.com/hair/How-to-dye-hair...

If you have any further questions or need some clarification on anything I've said, feel free to ask.


Charlie Deck 2 years ago

I have asked a few people who have bleached their hair before and all about dying the hair but a lot of people have suggested that i should use a hicolour loreal such as a honey blonde or an ash blonde with a 30 volume developer as it will be more safer. If i do this, will the color still come on my hair where the dye never came on, or should i just stick with bleaching ?

Also, i already have a developer which is 30 volume, i just don't have a bleaching powder, what do you suggest i should do?

Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

If a regular dye didn't lift your hair, a high lift dye isn't likely to lighten it either. High lift dyes only lift about one level more than any other dye, and this is because they pack it full of ammonia to boost the peroxide. The main benefit of their use over the standard bleach and tone process is that they lighten and tone the hair simultaneously so you don't have to do two separate processes.

Also, it's a common misconception that high lift dye is less damaging than bleach. The damage to your hair is a result of the lightening process, and a dye that lightens your hair 3 levels will cause close to the same amount of damage that bleach does when used to lighten 3 levels. It's the oxidation of the product, which causes the lightening, and this process causes damage as a by-product.

You'll probably find it easier to apply a high lift than to bleach and tone, but I don't think you'll get the results you want from it. If you do want to use a high lift dye though, I like Indola 1000.12 ash pearl high lift. In my experience, it can lighten dark brown hair to almost dark blonde. I've never used Loreal colours before so I can't comment on them.


Charlie Deck 2 years ago

The reason I don't really want to use hicolor loreal is because even though it's less damaging I might not get the desired look that I want and for this if I do want to change the color I'm going to have to strip the color out first then bleach it which is a long process, so I think the advice you gave me before is the best. Because after bleaching my hair I can use a dark ash color instead of a light and my hair will pretty much be the color I want it to be i'm guessing.

One thing that i am concerned about is, even though the rest of my hair didn't lighten as much from the box dye, if I bleach it, i'm scared it might come out another color. So should I just be careful when applying bleach to my hair that's dark or should i still strip the color out and then do it? Also, is it ok if i use a 30 volume developer? Because I already have the developer, just not the bleaching powder.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

You want a light brown shade, correct? Bleach it to the orange stage, then apply an ash dye over that to tone it to brown.

You can use the 30 vol developer, as long as you don't have a sensitive scalp. It will lift faster and you need to apply it very quickly or you won't end up with an even color. Apply the bleach to your darker hair, bleach it to orange, massage the bleach through the rest of your hair for the last 5 minutes to strip out the color in your lighter band, then remove the bleach and tone the orange color out with ash. Don't use a box dye to tone it though. Use salon dye.


Charlie Deck 2 years ago

Thank you so much for this great advise, one more question, after bleaching my hair, can I dye my hair straight away after bleaching it or do I wait and how long? Do I do anything to my hair before hand?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

No problem.

Yes, you can dye it after you bleach it, there's no issue there. Just shampoo the bleach out, towel dry, and you're good to apply the dye. Condition your hair thoroughly after you rinse the dye out to add moisture back in that the bleach took out, but don't condition before using the dye as it coats the hair and will decrease colour penetration.


Charlie Deck 2 years ago

Right, ok.

Thank you so much, you've been very helpful, I don't know what I would have done without this great advice, once again, thank you.

I will let you know about my end results as soon as I've done it :)


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

I'm glad to have been assistance, and I'll look forward to hearing how the colour turns out.

Good luck and happy colouring :)


Bennie 2 years ago

Hey,

I wanted to ask if it is important to buy all products from one brand. To clarify: if I have a color from company x, do I have to use the peroxide from company x or ist it possible to use peroxide from company y instead? I'm asking because I do have a small battle of peroxide left, and now I want to change the product - and I'd as soon not dispose of the peroxide if I can still use it.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi,

The peroxide brand doesn't really matter, it's all just peroxide in the end. You can use it for any color.


Bennie 2 years ago

Thank you, Maffew James :)


Keira 2 years ago

Hey there, hope your well.

I've just came across your page and I just need some advice.

Well, I've bleached my black/ dark brow hair and the desired overall look that I want is a golden brown color, so can I just put a golden brown hair dye over it or should I use an ash dye then put golden brown over it? My hair has been dyed before, but showed up on roots only, and my hair is at an orange stage at the moment


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

No problem Bennie. Good luck with your coloring.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Keira,

It's great that you've lightened it to orange because that's where it needs to be to get to your desired colour. The problem with using a golden brown is that your hair is already warm toned and if you put the golden colour through, you're just adding more warmth. You need to tone out some of the orange for it to look golden brown.

I'd recommend using an ash dye that's a shade lighter than your desired colour. The ash will tone out the orange and give you a golden brown.


Keira 2 years ago

What ash do you suggest I should use?

An ash blonde or ash brown, also, a medium ash or a light ash. Because the color that is shown on the box is not the color that I actually want, is that the way it will appear on my hair or will it be a golden color


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

The colour that is on the box is the exact colour, but it isn't the way it will appear on your hair. It sounds strange, but your hair is made up of both warm and cool tones, even when you have golden brown or ash brown hair. When you bleach it, the cool tones are stripped out first, which is why it becomes red, because the warm tones underneath are what give your colour the depth and darkness to look dark brown, and the cool tones make it look like actual brown hair instead of red.

You could think of it like painting if that helps. Imagine you only have red, yellow, and blue paint. You can mix the red and yellow to make orange. If you add more yellow to that, the red that is in the mix still makes it orange. If you add some blue though, it becomes more neutral.

In this same way, if you put a golden brown in your hair, whilst it will add gold tone to your hair, it won't cut down the orange, so the orange remains and causes your hair to look coppery instead of golden.

The ash dye neutralises warm tones and takes you towards a more neutral colour. In your case, you don't want ash brown hair, so you don't need a strong ash dye, you just need enough cool tone so that you can eliminate the orange and dye it golden. This is why I recommend using a shade lighter than your current colour.

To choose a colour, look at the undertones chart in my article above and match it to your hair. If your hair is straight orange, it's about a level 5. If it's on the golden side of orange, it's closer to 6, and if it's redder, it's closer to 7. You want to take this level and choose a shade lighter than it. For example, if your hair is a level 5, use a 6 ash dye. This corresponds to dark ash blonde.

If you're having trouble understanding how it all works or have any other questions or concerns, feel free to let me know and I'll try to explain it all further. It's less complicated than it sounds, it's just a lot to take in at first.


Keira 2 years ago

The ash dye that I have got is a medium ash blonde, the light ash blonde just looked way too light and I don't really know how dye's would turn out on bleached orange hair, do you think I should just go with it?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

The ash counteracts orange tone just like you can use purple shampoo to counteract gold in blonde hair. It's really just a matter of different tones neutralizing each other.

Your ash blonde dye should tone out the orange and you'll be left with a light brown color. If it reaches the golden brown before the processing time is finished, just wash it out right then. You don't have to leave it in for the entire development time.


Keira 2 years ago

Right, ok.

Thanks Maffew :)


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

No problem. Good luck :)


adele 2 years ago

Hello. When you have stripped the colour from your hair (currently my hair is a golden ginger colour) when I then put the dye on do I put it on all over or just the ends and do the roots last?


Sarah 2 years ago

Hi Maffew, your article is really helpful, I just wanted to clarify so a few things so it's slightly more personalised before I go ahead. My hair is naturally very dark, almost but not quite black. I have been dying the roots for 12 years because I am going grey, although I'm still a long way from grey enough to consider drastic lightening. I'd like to add some caramel/chocolately warm toned highlights. I've found a Scott Cornwall foil effects cap which is highly recommended so I won't be bleaching near my scalp. So my question is should I use 30vol peroxide alone or 30vol peroxide with bleach or 40vol peroxide alone to get a decent lift on such dark dyed hair before I apply my chosen highlight colour?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Adele. You'd generally apply a dye to your roots last if the dye is intended to lighten your hair. When it's just depositing color like a toner, you're perfectly fine to apply it all over at the same time. If anything, apply toner to the most brassy hair first, then to the rest for a more even result.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Sarah, I'm glad you've found the article helpful.

The cap is a good idea if you've never highlighted your own hair before. Foil is a lot more difficult to use. The main benefit is that you don't have to weave sections of hair out yourself because the cap will section it for you when you pull hair through. However, the streaks you get from a cap are thinner and you can't get chunky or panel styled streaks like with foils. If you're fine with that, the cap is a great idea.

For the bleaching, you need to mix the peroxide with bleach powder. Bleach powder contains ammonia which opens the hair cuticles. The cuticles are kind of like little windows for the product to enter the hair shaft, and if you use peroxide alone, it can't actually get inside the hair shaft so you get little to no lightening.

Also, if you can afford it, a good salon bleach powder will lighten your hair more effectively than generic bleach. Indola Rapid Blonde is my favourite, though you may not be able to find it. If you were using that powder, all you need is 20 vol peroxide and it lightens very well. Otherwise, brands like Wella Multi Blonde and Igora Vario are great too, and you can use weaker peroxide for the same results. You can still use a cheaper bleach powder with 30 vol peroxide though, so don't feel like you have to go out and spend lots of money just to lighten your hair.

As for the actual bleaching, if you match your chosen color to the hair undertones chart in the article above, you can see what color your hair will need to reach in order to be colored that shade. For example, if your color is a level 5, you'd need to reach the orange stage before you can dye it with your hair dye. This makes it easy to know roughly how light your hair needs to be for the dye to take.


Sarahdow07 2 years ago

Fantastic, thanks so much for all that info and thanks for the super quick reply, you're a star :-)


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

No problem, I'm glad to have been helpful. If you have any more questions, feel free to come back and ask away. Good luck with the coloring.


Candace 2 years ago

OK so I got my hair bleached at a salon and it went from a medium brown to a bright yellow and seems to be turning slightly gold on top. It's time to do the roots but I want it all to be more towards platinum than yellow. I really didn't want to spend the crazy money to go back and it not turn out right again. So I bought wella bleach and 30 developer, plus I bought wella color charms pale blonde toner because white lady was too white for me. Anyway so my question is, I need it all bleached but do I do my roots first and then wait like a week to bleach all over? Or can I bleach all of it at one time, rinse and then do the toner? My hair took to it really well and didn't end up damaged. The lady said I had "super hair", that it looked and felt nice like it was before she bleached it. I'm not worried about damage but I just want to make sure I do it right.


CandaceC1985 2 years ago

Oh and I have redken all soft shampoo and conditioner, matrix so silver purple shampoo, and redken extreme hair mask. Are those all OK or is there more I should get to keep the blonde nice and healthy? Oh I also have John Frieda leave in conditioner, and matrix smoothing spray ( for when I straighten it although I haven't done that in 3 months)


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Candace,

Looks like you've planned everything out very well. Bleach the roots first because they're darker and if you apply the bleach all over you will end up with color banding. Give your hair a rest for a week after that before you then bleach it again. What bleach powder are you using?

As for your hair products, you've got great products. The Matrix silver shampoo in particular will help you maintain that nice platinum color, and Redken Extreme mask is one of the absolute best products for damaged hair, after their CAT treatment. Use the mask after you finish bleaching and your hair will continue to feel great. The only addition you might want to add is either All Soft hair serum or Matrix smoothing serum to seal the hair after you use your leave-in conditioner.


CandaceC1985 2 years ago

Thank you for getting back to me so quick. The bleach powder I bought is the Wella color charm powder lightener. I couldn't make up my mind and read a bunch of reviews saying wella works the best. I also forgot to ask... I washed my hair 2 days ago and put a little leave in conditioner in after towl drying it like I always do. My plan was I was going to wash it again today (I wash every other day) and not put any leave in conditioner in so I could bleach it Saturday. But now I have plans so I was hoping to do it today instead. Would it hurt to bleach it since I put leave in conditioner in 2 days ago, or should I wash it out and wait 2 more days?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Wella does make excellent bleach powder. You'd be better using 20 vol on scalp though, as 30 vol is very irritating and Wella themselves recommend using 20 vol on scalp. Salon bleach often contains lift boosting ingredients that make it stronger and 20 vol will still lighten very well.

As for the conditioner, that doesn't matter too much. Bleach usually contains conditioning ingredients anyway. It won't prevent the bleach from lightening your hair.


CandaceC1985 2 years ago

That's great. Im just going to give it a try today. I figure if it turns out funky, ill just wear a hat for a week lol. After I do my roots today, do I use some of the wella toner I bought, or save it for next week when I bleach all over? And if I use it now, do I only apply it to roots or all over?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

It'd be best to save it until you bleach your hair again. Your hair has to be pale yellow to use Color Charm Pale Blonde. If it's too dark, the toner won't be able to counteract all the golden tone.

Next week when you bleach it all over, rinse the bleach out once it reaches a pale yellow color, then towel dry your hair and apply the toner, mixed with 20 vol. You can leave it in for up to 30 minutes, but it's perfectly fine to wash it out sooner if it reaches the color you want.


jessica 2 years ago

Hi, so last week I had my black dyed hair and natural black roots bleached. Trying to lift the black color. My hair turned a brownish red. I went back yesterday the stylist worked on me all together about 8 hrs. I'm just trying to get to a light brown or medium. Anyway I went back yesterday. I think she bleached my hair at least 3 times and dyed and toned it about 4 times. My hair was a little stretchy when I left her salon. My hair is still orange even after she applied a brown dye. Oh and now it has some light caramel strands. Would it be crazy to add a dye or a toner like an ash base like you suggested for someone else. I want to give my hair a rest for at least a week before processing it again.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Jessica,

Ash dyes remove warm tones and will correct the orange. Just be careful using more dye on your hair after the bleaching. Your hair will be fragile from it.


CandaceC1985 2 years ago

I ended up having a the salon bleach my whole head because I was worried doing myself that I wouldn't be able to reach. Well apparently she didn't understand what I wanted because yeah its not as gold and bright, but it's still yellow, not platinum. So instead of wasting another $100 I thought I'd make my husband help me and do it myself. So I was wondering if it would be ok? It would be the 3rd time. It's only dry the first couple days by by the end of the week, it feels and looks back to normal. I just wasn't sure if I should try it, or just give up and go back to my natural color... oh and it's been 3 weeks since I had it done, but planned to wait another 2 to 3 before I did it.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Candace,

If it's still yellow but also still too dark, it needs to be lightened more. If it's light enough for you but just looks too yellow, all you need to do is tone it to correct the colour. So, in order to start out and choose the best course of action you will need to look at your colour closely. Would it be light enough for what you want if that yellow was gone? Or would it still be too dark even with the yellow toned out?

For the lightening, as long as your hair is in good condition you can bleach it. Be mindful of the fact that every bleaching is definitely damaging though, and this will continue to build up. If you do bleach it, use 20 vol developer to take out that last stubborn colour, then tone it with pearl blonde.

If it's already light enough and you just want to remove the yellow, apply a pearl blonde dye and this will tone it to platinum. I would suggest Indola 9.2 or Wella 9P if you want a really nice platinum.


CandaceC1985 2 years ago

It's still a little too dark. It still looks in good condition so I'm pretty sure it could handle another bleach. Would wella color charms T18 toner work if i bleach it again or do I need to get the pearl blonde toner?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Color charm T18 will work. Just make sure your hair is pale yellow and doesn't have any copper tones left. It isn't as strong as a level 9 dye, so if it needs a little more tone afterwards, use a 9 pearl or ash to finish the colour.


CandaceC1985 2 years ago

Oh ok great! Thank you so much! I can't wait to see how it turns out. You've been a big help :-)


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

I'm happy to have been helpful. I hope your new colour turns out great.


Sayeda 2 years ago

Hi Maffew,

This was a really informative article. I'd like to change my hair colour in time for my birthday. Thing is, I'm usually pretty conscious of damaging my hair. I rarely use heat, I oil my hair once a week and I try to be as sulphate and silicone free as I can. My hair is pitch black and I'd like a change from that. What I'm concerned about is that I have put henna on my hair a lot. I know henna acts like a dye but I use it for it's strengthening properties and since my hair is black there's hardly any colour change, just a red tint in sunlight.

I want to lighten/colour my whole hair to a light neutral brown and have a subtle ombre towards the ends.

How do you think I should go about this process? I don't mind doing it gradually, I want to reduce the damage as much as I can. I can do it slowly over two months. But I'm not sure how the henna in my hair is going to react to the bleach or the dye afterwards.


Sayeda 2 years ago

Hi! Just to clarify, I don't want a light neutral brown, it's more like a medium ash brown...but not too ashy, like more towards the cooler side but not with a grey cast to it.

Something like this http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/b0/e2/af/b0...


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Sayeda,

I wouldn't recommend trying to lighten hair that has been dyed with henna. Henna is a nightmare to remove. It is safe to bleach over henna if you really want to go through with it, but you'll struggle to get it lighter.

If that doesn't phase you and you're determined though, you will need to use bleach to lighten it. It will become a very deep red as it lightens. You need to lighten it until it reaches a bright orange red colour (it should be more orange than red), then tone over that with a light ash brown to neutralise the orange. The dye you're using isn't indicative of the final colour. Whether your colour will be a 'medium brown' requires you to lighten it to a mostly orange colour. The ash simply tones out the orange and gives you your final colour. You can lighten your hair progressively over a few weeks if you need to, and that will probably be the case.

Follow up with protein treatments and a deep conditioner every time you bleach it and your hair will remain strong. Some amount of damage will occur though, and this can't be avoided. The protein treatments and deep conditioner restore the strength and softness, but there will be damage none-the-less. If you're really conscious of your hair's condition like you say, that may be another reason to avoid lightening it.

Of course, I'm not trying to persuade you not to go through with your new colour. I'm certainly happy to answer any further questions you have about how to use the bleach, and how to tone it once it has been lightened. Feel free to ask if you need any more help with your colour after deciding whether you want to do it.


Naan Pocen 2 years ago

This article is so well written, thank you so much for taking the time. I was wondering, are these rules valid for dreadlocks as well? I have dreadlocks and would like to colour it. the hairdressers I have reached out to are not familiar with dying locks so I have been turned down. So I figured I would wing it myself, but I am not sure how that will work considering the density of individual lock is thicker than loose hair, will i need to pay special attention to any one step more than the rest? My hair is currently dyed red with a box dye (I did it myself after being turned down by the hair dressers within my reach). Original colour was dark brown (almost black) and I only ended up with coppery highlights you only see when I am in the sun so I figured I may have to bleach it first. What colour should I use after the bleach to get a coppery red colour?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Naan,

Dreadlocks can be difficult to dye properly because it's harder to apply bleach or colour evenly. You also need to be really careful washing it out and ensure that it's all removed. If any of it dries into your hair, it will continue to cause damage and your hair will end up breaking later on as a result of this.

If you do want to do this, you would have to be most mindful of the rinsing process, spending a lot of time getting all the bleach out of your hair completely. For a really bright red colour, you would need to bleach it to an orange-red, then dye over that with a red dye. You can use a permanent dye or a semi here. A permanent will still fade over time, meaning you'll have to tone it to keep the red vibrant, whereas a semi fades quicker but won't cause any additional damage.


Scottie 2 years ago

If I have dyed my hair in the last maybe 5 months do you think I should strip it before bleaching? If I bleach my hair and it doesn't come out close enough to a light color that I could dye it purple should I tone it before bleaching again in a few weeks so I don't walk around looking like an orangutan? I guess Im a level 1.5 (very dark brown) and I am wanting to dye my hair a lavender color, and I purchased a bleach kit and wella white lady. I have box dyed my hair a few times ( I am getting grey way too quickly, only 27 here), but it has been quite a while. I understand it might takes some work to get it where I want so Im not trying to debate if I have unreasonable expectations. Also I feel like I have taken a crash course in cosmology by reading your article and the comment section, thank you so much for this information.


Anna O'Bannon 2 years ago

Hey Maffew, my cousin has unlisted me to dye the top of his head purple, but he has very very dark brown hair. We tried adding the violet purple in without lightening but it didn't show up. How would I lighten it one or two levels? Using volume 10 peroxide? We still want it kind of dark but not too dark to overwhelm the purple. Any ratio suggestions?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Scottie,

As you've dyed your hair multiple times and there's grey underneath, I wouldn't recommend using dye remover. It probably won't strip so many layers of colour, and if it did it would reveal lighter hair where the grey is. I'd recommend bleaching it instead.

As for how many times it will need to be bleached, this depends on how light you want the lavender to be. For a pastel shade, your hair would need to be a pale yellow before application of the dye for example. If you can tell me how dark you want it, or show me a picture of the colour you want, that would help.

Also, yes you can tone it between bleachings. I'd recommend using a temporary rinse or a semi-permanent dye for this, as anything more permanent will make it much harder to lighten your hair further.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Anna,

Use 20 vol developer with your bleach powder. The ratio depends on brand and is usually 1 to 2, powder to developer, but this varies. For example, Wella Multi Blonde can be mixed in anything from a 1:1 to 1:2 ratio, whereas Loreal Platine is mixed in a 1:3 ratio.

To lighten 2 levels, you simply have to allow it to lighten that much and you can tell how many levels have passed by how dark it is if you know how dark each level is meant to be.

If you have trouble seeing levels in this way, you can look at it from a colour change perspective. Dark brown hair will lighten to red, then gradually to orange, then finally to yellow. You need to reach a lighter orange colour. A deep purple will show up fine on top of that.

Of course, it also depends on what dye you're using and how dark the dye is. Even if you lighten the hair to orange, if you're applying a purple that is too light, it still won't show up. I'd recommend Fudge Headpaint 4.22 for a reliable deep purple colour.


bun 24 months ago

hi! i have a question; i have light brown/dark blonde hair with orange-gold undertones, and i was wondering if it would work if i tried to make it only a bit lighter using volume 10 peroxide + hair lightening oil. i'm planning on dyeing it a dark green with vegetable-based temporary dye later, but i want to lighten it because it didn't work last time since i hadn't bleached it. my hair has never been dyed before and i want to make sure the colour looks nice and intense later !

(also, this article is super helpful, thank you !! most sites don't mention how to rinse and prevent/deal with damage and you explained everything thoroughly !)


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 24 months ago Author

Hi Bun,

Thanks for the question, and I'm glad you liked the article!

You definitely can use oil bleach and 10 vol peroxide. Oil bleach is weaker than powder bleach, so it's milder on your hair and scalp but doesn't lighten as much. This means that 20 vol peroxide is a better concentration to use to guarantee it will lighten properly, but you can use the 10 vol if you're against using a higher volume.

Alternatively, Wella's Blondor Soft Blonde cream is a cream bleach that is gentle yet still provides excellent lift. You can use this with weaker peroxide and still get good results. This could be a better option if you want a gentler bleach.

What I'd recommend though is that green dye will always work best on hair that doesn't have a lot of red present. Red and green are complementary colours and they will neutralise each other, so if there is too much red present in your hair, the green will appear dull. The less red in your hair after lightening, the better the result will be when you colour it. This is the same sort of scenario as when violet is used to tone yellow out of blonde hair.

Your results also depend on how dark and intense the actual dye is. A darker dye contains more pigment, so it can cover the undertones more easily. If you find your colour still turns out too dull after lightening your hair, a darker green will give you the colour without having to lighten it more.

Lastly, when you want to return to a more natural colour, you'll notice that as the green fades your hair can look blueish, and then grey before becoming very golden or even orange. Once the green fades out, you'll need to dye your hair to correct this and get back to a natural shade. If you wanted to stay lighter, this would be done with an ash blonde dye to correct the excess warm tones. If you wanted to return to a light brown colour though, I'd recommend using a light natural brown to achieve this.


Carolina 24 months ago

I tried to do ombre on my hair at home, bought bleach, mixed it with 30 vol developer, but i didn't wait for it to turn yellow because i was afraid of the damage, so i stopped when it hit orange-gold. I am Latina, so my hair ir very VERY dark! I then applied an 8.3 "light golden blond" from BES. It turned outsimilar to the picture below:

http://shorthaircutsv.com/wp-content/uploads/Shana...

It turned out to be TOO golden... I am now trying to go for a darker golden brown like this one: http://www.justjaredjr.com/photo-gallery/590420/li...

My roots are black, and I would like achieve lilly collins hair color. Do i have to bleach my roots? And what should i do to go from my orangy yellow, golden color to what she has at the ends? I feel like she has a natural brown at the top and at the ends she has a golden brown.

Thanks in advance!!!


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 24 months ago Author

Hi Carolina,

Hair dye doesn't change colour, it only adds colour, so what happens when you apply a golden blonde to orange-gold hair is that you're just adding more gold to it. It remains orange-gold because you haven't added a complementary colour to neutralise the tone you don't want, which in this case would have been blue to correct the orange. This would have meant using a natural blonde tone.

To darken it up like the picture, mix 50 % dark natural blonde and 50 % dark golden blonde and apply this to the ombre. For your roots, you don't necessarily have to bleach them. You could use a natural light brown dye, with 30 vol as the developer to lighten and dye it to a light brown. If your hair is resistant to lightening or the roots have had dye on them from your earlier colour, you can't do this though. Bleach and then toning will always give a more reliable result when dealing with black hair.


Carolina 23 months ago

Should i use a 20 vol developer with the dark natural blonde and the dagk golden blonde?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Use 10 vol whenever you're darkening or toning hair with permanent dye. Anything higher is only used if you need to lighten your hair with the dye.

When you're mixing up the colour, the developer is added as a ratio of the dye. This is usually 1 part dye to 1 part developer, but it can vary with brand sometimes. If in doubt, check the technical manual for the brand you're using.

Good luck with your colour carolina, and if you have any more questions or problems with it, feel free to leave another comment.


Monica 23 months ago

Why do you start the highlights in the back and not the front and hair coloring in the front


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi Monica,

When I'm applying bleach, I actually prefer to follow the hair's direction and work outwards. The four section method is just easier to explain through text and easy for people to learn.

To be honest, you could start in any section. It's consistency and tradition rather than anything else. If you do start at the back though, the toner would be applied in the opposite direction so it's in contact with the least bleached section for the longest.


ElizaG 23 months ago

Hi Maffew,

Wow - what an amazing page - thankyou for your help and expert advice in the comments! You are clearly very confident and passionate about your skill - it's a very reassuring resource.

I have read thoroughly through your article and the many questions with your replies, so I think I know the answer to my question but I would really really appreciate your opinion.

I wanted to go silver platinum, from naturally mousy brown hair that had balayage blonde highlights through the ends and underneath. So yesterday I used a pre-lightener by a company called Bleach London, which was 2 sachets of 25g bleach powder mixed with developer. I'm not sure of the strength but I left it on for the maximum time (45 mins).

I was expecting it to be somewhat patchy as I had highlights, but was deeply shocked and upset by the bright yellow-orange streaks that resulted - mostly in the top centre. Looking at the chart I'd say it was somewhere between a 7 and 8, with some 9 in there too.

I used the recommended 'White Toner' that comes with the Bleach London range, which has calmed it down to a bit more of an ashy colour but it still looks dreadfully yellow. I used the purple 'Silver shampoo' as well.

The problem is that I have work on Monday - I am a teacher - and I would feel too self conscious to leave my hair as it is. I still want to go platinum but am too worried about bleaching again so soon.

What would you recommend as my next course of action? I've read about the Wella T18 and could try this - would it be advisable to use this over the toner I already used or am I just going to make more of a muddy mess?

Or should I buy a packet ash blonde at the right level, leave my hair a couple of weeks or a month to recover and then try to bleach again to carry on with the platinum goal? Ideally I want that pearl, ashy silvery blonde that looks almost pastel.

Also, in your opinion what might I have done wrong? I was expecting my hair to lighten to the maximum as I started from a mousy brown and the packet said it can lift up to 7 shades. I am scared to do it again as it might not work and I'll have to go through this hell again!

Thankyou so much already, if you have any comments I'd be so grateful.

Very best,

Eliza


ElizaG 23 months ago

Hi

I just wanted to update to say that I managed to get an emergency appt at a salon that specialises in extreme bleaching and they totally rescued my hair!! An expensive mistake but was well worth getting it done by a professional in the end.

He had to rebleach the yellow and orange areas - different strengths and processing times, going through my hair meticulously section by section. I was unable to get the lightest blonde all over as couldn't risk bleaching everywhere so soon after my dodgy home attempt, but managed to get a more even level 9. My hair is naturally very warm so the golden hues were still there, but when I added the violet tones previously they made my hair look greeny and muddy. So he tried an ashy pink toner and put some pink tinted shampoo through - it has resulted in a gorgeous pastel strawberry blonde that is completely unique and I love it. He also spent AGES working through restorative conditioner and repair masks - my hair feels silkier and softer than it did before 2 rounds of bleach!!!

Anyway, I just wanted to share my experience as we went with the pinkish tinge rather than the purple which worked much better on my hair - I'm really glad I didn't apply yet more purple toner at home. I'll go back in 8 weeks to go lighter if I still want to get platinum.

Thanks for your amazing posts Maffew - I have learned so much from all this.

Best wishes,

Eliza


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi Eliza,

I apologise for the lateness of my reply, but that's great that your colour turned out nice. You obviously chose a decent salon judging by your description, as not every hairdresser is skilled enough to do a colour correction like this. Applying bleach in stages to darker areas of hair is more complicated than a lot of people tend to realise and there's a high level of expertise required to gauge what strength of developer to use and how to time it to even it all up by the end of processing. You've found a great hairdresser.

As for the green tinge, that's a result of green-based ash toner. Violet can't ever make your hair green because they're different colours entirely. The reason violet is introduced into gold hair is because violet and yellow are complementary colours, which means that an equal concentration of both will result in a neutral grey tone. In other words, they cancel each other out. If there was too much violet, this becomes more dominant then, and the hair starts to look purple. Green colour has to come from somewhere, but it can't be made through adding violet tone, nor through blending violet with any other colour.

Green tone tends to be used in some toners and blonde dyes because it cancels out red tone, and this makes it very useful when you're dealing with dyed hair that has been stripped. Hair like that often has a red tinge that persists even into a pale blonde, Mixing a green-based ash like this into a regular ash allows you to cancel out these red tones properly. Use on brassy hair just results in a greenish-gold shade of blonde that doesn't look very nice.

The green tinge in your hair is also why a pink toner was used by the hairdresser. The red tone in that toner corrects the excess of green that was in your hair due to the previous toner you used. Just like violet and yellow neutralise each other, green and red cancel each other out as well. You wouldn't normally use a red toner like this unless you are correcting green tone or you want a strawberry blonde result.

Going back to your original question, as to what you may have done wrong...probably nothing at all. Normally you would see that kind of uneven result in hair that had been dyed. It's rarer in natural hair. It can still happen though. Sometimes you can apply bleach or a dye absolutely perfectly and there may be unevenness somewhere on the head depending on whether a section of hair is naturally more resistant, darker, or lighter.

Apart from that, you may have taken too long to apply the bleach, applied it inconsistently, or the bleach itself might not have been very good. There's so many variables and it's hard to know what happened exactly without having seen your hair or the application. In any case, you've picked up a lot of knowledge, found a great colorist, and your hair is still in good condition. Whilst you had to pay for a colour correction, I'd still say your endeavour was a success. As long as you're happy with your hair in the end, that's all that matters.


Em 23 months ago

Hi,

I've been thinking of dying my hair purple. I've done some research on the internet and most sources say it's safer to just go to a salon and get it done but my parents don't want to pay for it. So I was just wondering how you would recommend doing it. I have black hair. I tried using a permanent purple hair dye, but all it did was just add a reddish-purply tint to my hair in the light.

Any suggestions?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi Em,

Black hair needs to be bleached first, so you'll need to be confident in using hair bleach if you want to dye your hair purple. If you're too worried you'll mess it up, a visit to a salon is your only option.

If you are able to use bleach and would like to know how to achieve a mote vibrant purple colour, let me know and I'll explain how to do it.


Em 23 months ago

Hello again!

I am up for trying bleach. Your help would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!! :)


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi again Em,

Firstly, there's several different brands available. A salon brand like Igora Vario, Wella Multi Blonde, or L'Oreal Platinum Plus is best because they can lift the hair lighter using a weaker strength of developer. You could also use a cheaper generic brand, but if you can afford it, I'd definitely recommend one of these salon brands.

Once you have the bleach, this needs to be mixed with developer as you probably read in the article. I'd recommend using 20 vol. You won't need anything stronger than that for your goal, and if you're using salon bleach, most of them shouldn't be used with a stronger developer on scalp anyway.

To apply it, section your hair out and apply quickly and evenly as described in the article. After application, wrap your hair in cling wrap (cling film / plastic wrap...different countries tend to have so many different names for this stuff).

This traps warmth in so you'll get an even result and better lightening. It's not something you should always do, but in this case as you don't have much experience it's a good idea. Otherwise the warmth from your scalp at your roots can lead to roots that are lighter than your lengths. Wrapping your hair will equalise the temperature out and prevent this, or alternatively, you can apply the bleach to your lengths first and then apply to the roots later in the process, but that requires more skill and may backfire on you if it's not done properly.

Let this lighten to a light orange colour. It should look equivalent to a light brown in terms of darkness. After that, you can remove the bleach. You can dye it afterwards or wait a few days to allow your hair to rest if you're experiencing dryness. Use the exact purple colour you want.

If the purple is permanent and is a level 5 or darker, this will show up on your hair nice and vibrant. For a lighter colour like a violet blonde, or a bright magenta shade, you'll need to lighten it further before removing the bleach.

If you have an exact shade in mind, let me know and I'll give you more specific instruction for that colour.


Em 23 months ago

Hello

Thank you so much for your help. I was thinking of using the L'Oreal Deep Purple Pearl.


Em 23 months ago

I forgot to ask whether I needed to use toner?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi Em,

Toning won't make too much of a difference. The red tones that will be present in your hair actually contribute to the purple colour. If it does look too red and you want a bluer purple, you can always add a small amount of blue to the dye.


Tiff 23 months ago

Love this


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Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi Tiff, glad you enjoyed the article!


Ashley 23 months ago

Hi Maffew,

I am naturally a dirty blonde, probably a level 7-8. I got highlights done in October and did an all over box dye in November using l'oreal excellence extra light ash blonde 01. This was still kind of too gold for me so in the first week of January I bleached my hair using salon care blue flash powder and 20 volume developer. However I don't think I let this process long enough and followed with ion high lift ash blonde HL/B-12.1 anyway and still had more gold to my hair than I wanted. I waited a week and re bleached following with the wella T18 and got a bit better results than previous but am still looking to get more ashy and less yellow. I have used shimmer lights to help tone as well. I think overall I've been under processing and that's why I'm not getting the results I'm looking for. In a few weeks when I touch up roots should I do a full bleach again to try to get results closer to white? Or would I be ok to bleach my roots and then tone all of my hair again with the wella T18? I hope this is enough information.


Em 23 months ago

Thank you so much for your help. My hair turned out great! :)


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi Ashley,

The ash toner that will work best depends on how dark your hair is. Wella Color Charm T18 is a fairly light toner and won't always produce the best results. I'd recommend trying Wella Koleston 9/1 as a strand test and looking at how that tones if you don't know what level your hair currently is. If you can tell what level it is though, use an ash at the same level for a full ash tone without remaining warmth.

If you do end up performing a strand test, all you need to do is take it a level darker until you find the level that tones properly. Starting with a level 9, you'd go darker to an 8/1, and then to a 7/1 if necessary. I'm thinking you'll probably see a good tone with the 9/1 though, without needing any further testing.

Apart from that, if you can link to a picture of your hair or another picture of hair that is a similar colour and lightness to yours, I can give you a more exact idea of what to use for toning. As for whether you're processing long enough, it's mainly a matter of how light you want to go. You can tone out any amount of warmth, but if it's still too dark, no amount of toning will lighten it further. If you're happy with how light it is now, all you need to do is use the correct ash to get rid of the warmth and produce a nice colour.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi Em,

That's great, I'm happy to hear your colour was a success!


Ashley 23 months ago

http://www.enjoygram.com/m/891504698247069896_1285...

I hope this link works. This was the day following re bleaching and toning with wella T18. It is definitely light enough it just has some unwanted gold tones to it that I would like to get rid of. Thank you for the advice so far I really appreciate you taking the time!


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi Ashley,

You've done well with the lightening. It looks about a level 9.

A 9A would get rid of that remaining yellow. It's also light enough that a shampoo like Fudge Violet shampoo or De Lorenzo shampoo would easily tone it to ash blonde without having to use anymore dye. These shampoos are much stronger than shimmer lights.


Ashley 22 months ago

Thank you so much! I really appreciate the helpful insight.


Arilie profile image

Arilie 22 months ago from NYC

Hi Maffew-

I recently bleached my hair. I am a natural level 6 or so.. Previously dyed hair.. And the bleach brought me to a yellow/light yellow/some orange. I toned right after with Wella T14. I still am pretty yellow, but i can live with it if i had to. Do not want to.

There are even some streaks of deeper yellow/orange.

Does this mean I should have bleached twice? Uneven application of bleach?

Should I tone again (I do have Wella t18 on hand, and a t28 but can get others)? Should I bleach one more time? I will try to add a pic somehow..? Any suggestions? Lol

My goal would be to get to a nice neutral or beieg blonde..

Thank you!


Arilie profile image

Arilie 22 months ago from NYC

Oh and also, what colors/shades/fillers would you recommend if I ever want to add lowlights/do the underneath a darker color (maybe close to my natural ashy 6 level) as I want to buy products ahead of time. Will I need a filler? or did the bleaching strip it enough to just add dye on top?

Thanks!


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Arilie,

Unevenness can occur when lightening dyed hair. It may have been the application, but it's just as likely your application was fine and it just didn't lift evenly because of the dye.

Dyed hair also tends to show orange tones even when you get to the blonde levels. The processing time and whether you bleach once or more is really just dependent on how light you want it, rather than the colour it looks. Toning corrects the colour.

As for which toner you should use, I'd recommend a 9 ash at this stage. By the sounds of it, the Wella toners are a little too weak to deal with the amount of pigment left in your hair. Sticking with Wella if desired, I'd recommend using Wella Koleston 9/1 (Or Wella Color Charm 9A if you can't get Koleston or want to use the same colour line as your other toners).

T28 Could also work as it's designed to be used on darker yellow hair, whereas the T14 you used is designed only to be used on pale yellow for a platinum result.

As for getting it to a neutral or beige, that is dependent on how long the toner is left in. Full development time will produce a strong ash result (A Slightly violet silver). Your hair will turn from yellow to beige, to neutral, to ash. Rinse it out when you're satisfied with the colour.

If you want to add lowlights later, you won't need a filler as long as you're dyeing it no more than 2 levels darker. You're probably around a level 8 - level 9 at the moment so anything darker than a level 7 - 6 definitely requires a filler. The colour you fill with is the base for the colour you want. For level 6 dark blonde, fill with gold with a hint of copper. For level 5 light brown, fill with copper. The base tone chart in this article can easily show you which base tone is necessary for the colour to work properly.

If you fill, use an ash dye mixed with natural to achieve an ash result on top of the filler. If you don't fill, use a natural mixed with a small amount of gold to achieve the same ash result. Without the filler, you need to add in some warmth in the form of gold or copper tone (Depending on level) or else the ash is too strong and will turn out a blue-violet tinged grey colour.


Arilie profile image

Arilie 22 months ago from NYC

Thank you so much! I did try the t28 last night and it did produce a way more beige/better result than the yellow I had going on. I do believe you're right in just needing a stronger toner, so I'll have to try the one you mentioned, because I'm satisfied with the level it is at now.. just want less warmth. I would say I'm about a level 8 right now, so to go down to a 6 I shouldn't need a filler correct?

But you think maybe adding a little gold/copper to the 6neutral would be a good idea if I want ash result.. Meaning mix two dyes together? And what will happen if I only use the natural dye.. and don't add any gold to the mix without a filler.. is that basically when you're saying it may turn out grey? (Level 8, no filler, 6neutral dye on top). I actually have a Wella 6N dye here I was thinking of using.. The 6N dye itself is natural and supposedly doesn't have any ash undertones. I'm fine with it being a neutral 6 instead of ash level 6..

Sorry.. I just want to be sure I understand :)

Also, I'm under the impression utilizing a 10volume developer will make sure it doesn't lift any more than it is, and deposit only... so should I mix the dye with 10 volume or 20?

Same goes with toning... can I utilize 10volume dev with toner instead of the recommended 20volume, to deter lifting any further?

Thank you in advance!


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Arilie,

The 6N doesn't contain ash, but the colour you get is the result of the colour your hair is now, plus whatever colour you add. A natural is generally on the cool side of neutral, but if you use it to dye your hair darker, that coolness becomes more dominant because there's less warmth in your hair. You'll end up with an ashier result than expected. You add gold to that to increase the warmth and balance out this effect.

Think of it like this, your hair is currently about a level 8 beige tone. The small amount of remaining warmth is at level 8. The cool tone of the natural is at level 6. That's two levels darker and will easily overpower the warmth in your hair.

As for developer volume, you can and should use 10 vol. Whenever toning or darkening, always use 10 vol developer unless the dye specifically requires a different volume. The toner won't likely be on your hair for the full development time either, so this also limits lightening.


Arilie profile image

Arilie 22 months ago from NYC

I see, thank you. Because my natural is about a 6 ash dark blonde/light brown, so I'm hoping to get either a neutral or ash light brown shade from what I have. My level 8 blonde right now is only 75% beige only thanks to the toner, but still not quite beige... a little yellow remains.

Does the little bit of yellow remaining, affect it at all?

And using just the neutral base 6 will definitely create a "too ashy" tone?

So sorry, I am just learning and hopefully will never have to ask again until I venture with a new color ;)


Arilie profile image

Arilie 22 months ago from NYC

Oh and for argument's sake, would a Wella 6GR ("Canyon Copper," Base: gold/red) be a good shade to mix with the neutral, to avoid over-ashy?


ToshB 22 months ago

Hi Maffew!

Thanks so much for your article! It is so helpful for us wanna be platinum blondes that are desperate for good reliable information. I am ready to take my hair lightening into my own hands...I have had my level 5-6 hair lightened to about a level 10 and toned at the salon with several root touch ups 6 to 8 weeks apart. I always end up with "blorange" (yellow blonde and orange) roots. I come home frustrated, disappointed and much poorer! I use the purple tone conditioners in between appointments and I have toned my hair with Wella T-18 White Lady myself in between appointments- but still the blorange roots remain. My stylist can't seem to push past this stage for me. I have read so much on the web and watched so many you tube videos...info overload! So I am grateful to have found your hub pages. I am wondering if a different toner would help? One with blue rather than violet to tone the orangey brass...is there such a toner? Also have you ever used Olaplex? From what I have read it is an amazing product that is added to the bleach and developer that will multiply the broken bonds in hair as it is damaged through coloring and especially bleaching. Thanks Again!


Jasmine 22 months ago

Hi,

great article. i am looking to dye my hair a coppery auburn colour. i have previously dyed my hair dark red with semi-permanent dye (about 7-8 times). even though its semi dye because i have gone over it so many times it wont wash out. it has faded to a light reddish brown. the problem now is that anything i put over the top just comes out red. to get to the copper shades i want, i need to lift some of the colour. would a bleach wash, or using just a 10 vol be enough to lift it to get the copper in without it coming out too red?

thanks heaps, Jas


aria 22 months ago

Hi Maffew,

I bleached my hair and did a lighter ombre on the ends, how can I get ash blonde using indola since it's the only one available here. Someone recommended using indola 9 with a small amount of 9.11.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Arilie,

I apologise for the lateness of my reply.

It won't necessarily lead to a result that is too ashy, but there is a good chance of that happening. Some neutral shades are properly balanced, but the majority are slightly cool.

I wouldn't recommend the Wella 6GR as it would lead to warmer and redder results than intended. The proper base tone for a dark blonde is a dark golden tone with just a hint of copper. The 6GR would probably be a tad too reddish for this (Though you could always strand test it if curious). A 6GC would be a better bet for a smoother colour result.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi ToshB,

Is it the same hairdresser touching up your roots that did the platinum to begin with? It seems strange that they would be able to get your hair near white but your roots are coming up too dark and warm. Are they using bleach or high lift dye on your roots? Also, what brand and developer volume if known?

Another question that will sound slightly odd: does your hair tend to grow slowly? Touch ups that are 6 - 8 weeks apart is a bit long to leave it. The closer the regrowth is to your scalp, the easier it is to lighten and you may achieve better results if you try to get it done every four weeks instead. Of course, if your hair seems to grow slowly, this is a bit of a moot point as it may need the longer period. In any case, roots of one centimeter, (Approx 0.4 inches) are a good length for easier touch up and better lift.

You definitely can get a blue or blue-violet toner. If you've ever seen a colour wheel, you'll know that violet neutralises yellow, but blue neutralises orange and it's necessary to use the right tone for the intended result.

You also need to use a darker dye. Wella T18 is meant for use on pale yellow hair and won't tone properly on hair that is darker and orange. Sticking with the Color Charm toners, you could use T28 instead, which is a blue-violet base and designed for use on darker blonde hair. You could also use Color Charm 9A, or if the roots are really dark, use Color Charm 8A. Keep in mind that even if you tone all the unwanted warmth out, the hair will still be darker than your platinum lengths.

I haven't used Olaplex as I'm wary of the fact that they don't disclose their ingredients. Products like perm solution work through manipulating the disulfide bonds in your hair and they do this with a sulfurous ingredient called ammonium thioglycolate. Cysteine itself (Which forms these bonds), can also be used to create new disulfide bonds and thus permanent curls. It's possible they use something similar but it's impossible to tell. If you ever have it used on your hair, feel free to come back on here and tell me if it smells sulfurous and sate my curiosity :p

Other than that, let me know if you have any further questions or concerns about your colour.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Jasmine,

It's difficult to say for sure. If you were to lighten it with bleach and 10 vol developer, then colour with a golden brown, that should be enough to produce a copper colour, but it will depend on just how much red is in your hair and how well it lightens. Semi-permanent dye can be very stubborn to get out even if you're bleaching it.

The key here though is that you're actually doing a colour correction to achieve your new colour, so just putting the exact shade you want on top doesn't give you the right colour. Copper is a combination of red and gold tone, and this is why you need to use the golden brown for a copper toned colour as you already have enough red in your hair.

Let me know if you need any clarification or have any further questions about this, and good luck with your colour!


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Aria,

Indola is actually one of my favourite colour brands. How light is your ombre, and what colour is it currently?

If you could match it to the base tones chart in the article, that would help me select the right shade. This would mean that if you had light yellow hair currently, you'd be a level 9, whilst yellow is a level 8, gold is a level 7, and so on. If you have trouble with this, I can tell you what level it is if you're able to find a picture of hair that is a similar colour or link to a picture of your own hair.

The dye you use is best chosen based on its current level and colour, but I'll give you a few general tips: the 9.11 produces excellent ash results on level 8 hair. Level 9 is best toned with one of the pastel toners like P.1 or P.01, or you can use 9.2 for a stronger silver result depending on how ashy you want it to be. Darker levels should be chosen based on what unwanted tones are present.


Aria Parwani profile image

Aria Parwani 22 months ago from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Hi,

Thanks for taking the time to answer me, you're great!

The problem is that I have mixed tones after the bleaching, 8,7 and 6. I want to get rid of the gold and orange tones and get more ash in. It is similar to this with lighter tones as well especially at the bottom:

http://popularhaircolor.com/blonde-brown-hair-colo...

Thanks


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi again Aria,

In that case, it'd be best to use a mild bleach with 10 vol on the darker areas to even it out first, otherwise any toner you use is going to either be too strong on the lighter hair or not strong enough on the darker hair.

If you don't want to bleach again to even it out, I'd recommend using the 9.11 by itself. Leave it in until the lightest hair is slightly over-toned to cool down the overall colour appearance and then rinse. It will still look uneven, but it will be a much cooler tone.

One other option though, is that you could foil a darker toner onto the darker patches of hair, but this would require you to be comfortable with sectioning out hair very well and it still leaves an uneven, albeit less warm result.


Aria Parwani profile image

Aria Parwani 22 months ago from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Thank you very much, my color turned out really nice except for some parts that still have a slight gold/ orange tone. Since it's all mixed I'm afraid of getting green tones on the already ash toned ones.

I wanted to ask your advice on the brand BlondMe, can I use something in their toners that will help out?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Aria,

Glad your colour has turned out well. You shouldn't get green tones with Indola's ash dyes as the blonde levels are a blue-violet tone. Technically, if you have an excess of blue and this combines with yellow in your hair, that can cause a green tone, but the violet should take care of that by neutralising the yellow and preventing it from blending. You're more likely to end up with a result that is greyish or very slightly blueish if over-toned.

If still worried, you could always mix 9.2 into 9.11 to add more violet to take care of any yellow and soften the ash, or even mix a small amount of 0.22 into your chosen ash shade to add violet to any dye. If you do use 0.22 though, only use a small amount because it's a pure pearl tone and quite strong. You can use BlondMe, but it doesn't really give any unique benefit over Indola or let you do anything you couldn't already do with Indola.


Sarah 22 months ago

Love this article! So well-written! In need of some advice. I am a natural level 4 with finely weaved level 9-8 hilights. I have about an half inch of re growth and also a label 4 at the nape of my neck because if sporting an inverted bob. I would like to lift my hair to a vanilla blonde color- quite light.

I bought Schwartzkopf Igora plus bleach (blue) and 20 vol developer. Also the Igora schwartzkopf ice toner and 10 vol developer. I did a strand test on both the darker and lighter sections of my hair- left it on for full 45 minutes! Dark strands are golden at best...light orange. The light strand is a dark yellow/gold...somehow. I am really surprised as I figured the 20 vol would fry the lighter strand test!

Soooo...do I use 30 vol instead of 20? Or go ahead and use 20, wait a week and bleach again?

I was originally going to use 20 vol on roots and nape and then 10 vol on mid-shaft to ends. Not thinking it's strong enough!

Thank you!!


Sarah 22 months ago

I actually have the blondeme 2% vol 7 developer to use with the toner...not the igora 10 vol.

I think my hair is sort of like this- but the hilights are less chunky and weaved finer:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/dd/50/9e...


Aria Parwani profile image

Aria Parwani 22 months ago from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Hi Maffew,

It's me again and my hair is turning quite golden. Could you please help me get an ashier tone.

Here is a pic close to my color

https://www.etsy.com/market/blonde_wig/6


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Sarah,

I wrote a reply to your question a few days ago but it seems it didn't go through so I apologise if you've been waiting for a response as I've only just realised.

The Igora bleach is best used with 20 vol. It contains lightening boosters and can be irritating to your scalp with a higher developer. Whilst you can safely use up to 30 vol on-scalp with this bleach, I wouldn't recommend it due to the potential scalp irritation and damage it can cause to your hair.

I'd also recommend focusing on the darker areas first and leaving the lighter highlights alone until you get it fairly even. If you just bleach all over it will result in increased damage to the highlights as they've already been lightened before. You can cover them with conditioner in foils to protect the highlights as you lighten your base colour.

Once you've evened it up, you need to reach the pale yellow level before toning in order to achieve a very light result. This is where you would use the Igora toner. It's not strong enough to tone darker hair though so you can't use it until your hair is lightened enough.

When lightening for this colour though, keep in mind that your hair is already dyed and highlighted, so that impacts its condition. If at any point your hair's condition begins to decline, it would be best to settle for a darker blonde colour rather than push forward.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Aria,

The link you've given leads to a page of 'popular items', so it changes and isn't the same at all times or for all viewers. If you could link to the exact image that would be helpful.

To do this, find a picture that looks similar, right click on it, and click on view image. Once this loads, copy the address. These directions are for Firefox browsers, but it's similar for most browsers. The option could be called view image source, load image source, etc.

Also, are you still working with Indola colours? If so I'll tell you what shade to use as a toner from their range.


Aria Parwani profile image

Aria Parwani 22 months ago from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

http://newhairstyleshaircuts.blogspot.com/2011/12/...

I hope this works, it's from Pinterest

Yes, I'm still using indola colors.


Aria Parwani profile image

Aria Parwani 22 months ago from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

http://newhairstyleshaircuts.blogspot.com/2011/12/...

If you open this page, it's the last picture of the girl in blue top. Sorry I'm using my iPad and don't know how to get the image ☺️


Sarah 22 months ago

Thank you for your detailed response. I will use the 20 vol and concentrate on bringing my darker hair up to the same level as my hi-lights. One more stupid question: if I mix the steel blue and ice Schwartzkopf toners, like say use half of each tube...can I save what's left (stuff still in tube, un-mixed) to use next time? Not sure if I have to discard leftovers and don't want to waste product! I am pretty sure there will initially be some orange, so I figured adding the steel blue would help.

Thanks so much! :)


22 months ago

Great article. I have a question how can I lighten and do highlights in one day? I am trying to get to a level 5 with highlights. Do I use 30 peroxide to lighten the whole head currently a level 3, and 20 peroxide to do the highlights?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Aria,

Based on the picture your hair would be a level 6, which is dark blonde. Using Indola 7.0 would be the easiest way to tone it and take away a lot of the gold without it looking too ashy.

When you have darker blonde hair, it will look more of a dark greyish colour if all the golden tone is neutralised with ash, so it's not always good to use a stronger toner and try to eliminate it all.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Sarah,

You definitely can keep the leftover dye; just make sure the tubes are sealed up again and any air is squeezed out as best as possible beforehand.

Then when you next need to use it, squeeze out and discard the first portion that has darkened as this has oxidised from the air in the top of the tube and won't develop properly. This will be about a 'pea-size' amount depending on how much air was left in the tube and how long it was left before opening again.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi G,

It's best not to bleach your hair more than once in one day. Resting your hair for at least a week or so after bleaching is the best way to keep it healthier and prevent a lot of the potential damage.

Considering that and what you're trying to do, you could potentially use 30 vol bleach in foil or meche, off-scalp for the highlights, and 20 vol for the base colour. If you're working with dyed hair though, chances are lightening won't proceed as well as desired and the highlights will be more subtle even with 30 vol. Don't use more than 20 vol on scalp unless the bleach manufacturer states it is allowable, and don't use 40 vol on-scalp or off-scalp at all.

Also, keep in mind that when you lighten to this extent, a lot of underlying warmth is revealed and this needs to be toned. For a neutral level 5 result, you actually need to lighten past level 5 as the ash dye required to tone out the warmth will darken your hair slightly in doing so. This means you need close to 3 levels of lift for the base and at least 4 levels of lift for the highlights to reach your desired look. This is easy in virgin hair, so if you have hair that isn't dyed you should be able to reach this. Dyed hair on the other hand can be a struggle to lighten this much in one process unless using a very good brand of bleach.

The alternative is to simply lift and tone to level 5, then apply highlights separately after allowing your hair to rest and recover. Though this would of course mean you won't be able to get it all done in a single day.


22 months ago

Thanks so much maffew! I will try it this weekend and post pics if I figure out how to. Ill just be doing the single process as recommended. In a few weeks I'll do the highlights to let the hair recover. Im going to do 20 peroxide with a developer and toner of level 6 afterwards.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

No problem G, good luck with your colour and let me know if you have any issues or need any more help.


Aria Parwani profile image

Aria Parwani 22 months ago from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

So should I use indola 7.0 mixed with 9.11 or just by itself? I also don't want my hair to go darker.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer, ur such a great help!


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Aria,

Not likely unless your hair is very porous. The 7.0 is a level lighter than your hair and this helps tone it without it darkening substantially.

Keep in mind that any amount of toning will darken your hair though. Toned to ash, you'd be going about half a level darker at least, because cool tone needs to be deposited to counteract the warmth. As you're using a lighter dye, not using an ash tone or aiming for full ash results, and only processing as long as desired, the darkening should be even less than this.

Also, you don't need to use the 9.11. If you add that it will dilute down the deposit. Equal amounts of Indola 7.0 and 9.11 would create a shade closer to an 8.01 (Light natural ash blonde). It's useful if you need to create a particular shade that's not offered by the brand or to add coolness or warmth to a shade, but mixing in itself should be avoided wherever possible. The simplest application gives the most reliable results.


Sarah 22 months ago

Hello again! So I took your advice and focused on my darker areas. I was able to lighten my roots and nape to a peach color. (Using 20 vol developer and blue schwartzkopf bleach) didn't achieve banana after 45 minutes, but oh well. I used the Schwartzkopft steel blue toner with a smidge of the ice toner as well. This took it down to a more natural champagne blonde with white streaks. So I'm actually not feeling too bad about the result. I'm going to wait at least 4 weeks to bleach again as my hair is still in good condition. How often can I tone my hair? I missed a few spots and would like to run it through again with the 10 vol developer, but don't want to fry my hair! Thanks for the advice!


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Sarah,

You can use semi-permanent and acid-based demi-permanent dye as often as needed. Permanent with 10 vol is only very mildly damaged, and you can use this if your hair is in good condition, but it should only be used if really necessary.

You can actually get the same toner shades in Igora Viviance, which is Schwarzkopf Igora's demi-permanent line. Iceflower, for example, is Igora Viviance 9.5-1. You can also get this in Igora Mousse, which is a semi-permanent colour.


Sarah 22 months ago

You've been a true God send! Thank you for your knowledge!! I think I'll give one of the Igora Viviance shades a try. Just not exactly sure if I should order the one you mentioned (ice flower -pastel blonde) or go with the extra light ash blonde. I want the lightest I can get with a cool tone to it, but need to correct a bright peach color the most. Decisions.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Sarah,

I'm glad you've found it helpful.

If you wanted to go with Igora Royal instead, which is permanent, you can mix 0-22 into any other shade to add blue tone and cancel out orange. If you go this route you need to be careful with how much you add because this is a pure blue tone and it's quite strong. You may need to test it a little first, gradually adding more until it's strong enough.

If you use Igora Royal 9.5-1 (The same Iceflower shade in permanent), with a little 0-22 added, that gives you a pastel toner with added blue tone to get rid of the orange.

Also, I'd recommend being careful with the blue concentrate and toners in general with your lighter highlights. They will pick up more colour than your darker hair. A slight overtone in the highlights will cool down the overall colour, but take it too far and they will turn grey or even blue if you're overzealous with this.


debbie 22 months ago

hi i wondered if u could help me i have dyed my medium blond hair with feria extreme platinum power its turned out yellow/red/orange put in a purple toning shampoo made it a bit lighter went in to boots and got recommended colour restore iced platinum still rather yellow how can i make it blond please


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Debbie,

I'd be glad to help. Is your hair mostly yellow now? Also, is it all even, or is it still patchy?


debbie 22 months ago

its mostly yellow


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Debbie,

The patchiness can present a problem with toning. The darker areas grab less colour from the toner and the lighter areas grab more so it stays patchy. You can still tone it but it won't be the same colour all over unless you can get it evened up first.

In any case, what level would you say it is based on the undertone chart in the article? This will give you an idea of which dye to use as the toner.


debbie 22 months ago

hi maffew i would say its an 8 a bit darker at the tips


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

In that case, it'd be best to tone with a level 9 ash dye, which is a very light ash blonde. The fact that this is a level lighter than your hair is intentional because it will cool it down substantially with less risk of the lighter hair getting too much tone.

Do you have a preferred brand? If you do I can tell you which shade from that brand can be used. With most brands it's a 9A or 9.1 though.


debscon 22 months ago

i don't normally die my hair well not for years i just fancied a change and the platinum blond looked nice so i have no idea what brand to use so any info would be great


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

A change is always nice, and platinum is a great colour.

You'll get the best results using a professional line like Wella Koleston or Igora Royal. You could also use a box dye instead if this is easier for you.

Then again, if you don't normally use any form of dye and aren't too confident with it, Igora Mousse is very easy to use and the colour is semi-permanent so it washes out over time. This means that if it grabs to the lighter hair too much it will wash out after a few shampoos so you're not stuck with a patchy tone. If you wanted to try something like this, Igora 8-1 mousse should work well and if you like the colour result you can eventually decide to use a permanent dye in a similar shade.


debscon 22 months ago

where would i get them from and if i choose a box dye in a level 9 ash dye as u said which brand would be best thanks debbie


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Dyes like Wella Koleston and Igora Royal need to be purchased from a beauty supply store, or you can also get them on Amazon or from online supply stores. The Igora Mousse can be purchased in many shops that focus on beauty or haircare.

If you'd find box dye easier, I can't give much recommendation there, but I would suggest Wella Color Charm. Wella is known for the high quality professional products, and even though their Color Charm line is a box dye for at home use, it's still quite a good product. You could use Color Charm 9A for this, and you can buy it in stores like Sally's, and probably in certain pharmacies and supermarkets, as well as online. Which retailers are around will depend on where you live.

If you can't find it or it's too much effort, don't worry too much. You can use any 9A that is available. Do whatever you find easiest and most convenient for you.


debscon 22 months ago

ok thanks for your help ill try something and let you know how i get on


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 21 months ago Author

No problem, good luck with your colour and let me know if you have any trouble with it!


Aria Parwani profile image

Aria Parwani 21 months ago from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Hi Maffew,

What is the difference between white and blue bleach powder?


debscon 21 months ago

hi maffew i used koleston it was recommened by someone at sallys its worked really well apart from the ends are still a bit darker ty for your advice


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Aria,

Just the colour mainly. The same product in white or blue has the same lightening power, but the blue version has a slight toning effect because of the blue pigment in it. This is fairly mild though and doesn't make much of a difference.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Deb,

I'm glad your colour has worked out, congratulations!


Aria Parwani profile image

Aria Parwani 21 months ago from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

I bleached my dark parts again and it turned quite orange. I toned it with indola 7.0 but it turned too dark !!

How can I lighten it without using bleach again? Will using indola 9.0 help?


Aria Parwani profile image

Aria Parwani 21 months ago from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

After many shampoos, my final color turned a dark ash blonde, can you help me achieve platinum blonde ombre like this:

https://blowdryconfessions.wordpress.com/2012/11/2...

sorry for asking so much!


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Aria,

You need to get the ombre to a light yellow colour to reach that shade, then tone with Indola 9.2 for the silvery result. I'd only recommend continuing to lighten it if your hair is still in good condition though.


Jay 21 months ago

Hey maffew, I have been dying and bleaching my hair for years now and I've always done it at home. First I was brunette, then went blonde by adding highlights once a month. When the root touch up in the end fried my hair at the very top (since I wasn't able to avoid bleaching over the already bleached parts) it all broke off and I had to go red, then brunette again for some years. Then I thought I might try some highlights again after all the dead hair was off and then my hair got so thin and damaged again that I now cut it off again. Luckily the lob is quite popular right now and I'm pretty happy with my new hair cut. But in the end of the day I just still miss my long hair and want to grow it out again. Now I am wondering whether a professional hair stylist could carefully make me blonde after maybe a year or so of no dying or bleaching or straightening and a lot of coconut oil and conditioners? Maybe the bleach used in salons is less damaging? And surely Doing it right would be less harmful. But can a nice blonde color be sustainable in the long run and still leave my hair thick and at least semi healthy?


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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Jay,

It's likely that the amount of colour changes you went through were responsible for this. The highlights can also play a part because you end up with sections of hair that have been lightened more and these sections are weaker and more prone to breaking from the overlap.

Highlights also can be very imprecise in that the more you add, the more likely it becomes that you'll be lightening over previous highlighting if you're not isolating it all out and making sure you're only applying to the darker hair.This causes more damage because the hair that has already been lightened and stressed is pushed over the edge.

It is definitely possible to get sustainable blonde hair that can be kept as long as desired, but if that's your plan, it's always best to start with completely undyed hair so that it's in the best condition possible. When you bleach your regrowth, no matter how precise the application is, there is always at least a very tiny amount of overlap.

To maintain the colour in the long term, the hair that will be overlapped needs to be in good enough condition to not break after this application. This means that after reaching blonde, your lengths still need to be in a condition where they can survive one more bleach process.

After this, what happens is that the previous regrowth that you touched up grows out, and the next time you apply to regrowth, the overlap is onto that previous regrowth, if that makes sense. So the damage isn't cumulative and being blonde for longer doesn't mean your hair will gradually weaken, as long as the previous regrowth can always survive the overlap when touching up your new regrowth.

As for the bleach used in salons, it can be less damaging compared to what you may be using at home. This depends on a lot of factors though. In general, high quality powders like Wella Multi Blonde and Igora Vario will lighten the hair more, and still cause less damage compared to the same strength of generic powder.

Lastly, conditioning treatments like coconut oil help to prevent dryness and keep the hair properly moisturised. This does help to prevent breakage as dry hair is brittle and more prone to snapping of splitting. Protein treatments are the best kind of treatment for repairing damage though, as they actually help to repair the damage that occurs to the keratin in your hair. I'd recommend using both kinds of treatments if you're worried about the condition of your hair.

Given all of this, if you can't apply the bleach yourself without significant overlap, or reach the initial blonde colour itself with your hair in good enough condition for later retouching, it definitely is a good idea to actually visit a salon instead. It may be the best way to keep your colour in the long term. Later on you may feel more confident with a regrowth application yourself, but it is always easiest to do this kind of application on someone else's hair because of the extra visibility and maneuverability you have. Applying dye to your own hair is limited by how far you can see, and the reach of your own hands up to awkward areas like the very top and back of your hair.


Nicole 21 months ago

Hi Maffew, I recently bleached (No toning jst bleach)my blk hair (with 30vol) on Valentine's wkend (professionally) , my hair was pretty blk, so I knew off the bat I wasn't coming out of the salon with platinum blonde hair LOL. It's been a wk since the ordeal. I've been jst putting coconut oil and doing hair treatments. I jst order online some TIGI Bed Head Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo & Tigi Bed Head Dumb Blonde Toning Protection Spray and I sld be receiving it on Tuesday. To help with My brassy hair color. But my question is sld I even use the toning jst yet even tho my hair is basically at that orange stage(right before the yellow stage) or sld I jst get it bleach again? I was thinking going with a 20vol but done as a shampoo bleach wash. My hair is damage but not in horrible shape. I'm considering to start the process the 1st Saturday of March or the second! I wish I wad able to send u a photo to get ur accurate opinion....


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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Nicole,

The purple shampoo won't help because your hair is still too dark as well as orange. Violet only neutralises yellow. You'd definitely be best waiting until your hair is lightened again before you consider using the shampoo as a toner.

Until that point, you can tone with blue-based ash, which will neutralise the orange to a shade of light brown, but this will just add more colour in that needs to be stripped by the bleach later, so if you can put up with the orange, it is better just to wait for now.

If anything, I'd recommend using a good protein treatment at this point to increase strength and repair some of the damage to keep your hair in good condition until the blonde is finished.


Sarah 21 months ago

I just noticed that Schwartzkopf is making a line of boxed hair color. What do you think of this? I'm wondering if it would be better than other box color brands??? I feel like they're really good with blonde options...


nicole 21 months ago

Hi Maffew, Thanks for replying to my msg. Yes, it seems less damaging if I jst wait to lighten my hair. And I'm currently also using a protein treatment(Hi Pro Pac Extremely Damaged Hair Instense Protein Treatment). Do u think I sld wait at least a month to re bleach my hair? And I was thinking like bleach wash with 20vol.


Marisa 21 months ago

so, I've been dyeing my hair forever. and currently it's dyed a deep red with grown out roots that are a medium blonde/ash undertone. some parts look almost black because when I touch up my roots with the red, I just put it all over. so the darker parts kept getting darker. I want to get to a silver/lavender color... please help with a healthy process. I've chemically cut my hair before because of misuse of bleach so I'm scared but really need a change! haha that scary experience was nearly 3 years ago, so my hair is healthy again. I want to do it right this time! just as an estimate, what do you think a good level developer is, how long to process, what color to achieve before toning, and how to achieve the color I want(: thank you in advance!


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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Sarah,

Possibly. Wella, for example, makes a box colour called Color Charm, and this is superior to most other box dyes. It's still not comparable to Wella's professional line Koleston though.

I'd imagine the Schwarzkopf box dyes would be similar. Higher quality than the average box dye, but not up to par with Igora Royal or BlondeMe.


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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Nicole,

It's always best to wait at least a week between bleach processes, but you can drag out this period for longer. The longer you use the protein treatment before bleaching again, the better the condition of your hair will be.


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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Marisa,

Dyeing your hair red for a long time can complicate this because you have so much colour buildup. You mention you've had significant snapping of your hair the last time you tried bleaching...was your hair overly damaged before the bleach? Also, what volume of developer did you mix with it, how many times was it applied, and what other colours had it been before bleaching?

What I'd be worried about is that you may naturally have somewhat weaker hair or the same conditions that lead to the breaking could be recreated and lead to the same outcome depending on how it occurred.

In any case, I'd recommend using dye remover first to take out as much of the red dye as possible. There's no guarantee that it will lighten much with this, but any colour it does remove will help lessen the amount of bleaching required and the dye remover doesn't cause damage.

After that you'll need to bleach it. It needs to reach a level 9 for that silver colour or a pastel indigo effect. Normally this would look pale yellow, but with all that red dye buildup it will likely look pale orange instead. The red from the dye persists even at this pale lightened colour.

After that, whatever colour is leftover needs to be toned out to produce silver or indigo. The dye you use will depend on what warm tones are present in your hair and it's impossible to tell whether it will look yellow, orange, or even a pale pink colour at this stage. I can assist you with the shade choice for correct toning once you get to that point.

Of course, all of this is dependent on your hair actually being able to cope with the lightening, so if you can tell me a bit more about what happened when it all snapped off in the past, that'll give me a better idea for a recommendation. You may need to use a weaker developer and take it slower over a longer period of time, or you may be better off choosing a darker blonde, as much as you would prefer silver.


Marisa 21 months ago

I've been dyeing my hair for year and at the time of bleaching 3 years ago, it was black. pretty healthy but my hair in general is coarse and porous. the problem was, being young & stupid and knowing nothing about hair. put box highlights on, then the "hilights" were dark orange and the rest was obviously still black. so we bleached it all. the highlights were lifted and the black was now orange, so we bleached it again... the next day I put box dye on it hoping it would change the Orange. (again, knowing nothing about hair whatsoever). my hair is back to healthy. which I never thought was possible ever after that incident haha because I couldn't even comb, straighten, or touch my hair for a LONG time. as of now, I don't dye it that often. but it's always been darker than my natural color (the medium blonde). but it's trimmed & I use lots of moisturizing product & haven't touched a hot tool to it in about a year! I'm 1/4 black, so that's where the coarse and porous side comes in. and I've never gone lighter, so im wanting a change. I have heard of saturating my hair in coconut oil before bleaching & I've heard of adding a reconstructer in with the bleach? and truth to these being beneficial? thanks for your time and advice!


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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Marisa,

Best to take it slow just in case then, although it was probably the excessive lightening of the highlights that caused the previous problems. Start with dye remover and see how you go with that. Then for the first bleach, use a quality powder mixed with 20 vol and process for 45 minutes.

If your hair is still in very good condition after that, it should be fine to repeat the process, though I'd recommend waiting about 2 weeks and using a protein treatment during that time to address any damage and keep it as strong as possible.

If it's slightly damaged after this though, that doesn't mean you have to give up, but I would suggest waiting for longer, using a protein treatment during that time, and then repeating the process with 10 vol developer instead for a milder bleach.

You can also tone it at any point to neutralise the warmth and produce anything from a medium brown to a medium to light blonde depending on how light it is. This means that if you do end up worrying about the condition and you don't think you can get it light enough for the silver, you can still have a new lighter colour instead of going through everything for nothing.

As for use of other products with the bleach, I wouldn't recommend it too much. Oils coat the hair and prevent penetration of dyes and bleach, so this can slow down the process. The moisture protects your hair from drying out and this relieves some of the potential damage, but a lot of the damage of bleaching occurs through oxidation of the protein in your hair rather than drying, and coconut oil won't protect against this. Although you could definitely try a cream bleach like Wella Blondor Soft Blonde instead of powder if you want a milder, less drying product.

Protein treatments (Reconstructors), repair damage, but the oxidation of the bleach is likely to actually destroy the product when it makes contact, meaning it doesn't negatively effect the lightening or your hair, but it's a bit of a waste as the bleach can just break the protein down in the treatment before it even absorbs. You might see benefits from applying it and waiting for at least 5 minutes before applying the bleach so that it at least has time to penetrate into your hair. It's better to use the protein treatment directly after bleaching though, as this is when your hair needs it most.


Marisa 21 months ago

awesome! thank you so much! :)

any toners you suggest most? hairdresser friends say a blue violet but idk what brand or type (cream, liquid) Ect.


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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Marissa,

Depends on what colour you're dealing with once you get it light enough. You need to use the complementary tone for whatever tone remains in the hair.

For perfect neutralisation, use violet for yellow, blue for orange, or green for red. Your hair will likely be anything from a pale yellow to a pale orange depending on how much red tone lingers after lightening.

As for brand, it depends on what you can get. Igora Royal 9.5-1 is violet based with a dash of blue, and this will produce a nice silver. Feel free to let me know if you have any preferred brands and I can give a recommendation based on that.


Nicole 21 months ago

one more question what's more important/a must deep conditioner or a leave in conditioner for processed hair/bleach hair?


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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Nicole,

Damaged hair is best repaired with protein treatments.

A lot of conditioners contain a small amount of protein and this can help over time, but a protein treatment is much more concentrated and it is this protein that restores the damaged structure of your hair. Conditioning treatments mainly just treat dryness and frizz.

I'd recommend using both a deep conditioner and a leave in if you have dry hair or suffer from frizz, whilst you can just use a normal conditioner if you don't. For the damage, a good protein treatment will work wonders.


tolu 21 months ago

hello, please i recently bleached my previously henna dyed hair which was just black, now my hair is bright orange. i just want to dye it back to black, what do you recommend i do?


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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Tolu,

You just need to apply natural black (1N). There's still a lot of warmth in your hair (Hence the bright orange colour), and the black will turn out fine without needing to do anything else first.


Alex 21 months ago

Hi there, my hair is currently a dyed level 2 (dark brown/black) and I want to get a light brown color which is my natural hair color. How can I lighten it? Can i do a high lift with volume 30 and a level 4 then repeat again with a volume 30 and level 6 as a 2 stage process? Is there maybe a better way?


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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Alex,

It's very unlikely more dye is going to be able to lighten your hair when it's already dyed with such a dark colour. The best way to do this is going to be to bleach it to a light orange colour and then tone with light ash brown.


Mel 21 months ago

Hi maffew,

I recently bleached my dark brown hair and the top part is yellow but the bottom still has some orange undertones. I am wanting to get to a light/medium blonde. Can I tone it at this point or do I need to lighten it more first? Thank you so much


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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Mel,

You can tone any colour, but the result depends on how light it is. The orange areas are likely still a lot darker and would tone to somewhere between a dark blonde and light brown, whilst your yellow hair should tone to a light to medium blonde. You'll need to lighten the darker areas more if you want an even colour as well as for it to look blonde all over.


Clockworkmom 20 months ago

Hi me james

I have a question. I had been putting a dark brown on my hair to cover less than 10% gray but also for shine, body and long lasting effects. The darker color which is natural for me makes me look washed out as I age. My daughters have a dark neutral blonde color hair no red tones at all. I've had my hair professionally matched to theirs in the past by gradually highlighting and low lighting.

I went to Sally's and they recommended a clairol kit with 2 packages of powder, a 20 vol peroxide and 2 bottles that are supposed to help with orange and reds and damage. I did what they suggested which was to use a tinting brush and add to ends starting in back up to 1" from the scalp working through 4 sectioned areas. Leave that for 15 minutes then apply to the area near scalp and process an additional 30-45 min.

While wet from bleach it looked good like it would be a dark blonde. Roots were a little lighter but they suggested a Demi color ion 10 nb I believe. It was lightest neutral blonde with a 10 vol peroxide mixed 2 to 1.

However when I rinsed the bleach it was more of an orangy color than it looked. No bright like Ronald McDonald but like a light-medium orange, the roots were a yellow shade. I hoped toner would even out so I started with roots for 10 min since they were so light then added to ends for a total of 20 min.

The result now is a light to medium strawberry blonde but still much more orangish than I wanted. And while my husband said it's not bad I don't like it enough to keep it.

Is my best bet to 1. Tone to a light brown suck it up a month or so then bleach again trying to reach the desired lightness to be able to tone to what I want or 2. Bleach again now or tone with a lifting vol peroxide added to the dye or 3. Try a product to remove the red?

Your advice here is fabulous so please help.


Mel 20 months ago

ho, I desperately need your advice. I had (dyed) brown hair with highlights. Stupidly decided to bleach all over rather than add more highlights. My hair went orange in some places, yellow on the rest. I put a semi colour of dark blonde on and it went dirty like, bright green. I then put a permanent medium ash blonde on and it's toned to a dark blonde, but very warm. It's a really odd orangey, greeny yellow colour now that I've intense conditioned. It's like the colour of cheap fake nineties pine furniture, but with an odd yellow hue. Please give me some advice. I'm so worried about the condition of my hair but seems a shame to go back to brown when I've come so far and nearly destroyed my hair!


Mel 20 months ago

Sorry for typos above! Just to add to previous message, my hair on your chart is between a 6/7 orange-gold/gold. Thank you so much for any help you are able to offer. I read through every question and answer above but didn't see anything similar. I've searched high and low on the Internet and am certain you are the only person that can help!


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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Clockworkmom,

If the bleach was a blue powder, this can cause your hair to look cooler and lighter than it actually is. Once the product is washed out though, the true colour is revealed. As for the toner, a level 10 is far too light to actually neutralise the warmth in your hair properly. You'd be better toning with an ash dye one level lighter than your current level to get rid of the remaining warmth. If it's still too dark for what you want though, you would have to bleach it again first.


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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Mel,

Is this the overall colour you're seeing, or is it different where the highlights originally were? I'd imagine it's the highlights that are showing the green colour and the orange tone is in the darker hair?


Steph 20 months ago

Hi there!

I've just stripped my hair color and I'm a light golden/ginger (but not too ginger) color. Wanting to dye it with L'oreal Deep purple pearl - have been reading horror stories, but those people were dying already dark hair with this color. Am I safe to go? Or should I lighten it up some more? Hairs is in awesome shape considering I have just removed years of color, and I know it will be porous due to the process, so what do you think? Go for it?


Alex 20 months ago

Thanks for your help!


Dee 20 months ago

Hi, I was hoping you could help. Your article was very informative but I have a question regarding the bleaching process. I was thinking about bleaching but I first wanted to try color oops to see if that would take any of the red out of my hair. I had light brown highlighted hair but have been dying it dark red every winter for about 5 years and then highlighting in the spring and summer for about the same amount of time. It's about tht time where I want light hair again and was thinking about just bleaching it myself. I used color oops 2 days ago and it lightened it somewhat but my roots are a lot lighter more to the color I want. Is bleaching ok after I used color oops? My roots are a dark blonde color and my mid to ends are a medium brown with a small red tint.. I want to get to a dark golden blonde/light brown color.. What toner should I use and how should my hair look after it is bleached to get that color? I see the chart but I guess I would feel better hearing specifics from u. Thanks


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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Steph,

That dye doesn't seem to list a level, so there's no way of telling how dark it is without looking at pictures of the results. Based on pictures, it looks about a level 6 or so, which is a dark blonde. You'll be most likely to get the best colour results with a golden orange base or lighter, which is where you're already at.


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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Dee,

It's perfectly fine to use bleach. However, make sure that every time you use dye remover that you have thoroughly shampooed your hair. The remover reverses the chemical reaction that makes the dye permanent, but if you don't shampoo all the broken down dye out of your hair it can oxidise again and darken back up when exposed to hydrogen peroxide in hair dye and bleach, or even the oxygen in air. If you have shampooed it thoroughly though, there's no issue with bleaching.

As for getting it dark blonde to light brown, lift out 2 more levels. Normally your hair would look golden orange at this stage, but it is possible that it will continue to look orange to reddish due to the amount of red dye that has been applied in the past. If this is the case, judge it by lightness rather than colour. Tone with natural dark blonde to neutralise some of the remaining warmth. It will go from orange-ish to caramel, then begin to look more gold. If you leave it on longer it will soften to beige and then closer to a neutral tone. Rinse at your desired look.


Dee 20 months ago

thank you so much! wish me luck I am going to try it tomorrow.. this article is the best thing I have come across so far, you're the best!


Dee 20 months ago

So after your advice I couldn't wait and ended up doing the bleach.. It actually turned out good except for my roots are about 1 mayybbee 2 shades lighter than my other hair. it doesn't look bad up so I was going to wait until tomorrow to try and fix the roots.. I would like to match it. should I just try to match it with dye and only do the roots?? I deep conditioned and my hair is in good shape. thanks


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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Dee,

When you tone your lengths, apply a mixture of dark natural blonde and dark golden blonde to the roots first, wait for that to darken, and then apply the other dye to the lengths to match the tone.


Lisa 20 months ago

I love your article. I also love your interactive comment section. That said, like others, I am reaching out for your knowledged advice. My hair is naturally a dark brown with reddish undertones. I have not processed my hair in years with any dyes/bleaches. Last week, I picked up Loreal Preference Ombre Touch for medium to darkest brown (OT4). I applied it following instructions except I put the bleach heavier in some places to create multiple tones. In the places where I applied it heavier (mostly some tips and small strands), the color came out blonde. The rest of it came out orangish. I was trying to achieve an ombre look with a lighter brown and a few touches of blonde. I think I let the bleach sit too long as it passed the lighter brown stage on it's way to blonde and got stuck on orange.

Now I am researching how to fix it. My hair is fine and will damage easily so I have rested it for the last week and even put olive oil on the bleached parts a couple of days when I wasn't leaving the house. I've read about purple shampoo, ash blonde dye, and going back to my natural color. I'm really trying to achieve an ombre with my natural darker brown fading to a lighter brown/dark blonde with some pieces of a lighter blonde. Since my hair damages easily, I am concerned about dying it just to bleach it again. I'm also wondering what would happen if I used the same product again. Do you have any suggestions for me? Thanks!


Emily 20 months ago

Hi, I went to the the hairdressers & got my hair dyed red in wella - think it was a55/46 & 66/45 ? Quite bright my natural colour is dark/ medium brown - I then wanted to go back to natural but once it had faded a bit I box coloured it! Dark brown so it was a bitch patchy redish at too dark brown at bottom. When I went back to hairdresser she said to use head & shoulders to strip it a bit nataually before we bleach bath it . Anyway after bleach & two toners (ash) my hair is darker then my natural I'm like a level 7/0/6/1 nataually and I still think its patchy underneath? Why would it not lift my hair to a natural looking brown ?


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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Lisa,

This kind of thing is fairly common. As you probably know, your hair contains a warm base tone underneath the colour you actually see and this is what gives it its depth, richness, and makes it look dark. When you lighten it, the top colour lifts out first and this warm base is revealed.

There's not really anything you can do to avoid this happening. Any time you bleach or dye lighter, the base tone is going to be revealed. It's just, in the case of a dye, there is cool tone being deposited to counteract the appearance of the base tone so that the warmth is corrected as it lightens. With bleach there is no colour being deposited so any warmth is going to be very obvious.

The way you get around this when bleaching is to add colour separately by toning. This is called double processing and it's the same as what is done when hair is bleached and dyed blonde. In that sort of scenario, violet tone is going back into the hair in the form of an ash blonde dye and this corrects the strong gold or yellow tones.

Even though you're afraid of damage, this doesn't mean you can't dye it though. Semi-permanent dye would be a great option for you at first because it is completely non-damaging and most semi-permanent dyes are very easy to apply. If you accidentally over-toned it, it will also gradually wash out over a few weeks. With many different lighter and darker areas, this is beneficial because a colour that is strong enough to tone most of your hair can over-tone any hair that is lighter, or won't effectively tone any hair that is darker. If need be, you can experiment until you get it right and then go for something more permanent.

When choosing the shade of dye to use, I'd recommending starting with an 8A (Light ash blonde), and focusing this on the orange hair only. You can foil conditioner over the lighter streaks to protect them if necessary. See how well this tones, and switch it to a darker ash if need be (8A > 7A > 6A > 5A). Usually hair that is orange is somewhere around a level 5 to a level 6, but it can be porous after bleaching and you'll be better off starting at level 8 and using the lightest shade that works so that you don't end up with a very dark result.

Purple shampoo is the wrong colour for toning orange hair, as well as generally too weak. The problem is that violet tone will only properly neutralise yellow. You need blue to neutralise orange. De Lorenzo Silver shampoo may be an option however, as it is very concentrated and more of a blue colour, but overall you will likely need something a lot stronger and this is where semi-permanent of demi-permanent dye comes in.

Apart from that, you might also want to get a good protein treatment to use as well. These repair damaged hair. Oils, conditioners, and other moisturising products prevent dryness and keep your hair feeling soft and supply, but they don't actually repair structural damage. They can help prevent it, but if your hair is weak, breaking, or even feels stretchy when wet, a protein treatment is a better option and using it once a week for a while will strengthen your hair up over time.


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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Emily,

Everyone has different hair and sometimes you can have sections of hair that tend to be more resistant to lightening or dyeing. It doesn't happen all the time, but it is always a possibility.

You can also notice a difference in parts of your hair depending on where the bleach was applied first. Hair that has been in contact with bleach for the longest time will be lighter and sometimes develop a more noticeable porosity that becomes obvious when it is dyed later. Application technique of the dye can also result in this effect if the dark brown dye was applied to the back of your hair first and developed for longer. Either of these scenarios could be the cause of the darker result.

As for why it was patchy after dyeing, it's very hard to tell without having seen the application of the brown dye. Some box dyes contain a lot of metallic colour and this can lead to the patchiness sometimes. You may not have got it as even as you thought you had either. A tinting brush is best for the most even colour as you can apply the same amount of colour to every section of hair. If the layer of colour is thinner, it can dry out as it develops and those areas of hair won't dye properly. As for the red tone showing though, that is because the dye didn't deposit enough cool pigment to counteract its appearance. Where the dye is darker at the bottom, the red is less visible because it's darker.

Finally, as for why it continued to look patchy after bleaching and then toning, this is because bleach only lightens. If you have lighter or darker areas of hair, they will still be that way after bleaching unless you intentionally separate out each darker area, apply there first, and then systematically apply to lighter areas as it processes until everything is even. Toning is a similar situation because more or less colour will take to areas that are lighter or darker.

Overall, this is mostly speculation though. There's no way to be fully sure of what happened without having seen the application of everything.


Lisa 20 months ago

Thank you for your insightful response. I realized after submitting the comment that you wrote an article on fixing orange hair, but because I have different shades in my hair, I was wondering if I was supposed to tone everything. Now I know to only tone the orange. Should I use foils to wrap up the pieces I am toning to keep it off of the rest of my hair?

It's interesting because in flourecent light (which is a purple toned light), I love the colors in my hair. It looks exactly how I wanted it, but then under all other light (including sunlight) it looks orangish which I why I need to fix it. I plan to go to Sally's this time to pick a toner instead of using a box (I've been reading your articles). :)

Lastly, as a novice to hair colors (mostly going natural or relying on salons), I realize now that saying my hair damages easily is the wrong term. I don't think I've actually ever had damaged hair. I should've said that my fine hair will dry out easily if I'm not careful. That's why I was putting oil to help it recover. Currently, my hair is in a good and healthy condition so I was trying to do as little processing as possible to keep it that way.

Thanks again for your in-depth and personalized response. I realize how much time it takes to repond to every person in a professional and thoughtful way. It's a rarity on the internet. I think what you're doing is great! Your passion and caring nature are shining through.


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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Lisa, I'm glad you've found it helpful.

You can foil the toner onto the orange hair, or you can foil the non-orange hair with shampoo or conditioner and then just cover the rest. It really just depends on what is easiest based on how much hair you need to avoid processing. Also, you can apply lighter toners to the lighter hair if you do want it all toned, but if you're toning most of your hair it will still make the colour look less warm overall without having to do this. It's the same sort of thing as highlights, where warm highlights tend to make the overall colour look warmer even though it's only a small amount of hair, and ash highlights have the opposite effect.

That's great if your hair is still in good condition, and you can continue using oil or deep conditioners to keep it moisturised. You can still use a semi-permanent or demi-permanent dye for toning though. It will keep it strong and healthy and does have the benefit of washing out over time. If you like the colour you can always switch to a more permanent option later on.

Good luck with your colour and feel free to let me know if you have any other questions or run into problems with the toning.


Emily 20 months ago

Hi Matthew, I went back to the hair dressers and told her I wasn't happy with the result, she said she was disappointed as she thought it had lifted quite well and yes the there was Slight band but that was because I had used a box colour and sometimes this can affect the bleaching process? she said I couldn't have it bleached again in the same week and that it was darker then the colour we had discussed as she had to use two toners but this would fade with thine? Not sure weather to go back? She said to come back next week tues and she has booked me in? But I don't want my hair to dry out ?!


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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Emily,

If it is bleached again, be prepared to have to tone it again as well because the bleach will reveal all that underlying pigment again. The idea here is that you want to take it slightly lighter than the colour you actually want because toning adds cool tone into your hair to counteract the warmth. Whilst it will neutralise the warm tone, it does also darken slightly.

As for dryness, use deep conditioner or a thick conditioning treatment in place of your regular conditioner and leave it for 5 - 10 minutes after shampooing. Leave-in conditioner is an option if you still need a little moisture after this. Keep this up until your appointment and you won't need to worry too much about dryness.

Do analyse the strength of your hair though. Dryness is reversible with conditioning, but the effect of bleach and dye on the structure of your hair generally won't respond to a conditioner or conditioning treatment unless there is protein in the product, and the more damage you have, the better it is to use a proper protein treatment instead. Structural damage is detectable through breakage, weakness (Especially when wet), and a loss of elasticity. Every time you use an oxidative product like bleach or permanent hair, this damage increases, but products that do not contain hydrogen peroxide will not have this effect.


brooks 20 months ago

Hi mr james..i had a big problem..i just had colored my blonde hair to

super black hàir yesterday..and the problem is i dont want this color anymore..all i want to have is a new color like light brown shade ..it's ok that i will use a hydrogen peroxide?volume 10..for fading my dry black hair..


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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Brooks,

I'm glad you asked before going ahead with this. Not because there's anything wrong with it particularly, but just because there's a better way in your situation if the black dye was a permanent dye.

If this is the case, I would highly recommend using a dye remover first instead of bleach. You see, when you dye your hair with permanent dye, there is a chemical reaction that occurs, and this is what causes the dye to take a form that becomes permanent and gives you the colour of the shade used. Dye remover actually reverses this chemical process and breaks the artificial colour back down so that it can be washed back out with shampoo.

The benefit of this is that dye remover isn't damaging, unlike bleach, so you will be able to keep your hair in much better condition. It is also much, much more effective in your situation. With repeated dyeing and layers of built up colour, dye remover becomes less effective, but because you only applied the black dye yesterday, and you have only applied it once on top of your previous blonde colour, there's a good chance most of it will be removed if you use dye remover.

After that, all you will need to do is apply the new light brown colour and you cut out so much time and potential damage. Otherwise bleaching your hair with 10 vol will take a few processes to reach a light enough colour to be toned to light brown.

As for brands of dye remover, Juuce Eliminate is excellent. Vanish Color Corrector is also highly effective. To use one of these products, you need to mix the two solutions right before application and then apply quickly as the reaction will commence once mixed. Leave it for up to 20 minutes and then shampoo your hair 2 - 3 times very thoroughly.

The shampoo step is extremely important because once that colour is broken down, you need to wash it out. Any dye molecules that aren't washed out will re-oxidise in air or from the developer when a new colour is applied, darkening back up and affecting the results, so the more thoroughly you can wash it, the better. Afterwards, finish off with a deep conditioner as the dye remover and shampooing can leave your hair dry.

Once you've done this, you can apply the new colour in the same day if you're in a rush, but waiting about 2 days is better as it gives your hair a chance to regain moisture before dyeing. When you're ready to dye, use a dark natural blonde dye even though you want a light brown result because it will turn out slightly darker than intended after using dye remover as your hair will be porous and a small amount of black dye may remain.

Let me know if you have any questions about the dye remover or don't understand any of this and I'll elaborate further. Good luck with your colour.


Lisa Mireles 20 months ago

Hi Maffew,

I just bleached my hair which was a medium brown with red undertones and at first it came out orange and brassy so I washed it out with purple shampoo and proceeded to tone it and now I'm at a golden blonde but this is definitely not what I want. I want a light blonde but I don't want it to look so gold and harsh, rather a lighter and softer look. I was wondering if I should bleach my hair again or if I should purchase a blonde hair dye instead? Also, how soon is TOO soon to re-bleach or dye my hair?

Thank you!


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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Lisa,

If there is still orange tone and you want a light blonde, you really need to get it to the yellow stage first and bleach is going to be more reliable for this. You can dye it instead, but this is weaker than bleach and you can expect any potential lightening to decrease greatly if your hair was dyed brown before you bleached it. Dye only lightens natural pigment and won't lift artificial pigment; the more dye in your hair, the less lift any subsequent dye will produce.

In any case, wait at least a week before bleaching again in order to allow your hair to regain moisture and pH balance. Bleaching sooner causes more damage than normally as your hair is already dry and weakened.


Lisa 19 months ago

This is a follow up to the two comments posted last week starting with, "I love your article..." and "Thank you for your insightful response..." I noticed that there's more than one Lisa commenting. Anyway, I have two more questions. 1. When you tone your hair, should you use a developer or activating lotion as the directions say? 2. The next time I bleach my hair, what should happen to the orange parts? I've been curious about that, but I do plan to wait quite awhile as I want my hair to recover as best as possible. Thank you again!


Jasmyn 19 months ago

Hello! Great post! I wanted to ask... I currently have all of my hair my natural color (no dyes). I would say it's a level 3 to 4 in the browns. I am wanting to do some blonde highlights. I think the beige blondes might work best for me, but I'm not sure. My skin tone is fair warm, and I have green eyes so I was thinking beige tones would work but in a dark blonde shade so that it looks more natural. How would you propose that I go about achieving the color that would look best? Oh, and I do have some grays (lightly in strands here and there, but slightly heavier near my temples). The grays don't bother me as far as covering them up, but I know it will take color differently. Thanks!


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Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi Lisa,

Depends what kind of dye you end up deciding to use. Demi-permanent dye will either use a low volume of peroxide developer, or an acid-based developer and this will depend on brand. Permanent dye requires peroxide developer. Semi-permanent isn't mixed with anything.

As for the colour change during bleaching, hair turns from shades of brown to either red or red-orange (Depending on how dark the brown colour is at first), then lifts to progressively lighter shades of orange, to gold, and then to yellow. A golden-orange base can generally be toned to dark blonde, gold tones to medium blonde, yellow tones to light blonde. Paler shades of yellow produce very light blonde and near-white shades of platinum.

Depending on how resistant your hair is and how strongly you formulate the bleach, your hair will probably reach the golden stage after bleaching it again, but this could vary. In any case, it will be lighter. Try to look at the 'depth change' rather than colour change because whilst colour usually lets you visualise what level your hair has reached, this isn't always the case. Aim to get it light enough for what you want, rather than to reach a certain colour. Any unwanted colour, regardless of whether it is red, orange, yellow or even blue can be toned to what you actually want; but if it's not light enough, toning can't make it lighter.


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Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi Jasmyn,

The best option is to use bleach or high lift dye for the highlights as you need at least 3 levels of lift. Regular permanent dye can do this when mixed with 40 vol developer, but it has a very hard time dealing with such a dark starting point and is very unreliable. High lift dye has the benefit of adding tone while lightening, so you won't need to tone as much unlike bleaching, but it's still less reliable than bleach. Bleach and tone is the traditional option and you'll get reliable lightening to dark blonde, but you will then need to tone it to get the beige shade you want. Otherwise it will just look an intense gold colour instead.

Have a quick look at my article about high lift dye if you want to know more about it: https://bellatory.com/hair/How-to-use-high-lift-ha...

Then, if you could let me know what you would prefer to use, I can give you more specific advice. I would highly recommend using bleach for the best results though.

As for the grey hair, this will be dyed intensely with any dye used to tone your hair. Eg, if you were using an ash blonde toner to soften the warmth to beige, this can turn the grey strands blue because they readily take on the ash tone. You can get around this by mixing your toning shade with a neutral shade and this will darken the grey hair and prevent it from taking on too much of any specific tone. If it's only a few strands here and there though, especially if very diffuse, the tone the grey hair takes on is going to be practically invisible unless you're looking at it very closely in the mirror.

It's the same sort of scenario as when you heavily highlight dark hair to reach blonde. The colour looks blonde, but if you look very very closely, you notice the occasional brown, orange, or golden hair where the hair has been lightened less. It's only noticeable if you're trying to find it and looking very closely, and this is the same sort of thing you'll see happen when there's a few grey hairs in your colour.


Jasmyn 19 months ago

Thanks for your response! To answer your question, I am okay with bleaching as long as it's not too often since I don't want to cause too much damage to my hair. What would you suggest? I live near Sally's and have access to higher quality products. Also... is beige blonde the right tone for me? I do have fair skin but with yellow undertones making me warm toned, and I have green eyes. I would like the result to be soft and natural, and I am okay with varying tones and varying lighter/darker highlights (keep in mind, I'm middle-aged and silvery tones would likely age me more). A few face framing pieces could be quite a bit lighter. I am open to your suggestions. :)


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi Jasmyn,

In that case, I would recommend using a good brand of bleach powder like Igora Vario or Wella Multi Blonde, and mixing that with 20 vol developer to use for lightening. If you would like to vary the lightness of the highlights, you can alternate between bleach and 20 vol, with bleach and 10 vol or 15 vol so that it doesn't lift as heavily in those sections.

To apply the product, you need to be familiar with foiling. The better you are at sectioning out your hair and applying foils neatly, the better the results. You can end up with something really quite terrible if you just apply anywhere. There are many different ways to position foils, but for a full-head application, the easiest and most reliable way is going to be to foil along the top of the head and then brick the sides in the direction your hair falls. At the end, you'll have one line of foils along the top of your head from forehead to the back, and the rest of your foils will lay alternately like bricks.

Normally you would apply product to the back first, because this can then be washed out first as it lightens to give more even results, but without a wash basin, this is a bit difficult. If you have a shower hose or you have a large sink with a hose attachment and someone to help you rinse the bleach out, this can help give you a better colour as you'll be able to wash the area where application commenced. If not, I'd recommend applying first to the area you want to be lightest and working as quickly as possible. Maybe even increase the developer volume a little higher towards the end to catch up the areas last to be applied to if you're comfortable with that.

As for the actual application, you need a tail comb as well as your tinting brush. Take strips of foil (Preferably hairdressing foil as it's not full-width like kitchen foil and better designed for highlights), cut them into the required length and lay flat. If in doubt over how many foil strips you will use, aim to have more than you need. You don't want to stop mid-application to prepare more foil as the bleach will keep lightening where already applied as you get new foil.

Take your first thin section of hair, weave through it with the tail of your comb so that you end up with small pieces of the section. The heavier you are with the weaving, the more obvious the highlights are. A lighter and thinner section produces less visible highlights. The main difference is that very thin and well-weaved highlights blend in and tend to make your overall colour look lighter, while chunkier and thicker sections will produce streaks in your current colour.

After you have a section weaved out, keep it held, lay the tail of your comb flat against the foil about an inch down from the top, then press the tail of the comb to the base of your scalp. You'll notice that this causes the end of the foil to fold over without having to fold it yourself. Apply bleach with your brush to the highlight and then brush it against the foil to stick it in place and you can slide the tail of the comb out now without the foil slipping.

To fold your foil neatly, fold it upwards in half first, then gently press the teeth of the comb to the left or right side, about 1cm (A little under half an inch), from the edge. You'll see that this presses a straight fold line into the foil, and all you need to do then is press the edge down for a very neat fold. You can do this by hand or using the side of the comb. Whatever you prefer is fine. Do the same with the other side of the foil.

After that, take another section of the same size, or larger if you want the highlights to be more spread out, and leave this section. If you were starting at the back, working up along the top of your head, this section would drop down over the foil you just applied. You then need to take another section and now weave this one to apply another foil. For a heavier effect, you can leave thinner sections in-between the foils, or you can foil every section. Do the opposite for a lighter effect. The more hair that is foiled, the lighter your overall colour becomes and this is more useful where you want to highlight your hair to blonde, rather than produce regular highlights.

If you're just applying highlights to one level, you would use the same product for the next foil you apply, but if you want to alternate with darker highlights, you can apply this now and then switch back to the lighter mix for every second highlight (Use a different brush and tinting bowl for this), or you can apply it to certain areas if you want it darker in specific places.

You get the most natural effect from applying lighter highlights to areas that would normally be lightened by the sun. Eg, lighter on top layers and in the direction your hair naturally sits when exposed to the sun - darker towards the bottom layers, but it's really up to you. Lighter areas framing your face will soften your features, but will also have to be toned separately with a lighter colour or else the toner will cause them to look very ashy (Greyish or silvery depending on how light you take it), which doesn't always work with a warm skin tone like yours. Because these areas sit against your skin, any discrepancy between your skin tone and hair tone is more noticeable because there's a more obvious contrast.

Once you're done applying the highlights, you want the lighter sections to reach a golden-orange colour so that they can be toned to a dark beige blonde. Darker sections, it really depends how much darker you want them to be. For 1 level darker than the lighter highlights, you'll be aiming for a bright orange colour so that these highlights can be toned to light brown. Rinse out the highlights after they reach where they should be. If some foils are taking longer, try to rinse out the rest and leave these last sections to process for a little longer if possible.

Bleach only lightens, so you end up with very warm highlights to begin with. Ie, you'll have golden-orange and orange highlights. This is where toning comes in to correct this warmth and give you the final colour. Ideally, you want to tone both highlights with a different colour so that they both tone properly. The toner used for your lighter highlights will have minimal effect on the darker highlights, whilst a darker toner for the darker highlights is too powerful for the lighter sections and will turn them ash blonde instead of beige. Though you can use the formula that works best for the lighter highlights and leave the darker sections with a warmer colour if you're fine with that of course.

If you end up just going with the one level of highlight, this will be easiest when it comes to toning. Your actual options when it comes to toning are to use a demi-permanent or permanent dye to tone it, which will need to be applied to the highlights again in foils preferably as although a lighter colour than your base, these types of dye can lift the colour of your non-highlighted hair even though they aren't dark enough to affect the colour. If you use a semi-permanent dye as the toner this can be applied all over without anymore foiling as it doesn't penetrate your hair or cause any lift, and thus won't affect the colour of the rest of your hair. If you have lighter and darker highlights though, you will need to apply two different semi-permanent dyes in foils to each section to tone properly, or just apply the lighter shade all over. You can use a light ash blonde on the light sections to take out enough of the warmth to produce beige, and a medium ash blonde on the darker hair if toning separately. You only need to process until it reaches your desired tone.

Let me know if you have any questions about any part of the process.


Jasmyn 19 months ago

Thank you so much. That was informative and helpful. I am familiar with foiling, but your technique helps. I was really curious about your opinion on the colors so thank you for helping me with that. I guess brunettes should only use ash colors for toning because I've never seen or read anything advising differently from any sites. I noticed that Wella actually has toners, but they do not have light ash colors in semi-permanent dyes. They mostly have demi-permanent, permanent, and a small section of toners. In fact, I had a hard time finding any brand with an ash color in a semi-permanent dye at Sally's. I don't know if this is specific to my location or if it's pretty standard across brands. Anyway, thanks again. Your information was great!


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi Jasmyn,

Glad you found it helpful.

When lightening, you generally will always be using a cooler shade than the colour you actually want because the underlying pigment is revealed and this needs to be neutralised with ash; unless the colour you're aiming to reach is something like a red or copper shade, in which case the underlying pigment doesn't need to be neutralised.

Good luck with your colour and let me know if you have any problems or need any more help with it.


zyzzy 19 months ago

Hi Maffew

I was hoping you could help me. My hair is naturally black , however I recently

used a henna dark brown hair dye which made little to no difference on my hair colour. I was hoping to lighten my hair to a medium brown. From what I have read in order for me to achieve my desired result I would now have to bleach my hair first and then dye it the desired brown I'd like? I am a bit confused regarding the bleach strength to use , 10 , 20 , 30 etc . I wish to achieve the colour in the following picture , the guy on the right. http://i38.tinypic.com/24odohh.jpg Could you tell me what colour that is exactly as well

Thank you


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi zyzzy,

Henna dyes generally only darken hair. It is the peroxide in permanent dye that lightens your natural colour while depositing the new colour, but this won't be found in henna products.

As for lightening your hair with bleach, the volume of developer you use depends a lot on what brand of bleach powder you're using, as well as the results you want and the current condition of your hair. With most salon brands of bleach, the product is a lot stronger and you don't want to mix it with anything stronger than 20 vol developer for use on scalp. You can go up to 30 vol for highlights that don't touch the scalp. Generic brands tend to be weaker and are often safe to use with 30 vol developer if necessary. An easy way to tell is to read the manufacturer information for the particular brand you're using and that will list recommendations for developer strength.

The picture included is about a medium ash brown, and you will need to lighten your hair to a bright orange colour and then tone with medium ash brown dye to get this colour. From black to medium brown is 2 levels of lift and you shouldn't have too much trouble with this. As this isn't a very drastic change, you should also be fine with 20 vol developer with the bleach regardless of whether it is a generic or salon powder. Both can achieve this amount of lift with the developer, with the main difference being that the change is reached in less time with salon powder.

The henna that was applied may lead to patchiness though. If this happens, let it lighten a bit further and mix the dye as half medium ash brown and half medium neutral brown. This will even it up to the same colour result and compensate for this.


zyzzy 19 months ago

Thank you a lot for your advice , I understand so much better now . I've gotten a generic bleach 30 vol that says I should mix one part of powder with 3 parts of peroxide , I am unsure how large these parts should be. ? And is that a 1:3 ration of powder:peroxide .. Could I change that ratio to maybe 1:2 ... Could that perhaps weaking the piroxide closer to a vol 20? And I purchased a pure chocolate medium dark brown hair dye from garnier which is rated. 4.5 .. Should I bleach my hair until ir reaches a red and then the dye , would I reach a medium brown this way?


zyzzy 19 months ago

Hi Maffew I went through with it but there is too many patches , what would be the quickest way I could return to one colour? Preferably my natural black hair


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi zyzzy,

Henna tends to end up patchy like this. That's why I recommended the natural tone because it is a balanced shade that will darken everything all up to the same level.

Easiest way to return to black at this point is to simply apply a neutral black colour. You won't need to do anything else for this to cover properly and give an even result as it's the darkest colour possible.


GabrielleT 19 months ago

I have a ombre starting mid length at level 8 and 9, my natural color is dark blonde (6 or 7), I wanted to know wich blondor bleaching products with wich koleston dev. to use if I want something more light. Also, do I need to apply a dye after or this will be a good blonde ? I want the ombre part to be platinum blonde, more visible than level 8 or 9.

Also : if I want the exact color of a 12/81, what should I use ?

Thanks a lot for your answers guys.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi Gabrielle,

As your hair is naturally a dark blonde colour and your ombre is already fairly light, I'd recommend the Soft Blonde cream lightener over powder. It will be able to take you the rest of the way to platinum with less damage because it's more of a conditioning formula. Mix this with 20 vol, apply, and lift until you reach pale yellow. You need it to be a pale yellow about the colour of banana flesh for it to tone to near-white.

For toning, don't use the 12/81 even though you like the colour. The '12' series in Koleston are high lift dyes, not an actual level. The lightest level-based shades are level 10, which are pastel-like in result. High lifts are given the designation as '12' to separate and differentiate them from the other shades so that you know what they are.

To get the closest colour result to the swatch of the 12/81, apply Koleston 10/8 with 10 vol developer, or Color Touch 10/81 with Color Touch 6 vol developer to pale yellow hair after bleaching, and rinse this once it is silvery white. Koleston is permanent. Color Touch is demi-permanent. The Color Touch will be less damaging and better for your hair overall if you choose to use this.

Let me know if you have any questions about the process or need further clarification, and good luck with your colour.


GabrielleT 19 months ago

What a complete answer, he he, thanks a lot, it is very helpful.

In which ratio should I use the soft blonde lightener with the 20 vol ? Did I apply the dye on damp hair ?

For the touch up, do I need to bleach again and reapply color touch (or 10/8 as you said) ? What period of time do you recommend to do those touch ups (toning)

If I understand, I can't use only 12/81 to achieve what I want ?

Thanks again :)


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi Gabrielle,

Wella's Blondor bleach products are somewhat flexible and you can mix them in anything from a 1:1 to 1:2 ratio. Mixing it closer to 1:1 gives a thicker product, which can be helpful when applying to the ends of your hair only for ombre effects. As for application of the dye, apply to damp hair if using Color Touch, work quickly, watch it the entire time, and rinse once it has toned to your liking. It will turn more silvery and then to a silvery violet-blue if you leave it on for longer.

For touch up, it really just depends how you want the ombre to look; ie, whether you want to keep it at halfway to the ends, of you're fine with it gradually growing out further as your hair grows longer. The great thing about ombre is that you don't really need to touch it up if you don't want to because it continues to look the same but just starts lower down the length of the hair as it grows.

If you want to keep it at about halfway along the lengths, you can lighten a small section of darker hair just above where the ombre begins to extend it after 2 - 3 months. With platinum hair though, you're going to see a lot of damage with any overlap from the darker hair onto the previous ombre so you need to be really careful if you intend to do this. Once hair reaches that pale colour, bleach has more of an effect on the protein that your hair is made out of because there is less melanin (Pigment) left to react with the bleach.

Finally, to be more specific on the 12/81, you can use it instead of bleach for achieving blonde hair, but not as the toner after bleach and it's far less reliable for achieving a white colour. It's easier just to use the bleach and you can see when it's light enough because you're watching it lighten without any colour deposit. Then you have the flexibility to apply and rinse toner to the colour of your liking.

A high lift is more complicated because if it doesn't lift enough, it doesn't reach platinum or tone properly. If it deposits too much colour, you end up with grey to blueish hair. If it doesn't deposit enough or hasn't lifted as well, you end up needing to lighten further or tone separately anyway. Any previous dye in your hair will also prevent a high lift from lightening to the platinum level a lot of the time. I'd recommend using high lift more for when you want a light blonde result but don't specifically want your hair to be white or care if there is a little warmth remaining. It's less precise for the result you want, but it's your choice if you want to go with it and it is doable; just harder and less straight-forward.


GabrielleT 19 months ago

Woah, I'm so grateful for your answer. I'll do what you said. Thanks for the tips and all the stuff.

best regards


Nikita MacLeod profile image

Nikita MacLeod 19 months ago

Hi Maffew,

I was wondering if you could give me some advice?

My hair was bleached to a medium blonde about a year ago, 6 months later I dyed it back dark brown, my natural color.

Ever since I've regretted because I'd perfer to be a neutral dark blonde/lightest brown, like a bronde color .

I was wondering since I have a good few inches of regrowth since my hair was bleached, and there would be bleached and unbleached hair, how would the bleaching process work to get it all even, do I need to take some precautions?

And what toners would you recommend for a bronde color after its bleached up to an orange color, which I assume would be the color I need to bleach it to?

Sorry for all the detail, I'd appreciate any help, thanks :)


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 18 months ago Author

Hi Nikita,

Bronde hairstyles tend to be a combination of dark blonde and light brown hair, rather than one colour. If you get it to the point where a dark blonde starts, you could emulate the colour in one shade, but it won't look exactly the same unless you highlight and lowlight it.

With the bleaching process, start with the regrowth, about an inch away from the scalp and apply from that point to the line of demarcation where your old colour starts. Then apply to your roots closest to your scalp after about 10 minutes, and lift it all to match the level of your old colour before applying bleach there. Depending on how much darker your regrowth is, you may need to lighten this in two steps, lifting the regrowth first as above, rinsing once it reaches roughly the same level as your old colour, then lightening again after resting your hair for a week or two.

As long as you don't surpass the maximum processing time for the brand of bleach you're using, you can minimise damage. When you reach this point, rinse the bleach because it's not going to lift much further at this point. What it will do however is lead to more damage because the longer your hair is left in the alkaline environment, the drier and more brittle it becomes, even when the actual lightening chemical reaction has almost stopped. The maximum processing time is pretty much an indicator of when the lift will have significantly slowed down, and the product should be rinsed and reapplied at a later date if more lightening is needed.

As for getting the bronde colour, there are a few ways you can do this. For a better match to the typical style, lift to light orange, then apply dark golden blonde highlights and tone the base to a slightly golden light brown. For an all over colour, lift to the point where the orange is starting to turn more golden, mix half dark natural blonde and light natural brown, and apply this to tone to somewhere in-between blonde and brown.


Nikita MacLeod profile image

Nikita MacLeod 18 months ago

You explain things so well, your so helpful, thank you! :D x


Esveidy 18 months ago

Hi Mr. Maffew

So i recently dyed my hair like a red with hints of violet and before that i had highlights I want to cover my red its already fading so the color i want now is more of an ombre hair[ccaramel] should i use a color remover like color oops??or should i just dye my hair a dark brown and wait a week and the bleach my ends to obtain the ombre effect? Please help


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 18 months ago Author

Hi Esveidy,

Doing it in reverse will keep damage to a minimum as if you dye over it all with the dark brown, you then need to bleach the ends further to get them light enough. If you dye from roots to where you want the ombre to start using the dark brown and then bleach the ends out to the level you want, you can tone the ends to caramel.


Esveidy 18 months ago

Hi, my hair is naturally dark brown. I bleached it with peroxide 3 times and it is an orangey red. How many more times do I have to do it to get my hair into a blonde?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 18 months ago Author

Hi Esveidy,

So you've never dyed it before? As long as there's no artificial colour in your hair (Like from permanent dye), it will transition through stages from a dark brown colour to red, red-orange, orange, and finally shift towards gold and then progressively paler shades of yellow. Once it hits a golden-orange colour, you're at the dark blonde level, approximately.

The reason this works is because as the concentration of natural pigment (Melanin), decreases, it changes colour as well as becomes lighter overall, because red melanin bleaches out first. This allows you to judge how dark it is and more accurately reach the level you want by colour, but it's harder to do this with dyed hair as red tone from dye can often persist into lighter levels. Where you would normally see yellow for example, at about level 8, you might see orange at that level even though it is the lightness of level 8. It also often takes longer to lift dyed hair and you can't always get it as light as you want without impacting the condition of your hair.

In any case, be careful with how often you bleach it and keep to at least 1 week between processes. Preferably longer for healthier results. As long as you watch the condition of your hair, you can get it blonde without your hair weakening too much.


dameaflame 18 months ago

After dying my medium brown hair black for 6 years and carefully in steps getting it bleached out I finally achieved a very pretty light blonde color using Argan Oil One n Only 10A lightest ash blonde. It was not ashy since there was so much orange in it from the bleaching--it was like a light bright blonde but more on the honey gold side than platinum. The 3rd time I did root touchups and all over color, however, I was/am left with an odd very ashy gray brown color that could in no way be mistaken for blonde. Help! I want the blonde back. I went blonde since my roots were growing in gray and white and thought it would blend better. I left it on 30 minutes this time and the other 2 times almost an hour--could this be the reason? That it didn't fully develop? I used 20 toner from the same brand line. My hair is in good condition since i only flat iron and blow dry once a week and use Wen products only. I cannot stand this color!! Help, please! What can I do to fix this?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 18 months ago Author

Hi dameaflame,

Apologies for the late reply.

Is this from using the exact same shade? A 10A is a very pale and delicate ash blonde colour, so you shouldn't end up with a dark ash result from using it. In any case, if it's a permanent dye there are a few ways you can strip it out to lighten and soften the ash tone so that the colour isn't as dark and ashy.

Dye remover is a good choice as it's not damaging and is easy to use. If you want to go this route and need extra information about how to use it, or which remover to use, let me know. All you need to do is mix the two solutions and apply though. Once this processes for about 20 minutes it is rinsed and then you can correct the colour by dyeing it again. The remover breaks down artificial colour molecules so that they can be shampooed back out and this is why it doesn't damage as it has no effect on your hair structure or any remaining natural pigment.

Other options include bleach washing or clarifying shampoo. The shampoo is designed for removing product buildup and excessive oil, so it's stronger than a regular shampoo. It helps fade dye out sooner by washing it out, although it is drying and needs to be followed up by conditioning to correct this after use. It's not damaging as long as you use conditioner afterwards, but it does take longer to remove a buildup of colour. It's also the best option if the dye you used was semi-permanent as this stains the hair and removal of the stain removes the colour.

Bleach washing requires a mix of bleach and shampoo and this strips out the dye. You'd mix this and apply for about 10 minutes to strip out the excess ash tone. This lightens it and because it's only in your hair for a little while it's relatively non-damaging, but there is the potential for damage so it's better to leave this option as a last resort in your situation where dye remover should work well.


amber 18 months ago

I got maybe 4 or 5 inches of new growth that ibwould like to change back to blonde my haor is naturally like a dirty/sandy blonde woth natural highlights I would like to go platnium blonde do I just use to lifter or should I add bleach? My ends are already blonde like yellow ish some parts are lightwr due to my natural highlights what should I use please help


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 18 months ago Author

Hi Amber,

If your hair is naturally that darker blonde colour and you haven't used any dye on the regrowth as of yet, you can lift it with 9A and 30 vol developer to take it close to platinum. In dyed hair, or when you want a more reliable lift and definite platinum result though, it's always best to lift to pale yellow and then tone separately. Best idea with the highlights is to to add bleach or dye to the darker areas first if possible, lighten to the same depth, and then apply to the lighter areas so that it all evens up.


Elizabeth 17 months ago

Hello

I have very dark brown hair (almost black but not quite) and I want to dye the ends of my hair purple. I was wondering how light I would need to get me hair in order to achieve and dark purple color


Serene 17 months ago

Hi I know someone who has read this but they have strawberry blonde hair, would this work for her to get lighter blondish hair?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 17 months ago Author

Hi Elizabeth,

At least a light orange colour for it to show up. Based on level, your hair would be somewhere between a 3 (Dark brown), and 1 (Black), and you will need to take it to at least a 5 (Light brown) for a deep yet vibrant purple. Closer to a level 4, the result will still look purple, but it will be more subtle.

Of course, everything also depends on what dye you're using. If you lighten your hair as much as is necessary yet use a dye that is too light, it won't work because there will not be enough pigment present to create that dark purple colour you want. Ideally, use a permanent purple dye that is level-based like Fudge Headpaint's 4.22 or 5.22 to be sure of how dark it is, or use a semi-permanent purple dye that you are sure is the depth you want.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 17 months ago Author

Hi Serene,

It's exactly the same. The only difference is that natural red hair colours will show more warmth as they lighten and can look red or coppery for longer before you start to see a transition towards more of a yellow colour. This is countered by toning.

Basically, lightening and dyeing are separate processes. In red hair, lightening is the same as in other colours, but the toning afterwards will often need to be slightly different in that if there is a lot of red or copper tone present, green or blue-green based ash colours may be needed to neutralise it properly.


Mimi 16 months ago

Hi Maffew,

You're literally a lifesaver when it comes to hair coloring, and I really appreciate all the time you put to reply to all the comments individually. I actually need some help as well. I have been dying my hair light ash brown over my natural dark brown color for many years now, and it usually comes out a dark to medium ash brown, but now I want to get a light ash brownish/dark blonde color. I will be using one of the salon quality bleaches you have mentioned, but I keep reading that even though all the developers are the same, some of them are less damaging that others. I wanna use a 20 vol developer. Can you tell me what brand developer you personally prefer? Also I'm not sure what volume developer to use with the hair dye for toning? should it be 10 vol? and I would appreciate if you tell which brand and color dye to buy from Sally to achieve that light ash brown/blonde color? Also, would I need to use a protein filler right after bleaching cause of the hair being porous to avoid going too dark with the hair dye? I basically need to know what to exactly buy from sally to get this look. I really appreciate your help.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 16 months ago Author

Hi Mimi,

Some developers contain additives like protein and conditioning agents which do reduce the dryness and damage after bleaching slightly. Overall, there's no significant benefit to using a developer like this as the effect is fairly mild and you can do the same thing yourself with better results by using a deep conditioner or a conditioning treatment after bleaching, and a protein treatment. Of course, feel free to use one if you'd like.

To tell whether a particular developer is better for your hair, look at the ingredients to check for conditioning agents and protein. Conditioners can be anything from oils to silicones, whilst protein can be listed as hydrolysed protein, hydrolysed wheat protein, keratin, etc. Conditioners prevent and treat dryness. Proteins reduce and treat damage.

As for which brand of developer I'd recommend personally, I believe using the same brand of developer as your bleach powder or cream is best because the manufacturer has matched it for consistency and results to give it the best performance when used together. So if you were using Wella bleach for example, it's best to use Wella Koleston developer. With that said, any brand is fine as long as the developer doesn't separate or go lumpy; these are signs of an inferior product. If it does anything like this, you can bet the manufacturer hasn't went to any great effort to ensure reliability during lightening and mixing.

For the ash dye, if you use a dye from the same brand as the bleach you use, you're going to get a good brand. Products like Wella Koleston, Igora Royal, and Matrix SoColor are all excellent. You can't buy them from Sally's though. I think you can buy Wella Color Charm; it's not as diverse as the Koleston, but it will still give good results and you should find it easy to use too. Whatever brand you use, go with a 6A at darkest if aiming for light brown. Go a little lighter if aiming for closer to a dark blonde, because you don't want the ash to be too intense.

As for the porosity, that can be a problem. If you've found a light ash brown dye has been adequate to tone your hair to dark or medium brown, that could be either the brand you're using has slightly more intense colours, or you have more porous hair. You can get around this by adjusting how dark the dye is based on brand and how your hair responds to it. Using a clear protein filler definitely helps because it fills in the hair and prevents it from grabbing as much dye.

In any case, do a strand test if in doubt. Take ash dye at one level lighter than the level you bleached to, apply to a small section, and if this immediately darkens up or just tones excessively and too quickly, use a lighter dye for the full application. You want the dye to be strong enough to tone, as well as give you an ash result, but you don't want it to be so strong that your hair is toned in a couple of minutes where you've first applied, whilst you've only applied to half your hair. A weaker ash dye means more control because the toning proceeds more slowly, making it much easier to get the result you want.


Mimi 16 months ago

Maffew,

Thank you so much for your detailed response. Can you tell me what protein filler I can buy? I have never really used one. I know you've been mentioning Redken Cat, would that do ok?

Also, can you tell me where I can purchase the good hair dyes, like wella koleston or igora royal?


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 16 months ago Author

Hi Mimi,

The Redken Cat is a protein treatment that you apply after shampooing to repair damage. It may work fine as a filler if you spray it into your hair prior to applying the dye, but having not used it for that purpose, and knowing it's not designed with that in mind, I can't say for sure. It would also be the more expensive route if you did use it.

Sally's does sell an inexpensive clear protein filler, which you can find here: http://www.sallybeauty.com/protein-filler/CLRFUL1,...

You can also buy the same product on Amazon. Apart from that, you should be able to get one from your nearest supply store in person, or from online suppliers depending on where you're located`.

As for the dye, beauty suppliers and wholesalers are good places to buy, but some will require that you own or work in a salon before they will sell to you. Others won't. Same scenario with online suppliers. There are also many suppliers that sell through Amazon or Ebay.


Mimi 16 months ago

Maffew,

Thank you, thank you, thank you :) You're the best!


nicholle 346 16 months ago

Hi Maffhew:

I want to stop dying my dark brown hair because I am now 100% grey but first I have to strip out the dark dark brown dye. I need to get to a light blond in order for me to dye my hair a chrome silver so that when my grey roots do grown in I will only have to touch up every 3 mos or longer. So I first used a color remover (Oops brand) it really lightened my roots and another 4 inches down in the front however the entire back and lower part of the sides are still a pretty dark brown but more brown less dark chocolate. So then I thought I would try bleach I used Loreal quick blue 2 oz + 30 vol cream developer 4.5-5 oz + .5 oz Oleplex #1. My roots plus a few inches are pure white the rest PUMPKIN ORANGE:) In the last couple of days I have only sprayed a protein filler and deep conditioner on the rinsed hair (no shampoo). I thought I would try to lighten the orange parts with Loreal quick blue and 20 vol only, then I could tone with Wella Color Charm T10 and 10 vol developer and continue not to dry but deep condition - then after a couple weeks have my stylist do the chrome permanent dye. What do you think?

I am sure by now you know I am not trained:) My stylist went out of town and could not start this until late August I got itchy and went ahead-probably not the smartest and I am certainly old enough to know better but..... please give me your opinion you seem very knowledgable and I would love to hear your thoughts. Plus my very capable stylist won't be back for 2 more weeks plus and I would love to surprise her with a jumpstart if perhaps this turned out well:)


vincent kao 16 months ago

soo im dying my hair from 4fv to 12 beige ash blond using goldwell and i know i need to bleach my hair to level 10 or 11 im using 30 vol cuz i want to left the hair faster to get to the color i want.. i did the processed 2 times but it's on level 9 now which i think my hair is gonna get fry if i do it one more time lol so i've decided to leave it for a few weeks and start bleaching it again let me know if im correct thanks


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 16 months ago Author

Hi Nicholle,

The most important thing at this point is to try and get it all even by only lightening the darker areas now. If you can do this, you'll make the process easier when the colour is done. You may want to give the dye remover another application where it's darker and see if you can lift this out a bit more with this, but using bleach alone is fine as well, as long as it's in good condition. Just try to keep it away from the white hair as these areas will suffer a lot of damage from continued bleaching once all the pigment is gone.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 16 months ago Author

Hi Vincent,

If you give your hair a rest, this can help with the condition. Sometimes you may be able to get away with another process after this, but a lot of the damage is permanent because the protein your hair is made out of is damaged by the bleach. There's only so far you can take it sometimes.

Apart from that, a protein treatment can help speed up the process as well as strengthen it more than rest alone can because this helps repair some of that damaged protein. That plus a good deep conditioner are the perfect products to use to keep your hair in healthier condition whilst lightening.


Sandra Cardeiro profile image

Sandra Cardeiro 16 months ago

Hi Maffew,

I've been reading through these posting and you are giving excellent advice! I'm wanted to throw my scenario at you and see if maybe you would agree, disagree or offer something I haven't thought of.

I am 85% gray (white) with 15 % (what appears to be a level 2 or 3) salt and pepper. I have been dying my hair since I was in my mid 20's - over 25 years. UGHH! Mostly level 4 to 5.. Warm and cool tones, burgundy base... gold base.. you name it - what suits my mood at the time.

Portugese and Nordic decent.. I tend to be on the warm spectrum but definitely can pull of a cool POP.

Having said all of that.. I am in the process of just wanting to go gray! I mean it's the in thing now! YES! Finally. However, not lilac or lavender.. Just something that will really mimic my natural (now) color without living with a HORRID line of demarcation (and not cutting my hair off).

I have recently lightened from a level 3 to a level 7 ORANGE :). Which I expected and promptly toned. Then colored the roots to a 5/6 The color in my pic is a bit cooler and darker than what it looks in person. My first process I used a 40vol, second process a 30vol and will now be using a 20vol with lightener. Two all over bleaches 45mins each and a bleach shampoo for an hour! NUMEROUS conditioning treatments.. with protein and some all natural stuff such as blended avacados bananas and coconut oil. My hair still feels great and no breakage!

So now I ask for your advice! My intention is to bleach again.. My new hair growth is white!... So I will need to get to platinum. However I do not want to look like a sheet or a ghost. Should I go to platinum and then just lowlight? Then I will need to fill before lowlighting. I have lots of play in my hair currently so if I bleach to the point where 70% is platinum then tone? I'm thinking I should maintain the gold (warmth) to some degree, but platinum contains none :/.. I am attempting to match my new growth (of which there is none yet) as best as possible. I know this will probably be a month process at least to do it correctly. What do you suggest to make this transition as seemless as possible?


Sandra Cardeiro profile image

Sandra Cardeiro 16 months ago

and btw.. as an after thought!! If I could have walked around with a highlighting cap on my head for the past 3 weeks it certainly would have made this process a whole heck of a lot easier!


Sandra Cardeiro profile image

Sandra Cardeiro 16 months ago

lol.. as an after after thought.. reading through my initial post I should have said * if I bleach to the point of a pale yellow - inside of a banana - and then tone to.. platinum*


Lupe C 16 months ago

Hi Maffew,

my hair is already bleach but since my hair grow fast it gets expansive retouching roots so I want to try doing it my self my natural hair color is a 2 very dark brown but I have it bleach to about a 8-10 which developer should I use and which toner


Dane 15 months ago

Hello Maffew,

I have a natural dark blonde hair color with gold undertones, and I recently dyed my hair using a dark golden blonde dye kit. It lightened my hair at least one level and faintly made my hair more orange, but hardly noticeable. However, I would like to go one level higher, two levels maximum. By now I have about two inches of growth on my roots, which is a darker, less golden blonde than the dye I used. I am now thinking, since I only want to go a shade or two lighter than the dye, should I use a bleach with 10 vol developer? Also, should I dye my roots with the same dark golden dye I used before to provide even bleaching coverage? Lastly, do you think bleaching over the dyed hair will require a cool toner, and if so, what kind? I essentially want a slightly lighter blonde color, but for the hair to still have a golden look. Thank you so much!


claudia garcia 14 months ago

Hi! I was just wondering is it safe to use 40 vol. developer when mixed with hair dye? I already bleached my hair twice and its somewhere between level 6 or 7 and I'm not sure if its safe to use 40 vol after bleaching?


Lisa 10 months ago

Hi,

I dye my hair red then I wanted to go blonde so I used the color oops hair color remover and it gave me a really light to medium gold color. I was in love with it, I wanted to keep that color but when I washed my hair it turn darker. So after I was trying to look for the same color on box hair dyes so I used medium golden blonde but of course on the crown of my head its was like an orangie color and i hate that. How can I get my hair gold shade like two shades lighter from the oops hair color remover without orange crown?


Nik 8 months ago

Hi,

I've recently bleached my hair to go from naturally black to pale blonde. I've used a 40vol peroxide since I'm only ombre-bleaching. I've toned it after washing the bleach out and it's at a brassy, brownish, orangey type of colour. I want to bleach it again a week later with a 30vol peroxide to get the pale blonde look but I'm worried about my hair breaking if I bleach it again, even with a lower vol. Should I use an even a lower vol peroxide or discard bleaching my hair again? Thanks x


Ash 8 months ago

hello

i have black hair and i want to dye the ends of my hair to a light caramel shade. i really dont know if i should bleach myhair and what colour and what brand i should use. can you please suggest some? oh and i would prefer if they were available in Australia or else ill just order them online. and my skin tone is brown with cool undertones. i wanted to make my hair give me some summer vibes and hopefully make me look more summery.

thanks,

Ash


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 8 months ago Author

Hi Ash,

You would be best bleaching it to achieve this because it's difficult to lighten black hair to a light shade with dye. You may have luck using a high lift dye, but it's a lot less reliable for this situation. WIth either method, you'd still need to tone separately after lightening because bleach only lightens, and high lift dye won't tone darker hair adequately during lightening.

Ideally, bleach the ends to a golden colour, where a hint of orange tone remains. Following that, tone using medium natural blonde, or light ash blonde in demi-permanent. The use of these shades is slightly different in that the light ash blonde I've recommended as one option is a lighter shade than the medium natural blonde. The reason for this is that a natural shade has less cool tone than an ash. The ash doesn't need to be as strong to reach a caramel shade. With either toner, you're applying and leaving it until it softens the remaining golden and orange tone from lightening to achieve a natural looking caramel shade, and the different shades will work similarly for this.

With the application of the bleach, you can do this a few ways to lighten your ends. If you want it to look more natural, use a balayage technique because this looks softer and tends to become gradually lighter towards the ends. There are a few ways to apply balayage, and one method is to apply the bleach most heavily to the very end of the hair and blend upwards with the brush to create a soft graduation. Alternatively, for a precise, 'blonde tipped' or 'sharp' ombre, work in neat sections and apply to ends within foil to the desired length. This method is more suited to fashion shades and doesn't look natural like balayage. The balayage method will give you more of a summery and natural look.

As for brands, use a premium bleach like Wella or Igora with 20 vol developer. This will give the better lightening and minimal damage, compared to more generic products. With the demi-permanent dye, you can use whatever brand you're comfortable with, as long as it's demi-permanent so that it doesn't lighten further or affect the mid-lengths of your hair if your application isn't precise.


kaitlynhorner profile image

kaitlynhorner 8 months ago from A galaxy far, far away

Hi Maffew,

This article is excellent! I've spent an exhausting few days trying to collect information about bleaching my hair and it's a relief to find everything I need well-organized into one place.

However, I do have a few questions to further individulize what is really the best method of getting my hair the color I desire.

First off, I have a kind of Level 2-3 mediumish/darkish brown hair. This is my color until you get to the last 6 inches of my hair where it's a lightish-brownish color with hints of a Level 3-4 gingery orange due to a hair color removal malfunction when I tried to get rid of stubborn semi-permanent black dye like 3 years ago (I've just left it as it is as it's not too noticeable). I have no dye or anything in my hair at all now.

I've recently decided that I want my hair to be a nice natural-looking ash blonde. I will be purchasing Wella Professionals Blondor Lightening Powder with 9% (30 vol) peroxide to bleach my hair with.

I've been advised that I will need to get my hair to a "clean" Level 10 and then tone it with Wella Illumina Color 10/69 (Lightest Violet Cendre Blonde) and Welloxon Perefect Pastel Peroxide to get the ash blonde shade I want. Does this sound like it will work? If not, do you have any better suggestions as to how to get it?

I've also had someone advise me to not even bother bleaching my hair as it will be too hard to get the red tone out of my brown hair when lightening. Not sure if this is accurate when I've seen plenty of people do it. What do you think?

So, when I go to bleach my hair with Wella at 9% (30 vol) for the first time, assuming my hair is a Level 2-3, I should end up with a Level 5-7, correct? I assume I'll need to make a second bleach application after like a week which should take me to an 8-10? If it ends up only getting to an 8 or 9, should I then make a 3rd bleach application? And if so, should I use the 9% (30 vol) peroxide again or can I just use 6% (20 vol) since my hair will almost be to my Level 10 goal?

I just really don't want to damage my hair too much. You seem to know exactly what you're talking about so I thought I'd ask just so I don't end up with one of those "Bleach Gone Wrong, My Hair's Falling Out" stories. This will be my first time bleaching, I'm such a newbie at all this, I have no idea if my hair will take easily to the bleach or if I will have a difficult time with my thick, long, wavy dark hair. Thank you in advance. :)


Kia 8 months ago

Um can change in peroxide ratio can make difference?


Elaine 8 months ago

Hi I need help to get rid of gingery hair. I put a light ash brown on it and it looks more ginger. I just don't know what to do. Is there a toner that won't damage my hair and look natural to take out the red many thanks, you seem like a genius and know what your doing.


Michelle 8 months ago

Ok so here is my situation.

I have virgin roots from regrow th but the rest of my hair is a dyed faded red. We did a purple strand tests .. And with one lifting process using bleach and a 30 developer we got it up 3 levels, then popped ions purple color and blue color mixed with a 10 developer on that strand turned out great. The second strand tested we lifted 3 times so of course the color when applied was brighter. im now ready to do my whole head, I have the colors but I need to get my bleach no developer. I'm gonna be getting it from Sally's, what bleach brand and brand developer for a 30 & a 10 should I get from Sally's? And should I bleach my roots last since they are virgin regrowth?

Thanks so much.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 7 months ago Author

Hi Michelle,

Based on the selection at Sally's, I'd recommend Loreal Quick Blue or Wella Color Charm. Whilst both brands have better bleach powders available, these products available to you at Sally's will still be dependable. Using the same brand of developer as the bleach will give the best consistency of product because it is designed to mix well with the same brand, but in the end developer is developer for the most part. Feel free to use any brand of developer, as long as it doesn't appear to have separated or developed lumps. Cheaper developer is more prone to this and it will make it more difficult to get a smooth consistency to the bleach and may lead to patchiness where the lift has varied during processing.

As for the roots, base it on how dark they are compared to your lengths. If you're seeing up to 3 levels of lift in your dyed lengths, expect 1 - 2 levels more lift to be possible to the roots due to them being virgin hair and closer to the warmth of your scalp. If your roots are darker than the lengths, you can apply all at once and it will help even that up because they will lighten more extensively to reach the same level as the lengths by the end of application. If they're the same level or lighter, apply later into the application.


Susan 7 months ago

Hi Maffew,

I have level 1-2 hair colour and want to bleach in stages. Is it possible to bleach to a level 5/6 then rest my hair to recover and then use an ultra highlift blonde dye with 40vol? I know you have another article that says you must use highlift on virgin hair but can it also be used on prelightened that's not dyed but toned? Thanks for all your awesome advice.


Ariel 7 months ago

Hello, I need some help figuring out how to get my hair where I want it. My natural roots are a 5 that pulls red/orange. I've been getting my hair highlighted blonde at Supercuts for a while and I believe they've been using 20-volume developer with a 9 or 10 level blonde color which ends up resulting in highlights that are about an 8. What I'd like to do in order to save money and change things up is to have my whole head a base 8 and highlighted with combo of level 9 and 10 (might hand paint or use cap). I'm not sure how to go about doing this safely. I went to Sally's and ended up with tubes of 8v, 9v, and 10v of Ion Brilliance Haircolor and 20, 30, and 40 vol developer. With a test stand, even using the 40 vol developer with the 10v color on my roots resulted in a light auburn color after 45 min, which is rather baffling because I'm not sure how Supercuts got my hair so light using 20 vol developer. I think they use Paul Mitchell color but I'm not sure. Anyway, what should I use on my roots to get them where I need them to be and how do I safely lighten the highlighted portions of my hair to one color without causing further damage to the strands that are already a level 8, but are still mixed with my natural color? Thank you.


Ariel - my email 7 months ago

Not sure if I'd get your reply as I didn't include my email. Please use kittyspirit@live.com. Thanks.


Carolyn 7 months ago

Hi Mr. James. I want to lighten the color of my hair from black to a violet red. I understand that I must bleach my hair in order to get that desired effect. I also must mention that I have dyed my hair many times for various shades in the past. Would you recommend a 10 volume or a 20 volume with bleach powder?


AmberCBrown 7 months ago

Hi Maffew,

Your articles are so informative and thanks to you I finally feel like I have the knowledge to lighten my own hair & hope to tackle it in the next few days! After reading all of your articles I believe the steps below is what I should do however had a few questions that I am hoping you can help with!!

My hair is a level 2 very dark brown. Sections of the lower half of my hair are lighter due to a previous balayage. I am wanting to go all over lighter - to a natural light brown/Bronde level 5 - not too ashy, golden and no reds and then do another subtle balayage (my previous one is mainly on my ends due to cutting my hair) just one level lighter than the level I do all over to add some dimension.

I believe the first step should be to lighten the hair all over then do the balayage.

To lighten the base:

1. Deep condition my hair a couple days before.

2. Mix 2 parts 20 Vol with 1 part lightening powder in the same brand. I only have access to a Sallys. So I purchased Wella Color Charm Powder Lightener with Wella Color Charm 20 Vol Creme Developer.

3. Divide the hair into 4 sections - clip up the sections that aren't being worked on. Work quickly and apply to dry dirty hair from the roots to the bottom starting in the back.

4. Allow the bleach to stay on until the hair is bright orange checking every 5 minutes. Should the hair be wrapped or heat applied? Do not allow the bleach to stay on for more than 45 min - hour.

5. Rinse the bleach out with cool water then shampoo 2 times.

6. Mix 1 part permanent ash dye 1 level that is lighter than the final level I want to be with 2 parts 10 Vol developer and apply. To wet, damp or dry hair? I purchased Wella Color Charm Permanent in 6A Dark Ash Blonde. To get more of a neutral light brown the dye needs to stay on longer? It will go from orange, golden, neutral and then ash?

7. Once it reaches the color I want rinse it out with cool water. Shampoo? Condition? If for some reason I accidentally leave the dye on for not enough time and it is too gold or on for too long and it is too ashy what steps would I take to get it to the natural brown I am wanting?

I also purchased a protein treatment. Should this be done immediately after toning or wait? It looks like in one of your comments that you stated this should be done 2 times a week for up to a month to restore the hair.

After I have lightened all of my hair to a light brown I would like to go in and do a subtle balayage one level lighter than the overall color...or will one level lighter not be enough to see? I just want it to look very natural. How long should I wait to do this after the initial lightening? I will have to use bleach powder & developer (20 vol?) instead of dye right and wait for it to get to a golden orange, rinse then tone? When I tone the highlights I should use a level 7A and apply to the lower half and then to the top so that it is even?

In one article you mentioned applying a semi-permanent after shampooing to keep the brown from fading and leave on for 5 minutes then rinse. What color (Schwarzkopf Igora's Expert Mousse 8.1?) should be used for a light natural brown and how often?

To combat the roots - every 6-8 weeks I should do steps 1-7 however instead of applying the bleach all over only apply to the roots, then when I apply the toner first apply that the the roots and then in the last 10 minutes apply to the rest of the hair? How will I know when the last 10 minutes is?

So excited & patiently waiting!! Thanks so much!


Brenda 6 months ago

Hey Mathew, I have a question....

Ok... I have not dyed my hair 2 years ago like 3 years before I bleach my hair only ends not roots... After a year about that I dyed my hair a 5n and I'd like it because it matches my roots after that I don't dyed it but I think the dyed fell already of my hair I have my roots natural brown like a 5 or 6 but my ends look like a 5 too but it has a redish tone... Now I want to do the belayge hair and I was wondering since I have virgin hair on the top almos like 10 inches of my natural hair and the rest like 5 inches with the bleach it's going to turn out difrent color?

I hope you can answer me :)

Thanks


Taylor 5 months ago

Hey there! Great article! I'm going to be dying my hair here in a few days and just wanted some advice. So my hair is currently sort of ombre. I had bleach blonde hair a few years ago and have let it grow out so about 3 inches of my hair at the ends is still blonde. The rest of my hair is my natural color and I'd say its a level 2 or 3. The color I am trying to achieve is a dark fuchsia to hot pink ombre. I plan to get Wella Multi Blonde powder and developer. My hair tends to be extremely brassy/orange when I bleach it. I'm wondering about what type of toner to use. Light Ash Brown?

Thanks!


Sandra 5 months ago

Hi i am trying to achieve this look of white hair not blonde but white? http://stylenoted.com/reversed-ombre-with-high-con... My hair has been colored before about 6months ago blonde with brown underneath and i have root growth of about an inch....any help will be great thanks


Christine Baird 5 months ago

Love your article. I've read through your article several times & I also read every post but was not able to find advice on bleaching my dark brown dyed hair that has 1 to 2 inches of gray roots. I understand the bleaching to orange & coloring process for the dark dyed part but I'm lost on what to do with the gray roots. I want to go to a lighter brown. Can you please explain what to do with the gray part? Also, I bought Wella bleach (20vol dev) & Wella Color Charm permanent liquid hair color 5A/246 (10 vol dev) light ash brown. Should I exchange it for your recommended 6A? Thank you in advance! Chris


Shafna 5 months ago

Hi Sir,

I just read this article on how to bleach, i have a question. Is it possible for hair not to get bleached at all with the given time after application? I bought a 30vol developer and im not using foil.

Do i have to use foil when bleaching?

For about half an hour i see no visible changes. Is that normal? Or am i doing something wrong?


5 months ago

I have tried dying my roots because I have light blonde highlights and my roots was very dark now my hair has turned orange what do I do


Amanda 5 months ago

Great article. I bleached my hair with ion powder and 30Dev a few days ago. It turned orangey and spotty. I toned it right after and then a day later with wella 18 and it looks slightly better but I hate the color. It's super light at the roots and yellowy throughout. I dyes the under part magenta and it looks great (probably due to the Orange undertones) but the two colors look terrible together. I am scared to bleach again and ruin my color and cause more damage but I'm worried I need to so I can achieve a lighter, more neutral blonde. If I do bleach again how do I keep it off my lower quadrants? Can no use the same supplies but for less time because I have a bunch? I also use purple shampoo and deep conditioning treatments as well as coconut oil soaks and it feels so much better than any other time I have bleached in the past.

I am a natural light to med Brown and I want to achieve a light, ashy but not too ashy blonde. Probably at a 2 right now but with gross undertones trying to take over :)


Ann810 profile image

Ann810 4 months ago from Sunny Cali

I assume that hair bleaching process is the same with making highlights or streaks. Cool article, thanks.


Daffodil 4 months ago

Hello Sir. Your article truly was very helpful..

I've got very frizzy hair. I'm planning to bleach my hair as well as condition them after shampooing. Is there still a need for me apply serum after the process? Will it damage my hair or make it sticky / oily. Kindly advice me on it, Sir.

Thanks a ton!


Li-ann 4 months ago

Hey Maffew

If I dyed my hair a week ago, when can I bleach it?


Laina 3 months ago

I will be reading this, but at first and even second glance, it makes me cringe it reads coloring hair blonde DYEING dark hair blonde. You could only 'dye' hair blonde if it's white to begin with. To dye is to add pigment/color. Bleaching... or preferably to call it 'coloring' or lightening to whatever shade of blonde, it accurate.

On to notice no mention of 50 volume peroxide/developer. Yes, there is such an animal. Perhaps not mentioned as you have to be a licensed hair professional to buy it?


Cristina 3 months ago

Hi Maffee,

I have been bleaching my hair from brown to platinum blonde for 8 years now. On my last application, the hair stylist put a second application on it & over processed a chunk of my hair in the centre of my scalp. It all snapped right at the regrow th & all that was left was about a centimetre of hair. I had breakage at the front & lost some hair throughout. I have been taking very good care of it & I now have 8 weeks of re-growth. Is it okay to use a 10 volume with bleach to add some highlights around the crown to camouflage my roots for a bit?


aferjo 3 months ago

Hallo Maffee,

Can I use #Wella Illumina on a bleached hair?

I have originally a black hair , I did bleach it like a ombre thing

but its turned to orange color ,...I wanna know if its possible to just apply to it Wella Illumina - 7/ Medium Blonde/Neutral

sorry for my language ..

i am not an english speaker :(


kmorrell54@ gmail.com 3 months ago

When bleaching or toning when do you start timing...is it the first moment you start to apply or do you start timing once you have finished applying the mixture?


Manuela 3 months ago

Hi

I want to bleach my hair for the first time on my own. So here I go my hair is colored dark brown. Naturally I'm a aschblonde or as I say street dog brown..

Well i looked up so many how to do but none said the exact amount of messsurment I need or how long it has to stay in.. I want to do the balayage or ombre..

So could you help me with that.

1.. messsurment

2.. how long it has to stay in...

3 .. can I put another color on for contrast..

I would appreciate it ssooooooooo much you could help


Lori 2 months ago

I haven't seen any of your responses in months. Are you still answering hair coloring questions?


Karen Murray 2 months ago

Thank you, it was very informative


Taylah Arndt 2 months ago

Hai i was just wondering when bleaching/dying your hair does it have to be dry or parshly damp or wet?


Samantha 8 weeks ago

Hi! So I'm in the process of going blonde and I have already done 2 professional sessions at a hair salon but i can't afford to do more. My hair is no longer dark brown it's more of an orange brassy color with some yellow in it. I know I have to bleach it and add toner, but do I also have to buy like a blonde hair dye to add to my hair in addition to the bleach and toner or will just bleaching and toning it do it?


Jasmine Acuna 4 weeks ago

Hi!


Louise 3 weeks ago

Hi Maffew

Thanks for your awesome article! :)

I basically had my hair dyed a week ago and it was fairly light and porous (I had foils and colour done previously and it had faded greatly until I went back to the salon to have my hair done last week). The hairdresser said he did a level 7, but my hair grabbed a LOT and so now instead of a "caramel brown" that he said it would be, it's ended up a medium brown and it's too dark for my fair skin and freckles lol. I'd like to lighten it 1 shade. I've got bleach powder and several different vols of peroxide. What vol peroxide would you recommend and how long would I leave it on for please?

Thanking you

Louise from Perth, Western Australia


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 3 weeks ago Author

Hi Louise,

Generally with porous hair, whilst it grabs a lot of pigment, this also fades out quickly. This means that with a few washes it will lighten quite a bit from what it is and you may not need to lighten it yourself. However, if you want to speed this along by bleaching it, I'd recommend bleach washing it using 15 vol developer. You can make 15 vol by mixing equal amounts of 10 vol and 20 vol if you don't have it pre-made. If you needed 30 grams of developer for example, you would mix 15 grams of each concentration to form the total required amount at the new concentration. You could also just use 20 vol and watch it more closely (the lightening will occur a little quicker).

Once you have the developer, mix this with the bleach powder and an equal amount of shampoo, then apply to slightly damp hair. This should lift 1 level out in about 20 minutes, but the time can vary depending on your individual hair, so keep an eye on it and rinse when it's acceptable. Just don't exceed the maximum processing time for the brand of bleach you're using (Usually 45- 50 minutes) to prevent excess damage. It's not likely you'd need to leave it anywhere near that long though, so this shouldn't be a problem.

After you've lightened it a level, this will reveal some warmth because you're lifting out the dye and revealing the base tone. As you had wanted a caramel brown, this may not be an issue, but if it looks too 'orangey', give it a tone with a semi-permanent or demi-permanent dye. Based on what your hairdresser had used turning out too dark, 9A (very light ash blonde) should be optimal for this. Apply, leave until it has neutralised enough warmth for your liking and then rinse.

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