Skip to main content

How to Use High Lift Hair Color

Maffew is a hairdresser, marketer, and dabbler in many things who enjoys sharing knowledge about the science of hair coloring and hair care.


In recent years, the hairdressing industry has seen a marked increase in the number of clients who want to go blonde but don't want to use bleach. For a long time, there was simply no way to cater to these clients and you couldn't dye dark hair blonde without the use of bleach.

That changed with the advent of high lift hair color, making it possible to dye your hair blonde without the bleach powder. Or at least, in certain circumstances. Read on to learn everything you need to know to use this alternative properly.


What Is High Lift Dye?

Many people are afraid of bleach because of the horror stories they've heard about it potentially melting hair or causing scalp burns. This is a problem perpetuated through the use of bleach by people who don't know what they're doing and haven't taken the time to learn about the product before they go ahead and bleach their hair.

Hair bleach becomes problematic in the following situations:

  • Not following directions
  • Preparing the mixture incorrectly
  • Making the bleach too strong
  • Not applying it properly or evenly
  • Using bleach on hair that is already highly damaged
  • Leaving it on too long or removing it too soon

Mistakes like these are what contribute to the widespread fear of using bleach. Bleach is not the enemy though and is actually a highly useful and necessary product in all salons, but more and more people are being lead to believe it is too harmful to use, and in some cases, this can be absolutely true.

Due to the need for an alternative, high lift dye was created to offer another option and allow hair dye manufacturers to appease clients who want to go blonde with less damage. While the product is designed to replace bleach in the right situations, it's important to understand what it is and how to use it first because it's not always the right choice depending on your own unique situation.

High lift color is permanent hair dye, but it works slightly differently from other hair dyes because of its unique composition. These dyes contain:

  • More ammonia
  • More pigment
  • Are mixed with a double ratio of 40 vol developer.

These key differences produce a hair dye that lightens your hair more effectively than other blonde dyes yet still tones it during the hair lightening process, helping to eliminate the need for a second step in the process.


High Lift Hair Color vs Bleach

High lift dye was invented to replace the use of bleach for those who didn't want to bleach their hair, but it is not entirely interchangeable with bleach. The uses of this hair color are still constrained to how a dye is used and it can only reliably be used on virgin hair that is already a dark blonde or light brown color.

A regular blonde hair dye mixed with 30 vol developer can lift around 2–3 levels, which is enough to lighten hair from dark blonde to a medium to light blonde color. It does this while toning your hair, whereas the use of bleach requires you to tone your hair separately as an additional step. High lift hair color offers a boost to lightening, equivalent to about 1 extra level on top of what a regular blonde dye can achieve.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Bellatory

Although you can lighten your hair up to 4 levels reliably when using this kind of dye, you're still limited to using it on virgin hair for the best result because like other hair dyes, it won't lighten dyed hair properly. Dye doesn't effectively lift the artificial pigment from a previous dye, so if you've dyed your hair already you will need to use hair dye remover and bleach to lighten it properly.

This means that you need to already have naturally light or minimally treated hair to use a high lift blonde dye. If you apply one of these dyes to darker brown hair you will end up with a regrettable shade of orange. This isn't to say that you can't reach blonde with the dye, but it is less likely compared to if you were to use bleach. It is also dependent on how resistant your hair is.

  • How to Bleach Hair
    Would you like to know more about bleach? Find out how to prepare and use it to lighten your hair...

Lightener Comparison

LightenerLift potential

Generic bleach powder (20 vol)

3 levels

Generic bleach powder (30 vol)

4 levels

Igora Vario bleach

3–8 levels

Wella Multi Blonde bleach

3–7 levels

Indola Rapid Blonde bleach

3–7 levels

Indola high lift dye

4 levels

Wella high lift dye

4–5 levels

Igora high lift dye

4 levels

Matrix high lift dye

3–4 levels


Is It Less Damaging?

The most popular misconception surrounding high lift hair color is that it is dramatically less damaging than bleach. This is not completely true though because the nature of what hair damage is and what causes it means that it's linked to the lift of pigment. You can't lighten hair without also damaging it.

The damage of a high lift dye or bleach is roughly equivalent in terms of how much hair lightening they produce, whereas the damage from the change to your hair's moisture balance and cuticle layer is what differs. High lift dye causes less of this kind of damage than bleach does.

Why Is Hair Lightening Damaging?

When you lighten your hair with dye or bleach, the color change comes from a chemical process called oxidation. This reaction affects the melanin pigment that gives your hair its natural color, as well as the keratin protein that forms the structure of your hair.

Oxidation of melanin lightens hair color, while oxidation of keratin breaks down the bonds that give your hair strength. Unfortunately, you can't selectively target only the pigment in your hair with any product, so damage will always occur as a side effect of the lightening process itself. You physically can't lighten your hair without also damaging it to some extent.

From this, you can understand that damage to your hair is directly related to the amount of lightening that takes place, which is itself reflective of the amount of oxidation. If you were to lighten your hair 3 levels with a high lift dye, or 3 levels with bleach, the amount of damage caused by the lightening process itself will be roughly the same. Oxidation lightens your hair and damages it as a side effect.

Moisture Balance

There is another factor involved in hair damage during bleaching and dyeing though, which is the disruption to your hair's moisture balance and pH. High lift dye disrupts this less than bleach, making it inherently less damaging when comparing the whole potential of damage. Dryness caused by bleaching weakens the hair structure making it more susceptible to damage from the lightening process, and bleach is significantly more drying.

On the other hand, high lift colors also tone while lightening. This can potentially cut out the need to perform this step separately with an additional dye, which would increase dryness and damage further.

There's a measure of convenience with their use and also decreased risk of total damage and this is the advantage they have over traditional hair lightening products.

Matrix UL-AA high lift dye

Matrix UL-AA high lift dye

When Should You Use It?

High lift dye has specific uses and it will generally work very well if you use it properly and under the right circumstances. This means that you should not be applying it to black or dark brown hair and expect to end up with blonde hair.

You also shouldn't be using this hair color on hair that has been dyed in the past. Unless your last color has completely grown out of your hair, you can't lighten your hair properly with high lift dye.

These dyes are best used under the following conditions:

  • You have virgin hair
  • You only require 3–4 levels of lift (although up to 5 is possible)
  • Your hair is in good condition
  • Your hair is already dark blonde or a very light brown

Although these dyes are generally used to dye hair a light blonde without bleach, they can still be used to lighten darker hair to other colors. Please note that you won't reach a blonde shade if you do this, and you still must have virgin hair for the dye to work.

The darker your hair is, the less lightening that will occur, and the higher likelihood that you will need to tone it afterward because the blonde dye in the high lift isn't concentrated enough to tone darker hair. In this case, bleach is far superior for reliability.

You can, however, use this kind of dye to reach lighter shades of brown too, with gentler lightening. As long as you don't mind having to tone separately afterward to finish the color.

High Lift or Bleach?

Hair conditionHigh lift or bleach?

Dark hair

Bleach and tone

Dyed hair

Hair dye remover and bleach

Natural blonde hair

High lift dye

Natural light brown hair

High lift dye

Natural red hair

Bleach and tone

How to Prepare the Hair Dye

High lift hair color is prepared in mostly the same way as other permanent hair dyes. You will need a tinting bowl and brush to mix it in, as well as the appropriate developer to mix with the dye.

In this case, the developer used has to be 40 vol developer. Some products can be mixed with 30 vol if less lightening is needed but then this begs the question of why you wouldn't just use a regular dye in that situation since it will be even gentler on your hair too.

The boxed high lift dyes you can sometimes find in supermarkets that use 30 vol developer or less are not high lift dyes at all, however. Manufacturers can call these products 'high lift' or 'hi color' because there is no set standard for naming a high lift hair dye—be sure that the product you choose is in fact the real deal or you could be disappointed!

The products that mimic actual high lift dyes are merely regular dye marketed in a way that makes it seem like they lift more than other dye brands because of their name.

Developer Volume

The reason you need to use 40 vol developer is two-fold:

  • Dye formulation
  • Pigment lift

High lift dyes are formulated to work optimally with a high concentration of peroxide and the lift and deposit balance are changed when you don't use this.If you don't use 40 vol, the dye also loses much of its lightening power and you may as well be using a regular blonde dye as the high lift will be a waste of time.

Understand that dye isn't the same thing as bleach. Whereas you should almost never use 40 vol with actual bleach powder, it is frequently used with many kinds of permanent dyes. Always mix highlift hair dye with 40 vol developer so that it will work properly.

Shade Choice

You also need to be aware of what shade you're using and choose an ash shade rather than the shade you want. Even though these dyes are formulated to tone hair as your hair lightens, they don't always live up to expectations here, especially on darker blonde hair.

An ash shade is necessary to counteract the warmth that will be revealed during the lightening process. If anything, even the ash shade might not be enough to counteract the warmth and you may still need to tone your hair anyway. This will be more likely if you're starting from a dark color or have a lot of warm tones in your hair.

If you're starting from a shade that is already fairly light, however, you can mix the ash with your desired color to reduce the toning and give a more predictable result towards the shade you want. You can also just use it as-is and then let it fade after a few washes to let the tone warm up a little if desired.


Once you're ready to prepare the dye, measure it by volume, and to each part of hair color add two parts of 40 vol developer. It's easiest to mix developer into dye by adding a small amount first, then gradually incorporating the rest. Otherwise, the dye has a much thicker consistency than the pool of developer surrounding it and you have to go to extra effort to incorporate it all together without making a mess.

How to Apply It to Your Hair

High lift hair color is applied like any other permanent hair dye. You will get the best results by sectioning your hair out into four sections and applying it one section at a time. To do this, part your hair down the middle from your forehead to your neck, then once more from ear to ear, and clip each section with a sectioning clip to hold them in place.

It's standard protocol to begin by applying dye to the back left section of your hair, but this isn't set in stone. Start wherever is easiest and quickest for you. You may even prefer to work down in both sections at the back of your hair then switch to the front and finish it off. Where you start and how you progress really just depends on what you feel is easiest and how quickly and evenly you can move.

Work from the top of each section down to the bottom by taking thin layers of hair and applying the high lift color to each side. It is also preferable to apply the dye to your lengths first and then go back and apply the dye to your roots 10–15 minutes into the application so that the heat from your scalp doesn't lead to lighter roots. This is more of an issue with bleach, but it can also occur sometimes with high lift colors.

Development Time

Once the dye has been completely applied, leave it for up to 50–60 minutes to process, depending on the brand. This color has a longer development period than other dyes because the extra time is necessary for it to lighten your hair substantially. You can rinse it out after the development time has passed, or slightly earlier if it lifts and tones before then.

If your hair is closer to brown than blonde when you apply the dye, however, you will most likely still need to tone your hair again after the color is rinsed. This occurs even when using ash blonde high lift and is often unavoidable. It's highly dependent on how dark your starting point is and how your own hair reacts so it may not happen.

Very dark hair, however, simply can't be toned properly by the high lift and it will only lighten your hair. You will need the appropriate toner to complete the color as a second step afterward so plan for this with a quality demi-permanent dye to finish your new look.

  • How to Dye Your Hair
    Need more information about how to prepare and apply hair dye? Read my related article here.

What Is a Lift Booster?

Hair dye brands will sometimes produce a lift booster product that is designed to be added to their color, such as Igora Royal's Lightening Extract. Lift booster is essentially an ammonia supplement that boosts the ammonia content in the dye.

Ammonia acts as a catalyst, driving the decomposition of the peroxide in the developer into active oxygen that oxidizes and lightens the melanin in your hair. More ammonia means that more oxidation can take place, and a lift booster can provide up to 1 more level of lift when mixed into your high lift color.

Should you wish to use a lift booster, you should only be using it if your hair is in good condition. High lift colors are damaging and lift booster increases the amount of damage caused. The amount you add will also dilute down the toning effect of the dye, so keep that in mind when you add it too.


More information

After you dye your hair with a high lift color, it may be necessary to tone your hair if you naturally have a lot of warmth in your base tone. Like all hair colors, this dye will fade with time too, and a regular maintenance routine is the best way to keep your hair looking great and prevent it from becoming brassy.

You will also need to condition your hair thoroughly after using one of these dyes, just like when you bleach your hair. For this purpose, a conditioning treatment or a deep conditioner is all you will need. Add a protein treatment like Redken CAT Reconstructor and your hair will look and feel great long into the future.

Do you have a question about high lift dyes? Are you considering using one of these dyes and wondering whether it is an option for your hair and the result you want? Leave a comment for tailored advice and share your insight with other readers.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Maffew James


Maffew James (author) on August 13, 2020:

Hi Carly,

You can do that. Depending on how long your roots are currently and the depth difference it may be noticeable as it grows out though, but if you just want to touch up the roots and tone the lengths it'll be a quick, easy fix for a few weeks.

Another option would be to lighten the lengths a little more to match your regular colour, which you could do by mixing up more Wella high lift while touching up the roots and apply it to the lengths in the last 15 minutes or so of development just to take out that remaining warmth, then tone everything. Alternatively, a weak bleach wash to the lengths only, followed by toning would work with negligible damage but it'd need to be done separately to the root retouch.

Carly on August 11, 2020:

My natural hair colour is dirty blonde. I have cool tone skin. For many years I have been getting blonde highlights using high lift colour. First I used Goldwell 11p with 49 volume then when I switched hair stylists we used Wella high lift colour (12/11 with 30 volume) and also started doing a toner afterward. My hair always came out great. Recently I got my hair done but the hair stylist switched to a Matrix high lift colour but used the same wella toner. Now my hair came out orangey yellow and looks awful. I’m getting married in just over a month and I’m panicking. I’m thinking the solution is to redo the highlights at the roots with my usual Wella high lift colour and do an ash toner. What do you think?

Jennifer on June 20, 2020:

Hi Maffew,

My hair is 75% gray but I want to go lighter silver gray, can I use a high lift silver? Which do you recommend? Im prolly level 5 right now, all virgin.

Thanks in advance for answer.

All the best,


fishie on May 09, 2020:

Hi! Can you please help me understand what is referred to as "bleach"? Developer contains hydrogen peroxide, which to my understanding IS a type of bleach. So is the bleach powder something different? Why is using developer alone not considered bleaching? Thank you!!!

Beth McHugh on April 19, 2020:

I want to lift my brown level 4 hair with 25% gray to a level 7 or 7 1/2 with no red undertones. Can I use 7.5 hair color with volume 30 developer to achieve this?

Lisa on March 11, 2020:

What effect will feria hi-lift cool brown have on dark blond hair with some gray roots?

Nikole on March 02, 2020:

Is it ok to use in bleached hair?

Val5319 on February 16, 2020:

I have blonde highlights my natural colour is light brown with bit of grey. Used Finola to tone brassy strands and now have silver grey. I have a semi permanent grey dye was going to mix a bit with Finola on my regrowth and leave on for 20 minutes & put on ends for last five minutes. Will this give me an even toned grey all over look? Thanks love your site!

Maffew James (author) on December 30, 2019:

Hi Sarah,

Yes it will lighten it more and tone it. The tone in a high lift like that is pretty light though so depends how much lighter you end up taking it whether it has a mild effect or tones it more dramatically.

If you're happy with how light the highlights are, you'd be better to just tone with a darker/stronger toner. If you do want it lighter, either high lift or an ash blonde dye with 20 or 30 vol developer is going to work for that (with the regular blonde dye being more controllable because you can choose a darker shade for more toning vs high lift being only one shade available generally).

If you just want to tone it, look for a semi-permanent dye (a mousse is really easy for this), that is about level 7 or 8 in depth and that should be strong enough compared to just using a generic product for blonde hair. Otherwise, really concentrated silver shampoos like De Lorenzo Silver would also work. If you go the shampoo route for this, you really need a product that is both deep in pigment for toning that darker blonde, and has some blue tone in it to deal with the warmth causing the strawberry tone.

Sarah on December 30, 2019:

Hi, i highlighted my light brown (box dyed) hair with bleach and its come out nicely but is slightly strawberry blonde in places. Toner doesnt seem to have helped. I have some Topchic 11A high lift - would this lighten and take away the yellowy orange tones or should i bleach again and try and find a better toner? Thanks! :)

Maffew James (author) on December 09, 2019:

Hi Debbie,

Apparently it's 2.5oz to the 1.74oz tube of that, which is approximately a 1:1.44 ratio. Odd ratio for an odd product.

Debbie Houfek on December 05, 2019:

What is the 30vol ratio to the Hicolor permanent true violet hair color?

Zdancer88 on November 02, 2019:

I have used high lift hair color on dyed hair - i.e. after henna (a month after to be exact) and it worked beautifully.

Beckster on September 12, 2019:

So i used the igora high lift 12/19 with 40 vol. My hair didnt lift past orange nor sid the color tone the root and i had a tremendous amout of hair fall veru unhappy, as a hairdresser, embaressing, and i had to get a shadow root put on. It was pointless

Rita Giliomee on April 28, 2019:

Hi will I be able to lift level4 dyed hair with Schwarzkoph igora royal high lift/ Must I use 40 vol peroxide

Rita Giliomee on April 28, 2019:

Hi, how do I use botox on hair

Alice on April 13, 2019:

Can I use 9% proxcide with 12/11

Jay on February 21, 2019:

After bleaching my hair twice, toning it with wella t18 twice and leaving purple shampoo in my hair multiple times I was left with random purple streaks and orange tips. After trying a highlift ash blonde dye it literally fixed everything in one step. Not only is there no more purple or orange but my hair is evenly coloured a nice platinum blonde that fades slightly darker ash at the ends. I would highly recommend to people with stubborn hair that won't tone or to fix uneven bleaching.

Aileen M on March 13, 2018:

My long strands are a level 7-8 and my top/roots are a 9-10. I want to use a hilift platinum blonde (loreal beach babylights hi lift dye) and it says 40vol. Cause my hair is blonde already, can I just settle for 30 & 20for roots?

Raquel on January 22, 2018:

Hi, I'm a non-practicing Cosmetologist but I've been doing my own hair color for decades, long before I went to beauty school. My natural haircolor used to be dark brown and I started lightening it a little at age 14, then at 16 I went about 2 or more levels lighter just using "box dye". At some point I decided to go back to dark and by then I had some gray so I had to keep using color, then 14 years ago I found camouglaging the increasing gray too much of a challenged so I decided to go lighter again, to a dark blonde. As the gray increased I faced the same challenge again so 3+ years ago I decided to go even lighter, to a very light ash blonde which at first I achieved with bleach but I then moved to a high lift tint (Wella Color Charm) mixed with an ash intensifier. At first I was using 40V developer but my scalp apparently became sensitized despite my using an additive to minimize irritation, so I decided to use 30V . And, contrary to what you wrote, I found it did pretty much the same job as the 40V.

Also, I'd say my dark hairs lighten to at least a level 8, maybe even a 9, and the ash intensifier tones them to a light ash blonde so they blend perfectly well with the rest of the hair which is very very light. I actually like the effect, it gives my hair "dimension" at an overall level 10 if not lighter. Actually, my hair looks just a tad darker than platinum, and once when I used a diy toning leave-in conditioner I was told by 2 people that my hair looked platinum. I cannot use purple conditioner (I don't use shampoo, I just co-wash) because the red in it makes the darker hairs even brassier, I have to add blue in just the right proportion for a blue-violet shade in order to get the same ash tone as when freshly colored.

But I don't always need to re-tone my hair as the weeks go by, most of the time the color fades just a little and the resulting neutral shade is still flattering on me.

I guess because my hair is very fine and fine hair lightens faster and "better" I can pull it off with just the high lift tint + ash intensifier, but NOBODY talks about this solution for women with 50% or more gray. Learning of the particular ash intensifier I use, by the way, was a whole "game changer" for me because it enabled me to get the exact color on the swatch without any additional steps.

As for the difference of this high lift formula vs. bleach in my experience, well, bleach rendered the last 2" of my wavy-curly hair (which I cut to 3" back in '14) totally straight (I slowly trimmed them off, but the high lift has only made my hair dryer. However, with frequent protein and moisturizing treatments (nothing high end, btw) I've been able to grow my hair to almost waist length on the back. So, I DO highly recommend trying high lift tints the way I do.

Val on January 06, 2018:

Hi , my natural hair is about level 6 - ashy/medium blonde... I had a grown out balayage and wanted to lighten my hair a few levels. I thought my virgin hair was light enough to lift however when I used a high lift all over my hair my growth turned into a peachy orange color I'd say level 8 with a peachy tone. So it isn't super orange but still... Not what I hoped for. And I used an ASH tone high lift to make sure I keep my hair on the cooler side and prevent any orange at all.. After rinsing I quickly realized this is not what I want so I hoped the toner would fix it. I toned my hair with ion color brilliance toner. The swatch looked super white so I just went with it... Basically now my hair is still a peachy color as the toner did nothing. So I went and got emergency highlights to break it up a little because I was worried as this was right before New Years and I didn't want to have orange hair. What I THINK went wrong is that I used a 20vol developer and high lift just did not lift enough... My question now is should I go over it again with high lift/40 vol ... Or should I just use a t18/t11 wells toner to ash it up completely. After reading this article I realize going over it with more high lift might not work since "color doesn't lift color" .... Please let me know what you think! Thank you!!!

Courtney on December 28, 2017:

Hello, is anyone familiar with Framesi hair color? I’ve been using 7N as a retouch and wanted to add some highlights using 10A and SSplus. Any suggestions??

Janet on December 13, 2017:

I went to college hair salon they put highlights on my hair my hair is dark the lady said light brown would go in well I was there for four and a half hours and it did not take my hair is now orange at the top grey blonde bits brown very dry, I have to go some were else to have my hair put right can I ask the salon to pay for this.

Misha on December 07, 2017:

I got a undesirable orange hair as a result of my stylist trying to lighten my dark level 2 (virgin) healthy hair “high lilft” product to achieve a level 7 ashy blonde. She wanted to avoid using bleach to keep it healthy, but my hair only got to a VERY WARM VERY BRASSY level 7. She also put bleach on the ends for 10 minutes because we are going for an ombre effect. She put a level 7 ash blonde toner on it, but the result was a darker still very brassy level 5/4 color.

Now she is suggesting to bleach my hair three days after we did all this. I feel I don’t understand how much damage we could be doing to my hair. As far as I understand the high lift is supposed to add color to the hair and the toner does too.

I have 2 questions:

1-How safe/ok is to bleach my hair a few days after we did the high lift and 10 minute bleaching on the ends and then the darker toner on top or should we wait longer? She wanted to do it the day after but I refused because I feel I need to understand a little more before moving forward. My hair looks ok, not burnt or dry.

2-I want to be gentle with my hair and go as smart as possible. Can we expect the bleach to get my hair from brassy 5/4 to get to a level in one session or it would be expected to do more sessions? Im afraid because she applied the toner and high lift that my hair is no longer virgin and will be too difficult to not damage it or make it lighter.

Thank you so much for your feedback!

Amee on October 18, 2017:

My sister used a joico semi purple on top of her hair can i still lift her roots with high lift color? It was a non oxidative color and our goal is red and we will then apply purple again. I appreciate your feed back.

Juliette on September 17, 2017:


first, thanks for these articles, since I had a difficult time understanding whether I could use Igoral royal high lifts or not. I want to go blonde, for a warm very light blonde, as I have fair/golden skin & rosy cheeks with some freckles and blue eyes with.

since last year, I did twice some light highlights (my basis is 6 with maybe 15% white), and more recently some foils. The highlights are orangey and foiled hair is very light blonde, but only in narrow strays, not very numerous. As I have a lot of hair, it is a mixture of natural (dark blonde), yelloey orangey, very light blonde and white hair... I don't think it looks good.

I was considering using Igora royal High lift (10.14? + 40 volumes) to lighten the base as well, because I don't imagine going anywhere with only foils, and I don't find that the contrast between the light blond and my base looks really good.

I am also considering using opalex to protect hair (rather dry but ok). Can I use the high lift on te very light blond hair or would I have to protect them?

Kaely H on September 11, 2017:

The bottom layer of my hair is not dyed, but the rest is blonde and dark blonde colored. However, my roots have begun to grow out and I don't want to bleach all the hair, just add some lighter streaks on the roots and lift the brass that my blonde has taken on in the last months. Can I use a high lift over entire blonde hair or only on the individual pieces that are brassy?

Maria on September 10, 2017:

I used the high lift on my black hair with 20 developer. They recommended that I use 20. It's not as light as I wanted but when can I lighten it again. I just did it last night. I'm going to dye it a blue afterward.

Nene on September 07, 2017:

Can i use it on bleached hair?

Anonymous on August 20, 2017:

My hair is dyed medium red and I have natural medium brown with gold highlights built in will I have to use gair remover and bleach to be a dark blonde but I will have to wait a while because I recently did my hair dyed it

Pam on July 31, 2017:

I bought permanent high lift natural blonde hair color and a 20 developer. I have darker roots and very light blonde hair now. My question is what is the outcome going to be?

Anne on July 15, 2017:

Hi Maffew,

I recently got my hair professionally high lifted (original hair dark brown) at the salon. Got a caramel balayage. It's starting to look brassy. If I use something like the Fudge Violet Toning Shampoo and conditioner, would that be effective on my hair as I didn't use bleach to dye my hair?

Elena on July 07, 2017:

Hi i have 2 questions can i apply a 12-1 highlift of igora to a bleached hair?

And cmy other question is if i can add toner to the bleach mixture or have to do it in seperate steps? Thnks

Sarah on June 27, 2017:

I have a bottle of hi lift creek peroxide 30 vol 9% if I want a friend to do steaks on my virgin mousy blonde hair does anything need to be add even added?

Debbie northcott on May 22, 2017:

Hi would u still use 40vol with high lift tint if the client has at least 50% grey?

Susan on May 19, 2017:


If I was to use bleach with 1.9 developer rather than high lift with 40 vol would this be less harsh for my hair.

Thank you

Yvonne on April 14, 2017:

My hair is purple and pink and want to go brown with blonde sandstone lights can i mix haircolor brown with high lift.

Kellee on April 07, 2017:

Hello! My natural hair color is a dark blonde. I was using a high lift ash to color my hair, and it looked to bleached out after a while. I wanted to slightly darken it. A stylist bleached my roots and toned with an 8V and 10N. Pretty color, but my root area looked lavender. Had this happen before with a level 10 blonde too, and even had light bluish roots. How does one get rid of the light blue or lavender root hues?

Aims on April 05, 2017:

You've mentioned that you can't use high lift on dyed hair. Are you referring to deposit only or lifting with bleach too? I have bleached balayaged hair between levels 7 at roots and 9 on mid and ends. Do you recommend high lift for me? I want to lighten my ends to a cool platinum and keep my roots the same.

Traci Kleinaitis on March 20, 2017:

I have a level 7 natural with 85% blonde almost white highlights and when my roots start to come in they look SUPER dark next to the blonde. I want to use Schwarzkopf highlifts 12-1 with 40 vol to lift my natural hair or base in between the highlights (literally paint in between) however, when I did a test strand with the Schwarzkopf highlifts I left it on for 50 minutes and in the back of my hair at the crown it only lifted about 2.5 levels but light orangey color and the test strand in front lifted to a very nice blonde color except it left the blue residue on my already highlighted hair So I am wondering if I go in and mix it up again Using the same ratio 1:2 40 volume 12–1, will my highlighted hair turn blue ?? Or should I be using more of an ash like the 12-11? Right now I would describe my hair as a very very light golden blonde which I hate golden blonde but anything is better than orange !! I also would it mind an ashy blonde but will the ash leave a violet/gray-ish residue on my highlights ? I would also like some help if you think Schwarzkopf is not the best line to go with, even though I have a level 7 naturally I do pull warmth and have had problems with any highlift colors!



Anya Romaniv on February 19, 2017:

Naturally id say im a level 5. Last my hair was done I'm very unhappy about it wanted a suggestion on how to make it look more natural. Last time it was lifted and highlighted i dont know what with but I ended up with hair between a 10-11/12. Which could be nice except the problem is that the 10 is actually a bit brassy not horrible but not great so last time when we tried toning my hair with the white lady toner and 20 developer it turned the 11/12(highlights) purple and the other hair stayed yellow and I ended up looking silver all together but a ugly silver since the yellow was still there. I just kinda bared with it as I did not want to do more to my hair but now my roots have grown out and I have to do something. the problem is that I feel like my hair just looks very flat and dull all over but then by the root its looking more golden-y. I kinda wanted to lighten by natural 5 root growth to a maybe 7-6 but more ashy than warm. However, I don't know how to do this so that it doesn't go yelow-y on me-I just want more of a root grow-out look like a smudge root (but im not sure if I want to actually apply color, so wanted to just lift my root enough blend? is this possible or do I need to apply color?). But then also the rest of my hair just looks too flat and washed out and idk what to add to the hair to add a bit dimension and still match the roots? thank you!

Mady on February 13, 2017:

How far in between lifts would you recommend? I lifted and toned to a nice 7/8 but I am hoping to go to a 10. My ends are a 10 for sure but my roots are a 7/8. I am wondering when it will be safe to lift again. Thanks :)

Hevyn Allen on February 10, 2017:

Hi! I've been seeing a friend/stylist who is a crackerjack with my cut. In fact, she's the only one who's ever done it exactly like I want, but, even though she is licensed to do everything, she's only been doing cuts for years. She also charges me next to nothing, which is a huge plus for my budget. BUT, we are having a terrible time getting my color right without overprocessing my hair. I asked for a platinum blond in the very beginning as you can see in my profile pic, but the bleach was RUINING my hair. I have very fine, thin hair that is a medium brown and she just couldn't get it right using Wella products and the Ultimate Blonde sold at Sally's--she would bleach, then use toner, then use high lifts. We finally got the color right, but my hair was breaking so badly. This week, I told her we HAD to do something that was healthier. She put in a high lift made by Ultimate Blonde and it started turning my hair a lavender-gray!! We quickly washed and rinsed. Then, we ran to Sally's to get a little advice. They advised using something with low to no ammonia. We walked out with the lightest blonde high lift SOY formula by Clairol and it took 2 HOURS to lighten to the color--so while my hair is the healthiest feeling it's been in a while, it is an orangey blonde at the roots and this whitish gray blonde everywhere else!! She even used a toner on top to try to correct that. I am NOT HAPPY with the color. I would like to see if I can correct it on my own. What I eventually want to get to is get away from the platinum blonde and just do a high lift all over and have her do a partial highlight on top. What do you suggest to get to that point? I cut it really short in a pixie, so I'm just looking for what I can do now to correct this, what I need to do to transition, and then the final process that we need to stick with. I can see that I'm going to have to help her find the solution. I know she can do the technique, I just need to help her find the right products/shades for my hair.

Robin H from Los Angeles on February 09, 2017:

Hi Maffew. I hope you're still reading comments on this page. Your articles are extremely well written, compared with 99% of hair coloring articles on the web. I have a question about using lift boosters. If given the choice, would you get the extra level of lift from going with a higher volume developer, or using the extra ammonia? How do they compare? Thanks!

Dean on February 01, 2017:

If you are a natural base of an 8 with a golden tone and use highlife wella 12.81 with 40 volume will it flatten out the warmth and make it more of a dull ash blonde? Help would be great

MONI on January 28, 2017:


Jv on January 23, 2017:

Haven't been getting blonde enough. Assuming 40 min isn't long enough even for my light brown hair

Erin on January 03, 2017:

Can you foil in hilift color in stead of using bleach ?

Olivier on December 15, 2016:


First of all I want to thank you for the time you take to answer! You are a great person and obviously a great hair stylist , sorry if I didn't spell it right,Spanish is my mother language.

Ok,I have above shoulders length hair,bleached very damaged,natural level 2.Around little over a month I bleached my regrowt that was loooong.Well I got it bright orange there, overlapping occurred in my previously bleached hair now it is very weak.I dye it with a formula that supposed to give me rose gold, but I kind of got that result after several washes.The dyes I used were Igora permanent(rose,coral &red-violet).Now I have my natural roots little over 1/2".the orange bleached fail,and the rest is almost white with pinkish and gold tint.I would like to use your high lift formula for lighten the roots and lifting the orange (level 7).Do you think it will work??

And also seems like the dye is almost washed off,but I'm concerned also about the weak bleached hair, Could the high lift dye destroy it?THANKS!

Heidi on December 15, 2016:

Hi. Please can you give me some advice. I'm currently all over bleach blonde getting my roots done evry six weeks. I want a more multidimensional blonde and healthier hair bit still nice and light. Naturally I'm a 4/5 and obviously this is damaging so I see breakage and more so recently which is distressing as my hair is past my shoulders and I want to keep it that way. I have tried a highlift tint in the past called keune tinta colour in 1517 and had great results. It took me to a level 7/8 but wasn't too brassy. My question is. If I did this myself at home then got bleach highlights over to break it up at the hairdressers, would this be healthier than full bleach and tone every 6 weeks? I would then only have a full head of highlights once or twice a year and just get a t-section or half a head of bleach highlights every 6-8 weeks. My theory is this would be a bit cheaper too because I'm doing the colour at home. Thanks x

Maffew James (author) on November 23, 2016:

Hi Rachel,

Now that you know this, I'd recommend switching to 12-1, rather than 12-11 for future treatment of regrowth if you use a high lift again. You could also use 12-0 mixed with 12-1 if you wanted to further reduce the ash intensity.

Keep in mind that the way you were using the dye has a major effect on this though. Eg, it may have deposited too much ash because it is a strong ash tone, being a double ash, but this may have also been caused by a lot of lightening occurring. The more the hair lightens during the high lift, the less warmth that is present to contend with, and thus more of the ash will show through. Use of the same shade may not produce the same result on regrowth if it is darker than the hair that was treated in your previous experience as more warmth would be present.

As for cleaning the current colour up, a few shampoos should do this relatively quickly. The ash will fade and you can then move onto using toning shampoos as necessary to maintain it where you want it to be. If you want to speed the process along, you can mix up a weak bleach bath using 10 vol developer, bleach powder, and shampoo on damp hair. Apply for a few minutes and rinse and this will take care of the excess ash tone. There is next to no damage with this process because the bleach is very weak and diluted, and is not applied to the hair for very long.

Alternatively, apply 10G (lightest golden blonde) in the form of semi-permanent mousse or demi-permanent dye, leave a few minutes to add warmth, then rinse. Another method is to mix a dash of a darker permanent dye like 9G into a small amount of shampoo with 10 vol developer and apply this to damp hair for a few minutes to form a kind of colour toning wash.

Rachel on November 23, 2016:

I used igora 12:11 & it's deposited too much ash. What can I use to get a cleaner blonde?

Maffew James (author) on November 21, 2016:

Hi Arron,

That's perfectly fine. If you've got the dye mix correct and like the way it turns out, other than the slight excess warmth, a dash of corrector can deal with this. Just be careful not to add too much as these products tend to be very intensely pigmented and will go a long way in blonde hair.

Arron on November 17, 2016:

Hello I've had my hair lifted to an ash blond with some dark brown low lights. I have a little bit of a gold/yellow in some spots. I want it brighter and get rid of the brass color can I add the red gold correction in the mix? Will this help?

Maffew James (author) on November 16, 2016:

Hi Bon,

That's perfectly fine, as long as the hair is not excessively damaged. However, note that the high lift will not necessarily work on hair that has been previously dyed because it is not very good at lifting the artificial pigment from a previous dye, so if this is the case, you may find it more reliable to continue bleaching it until you get it as light as you want it.

Bon on November 14, 2016:

hello can i use a highlift after i have done a bleach bath? Thanks

MM on October 28, 2016:


I've recently bleach and toned my naturally level 3 hair using olaplex so it's held up really well. I toned it using T18 wella. I've noticed that while my roots are pretty white, throughout the body there is still some darker sandy bits. I'm lucky that there's absolutely no yellow because I was patience and exact with the bleaching but the darker bits are sandy beige. If I want a striking white (with the tiniest hint of violet/silver to make it contemporary), would using a simple Kenra Demi SV Silver Violet 5 Min Rapid Toner (20 developer) followed by the

Kenra Perm 10SM Extra Light Blonde Silver Metallic work (w/ 9 vol)? Or do I have to repeat the bleaching process? Or perhaps a high lift? Help! Thanks in advance!

Wael Almasri on October 17, 2016:

I used high lift and got very light root but the hair is still dark. I have black hair. Can i apply the high lift on my hair again without applying it on the roots to get lighter hair color and balance it with the kinda orange roots now?!

Hairdresser on September 30, 2016:

Hi i have colored my hair with a high lift blonde and 40 volume develpoer for 20 plus years. Over the las few years i have had trouble with breakage in my crown area. I started using a flex bonder the last 6 months with mt color formula. Well several weeks age i had a horrible amount of breakage on the top of my hair. My hair is coarse and thick. I double my developer when i do my roots. I do not pull the color through my hair. I do not understand why my hair is breaking after i color now?

Cindy on September 30, 2016:

Hi, I am going for a silver light ash brow to a silver dark ash blonde. I can't seem to achieve this color. Ill start by saying my hair is over processed. I haven't had a hair cut in a long time. My scalp is a little sensative. My natural hair color is a dark brow which are my roots. I have colored my hair professionally and recently a kit from a drugstore. As well as I like to color the bottom half of my hair black. And i use heat almost everyday to straighten my damaged hair. I still want to achieve a silver ash brown or silver ash blonde color for the top half of my hair. Please help.

pat on September 29, 2016:

I need help! Professional colorist for 30 yrs. Client over 10 yrs. used matrix hilift ul-a on level 5.a liitle warm but ok. matrix changed formulas of hilift and ive been struggling. Went to bleach, too much damage, fine hair. sooo, I have warmish roots smoky midshaft brassy end. My thought, olaplex treatment bleach with 10 vol on brassy areas but not sure what to do with new growth. Thank you so much for your time.

Dags on August 21, 2016:

Hi, I was hoping you could help. I had my hair highlighted with a box dye, which has resulted in fairly damaged hair and I now need to touch up !y roots without damaging the rest of the hair. I feel My hair has darkened a bit as well and would want to listen it by another shade or two. My natural hair is lift brown, probably around level 5. The highlights vary from fairly light to medium/dark blonde. I was thinking about using a high lift colour (12.11?) on the roots and then toning the whole head with an ashy blond toner. Would this work or is there a better solution?

Zenny on August 12, 2016:

Hi can i ask if i can use high lift tint,even my hair is not virgin,my hair is already in color but not balance,i just want to achieve honey blond.

Jessica on August 03, 2016:

Hi, such informative and awesome information!!!:) I have dark brown almost black hair. The lengths have been bleached blond. My roots are coming in and I have about 10% grey. I am trying to decide between doing my roots with chi infracolor hilift blond (which is a hilift bleach) and the clairol Liquicolor hilift blonde in 12AA-BV. I don't know what the difference is with hilift bleach and hilift color? My hair has always responded horribly to bleach and I don't mind having to do it a couple of times but which do you think would be better? Looking forward to hearing from you, thank you so much

Janet Schwartz on August 01, 2016:

Hi, Maffew,

2 questions. Do you apply the high lift dye on clean dry hair? Can you use it to balayage or highlight? Thank you.

Kamila on July 13, 2016:

Hi! I dyed my hair black/burgandi maybe 8 months ago now that is summer I want to go lighter like 6 or 7 I been doing some research about what new products are out there with out bleach( my hair is really fine and breaks very easy even tho I don't dye it often or use heat I like that) so I used a color remover 3 times and now I have it brown/red and a little orange so now, I'm no sure what I should do? If do a bleach wash, get a high lift by Schwarzkopf for browns or just apply a level 7 ash or make some balaye and then apply 7A all over my hair skipping my roots because I want to have like a ombré effect. I hope u can help me, I know are many questions but this time I want do it. I don't have many good experience going to the salon. Thank u

TamaBana on July 13, 2016:

Hi Maffew!

I recently bleached my hair, it is now a true gold color- level 8.

I want it lighter and beigeish.

Can I use a high lift blonde on it?

Which brand do you prefer?

Thank you!

Kathleen on July 07, 2016:


Thank you for providing answers!


A month ago, I dyed my short, natural hair to a medium golden brown color. Color has faded.

Want to try light blonde hair color now, to achieve 'Florida beach kinda look'.

Thinking of first applying an ultra light platinum dye, then apply a blonde toner.

What do you think?

Lacy on July 05, 2016:

Hi I have platinum hair right now and would like to go to a warmer shade like a honey or sandy blonde. What color should I use??

Joanne D on July 05, 2016:

I have mousey light brown hair with a touch of gray here and there, not much at all. I had old highlights on my hair and asked my hairdresser to save me the cost of foil highlights and just give me a full head color. She highlifted my roots only with the highest number she told me. I came home with yellow roots with some orange hues which over the course of a couple of weeks toned itself down. Going forward what do I ask her for in order not to go yellow and to go a little darker when my tan fades. The lightest highlift is too light for my skin tone without a summer tan. She doesn't seem to understand me.

Ashley on July 03, 2016:

Ok I have Ion 8N & 9N on the bottom half of my hair and the top has bleach with about 1" of light brown regrowth. I have just bought Ion HL-N with 40 VOlume developer. My hair always pulls orange and I was wondering if I added Red Out to the color would that help?

KelMic on June 28, 2016:

Hi!! My hairdresser gave me highlights and I went back because my roots were very dark still. She then put highlift on my roots (I have dark blonde hair) and it turned them really brassy orange. I thought my purple shampoo would get rid of it. I tried once and left it on for about 5 minutes. I don't think it it made any difference. What do I do?? Help! I don't know if I can go back to her again. She seemed annoyed when I went back to get my roots fixed!

Please help!

zara on June 27, 2016:


I naturally have black, virgin hair. This is my first time colouring, I was looking to go a deep burgundy colour.

I bought some hair dye from the store, and strand tested. Unfortunately the dye did nothing for my hair.

I used a 20 vol developer which came in the box, was wondering if I should use a 40vol instead?

Heather on June 16, 2016:

Hi maffew! So i have a client that is natural 6 and has about 2 inches outgrowth. When she first came to me her top half was yellow/blonde and the bottom half (underneath) was level 4 1/2. She wants to go lightest blonde. She was a little damaged so i just weaved highlights through her brown to get it to the blonde she wants and ofcourse have been doing treatments for months. Now we are ready to go lightest blonde. Im thinking of doing her base .13B high lift blonde idol. And then refreshing her 1/2 oz 09gb shades eq gloss + 1 1/2 crystal clear+2 oz processing solution? Do you have any other recommendations for me or u think that will work?

Maffew James (author) on June 07, 2016:

Hi Melinda,

If you use Wella Koleston 9/1 or Wella Color Charm 9A with 20 vol developer, that will work fine for your purposes. You don't really need a high lift in your situation unless you wanted to take it to platinum and were dealing with very resistant hair.

The /1 or A shades listed in these lines are an ash tone and this will neutralise the warm underlying pigment as your hair lightens so that it doesn't end up looking bright yellow. If want more of a beige result, mix the ash as half ash and half natural shade, eg half 9/1 and half 9/0 to reduce the concentration of ash tone present in the dye. You can also use 8/1 or 8A in each respective colour line. Base the level choice (The first number before any other numbers or letters, which signifies how dark the shade is), on how light you want your new shade to be.

The developer strength is what determines lightening however, and the level of dye used is mainly to ensure it is dark enough to tone properly. The 8 and 9 will yield roughly equivalent lift when mixed with 20 vol, but the 8 will tone stronger. You'd use the 9 preferentially if intending to go much lighter because the darker 8 will over-tone if used for this.

As for adding anything to the dye, anything you add to dye, other then the developer or different shades of the same brand and product line, may affect the lift and colour result. For example, conditioner will decrease pigment penetration and lightening because it coats the hair shaft and dilutes the dye preparation. It's best to use dye as-is and then apply any conditioning or repair products that you want to use after rinsing to ensure the dye works properly. Whilst I haven't used Olaplex, I am aware that it tends to greatly decrease lightening.

Melinda on June 01, 2016:

Hi Maffew, I've never coloured my hair before and it is a natural number 6-7 blonde which i only want lightened about 1-2 levels. Highlift generally lightens your hair 3-4 levels and I feel like that will be too much for me. If you always have to use 40 vol developer what should I do? I was considering using wella 12N high lift blonde. Also is there anything else you can add to the dye mixture to aid your hair such as olaplex?

Jean on May 29, 2016:

Hi Maffew,

I went to my hairdresser about a month ago looking for that silvery/cotton candy-ish pink color all over, less the roots. My natural hair is about a 6. I had virgin hair half way down, and then I had previously bleached/browned the bottom half. My hairdresser was supremely confident that we could achieve my desired color - but we didn't. I lef there with a natural looking strawberry blonde on top and neon pink underneath.

I went back a few days later and she did a bleach bath, then replaced the pink and it came out slightly better but a lot of orange compared to pink. So $200 later, I was all set with continuing to struggle with her.

I've colored my hair on my own many times but because of the large scale bleach process, that's why I put it in the hands of a professional.

Anyway - about a week later I bought a lather toner and toned it - that took out some of the orangeness and I put the pink back on, it wasn't bad but still not what I wanted.

So now it's been a month and I decided to try lightening it again - I did a bleach bath with 30, it didn't do anything to the lift, only removed the pink. So I did a bleach bath with 40 today and it got to a nice life, but needed to be toned. I went to Sally's in search of the Wella T14, but they were out, so I asked if they had any out back and the person there gave me "Argan Oil Hair color - 11 HLA Hi-Lift Cool Bloonde." I was a little skeptical but she said it should work the same as the toner and to use it with 30 vol.

So I got home, put it on, and per the instructions on the box planned to wait 30 minutes - I cleaned up my bowls from mixing and took a peak and its muddy green/grey. So I immediately shampooed the heck out of it and I was able to get most of the muddy green/grey out. I put my pink on, in hopes that the pink would cancel some of the green - but it just looks terrible. The sections that I was able to shampoo out the awful color look wonderful, they're like a silvery, metallic pinkish/purple. But there are other sections that are still muddy green/grey.

I'm not sure what else to do at this point.

Maffew James (author) on May 27, 2016:

Hi Margo,

Apologies for the late reply. If the warmth is still a problem, you can correct this by toning with ash blonde. As your hair is highlighted and there are lighter areas, you want the ash to be no darker than 1 level below the lightest highlights or else it will grab to them and look cause them to become over-toned. The use of a lighter shade means that the highlights will be toned by the base won't change much, but this should be fine because it's those bright highlights that are causing the redness to be more pronounced by the sound of it. Warm highlights make the overall colour of your hair look warmer, whilst the opposite is true of ash highlights. You could also add lowlights using natural blonde that is 1 level darker than the lightest highlights to cancel out some of that brightness in the overall colour through the same mechanism.

Maffew James (author) on May 27, 2016:

Hi Leah,

What colour were the roots and what colour were you intending to take it to? If you were aiming for brown to match the rest of your hair, you'll need to tone separately after using the high lift dye because it doesn't contain enough pigment to tone at darker levels like this. You end up getting the intended lightening, but all the underlying warmth is uncovered and not corrected during the dyeing process.

To correct, assuming it is light enough now, take an ash shade 1 level lighter than the roots and apply, allow to tone, then rinse. If it is too light, you can darken it up to match the lengths and also tone it by using a mix of half ash and natural shades (using less ash as necessary depending on how cool toned you want it to be). If it's still a little too dark, take an ash shade 1 level lighter than the target level and use 20, 30, or 40 vol as the developer depending on how many levels still need to be lifted. 20 vol will lift 1 - 2 levels, and you'll get up to 1 additional level of lift for each jump up in strength. Allow this to develop and it will tone while it lifts.

Jessica on May 26, 2016:

Hi:) I have level 8 hair, and would like to use the Pravana ultra high lift violet. Can I use developer by a different brand?

Leah on May 26, 2016:

Hi, I have mousy brown hair with a full head of highlights a inch or two of roots. I bought a 12-1 with 40vol to put on my roots as I have highlights and was just sick of paying out every 4 weeks, big mistake! My roots have gone orangish. I'm not sure if this is because I never left it on long enough or that I need to tone it or a purple shampoo? Thanks in advance x

Kate on May 19, 2016:

What do I use to die my hair blonde when it box died dark red and dark brown.

Margo on May 05, 2016:

My hairs is naturally a strawberry blonde with more strawberry. I highlight my hair by a professional but this time she decided to used a lift and tone. I didn't want to tell her but I do not like it. It brought out a bright red throughout my hair. What can be done?

Stephanie on April 26, 2016:

Good morning, I am African American and just this past Saturday I went to my hairdresser and got my hair bleached, (my natural color is bleached, or so I thought, to make a long story short, she used hair booster to lighten my hair, which turned out to be cinnamo n in color. After finally getting a half answer on the process, she told me that my hair needs to be high lifted to go lighter. Is this true in order for me to achieve the blonde results I wanted, or is there nothing else I can do at this point?

Kelly on April 23, 2016:


Love your site! Very informative. I'd love your advise:

My virgin hair is level 7N with underlying gold.

I had highlights 18 months ago and since then i've just had high-lift blonde and toner to give an all over level 9 (the ends are more of a 10 from the past highlights) but it inevitably kept turning a bit brassy.

I had 2.5 inches of roots so last week decided to try BLONDME Coloring in Natural Ice but only used 20 vol on my regrowth then the recommended 7 vol to refresh the lengths and ends. My hair is very porous and baby fine so I thought 20 vol would be enough but it didn't quite lift it high enough! Now I have slightly warm 8G roots and 9N/P lengths and ends.

Should I have used the BLONDME Lifting cream in Ice with 30 vol or 40 vol instead?

Now it just looks bleurgh so i'd like to get it to an all over 10N, how could I do that?

Thank you!!

Yvette Saldana on April 22, 2016:

Ok so since I used Loreal's Ombre Touch kit & got red/orange hair, using a hilift blonde color will not work to lighten my hair even more to get it where I want it?

Heather on April 21, 2016:

Hello Maffew,

I need your help! I basically had ombre tips in my hair.. and i lightened it with pravana 000 plus 20% developer. this made my tips "lighter" .. The basic look I was going for was a "teal mermaid" color on only my tips of my hair.. (this was already lightened so didnt need to bleach) but this is where the problem- I decided I wanted to go higher on my hair.. - which was virgin black .. So what I did was first bleach my virgin black (middle part of my hair) and it came out to a dark brown.. then i used the pravana 000 to get it lighter (did not work- didnt get any lighter, not sure why).. this is where it gets really BAD.. i decided just to use the pravana teal mermaid mix I made - from 2 different pravana colors (pravana locked in teal, and locked in yellow) and just coated my "middle" of my hair which was bleeached only once.. and then the super bleached tips..

the end result.. NOT GOOD

basically the middle of my head is light green.. almost lime green yellowish.. very ugly.. but my TIPS are BEAUTIFUL.. the tips came out a beautiful teal... now this is where i could use your help...

1.) should i use the pravana 000 on the middle of my hair to get the teal out.. and THEN bleach to get lighter?

2.) or should i just use a teal color to go over the ugly yellowish green.. will this change the color..?

its quite confusing because i need the color from the middle of my hair to match the tips (the pretty teal)

I need your help please!! :) I would appreciate it so mucH!!

Heather on April 21, 2016:

Hello Maffew,

I need your help! I basically had ombre tips in my hair.. and i lightened it with pravana 000 plus 20% developer. this made my tips "lighter" .. The basic look I was going for was a "teal mermaid" color.. with blue and gr

Steph on April 17, 2016:

Hi there Maffew,

I have been told I'm a natural level 7. My hairdresser has been using the Igora hi-lift with 12% on my roots which usually appears too dark/warm. We started off using a 12.0 for a while, then gradually added some 12.11 in increments over a year before using 12.11 exclusively. I always have the tint left on for 90 minutes (my request) and my hair is in good condition.

Looking back, I think the 12.0 gave a lighter result. The 12.11 doesn't really seem more toned in comparison, just darker. Could it be that the 12.0 lifts better because it isn't concerned with toning?

I have long hair which varies in lightness/tone - the undersection is quite orange, while the top layer is a more acceptable creamy blonde which I like. However, purple shampoo makes this area appear grey which only serves to exacerbate the orange under layer!

I don't know what to do... I'm anti-bleach, want to stay as light and blonde as possible, yet hate the brass! I sometimes cover warm roots with Idola wash-off mousse in an ash tone but this isn't a great solution.

Any advice would be great fully received!


Steph on April 17, 2016:

Hi therr

Maffew James (author) on April 13, 2016:

Hi Carolyn,

That's perfectly fine to mix shades within the same brand and colour line. It may take some experimentation to get the exact mix you want though. Depending on how ashy it looks, and how much warmer you would prefer it to be, you may want to start with just 10 - 25% as the natural shade and then adjust up or down as necessary from there. on April 11, 2016:

I have been using Clariol 12/1 half tube + 2" 000 booster & 70ccs of 40 vol coming out to ash.. my level us 6. Can I mix it with 12.0 otherwise I look ashy...

Maffew James (author) on March 30, 2016:

Hi Ellen,

A green tone can be caused by two different things: blue and yellow mixing together to create green, or actual green pigment from darker ash shades in certain brands. As you're using a Wella dye, the latter is unlikely because 8A in this brand's colour lines is predominately violet-blue. This means that the green is the result of the blue tone grabbing to your hair and mixing with yellow pigment that is present to create a green tone.

You can fix this a few different ways depending on your preferences here, starting with the way you tone it. If it still looks warm with that green tone, increase the amount of violet additive and this will take care of both problems. The violet will counteract the yellow tone, meaning that the mixing to create green will no longer occur and the warmth will also be further reduced.

If you're happy with the current warmth however, you can correct the green tinge by mixing the 8A with 8N. This will dilute down the amount of blue pigment within the dye to prevent the green tinge from appearing, but you'll also likely need to increase the violet additive because there will be less toning occurring overall.

The above methods can be taken to prevent the green tone from happening in future. As for correcting its current colour, you can do this by using a demi-permanent or semi-permanent dye in 10G with a small amount of 10C, or, a dash of copper intensifier / additive / concentrate. Apply this and leave to process only until it warms up slightly or it will start to shift back in the other direction again. If you have trouble finding the right shades of dye for whatever reason, you can make your own toner by adding a small amount of semi-permanent orange dye (Like Fudge Paintbox or Manic Panic) to conditioner. Just be careful with how strong you make this because you only need a tiny amount to correct the green tone.

As for adding violet additive to bleach, I wouldn't recommend this. The problem with adding dye and other products to bleach is that there is the potential for the two to interact. Together, the mixture could reduce the effectiveness of the bleach or create byproducts that are harmful. You may want to consider Wella Magma for this purpose instead, as this is very similar to the product you were hoping to create by mixing the violet and bleach. Wella Magma is a bleach that contains strong pigment in a variety of shades that can be used to bleach and tone in one process, or at least reduce the amount of toning required following bleaching.

Ellen on March 29, 2016:

Hello - I love your blog and than you for sharing your thoughts. I started dyeing my hair at home because I ccoulbd't afford to go to the salon anymore. To some mixed results over the last year :) The biggest issue is that my hair pulls so red - but I've used Wella 8A and 50 (the violet additive) to combat that as toners were not getting out the brass and red. The problem is that its gone the other way and is a bit greenish... So i'm not sure if I should use a warm toner or something like a T28? Also one other question - when you balyage (which I've done a few times and love the look) can you ad 50 violet additive to the bleach mixture Or is that not a good idea? Thank you in advance and I greatly enjoy you blog.

Johnathan Skot on March 02, 2016:

Hi Maffew:

I'm a new hairdresser and have a question about Igora High Power Browns, in particular the Brown Booster. I've used shade B2, cool brown, with success on a client with dark hair, mix B2 one-to-one with 40v and processing for 45 minutes. Gave a nice natural looking level 5/6 brown. But she'd like a little lighter. I know the Brown Booster should give me more lift, but I can't find any information on mixing it. What is the ratio I mix Brown Booster with the other High Power Browns? And can Brown Booster be used on the scalp? I can't find this info. anywhere.

shafiqahmed on January 26, 2016:

This is a very useful hub article. It provides a step-by-step guideline for hair lovers. I mean who love caring their hair and understand the value of their hairs. Love this hub.

MissBella on January 24, 2016:

mmm your right my hair is really dark i love it as it looks thicker but it's annoying when i want to lighten it xx

Maffew James (author) on January 24, 2016:

Hi missbellauk,

High lift is effective for lightening, but you may prefer the bleach for lifting dark brown hair to blonde. The high lift is ideal for taking light brown or darker shades of blonde to a light blonde. On darker brown hair, you can end up with orange hair because the amount of lift isn't adequate to push through to the blonde stage.

Of course, if you'd like to try it for yourself you can do so on a small section of hair as a test strand and this will give you a better idea of how it reacts with your hair. As with bleaching, you need it to get to the point where it's beginning to turn golden before it can truly be dyed blonde.

Maffew James (author) on January 24, 2016:

Hi Deen,

When it is said that dye doesn't lift dye, the reality is a bit more complicated. Whilst the artificial pigment from a previous dye job will rarely be lifted by use of another dye, it is still possible to get your hair lighter because the dye can still lift the natural pigment. Dyed hair is a combination of the dye pigment that has been added, and whatever natural pigment is still present in the hair.

However, the amount of lift you get from use of a dye on top of previously dyed hair is very mininal if you've applied darker colours, or have used many dyes over time. The darker a colour is, and the more times you've used a colour, the more artificial pigment there is in your hair and the less chance there is of seeing lightening occur with another dye.

If you have seen some lightening through use of the high lift at this point, feel free to try it again if that's what you'd prefer to use, and your hair is strong and healthy. It is of course possible that it will work in your situation where you aren't aiming for extreme lightening or achieving blonde hair. Other alternatives to lift more pigment out with minimal or no damage include bleach washing, or dye remover.

MissBella on January 23, 2016:

Love this! my hair is natural dark and i normally use heavy beech it messes my hair up for a few days, ill try this thanks for sharing x

Related Articles