How to Lighten Dark Hair
Whether your hair is sumptuous chestnut or rich brown, if you want to visit the lighter end of the colour spectrum we’re here to help ensure your tresses look beautifully sunkissed.
It’s important to remember that hair colouring can often feel a bit like a chemistry experiment, with the end result determined by a combination of your starting colour, the condition of your hair, and the colour you’re using.
Don’t let that stop you being adventurous with your colour though. If you have dark hair and you’re thinking of lightening your hair at home, we’ve gathered together our essential tips for how to lighten dark brown hair, so it won’t feel as daunting if you’re choosing to DIY.
Select your shade
A great rule of thumb is to go no more than two shades lighter than your existing hair colour. If you’re planning on going lighter, you may want to consider lightening your eyebrow colour too.
Another way to ensure that your lightened hair stays looking natural is to consider your skin tone before choosing your colour. For example, cooler skin tones will suit warmer shades, such as strawberry blonde, whereas warmer skin tones will suit a contrasting ash blonde.
Trust the process
Modern home DIY kits are a totally viable alternative to getting your hair professionally dyed in a salon – provided you select the right product and carefully follow the instructions on the pack and in the leaflet. Most importantly, always carry out an allergy alert test 48 hours before dyeing your hair.
Be patient with your hair
Lightening dark hair can be an exciting prospect, especially if this is the first time you’ve dared to do something different with your hair colour. If your hair is very dark brown to start with, bear in mind that it could be a longer process involving gradually lighter tones until you achieve your desired level of sun-kissed tresses.
Neutralise brassy tones
One of the most common pitfalls faced by brunettes transitioning to blonde is that hair sometimes starts to look a little brassy, especially if it has naturally red tones. While we absolutely adore redheads, that orange-y shade just isn’t the desired result for those looking to go brighter and blonder. If brassiness begins to creep in, use a toner to neutralise brassy tones in between colours, such as the Colorista Silver Shampoo, launching in October. Sign up to our newsletter to be one of the first to find out more.
Using a clarifying shampoo once or twice a week will also work to keep hair looking luminous, and brushing regularly will help remove pollutants which can add to brassiness.
Transition with highlights
If this is the first time you've ever lightened your dark hair and you’re feeling a little nervous about an all-over transformation, highlights are a great way to transition to being blonder.
Professional highlights used to be pretty difficult to recreate at home, but now our Colorista Balayage Kit provides a beautifully simple way to add lightness to your locks.
If you haven’t heard of balayage, it’s one of the hottest hair trends of recent years thanks to its low-maintenance appeal. It’s a technique that was mastered by French colorists in the 1970s and it’s literal translation is “to sweep.” Lighter colour is literally swept onto the hair and blended with your natural hair colour, creating a more natural look than traditional foil highlights and – as you only apply the colour to the lower part of your hair – there’s no need to worry about your roots.
Preserve and protect
Once you’ve lightened your dark brown hair, you’ll probably find that you need to upgrade your haircare routine to ensure your dyed hair keeps looking glossy, hydrated, and healthy. Our two top tips are:
1. Use a colour-safe shampoo and conditioner
Try the Elvive Colour Protect Shampoo and Conditioner which are specifically designed to nourish hair, protect the hair fibre, and preserve your colour’s radiance.
2. Add a hair mask to your haircare routine
Once or twice a week, swap out your regular conditioner for a hair mask such as the Elvive Colour Protect Masque. Simply apply the mask to wet hair, leave it on for three to five minutes, then rinse.
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