How to go from dark to light shades without damaging your hair

CHB Dark to lighter shades avoid damage

Have you been daydreaming of rocking a velvety blonde shade, but worried about potentially harsh treatments damaging your dark and healthy hair? We’re here to let you know that you don’t need to worry – you just need to prepare!

Blonde hair is undoubtedly eye-catching, so it’s no mystery why it’s common for people with darker hair to embrace a blonder style, but it can be difficult to take that leap. We’ve all seen what a botched dye job can look like – frizzy and wiry texture, orange or yellow in undertones, patchy colouring – it’s enough to make you reconsider. But hey, don’t be discouraged – going from dark to light coloured hair with gorgeous results isn’t as difficult as it may seem! There are just a few things that you should know before booking in with your colourist (and yes, we do recommend having your hair done professionally in order to achieve that stunning healthy blonde of your dreams)!

What to expect:


Lifting is salon speak for bleaching! If you want to go blonde, bleaching your hair is inevitable, as it’s what’s used to lift your dark shade to the lighter shades. Depending on how dark your hair is currently and what shade you want to reach, your lift could take more than one session with your colourist.

Colouring in levels (how dark is your hair currently?)

Like we mentioned earlier, you may need to lift your hair over multiple sessions to reach your perfect shade – and do it safely! Bleaching your hair is one of the most extreme stresses you can put your locks through, as it busts the protective cuticle of each stand and breaks down the melanin, or colour. As the bleach works on dissolving the melanin, it also (unfortunately) targets the keratin, which is an important protective protein in your hair. The darker your hair is now, the more sessions with your colourist you will likely need to reach your perfect level of blonde. Professional colourists will always aim for the best result while still keeping your tresses as healthy as possible, which is why it’s so important to lift your hair in stages.

An extended timeframe to achieve your desired look

Because lifting may take a few different sessions, don’t expect your blonde ambition to be fulfilled in one day! If you have a deep brunette or black coloured hair, be prepared for your lifting process to be spread across a few weeks. If you happen to already have quite light brown locks, you’re a bit luckier, as just one or two sessions with your colourist should do the trick.

Changes in the texture of your hair

After your first lift, you’ll probably notice a slight change in the way your hair feels. Don’t worry – this is to be expected, and totally normal! Because of how the bleach strips the pigment, breaking down protective follicles and keratin bonds, your hair will likely feel just a little bit rougher. This is why it is important to take small breaks between each lift, and, just as important, are your aftercare rituals!

Aftercare and maintenance

Just like with any cosmetic procedure, you’ll need to make sure you’re on top of your aftercare game! If you’ve come this far into your blonding journey, you’ll want to make sure that your locks continue to stay as healthy as possible and your colour is maintained. To get yourself well acquainted with good aftercare practices, see our blog all about it here!

How to prepare:

Know what shade you want, but be open to professional advice

We’ve all seen some stunning brunette-to-blonde transformations on our favourite artists (remember when RiRi stepped out with that gorgeous muted honey blonde back in 2011?), and these iconic looks are often a huge inspiration when it comes to choosing our next shade – but how can you tell if it will work for you? There’s a myriad of blonde shades out there, all with their own unique blend of undertones, overtones, and accents, just like your skin does. Once you have a colour in mind, save a few photographs on your phone for reference to show your colourist, and consult with them about whether or not that shade would compliment your skin tone. Be willing to flex a little with your ideas, if need be. Professional colourists will always make sure that you end up with the most flattering shade possible!

Consider your budget

Going from dark to light coloured hair takes a fair amount of product, time, and skill, and that’s why you should always enlist a professional colourist to make sure you achieve your blonde ambition with as little damage possible (not to mention the right colour!). Before you commit to the first lift, take some time to consider the costs involved with your treatments and aftercare.

Prep your hair and scalp before your appointment

Using bleach on your hair, in any situation, will result in some weakening of the strands and corrosion of the scalp (if lifting your roots), so it can’t be overstated how important it is to take steps to protect your hair. There are easy things you can do at home to prep your crown in the week leading up to your first appointment:

  • Soak in a nourishing protein hair mask,
  • Brush and detangle your hair before your shower,
  • Skip the shampoo to let your natural protective oils come through,
  • Smooth almond oil through the ends of your hair before bed,
  • Sleep on silk pillowcases rather than cotton,
  • Avoid heat styling your hair,
  • Avoid scratching your scalp,
  • Stock up on aftercare products!

SO – are you ready to have more fun?

Book in and see our incredible colourists (or if you’d like more information first, feel free to contact us!).

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