How to Dye Your Hair Blonde Without Bleach


Bleach is one of the most important products at your disposal for achieving blonde hair, but what happens if you're very sensitive to the product, or you simply don't want to use it? Bleach does have its drawbacks, but luckily, it's not always necessary to use it and it is possible to dye hair blonde without bleach. You can achieve blonde without bleach using high lift dye or even regular permanent dye in many circumstances.

Lightening hair without bleach

If you want to dye your hair blonde, your options are fairly limited. Whilst there are many people who believe that you can lighten your hair using natural ingredients like lemon juice and honey, this is largely fruitless in practice. These ingredients work to lighten your hair because they intensify the effect of the sun's ultraviolet radiation, which has a bleaching effect on hair and clothing, but the effect is very limited. You can sit in the sun for months straight and dark hair will never lighten to anywhere near blonde with this method.

In reality, there are only two ways to actually lighten your hair to a noticeable degree:

  • Hair bleach
  • High lift dye

If you don't want to use bleach, this leaves the high lift as your only dependable option, because it is the only other product able to significantly lighten dark hair.

Dark blonde hair
Dark blonde hair | Source

Can you dye hair blonde without bleach?

You can dye hair blonde without using bleach by using a high lift color, but your hair does need to meet certain criteria first to ensure it will lift. If your hair doesn't meet these requirements, the dye will either not work at all, or it will not lighten your hair all the way to blonde:

  • No permanent dye should be present in your hair
  • It can't be darker than light brown

The only effective way to lighten hair other than bleach is a high lift dye, and these carry the above criteria for their use. High lift dyes can't lighten darker hair to blonde, though neither can any other dye. The only product that can do this is bleach.

If you want to avoid using bleach, you can only dye your hair blonde if it is at least a lighter shade of brown. The product simply doesn't have the ability to lighten very dark hair to blonde, though this can depend on your starting color. Leave a comment if you have any individual hair concerns and want to know whether your hair is light enough.

The other stipulation is that you have to have virgin hair. What this means is that your hair hasn't been dyed before or any permanent dye has fully grown out and has been cut off. Color doesn't lift color and if you've dyed your hair previously with any permanent hair dye or even darker temporary colors, you can't lighten it properly with another hair dye until it grows out. There is unfortunately no exception here because hair dye can't lighten artificial color. The only product that can do that reliably is bleach or hair dye remover.

If your hair is light brown and hasn't been dyed before, you can dye it blonde without using bleach. If you don't fit these criteria, you usually can't and will need to use bleach. Any attempts otherwise can result in red or orange hair and an expensive trip to the salon for a color correction service.

Light brown hair. Virgin hair that is this light can be dyed blonde without bleach.
Light brown hair. Virgin hair that is this light can be dyed blonde without bleach. | Source

Choosing a high lift dye

To dye your hair blonde without bleach you need a high lift blonde hair dye, and the usual tools required for applying dye to your hair, like a tinting bowl and brush.

The high lift blonde dye you choose needs to be an ash tone. You may not want ash blonde hair, but this will not be the result because of the way color works. The ash tone is required to neutralize all the orange and yellow pigment that appears as it lightens, and if you use a warmer shade, you will end up with orange or yellow hair. You have been warned.

Because you need as much lift as possible, and a strong toning effect, you need to choose a salon dye here. Supermarket box dyes won't work because they're neither high lift dyes, nor powerful lighteners in general. You can't lighten your hair properly using them unless it is already close to what you want. You need an actual salon brand like Indola or Matrix for dark hair.

If you can't decide which dye to use, Matrix SoColor UL-AA and Indola Profession 1000.11 are safe choices and excellent for lightening hair. Wella Koleston 12/11 or Igora Royal 12-11 are other options. All of these dyes are salon high lift dyes that contain extra ash tone to counteract orange and gold tones as they lighten.


Preparing a high lift dye

High lift dye needs to be mixed with 40 vol peroxide in order to work. This is because the dyes are designed to achieve maximum lightening with this volume of peroxide. The dye also needs to be mixed in a ratio of 1 part dye to 2 parts 40 vol peroxide. This is the standard mixing ratio for high lift dye but, rarely, this can vary. Confer with your preferred brand for more specific instruction.

Hair dye brands that have a line of high lift dyes will often produce a lift booster product that is designed to be mixed with their high lift dye. You don't have to use this lift booster, but can add it for extra lift on darker hair. The lift booster should be mixed into the high lift dye before you add the peroxide, and you can use about 25 percent lift booster to dye with most brands. Keep in mind however that the more lift booster you add, the more you dilute down the ash pigment, reducing the toning power of the dye in exchange for more lift. Lift booster is also harsher on the scalp and hair.

Before you begin mixing the dye, ensure that your hair has been properly sectioned out into quadrants. Do this by parting your hair from the middle of your forehead through to the nape of your neck, then halving it again with another part from ear to ear. This will allow you to quickly and evenly apply the high lift dye to your hair and lead to the most even results. Once you are ready, you can mix up the dye and begin applying it.

Schwarzkopf Professional Igora Royal Hair Color, 0-00 Blonding Crème
Schwarzkopf Professional Igora Royal Hair Color, 0-00 Blonding Crème

Igora Royal's 0-00 blonding creme is an example of a lift booster designed to be mixed with their high lift dyes. You can add this product to any high lift dye to increase the lightening effect.


Applying high lift dye

After you've sectioned out your hair and prepared the high lift dye, you can begin applying it to thin sections of hair, starting at one quadrant. When you apply the dye, take sections of hair from the top of the quadrant you're working on and cover both sides of the section with dye, gradually working your way down to the bottom of the quadrant. Continue in this fashion through each of the four quadrants that you've divided your hair into.

Once you have covered all your hair with the high lift color, the dye will need to process for a good 50 minutes or so in order to lighten and tone your hair to blonde. In the same way as if you were using bleach, you need to check the dye every 5 - 10 minutes to examine the lightening process. If your hair is lighter or responds very well to lightening, you may need to rinse the dye out sooner, and this is perfectly fine.

What is your favorite shade of blonde?

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Golden blonde hair
Golden blonde hair | Source

After lightening care

When your high lift dye has completely processed and the desired level of lightening has been reached, you can rinse the product out. Whilst high lift dyes are designed to lighten and tone hair simultaneously, the results you achieve may still be brassy, and it's the lightening effect that is most important. If your hair turns out brassy, this can be corrected with a toner to finish the color off.

Apart from this, your hair care regime after using a high lift dye should be much the same as if you had bleached your hair. Protein treatments, deep conditioning, and leave-in products are all beneficial for your hair after using a high lift dye to lighten it.

High lift dye is an effective way to lighten hair that is already dark blonde, or at least light brown. For hair that is darker, you will need to use bleach in order to dye it blonde. Hairdressing is all about using the right product for the right hair in order to end up with a color that looks great and makes you feel good.

Do you need advice to dye your hair blonde? Leave a question in the comments below for tailored advice and share your insight with other readers.

More by this Author

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    Have you tried to go blonde and ended up orange? Find out how to fix orange hair and reach a more pleasant shade...

  • How to Dye Blonde Hair Brown

    If you want to dye blonde hair brown, you can't just apply a brown hair dye. Doing so could result in green hair or other mistakes. Find out how to dye your hair brown properly...

  • How to Bleach Hair

    Do you dream of blonde hair? If you have dark hair, you need to use bleach, and bleach needs to be used properly. Learn the tricks of the trade for stunning results.


doll 2 years ago

I want to dye my brazilian curly weave to a bright pink but I don't want it to look trashy,what should I do?

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Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Pastel pink is probably your best bet. Anything really bright and fluorescent will look ghastly.

me333 2 years ago

love it

Mary 2 years ago

I paid $300 to go from brown hair to purple but instead I got a red color after a week my hair started looking orange how can I fix it to a better color

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Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Mary,

Your hair would have been lightened in order to dye it that colour. Lightened hair is porous and will fade quicker if dyed right after lightening, hence why the red has now faded to orange. As for why it turned red, it depends on what brand of hair dye was used. Some purple colours have a lot of red tone to them and will often end up looking more red. If you want a true purple you should use Fudge Headpaint 4.22. That dye actually looks purple and will cover the orange.

Alternatively, you could use a semi permanent dye like Manic Panic to dye it a true purple colour. This will wash out though so you will have to re-dye it every few washes to maintain the colour. However, a semi causes no damage and is very easy to use, so you may prefer to do this. You could also tone the orange out with a light ash brown dye and that will take it back to a natural shade of brown.

Silvina79 2 years ago

Hi - so happy I found your page!!

I get highlights done at the salon. The last time I got them done I wanted a graduating affect which I don't think the stylist new how to do so she suggested doing the root of the highlight a brown graduating down to blond (smudging down from my natural color level 6). I think my hairdresser uses Redken high lift color. I only do one process at the salon and some times toner for a few minutes at the washing station. My question is: If I wanted to do my hair at home, I can no longer use high lift color because the top of the highlight is brown - is this correct?

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Maffew James 2 years ago Author

Hi Silvina,

High lift dyes only really work on virgin hair. It's the same for all dyes really. If you dye your hair with a darker colour, the artificial colour fills up the hair shaft. Another dye won't remove this artificial colour because it only lightens natural colour.

You can use hair dye remover, which will break down the artificial colour and allow it to be washed out. It won't usually remove all colour, but it will often remove enough that you can reach a lighter shade or at least make it easier to get to the shade you want.

Otherwise you can bleach the brown out, then tone to your desired shade of blonde.

hairproblems 23 months ago

Hi so I used to get half head highlights buts stopped because the bleach was damaging my hair so much. So i left it and my roots started coming through and it looked horrendous so I decided id just go brunette using the less damaging for your hair L'oreal Castings chocolate brown dye but realised brown hair is not for me. So I got the hair dye removal cream and am now back to my dark blonde/gingery hair. Would i be able to use high lift dye?

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Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi hairproblems,

High lift dye won't lighten previously dyed hair. If the dye remover stripped out most of the dye, it may have some effect, but it will likely result in an uneven colour and won't lighten much.

In the future, when your roots grow out again, you can use high lift dye to lighten them, but keep in mind that this is only effective on hair that is at least light brown. It can lighten darker hair to blonde sometimes, but there's no assurance that will actually happen.

givit2mestr8 23 months ago

Is it possible for black women with level 2-4 shade of hair to achieve platinum blonde? Senario #1 if it's virgin? Senario #2 if it has been previously dyed anywhere (any color) between level 1-5?

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Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi givit2mestr8,

The quick answer is that it's completely possible. The long answer is a little more complicated.

For virgin hair, this can usually always be dyed platinum, but I wouldn't suggest trying to dye dark hair platinum if it's fine or thin. Thicker, coarser hair is best because it won't become noticeably damaged in most cases. Fine hair can't stand up to as much treatment and is best left darker.

If you have virgin hair, the process would entail a double process, which means bleach and tone. Bleach is used to lighten the hair to pale yellow, at which point a violet based blonde dye is used to neutralise the pale yellow and take it to a silvery white colour. Unfortunately, dark hair can't be reliably lightened to blonde without the bleach.

Dyed hair, on the other hand, can't always be dyed platinum. Or at least, not without a lot of damage. If the dye is a level 4 or 5 you'll have more chance of reaching platinum than if it was dark brown or black. These colours are difficult to remove and you'll have a very hard time trying to get the hair to lighten enough that it can be dyed platinum. In most cases, it would become too damaged before you reach that point, so it's best to leave it alone or aim for a darker colour like light brown or dark blonde.

If it's been dyed with a lighter dye, it's often easy enough to just strip the artificial colour out with dye remover, then bleach to level 9 and tone. Of course, again, it's important that your hair is in good condition. Hair that is damaged shouldn't be dyed platinum, no matter whether it has been dyed or is virgin hair. You also can't use dye in this circumstance because the hair has already been dyed. Dye won't lighten hair that has already been dyed.

To summarise, virgin hair can be dyed platinum even if its black. Just make sure that it's healthy, strong, and isn't fine or thin. Bleach then tone to get the colour. Dyed hair can also be dyed platinum, but you need to be really careful to avoid damage and the darker the dye, the more stripping that will be required, and thus the more damage that will occur from the process. Going this route, you need to use dye remover to remove as much dye as possible, then bleach to level 9 and tone.

Traci Kleinaitis 23 months ago

Hi I have been doing color for 15 years and I am having a problem achieving a nice blonde on myself. Currently I am at a natural level seven with warmth and have heavy highlights. I just chopped off all of my hair so the hair that is not highlighted is new growth so it's natural. My question is because I have the highlights what would you recommend I use to achieve a nice level 10 blonde beige / natural? I have tried Schwarzkopf and Wella and I have used a 12/ash pearl , and it has always resulted in an unwanted golden color I am about to go to Cosmo prof and try the Schwarzkopf Igora again so my second question is considering that the colorline uses their own applicators which applicator would you recommend I use? The 18% or 38%? Or maybe you can recommend a formula to me and I will do a test strand to see how it comes out. My biggest concern is I do not want orange or brassy or gold and like I said my natural is about a 7 with warmth and on top it is heavily highlighted.... And the last time that I had highlights done was about eight weeks ago also just as I mentioned my hair was recently chopped off into an angled Bob it is the shortest that I have ever been so I know that there is no haircolor on my head whatsoever except the bleach highlights. Someone else suggested using gold well? I know this sounds contradicting that I have been doing my own clients for 15 years however obviously as you know everyone is different!! I pull a lot of warmth and I would like to be able to not have to use bleach anymore!

Thank you...

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Traci Kleinaitis 23 months ago

I wish I could leave a picture of what I want but the closest that I can tell you is that my achievement color would be photo number five that you have posted. The picture with the girl with the really really light blonde hair and black feathers?

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Traci Kleinaitis 23 months ago

Oh and also do you recommend using a booster like the Schwarzkopf extra blonde? Thanks

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Maffew James 23 months ago Author

Hi Traci,

That's a very good question. The issue with high lift dye is that it is designed to lighten the hair 4 - 5 levels, but it also has to be able to deposit enough colour to tone properly. There's a really difficult balance there and it's not uncommon for the result to be a bit too brassy. Did the Igora lighten your hair sufficiently yet left it brassy? Or was it still too dark as well as brassy?

If it is turning out too dark even after the maximum development time, even using 40 vol developer, bleach is a better option because it's going to give you more dependable results. If it's mainly just turning out too brassy but the lift itself is fine, what you could do is add a little of the Igora 0-11 concentrate. This is a violet additive that will add more violet tone to any Igora dye and help neutralise golden tones. If the high lift is just struggling to tone your hair, adding that can really help. Otherwise you could always tone separately as if it was a double process.

As far as the lift goes, to achieve maximum lightening with Igora, you would use 12 ash, mixed with a double ratio of 40 vol developer (12%). You can also add up to a half quantity of E-0 lift booster to the high lift to give an extra level of lift. This works out that if you were using 30 ml of the high lift, you can add 15 ml of lift booster, then to that mix add 90 ml of 40 vol developer.

Obviously the amount you use is relative to how long and thick your hair is, but that should give you an idea of the ratio. Also, keep in mind that the lift booster is a pure lightening product so it adds no colour and will dilute down the colour of the high lift. For more toning, add a little 0-11 and 0-22 (Violet, and blue, respectively), to help drab the gold and copper tones that will appear. Try using a formula like this for a strand test. If this doesn't work, bleach is the only thing that will because that's the most powerful non-bleach formula you'll be able to get.

Finally, you might have trouble with the highlights if you have sections that are quite a lot lighter. As can be expected, these lighter sections will really soak up the ash tone from the high lift and may end up too ashy.

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Traci Kleinaitis 23 months ago

Thank you so much for that formula so what I did was I got the Igora 12.1 The E– 00 and a 12.4 and what I did was take to test strands on each side and the 12.1 with booster ended up just like you explained too brassy!! And the other test strand that was Canary yellow!! So then I took a 10–14 to try to tone but that did not work either so I ended up obviously not doing the entire head your formula seems a lot better than mine and I thank you so much I am going to go back and get the violet additives! And the ash however, I did consider just throwing bleach all over my head which I have never done that either! So if your formula does not work then I am going to go to another professional that has a lot more experience than myself just do it! But I figure it can't hurt to try myself it's weird how I develop all kinds of formulas for my clients and I get so many compliments all the time and especially when I'm doing blonde I love the way that they all turned out!! But when it comes to my own hair… Nothing but trouble ;-)

Thank you so much again for replying I really appreciate it as I have been taking this all into consideration because having just chopped off 11 inches and going completely all over blonde is a big change for me! I may just have to stick with heavy highlighting like I used to but it would be nice to just be able to throw on some color and worry just about the roots LOL but that would be wishful thinking!

Again I appreciate your response and your fast response I will definitely let you know how it turns out thank you again!


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Maffew James 23 months ago Author

No problem Traci,

If the high lift takes you to a yellow colour, that's not so bad either. You could always tone it with 9-1, or even an 8-1 if it's a darker yellow. If you want that really light platinum though, bleach does sound best given your hair's reaction to the high lift thus far.

As for your own hair being more difficult than your clients, I find that's definitely true. It probably has something to do with the fact that you don't have the ability to look over your own head like you can for someone else. Your view and movement is limited. There's also less pressure because if you don't get it exactly the way you want, you're only disappointing yourself instead of someone else. Apart from that, I'm not too sure why clients' hair always turn out better, but it certainly does seem to be the case.

Definitely let me know how it turns out. Hopefully you'll get the platinum you want, it's a great colour.

Sam 22 months ago

I have a question. If I use a blonde high lift box dye on virgin dark brown hair with 30 vol developer and do the process twice. Is there a chance it could lighten my hair to blonde then?

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Maffew James 22 months ago Author

Hi Sam,

Using box dye, very unlikely.

Using a professional high lift like Matrix SoColor or Wella Koleston...still not likely. They're really not designed for hair that dark, though they can sometimes be used to produce a dark blonde from darker hair. I wouldn't recommend it though as there's a very high chance you'll only get to the orange stage of lightening by the time it finishes processing.

It's also not a good idea to apply a high lift twice. If you were to use it, you would notice that lightening is very quick at first and then this slows down more and more towards the end of development. Part of the reason for this is that it is a dye, and it's depositing colour as it lightens. As this artificial colour is deposited, lightening is harder to achieve because dye only lightens natural pigment. A second process probably wouldn't do much.

Admittedly, part of the reason the lightening slows down is also that the oxidation is most powerful right after mixing the dye, but you'd still have a hard time to get it to lighten further with a new batch of freshly mixed dye. You would also probably end up causing more damage with two high lift processes compared to one bleach and tone process, and you'd still need to tone after using the high lift.

Of course, if you do want to attempt this for whatever reason, I can tell you what brand and dye is going to give you the best chance, but I'd definitely recommend bleaching it instead. Bleach will give you the most reliable and definite result.

Natalia Lipari profile image

Natalia Lipari 21 months ago

Hi! I use a high lift color to dye my hair. What I want is platinum blonde hair, almost white hair. Certain parts of my hair are the desired color that I want, but other parts like the top of my head & underneath my hair are more of a golden blonde. I need help on how to get my full head of hair to be platinum blonde. Any advice?!

chantelle 21 months ago

Hello, thanks so much for this article and all the great information. I currently have a hair dilemma. The hairdresser who has been doing my hair for 10 years has suddenly stopped and he uses a very unique lightening system. I have dark brown hair and he lightens it to platinum in one step without bleach and it is in amazing condition. 2 formulas are applied to dry hair for 45 min then rinsed and dried no toner. I've never had such an amazing colour without damage. He always said he never used bleach. So my dilemma is to try and find someone who colours the same. Would it be a high lift with booster? My hair seems too dark for that to be possible? I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks in advance, chantelle:)

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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Natalia,

Which brand and shade are you using, and what volume of developer?

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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Chantelle,

What an interesting mystery. Definitely not a high lift. Even the best high lift dyes combined with booster can't lift out that much pigment. If your hair really is dark brown, and it's being lifted to platinum (near white), it'd be very unlikely that a high lift dye was responsible.

It sounds like he was using Wella Magma, which is a pigmented bleach that lightens and tones in one step. It's still bleach, but the package and the way it's marketed and used could confuse someone into believing it's not.

Apart from that, the hairdressing industry is constantly moving away from the word 'bleach'. Everything is 'powder lightener' or 'cream lightener' these days. Manufacturers themselves often name bleach like this to try to hide the fact that it's actually bleach because bleach has a bad reputation. It's very possible that either your hairdresser was using bleach but genuinely thought it was some other kind of lightening product, or was using bleach but simply didn't want you to know that.

If you can remember anything about the product, that would help me identify it. Eg, whether it has a particular colour; if it's a powder or cream; if it's scooped out of a tub or squeezed out of a tube.

chantelle 21 months ago

Thanks so much for responding to my question. Sure is a mystery, hence my concern to find someone who can do this just as well. He is actually planning on manufacturing his colour system, so good news is it will be available one day for sale, unfortunately that doesn't help me now. I've sometimes questioned whether he actually used bleach as sometimes after colour my scalp itches/irritates & I've heard him make orders for products that contain %. He always mixes in another room so the only thing I know is he applies 2 separate creamy/foamy mixtures (one being a dirty white colour, the other purplish) both applied on dry hair (applied to roots with a few crown highlights) then washed out. For the 10yrs he's done my colour, I've never had a split end or any damage. So hopefully that helps you to tell me what it could be. I need to find a new colourist/system in 2weeks. What else would you recommend to keep the same colour & condition? Thanks again, your advice & knowledge is amazing :)

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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

The percentage means he's adding peroxide developer to it. If you heard 12% or 40 vol, it's very likely high lift is involved because that strength isn't generally used for anything else. Otherwise, it's definitely bleach of some kind.

The purple colour would indicate Wella Magma, although there are a handful of purple developers available that when mixed with bleach would give a purple colour. Neither bleach nor high lift is generally foamy, but it's possible he added shampoo to it. Shampoo would cause the foam and is used in combination with mixed bleach to create a bleach bath.

In any case, it has to be either high lift or bleach because there's nothing else available. When you really break it down to its most basic form, the lightening produced from either product is a result of the hydrogen peroxide content. The main difference is that high lift deposits colour and contains conditioning agents, whilst bleach doesn't. Bleach also contains ingredients like persulfates which actually break down into hydrogen peroxide, so the concentration of actual oxidant in bleach is higher than high lift because the peroxide content is higher.

Based on this, and the fact that a high lift dye probably isn't strong enough for use on your hair if you are indeed getting platinum results from it, it has to be bleach. Whether it is a bleach bath, wella magma, or he's mixing the bleach with something else's hard to tell.

Bleach isn't actually all that damaging if used properly. Hair that is bleached once and isn't dyed excessively, permed, or had been previously coloured, usually won't show any signs of damage. It's only when it's used incorrectly or on over-processed hair that it causes significant damage.

As an alternative, you could always try a high lift first. I'd recommend Igora Royal 12.11, mixed with 40 vol developer. Add 25% E-0 lightening booster, and a dash of 0-99 violet concentrate for extra lightening and toning power applied to roots. If you try a strand test with this and it takes your hair to platinum, you could use a high lift. If it doesn't, you have to use bleach. It would also rule out high lift dye as your hairdresser's tool because this formula is pretty much the strongest non-bleach lightener possible. If it doesn't lift as much, he had to have been using bleach.

yara 21 months ago

My hair is curly and thin its very dark brown .I haven't died it if I use a blonde dye will it change my hair to brown and will it really damage it .what brand and shade should I use ??

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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Yara,

You need to use brown dye for a brown result, not blonde dye. Blonde dye doesn't contain enough colour to tone your hair as it lightens. Would you prefer a medium brown or light brown?

yara 21 months ago

I want medium brown but I don't want to bleach so should I get a light brown or ash blond for my hair what kind and brand do u suggest palete revlon or L'Oréal ??

Thanks in advance

ps my hair is almost black

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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Yara,

Use medium ash brown with 30 vol developer. I'd recommend Wella Koleston, Matrix SoColor, or Igora Royal.

Keep in mind that black hair can be hard to lighten and pre-lightening with bleach is sometimes a more reliable method depending on how resistant your own hair is.

Tiff 21 months ago

So I have a question. My roots are a very dark brown and mu ends are a golden blonde. I am ultimately aiming for a honey blonde color. Basically, how do I go about bleaching/dying my hair without it pulling orange or golden as it has the tendency to do so!

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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Tiff,

When lightening your hair, warmth is inevitable. Underneath the colour you see, there is a rich warm base tone which gives your colour its depth. In dark hair, this is a copper to deep red colour. It's only once your hair is bleached that the cool tones are lifted out first and you start to see this warm base tone.

To dye it blonde, you'll need to reach the yellow stage, where copper tones are no longer present and your hair is predominantly golden. After this, cool tone is added back into your hair to neutralise some of that unwanted warmth and give you the colour you actually want. For a golden blonde shade, you wouldn't be neutralising too much gold, but you do need to soften it a little or the colour looks unnatural.

As for your own hair, given how dark it is, you'll need to use bleach to lift your roots light enough. As you left a comment on my how to bleach hair article, you would have read about how to apply and use it. If you look at the base tones chart in that article, you will be able to see what your hair will look like at each level as it lightens.

To tone it after you've bleached it, match the colour to the yellow on that chart to see what level it is. Once you know that, use a natural tone, one level lighter than your current level. This will neutralise some of the yellow and give you a softer, more natural golden blonde result. You only need to leave the dye in as long as it takes to reach the colour you want, and you can use anything from a semi-permanent to permanent dye for this.

The type of dye used will determine how long it lasts before fading becomes noticeable. If fading is a problem, a good blonde shampoo should keep it looking pristine without having to go to any extra effort to tone it regularly.

Tiff 21 months ago

Thank you so much for responding. So to make sure I'm understanding this because my hair is dark brown, i need to leave the bleach in until it turns to the yfellow color. When finished I need to apply a toner 1 level lighter than my hair to achieve the golden blonde look? Oh and how do you feel about a bleach bath? And what toner would you recommend for me, permanent or semi permanent preferably, that I can purchase from somewhere like sally beauty shop.

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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Tiff,

Natural blonde, one level lighter than what your hair is. This would mean that if you lightened your hair to a level 8 yellow colour, you would tone with a 9N for a golden result. If it was a level 7 though, you would be using an 8N for toning. Lighten to the level that you want and tone like this.

For the toner, permanent is superior to a semi because it will last significantly longer and produce a more natural result. I'd recommend a brand like Wella Koleston or Igora Royal, but most brands will work. Only develop until it is the desired shade. Leaving on for longer will move towards more of a neutral and then ashy tone.

As for the bleach bath; probably not a good idea. A bleach bath is best for stripping out dye, subtle lightening, or correcting hair colour. It lifts quick and effectively, but it doesn't lift much. It won't usually be able to take dark brown hair to blonde and isn't the best way to do it. A regular bleaching is more reliable and effective for this.

Natalia Lipari profile image

Natalia Lipari 21 months ago

Hey! For some reason I didn't see this until now, but I use Age Beautiful hair dye. The shade is High Lift Ash Blonde. I use a 40 volume developer. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to respond to me! :)

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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi again Natalia,

You're using the right shade and the right volume of developer. Given that it's only part of your hair that isn't lightening properly, I think that's probably key to solving the problem. Are these areas applied to last, or perhaps less product is applied there?

If that's the case, you can always try getting someone to help you apply the dye so that it is applied to all your hair much more quickly and see if that helps produce a more even colour. Or if possible, you could rinse those areas out last.

If that still doesn't help, it's possible those sections of hair are naturally more resistant to lightening. You might want to try using a stronger high lift like the ones available in the Igora Royal or Wella Koleston brands to increase the likelihood it lifts properly.

Cofee Mommy profile image

Cofee Mommy 21 months ago

This is a great article! I shaved my head back in September, and now its in a pixie stage. I wanted to bleach it again to platinum, but recently I got a hair cut to shape it a bit, and she used thinning shears, and I was wondering if bleaching it will make those ends more prone to damage??

I have bleached it before, but I am so impatient that I do it all at once and end up with really damage hair. This time, because my hair is so short, I will take my time in order to get it platinum and not have to shave my head again!

Also, is it true that making a hair masque with coconut oil will help protect the hair while bleaching it??

Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Cofee Mommy,

Thinner hair is more prone to noticeable damage because there's less of it. Normally, thicker hair that is somewhat damaged won't show it so noticeably because if you end up with split ends or breakage, it's a much smaller fraction of your hair. Less hair means damage is more visible.

As for the coconut masque, conditioning agents like this will help keep your hair from drying out too much during bleaching and thus reduce damage, but not by much. Protein treatments are a better way to actually reverse damage as they repair the protein that your hair is made out of. Conditioners can't do this; they can only alleviate dryness and make your hair feel softer and nicer.

Wes4020 21 months ago

I've moved state and finding it difficult to get the same hair colour. I have dark brown hair and I used to have the matrix high lift tint in and Ultra light Ash + 40 vol. Personally I found this to be a great colour as there was never any brassiness . The hairdresser in my new area uses the Indola colour in a Pearl blonde and I was advised that the results with that brand are better. Would like to know if the Indola brand is really better as I've previously had problems with brassiness and would like to avoid this at all costs..

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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Wes,

What level did the Matrix lift to? Did it actually take you to a blonde colour, or were you using it to achieve a lighter brown?

In any case, Indola is an excellent brand and their high lifts offer great lightening. The lift is about the same as both Matrix and Igora when using 40 vol. The pearl high lift is a different colour to Matrix's ash tone however. Indola 1000.22 pearl blonde has a base that is mostly violet with some blue tone, whilst Matrix UL-A is a heavier blue-violet. You won't get the exact same shade using it and it likely will lead to some brassiness because it's not as strong in tone.

It'd be better to use Indola 1000.1 for this purpose to replace Matrix UL-A as the two are a more similar base tone and colour result. Matrix also has a UL-AA which is a stronger ash though, so be aware if you were using that one, you should substitute with Indola 1000.11 instead for the most similar colour.

Wes4020 21 months ago

Thanks so much for your advice. Yes the Matrix colour gives me a lovely blonde. I have since found another hairdresser who uses Matrix so I have cancelled the other appointment and will go with the colour I know. I'm not sure if my previous colourist used a ULA or UL-AA. She wrote it down as ULA+. Could you please advise how much ash the UL-AA would throw opposed to the regular ULA? I do have a problem with my hair getting more gold about 3 weeks after the colour and when the regrowth starts to appear.

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Maffew James 21 months ago Author

Hi Wes,

I've never used UL-A+. It appears to be equivalent to UL-A.

The disparate shades could be a matter of location. Wella tends to do this kind of thing too where they release slightly different shades in different countries. If in doubt, go with your hairdresser's recommendation once they see your hair and know what they're working with. It can always be toned separately if the ash high lift used isn't strong enough.

As for the regrowth, I'd recommend trying Igora's Expert Mousses in either 9.5-1 or 8-1. You can use these as often as necessary as they are semi-permanent and don't damage the hair. 9.5-1 is pastel ash while 8-1 is a light ash blonde - use whichever is strong enough to effectively give you enough cool tone to keep it looking the way you want. You could also use a good blonde shampoo like Fudge Violet and that's often enough to never need toning at all.

Nikki 20 months ago


So I went to a salon and got my ends bleached because I wanted ombré and it turned out a nice yellowish blonde and then they used a toner on me that made it a light blonde. I went back the best week and got the rest of my hair bleached because I didn't want the ombré anymore and the top of my hair turned out that yellowy blonde , the bottom wasn't bleached because it was already at my desired color, and the rest of my hair turned out orangeish. I waited about a week with orange hair and then I tried to use a toner with a blue and purple base to get rid of the Orange and pale yellow tones . It took out the yellow, but not the Orange . I wanted to know f I could use this lifting dye on just the Orange parts to get them to that pale yellow color so that I can re tone my hair again to get to my desired color ? Would that work???

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Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Nikki,

The best option is to bleach the darker hair to even it out and then tone as intended. You should only need to apply the bleach for about 20 minutes at this point to get that hair to the same level.

The reason a high lift isn't the best option in this case is because you've used dye to tone it. There's no guarantee that it would lift with the artificial colour in your hair now. It's also overkill for the results you want to achieve. High lift dye contains a lot of ammonia and is mixed with 40 vol developer. For the small amount of lightening that's left to be accomplished you'll actually get less damage using bleach.

Heidi 20 months ago

Howdy- I took a medication (a PPI) that wound up having the unexpected unwanted side effect of both hair loss and weakening. After more than a year off of both the meda and all hair treatments (last of old highlights cut off) I've got all-virgin light brown hair that is kind of mousey but in sunlight has a lot of red and gold. To avoid any more weakening I'd like to try the high lift but seriously want to avoid 1) brassy and 2) red (red on me is awful). My natural tendency (when I'm lucky enough to spend time at the beach) is to lighten in streaks- I turn a natural dark gold and that's what I'd like to try for. I want to avoid yellow and don't want to go more than a few shades lighter Can you suggest a good lift that will avoid the red/orange/brass and a post-lift toner should the lift leave me too brassy? Thanks up front!

Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 20 months ago Author

Hi Heidi,

I'd advise against using a high lift for this purpose as they are an alternative to bleach, but they're not gentle. They do cause less damage, but they're still more damaging than a regular dye. If you only want 1 - 3 levels of lift I'd recommend using a regular dye.

Going on the fact that you like the dark gold colour from the sun-streaking, would you like a dark golden blonde result, or something lighter than that?

china 19 months ago

Hello I use Korea high lift lighted blonde with a 40 developer... for my newgrowth ... and color my hair indigo blue from adore... my roots instantly after first wash go green!!!! Help please I tried bleach too the blue one and didn't lift enough to get rid of the orange and yellow brassyness

nat 19 months ago

Im a natural base 6/7 at the moment i have white bleached blonde hair painted on all over i want to stop using bleach! I still want to be a light ash blonde but i want to be more of a highlighted blonde...what high lift tints would you recommend to use

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Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi China,

This isn't too unusual to see. When you apply blue on top of hair that contains too much yellow or gold tone, it looks blue to begin with as the dye is still intense. As it fades with washing though, the amount of blue tone in your hair decreases and the remaining blue blends with the yellow in your hair to look green.

As for getting orange or yellow out of your hair, you need to use ash dye to add the correct complementary tone into your hair to cancel out the appearance of the colour you don't want. It's the same sort of process that's happening with the blue and yellow, except when two complementary colours mix, they actually form a neutral result. In this case, the complementary tone for yellow is violet, and blue is the complementary tone for orange. You'll get the best toning results if you use an ash blonde dye that is violet-blue based.

Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi Nat,

Definitely try Wella Koleston 12/11, Igora Royal 12-11, Indola 1000.11, or Matrix UL-AA. Mixed with 40 vol developer, you should be able to get close to platinum on a level 6 or lighter base with any of these. Of Course, this all depends on what you can actually get.

sara 19 months ago


I attempted to dye my dark brown roots and already lightened hair (had some low lights in it from the winter) with goldwell 12 BN and 40 volume developer. Roots came out orange however rest of hair lightened nicely. How can I correct it and should I just get a toner for the roots? I used to use Matrix and mixed an ultra light blonde with an ash blonde but forget the mixture. I also thought they had a toner I may be able to use on my roots. I have to put baby powder or dry shampoo on my orange roots for now ;-( also, how long should I wait between coloring and should I only dye to roots once the orange is corrected? Also, can I mix a 40 volume goldwell developer with a matrix color? Or would I have to purchase a goldwell color? Thank you in advance for your help. I just want a nice light blonde without brass or orange!

Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi Sara,

The dark brown is much too dark to be lightened effectively with a high lift. It's best to use them on lighter hair for a blonde result, or you can use them as you did for a lighter brown from darker hair.

As for correcting it, toning will neutralise the orange, which will take it to about a light brown colour. Whilst this gets rid of the unwanted orange tone, it does nothing for the fact that the colour is still much too dark to match. At this point, the best way to fix the roots now that they've been dyed already is to apply bleach with 20 vol as the developer, lighten to slightly lighter than your lengths, and then tone with the appropriate ash blonde toner to finish it off.

Onto your other questions: you should definitely lighten the roots the rest of the way before you apply any more dye to them. The more dye you apply, the less effective anything you use to lighten it will be afterward. As for mixing Goldwell developer with Matrix dyes, that's perfectly fine. All developer is just hydrogen peroxide in the end. Each brand tends to formulate their own developer in a way that it is the perfect consistency to mix in with their own dyes, but it will still work fine with a different brand. Just don't mix two dyes from different brands; that's a different case altogether.

Sara 19 months ago

I cannot thank you enough for the excellent direction you provided. I do have a follow up question...when you state to apply bleach with 20 volume developer what is considered bleach? I am looking at goldwell and matrix products and so confused! Have not done this in years so please excuse my lack of knowledge and memory here :-)Also, once I successfully achieve the blonde color I desire, should I be mixing ash and ultra blonde color dye with the developer or is this a 2 step process? Lastly, would I just touch up roots as needed? I want to keep the integrity of my hair as much as possible!

Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Hi Sara,

Bleach can be powder, paste, or oil based, but powder is most common and most effective. It's a combination of oxidants, which lighten your hair, with conditioning agents and other caring ingredients to help offset any damage.

Developer, which is hydrogen peroxide, is added to both dye and bleach. Used in dye, the ammonia in the dye opens the hair cuticle and allows the mixture to penetrate; peroxide then develops the colour as well as lightens natural pigment. Used in bleach, it has a similar effect but the lightening is supported by other oxidants which have a much stronger effect. Dye can only be made so strong, at which point bleach is more effective if you need better lightening.

As for those brands, with Goldwell you can use Oxycur Platin or Silk Lift. With Matrix you can use V-Light, Light Master, or Logics. Regardless of what you're using it needs to be mixed with developer and I'd recommend going no higher than 20 vol for this. You don't need a super strong formula to get it the rest of the way to blonde.

Apply that to your roots only and lift until it's just slightly lighter than your lengths. You need it to be slightly lighter because toning will darken it slightly. This way it matches the lengths much more accurately after toning.

To tone it, use an ash blonde dye that is one level lighter for soft ash or warmer results, or use an ash blonde dye at the level of your hair for a more intense cool ash result. Eg, if your lengths are light blonde (Level 8), use very light ash blonde dye (9A), to tone your roots. If you want a more intense ash, tone with 8A instead in this example.

As with the bleaching, apply this dye to your roots only and allow this to process until it matches your lengths closely, and then apply all over for the last few minutes to get a more even result.

For touching up roots as they grow in, apply bleach to roots only, and then do the same thing for toning. As it grows out you won't be overlapping it every time you retouch because you're keeping it to the roots. The lengths just require occasional toning with a temporary toner if they start to look too brassy.

Sara 19 months ago

This information is priceless! Thank you again for your assistance to this high priority matter! I just ordered from amazon prime and because of your kindness i will be all ready for the weekend ;-)

Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 19 months ago Author

Good luck with your colour Sara, and let me know if you have any problems with it.

Terra 16 months ago

Hello. I applied a high lift blonde to my hair and it's still not as light as I want it. I am a natural dirty blonde but want to be more platinum. I want to avoid bleach at all cost as my hair is very fine. Could I re apply the high lift blonde again to get to that platinum stage? What would you recommend? It's only a few stages darker than what Im wanting. I want really white. I also have some gold in it that I want to go. What should I do?

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Maffew James 16 months ago Author

Hi Terra,

Lightening potential decreases with the more times your hair has been dyed, so another dye is going to have less of an effect. In the case of darker dye, this can prevent any lightening at all, but if you've only used that high lift, you'll likely be able to take it a little further with another dye, but do keep in mind that it may not lift as well as you hope.

To do this, either use another high lift if your hair is in good condition, or a blonde dye at level 9 or 10 with 30 or 40 vol as the developer. The regular blonde dye is less damaging, even when using 40 vol as the developer, but it will produce less lightening. You can use an ash tone to help deal with any yellow tones that are showing, but it tends to be easier to focus on lightening and tone separately if there is any warmth that needs to be neutralised. Follow the high lift or blonde dye up with a demi-permanent ash dye as the toner if you need additional toning after lightening.

Bella 16 months ago

Dear Maffew,

I've previously died my hair once or twice with the ion color dyes, and have used those hair lighteners you get at the store (I live in Switzerland and I don't know if they had bleach or not I think they were high lift dye). They worked on my hair but only lifted it 1-2 shades lighter not to mention I got highlights (very small ones) last December. My hair is a natural light brown but gets lighter at the ends for some reason (naturally I don't know why). And I would like to go to a natural blonde. My hair is very long (about to the end of my ribs) and in healthy condition. I really want to keep the length. Do you have any tips how I could go to this shade of blonde a healthy way with a good natural-looking out come? Thanks!

Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 16 months ago Author

Hi Bella,

With long hair like yours, the biggest problem can be unevenness, so the quicker and more consistently you apply dye, the better the results are going to be. Damage shouldn't be a major problem because your hair is already close to blonde and you won't need to lighten it too much.

There are two different ways you can go about this process:

1. High lift blonde dye, such as the Wella Koleston 12/ dyes.

This kind of dye is permanent dye that has a higher ammonia content and is mixed with 40 vol developer to push as much lightening as possible without using bleach powder. It won't work as effectively on hair that has already been dyed, especially if your hair has been dyed darker colours like brown shades in the past.

To use this method, you will need high lift dye in an ash shade, eg, Wella Koleston 12/1 or whatever brand you prefer, mix that with 40 vol as the developer, apply to lengths about an inch away from your scalp (To avoid hot roots from the increased lightening here), and process for about 10 minutes or so. After that, apply to the root area and process until it has lightened as far as you want it to lighten, or the maximum processing time has been reached.

Using high lift dye, the ash tone present is going to help counteract the warmth while it lightens, but you may still have to tone separately afterwards if it still looks too brassy.

2. Bleach

Bleach is more reliable but slightly more damaging than dye. To do it this way, mix bleach powder with 20 vol developer and apply lengths first for 10 minutes, then to roots and continue processing. Lighten to a gold-orange for dark blonde (Mostly gold with a tinge of orange), to gold for medium blonde, to yellow for light blonde, to light yellow for very light blonde, or to pale yellow for platinum.

Following this, use an ash tone dye one level lighter than the level you bleached to for toning. For example, if you bleached to gold for a medium blonde result, tone with light ash blonde. After application, remove the dye when you're happy with the colour. For a very cool or very ashy result, tone for longer or apply ash at the same level as the colour you want.

Ideally, for the most natural looking colour, you may want to stick to shades that are light, medium, or dark blonde overall as very light shades don't look as natural unless you have pale skin. As for the tone you aim for, match that to your skin tone and it will look more natural. IE, if you have a warm skin tone, choose darker shades and go for beige or golden blonde. If you have cooler skin, go for neutral or ash.

Let me know if you need any further clarification, and good luck with your colour!

Violet 16 months ago

Hi matter,

I've been using the indola 1000.1 for many years, & getting foils in my hair every few months to counteract the gold, but still find my hair gold in between foils, I was thinking of using the igora with a high lift as I like the level of light I'm getting just want more of a ash blonde, what your recommendation.


Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 15 months ago Author

Hi Violet,

If you're happy with the lift and it's just that warmth developing over time that worries you, the best option is to tone in-between dyeing. This will keep your colour cooler for longer, but without causing additional damage. Indola P.1 or P.01 are good options for this if you're staying with the Indola brand.

Alternatively, a good violet shampoo may be all you need. You can wash your hair with a product like Fudge Violet Shampoo either every time you wash it, a few times a week, or intermittently with your regular shampoo to maintain a cooler shade and eliminate yellow and gold tones from your hair.

I like to recommend the Fudge Violet because it's concentrated and reliable, but it's perfectly fine to use other brands; just make sure that the shampoo you use is strong enough to effectively tone your hair. The darker your hair is, or the ashier you want it to be, the stronger the shampoo needs to be to affect the colour. Vice versa, when maintaining lighter blonde hair that is showing yellow or gold tones, you may want to use a weaker shampoo or dilute it down with a white shampoo so that your hair doesn't over-tone or become too ashy.

Elizabeth Joanne profile image

Elizabeth Joanne 15 months ago

Hello I have dyes my hair for more than 7 years and a majority of the colors I've used are dark reds. From box dyes I want to change my hair to blonde and I was wondering if you could give me a list of everything I would need to get from Sallys beauty supply ? I have tried bleaching in the past and it's gotten me an orange and yellow mess of hair

Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 15 months ago Author

Hi Elizabeth,

With all that dye buildup, it's very very unlikely you'll see any lightening from the use of another dye. You could use dye remover to try and strip it out, but I wouldn't recommend this either because of how long you've been dyeing it. Any dye that is stripped out will be patchy and you won't get it to blonde this way.

Overall, the best way to get to blonde will be to bleach it to slightly lighter than the level of blonde you want and then tone. For a light blonde at level 8 for example, this would mean bleaching to lighter than level 8 before toning. The reason for this is because toning will darken your hair slightly as colour is added to neutralise the colour you don't want to be visible.

The colour you use to tone will depend on what warm tones are present: If there's still a lot of red tone, use green ash mixed into a natural shade. If it's more of an orange colour, use blue-based ash. If it looks yellow, which isn't likely with all that red dye present; use violet. Eg, if your hair looked bright reddish orange after bleaching and you were using Wella Koleston, this could be toned to blonde using a combination of natural blonde (/0 shades), and matte blonde (/2 green based ash).

How this all turns out is dependent on the bleaching, and the more evenly you can apply bleach, the better it will lighten, and the less likely it will end up patchy. After that, there are ways to even out hair that does end up patchy from bleaching without having to dye it substantially darker.

Crystal 15 months ago

I have a question. About a year ago I wanted to take my very dark brown (dyed from mix of gray and medium brown). My colorist started to apply a "clear gloss/glaze" after doing my root touch up each time. I have it touched up every three weeks. I am now blonde. No bleach was used. I don't have virgin hair so,why did this work and what's in it? Is there a developer in the gloss?

Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 15 months ago Author

Hi Crystal,

Gloss shouldn't lighten, but if it was a demi-permanent of permanent gloss, this will be mixed with developer, which can produce lightening, although it's not the intended effect with a gloss. If a high volume of developer was used, this will lighten more drastically without any colour deposit because the gloss contains almost no pigment.

It's also possible the product used was a lightener though. Lightening extract, for example, is mixed into other shades in some brands to increase lift, or can be used by itself like bleach. It's basically the same thing as a blonde dye, except without the actual colour pigment and more ammonia, so it could be used as a lightening gloss.

Brianne 14 months ago

My hair is a reddish orange color, would I be able to use a high lift on my hair?

Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 14 months ago Author

Hi Brianne,

I apologise for the lateness of my reply. The amount of lightening you get is largely determined by whether you've dyed it before, what shades you've used, and how many times it was dyed; as well as how dark it is.

The short answer is that at a reddish orange colour, your hair is probably about a level 4 - 5, and high lift can take this to a darker shade of blonde (No platinum or light shades are likely though as it's not usually strong enough for that when used on hair this dark).

Whether it can do this will depend on what has been done to your hair in the past though. If you've applied any dark colours like brown shades (Light, medium, or dark brown), or black, this will reduce the lift of a high lift dye because every dye you apply to your hair adds artificial colour that can not be removed very well by use of another dye. You can still see lightening because any natural pigment in your hair will still lift, but this lift is often minimal if there is a lot of dye pigment present.

To sum everything up, if you've dyed it with darker colours, or you've dyed it a few times, bleach will be more reliable and the better option for lightening it. Otherwise, feel free to use a high lift but keep in mind that you may need to tone separately with another dye afterwards. The high lift can lighten your darker hair, but it won't tone properly in this situation because the dye pigment isn't strong enough to cover the darker warmth.

Lauren 13 months ago

Hi, i have my roots bleached in a salon every 8 weeks and then have a 001 silver toner (fudge) put on which takes out any unwanted yellow/orangey tones... My hair is not in the best condition now but I still want to keep this colour! Can I use fudge permanent high lift colour on my roots then the 001 silver toner to still get the white colour I want? My natural colour is ginger... I'd say sort of between a 6.34/7.34 in the fudge colours

Haley 12 months ago

Okay so I am a natural Strawberry blonde and I died my hair red and it faded fairly quickly. It was box dye, i just wanted to try it. Then about 5 months later I went from like a pink to black with box dye but now my blonde roots are back and its now an auburn brown color with this work if I wanna go back to blonde?

Bridget 12 months ago

I have my hair dyed a natural level 4/5 brown (stylist called it semi-perm) right now, and an under layer that was bleached and colored with a couple blues. Now, my hair is faded and I reaallyy want to dye it a dark red mahogany, fading into a blonde-gold.. My hair is a bit damaged, but I'm taking much better care of it and will wait a couple more weeks before I do anything...

However what can you recommend to me that will be the best for what I want? Least damaging and high quality, but still affordable..Looking forward to your (professional?) opinion! Thanks! (:

Yuri 11 months ago

I had blonde highlights and a caramel base color for a few years then recently I decided to go red for Fall. I got it done professionally and the color was nice but I didn't like it on me. So I got impatient and bought a box hair dye in the color expresso black and applied it to my hair. I think I had it like that for 1 month and I couldn't stand it.. I washed my hair a lot and just recently did 2 applications of color fix and ended up with a pretty strawberry light brown/blonde hair, just a bit too brassy. Can I use a hi lift blonde color to lighten 1 shade or 2 and tone it? I don't want my hair to re oxidize and turn dark again. Any input would be helpful. Thanks :)

Ema Micheal 11 months ago

I've light brown hair and I havent dyed it before. I really want to get my hair platinum blonde but without using bleach or causing any damage to my hair. I literally have no experience and know nothing about hair dyes.

Please help me to get my hair platinum blonde at home and without much damage. I've read the page but I didn't really get everything.

If you would kindly tell me what hair products I need to use to get my hair done

ThatGirl 9 months ago I'm officially that crazy person that wanted to bleach at home. Bleach hair with a history of dark dyes....

Of course, im paying for it dearly, rather my hair is paying. It's damaged. Ive been babying it. Protein treatments and deep conditions every other night. It is currently at the gold level and I need to lift at least 2 more levels. I was advised by a rep at Sallys to use the hilift dye by loreal. Ash blonde. Will that dye get me the next two levels of lift? I can't bleach again. I've bleached 3 times in a week and my hair is holding on, but hates me. I need to be as close to platinum as possible with the least amount of damage...pleeeaaassseee help??

Maffew James profile image

Maffew James 9 months ago Author

Hi ThatGirl,

Bleach is much more effective on dyed hair because dye struggles to lift artificial pigment. In this sense, a high lift dye won't make much of a difference to the level, but you'll still suffer all the damage from the dye because the damage is a side effect of the way the product works. Even if little lift occurs, you still get the same amount of damage as if more significant lightening had been achieved.

The best thing to do at this point would be to tone temporarily using a semi-permanent dye in 7A to get your hair to look a nice medium blonde, and then really focus on protein treatments and giving your hair the time it needs to recover strength before you go any further. Eventually if it is strong enough, you may be able to bleach with a low volume of developer or as a bleach wash to take it a little further, very carefully, but only if the condition improves.

LesleyxO29 9 months ago

I want to dye my hair without bleach i tried it once amd it came like light brown can you give me advice

Shelby 6 months ago

I bleached my hair twice over two weeks then used a toner. Right now it's like a honey blonde maybe a little darker in spots (with some orange/brassy). I want to know if I can tone it again or if I should use a semi permanent hair dye like wella. I'm going for a really light blonde. Overall my hair is pretty healthy, except for a few spots that get stretchy when wet but I figured I could leave those out.

Any advice helps


Hailey J. 5 months ago

Hi, I'm a light blonde. My hair when I was little was naturally almost white. I want my hair to be a few tones lighter, but I don't want to damage my hair in the process. Help!

Berenice 5 months ago

I want to dye my hair aburn. My hair is black right now but I don't want to use bleach is there any what I can make it lighter

Shelia 5 months ago

I use Socolor HDRV And have been for about 6 yrs . I have I short asymmetrical cut but I have the hardest time getting blonde highlights when I try during the summer months. I know it's bc I use so much red. But I use Wella/40 vol wen I try & suggestions ?

Reyna 5 months ago

Hello i have a question and need your help

Reyna 5 months ago

I have dark brown almost black hair. I did the mistake of only using a hi lift shade UL-PA socolor from matrix thinking i would get ashy hair. Boy was i wrong and i wish i had seen this before! Well my hair is now light orange!!! Please help me what can i do now? I didnt use bleach only the hi lift. I really hope you get back to me.

Jeza 4 months ago

I want to color/dye my hair but idk what color will fit my tan skin

Paige 4 months ago

Okay, quick question. Everytime i bleach my hair, there are orange spots that come with it. if i use the color lift will it still make that orange tone? I am a natural blonde but have dyed my hair several times & i just want my natura hair color back!

Sara 3 months ago

Hi dear! I have ?? I bleached my hair twice and toned it with wella t18 I wanted to have an ombre look where only my ends r the lightest but the result was not good it turned very orange and brassy lookin I hated to the point I wanted to color it black it looks really nice on me but I didn't wanna give up since I have done all of this. I had someone comin to my house to actually fix it but it turned horribly orange after she bleached it again with 40 volume.. Then I taught bout the black again then I said to my self I'm sure there is something I can do to fix it please help me do I need to just tone it and what's the right toner? Or do I have to bleach it again I have done the bleach 3 times so far !! I just want nice blond not tooo blond I like my ends to be lighter then my roots. I have colored my hair a lot black but my roots r dark brown my ends I guess r black. Please help me correct this I appreciate it sooo much

zoe 2 months ago

Hi just wondering if you can help My hair is in very bad condition due to long term bleaching ive recently dyed it dark brown want it bk blonde but don't want to bleach it how can i get it back blonde without my hair breaking off anymore

Shazz 2 months ago


How can I achive level 6 to level 11 with high lift. I always use 10.01(wella, Fuge, or Matrix) with 9% but always comes out yellow or gingery and on there is try to use tone T01 from Fuge but doesn't really work. What can I do any advice please?

Ashley 2 months ago

I have put a red rinse does that make my hair able to color without bleach

Ginger 2 months ago


I've never dyed my gingery, orange, red hair before. I love my hair color but I'm looking for a change in the form of a very light pastel purple. However, I was wondering if I could do this without bleaching and with a semi permanent dye? I have no idea if this exists but I would love to know if it does. I just want to make sure that my natural hair color is not permanently changed.

Charlotte 7 weeks ago

I had my hair dark brown but had res in it from my previous colour before my dark hair. I want to go blonde, I had my hair stripped then bleached or high lifted. Could I go blonde in the same day or would I have to do it in stages? As I and my family thought I would come home blonde but I'm a copper colour ?


gena 3 weeks ago

Can i put a high lift dye over ALREADY highlighted hair (that has been bleached with 40 Vol./Loreal Quick Blue powder bleach)??

Cassandra 2 weeks ago

I've had violet peekaboos put in and now that it's dyed out to a pinky whitish color I want to go with a medium blonde peekaboo. Do I just use the box dye over the old color or do I need to bleach it first? I am a first timer doing this on my own.

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