How to Dye Dark Hair Brown for a Subtle, Stunning Change


Dyeing natural hair blonde isn’t always the quickest process — especially if you want to limit hair breakage and damage. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) states that dyeing hair blonde is a hair-lightening process where strands are bleached using peroxide. It usually takes an intense salon session with multiple hair bleaches, toners, and other products to achieve a blonde hairdo.

Depending on your hair type and length, dyeing natural hair blonde can take hours in a salon chair when done by a professional Thankfully, these days there are more streamlined processes to easily turn your coily strands into a desired shade of blonde. You can use an at-home dye kit to lighten strands at home yourself, ultimately saving you time and money. However, you run the risk of damaging your hair if you don’t use the right products.

That’s where this guide comes in, to bring you hair color tips to help you achieve a fade-resistant blonde hair color. Read on to get all the details on what you need to know about dyeing natural curly and coily hair blonde, along with the products to use for your preferred shade of blonde.

Can You Dye Natural Hair Blonde?

All hair types can be dyed blonde. However, natural hair, damaged hair, and previously color-treated hair should be careful when going blonde to avoid adding damage to already weakened strands. Curly and coily hair types are more prone to dryness and brittle ends as the curlier the hair is, the less natural oils can travel down the hair shaft, confirms the AAD. All this means is you’ll want to be very careful when dyeing natural hair blonde, and you may even consider leaving it to a professional.

What to Do Before Dyeing Natural Hair Blonde?

Before the dyeing process, you’ll also want to look at the current status of your hair. Ask yourself these questions: Have I dyed my hair before? What shade of blonde do I want? What other chemical hair treatments have I done to my hair?

These all affect the hair dyeing process and whether or not you should even dye your hair at that time. Untreated hair (aka virgin hair) represents strands that have never undergone hair dyeing or chemical treatment like a hair relaxer. Hair that is still in its most natural state is an ideal hair type when going blonde since you don’t have to work around previous colors or treatments.

You’ll have to remove any unnatural hair dye on your hair before going blonde. No matter how old or fresh the color is, the dye treatment can change your final blonde hair shade. Additionally, you’ll want to wait until any chemical treatment — like a keratin straightener — leaves your hair before bleaching or coloring hair as the different formulations can react badly resulting in damaged strands. The AAD recommends waiting eight to ten weeks between chemical hair services to limit the damage to strands.

If you’ve recently gotten a chemical blowout, wait until the treatment has left the hair before dyeing your strands blonde. Finally, think about your desired shade of blonde as this can change the application process, how long the product stays on the hair, and the level of lift you’ll need.

When dyeing your hair, hair level is used to describe how dark or light your current color is to determine how many levels it will need to be lifted to achieve the desired shade. For example, level one hair is described as a very dark brown (almost black) color that will need to be lifted with hair bleach at least eight levels to get a golden blonde color. If your end goal is a platinum blonde, dark hair will need to be lightened in multiple sessions to get the almost-white shade.

How Do You Prepare Natural Hair to Go Blonde?

Before dyeing your hair blonde, you’ll want to skip shampooing at least two to three days before processing your natural hair. It might feel wrong, but two- to three-day-old hair has more oils that can help protect strands during the bleaching process. Since natural hair doesn’t need to be washed as often as straight hair, waiting a few more days won’t hurt. And if you’re suffering from product buildup, go ahead and wash your hair, but follow up with coconut oil before you dye your hair to replicate your scalp’s natural oils.

Should You Dye Natural Hair Blonde at a Salon or at Home?

Take the time to really consider which hair process works best for you as to whether you should dye curly hair blonde at a salon or at home. Keep in mind your current hair situation, personal preference, experience level, and whether you’ll have the time and patience to bleach your entire head of hair. Remember, if your hair has been previously colored or even bleached (highlights count) it may be best to dye hair at the salon so a professional can apply the product correctly and evenly.

However, dyeing hair blonde at home has gotten easier with lightening sets dedicated to the texture of coily hair, like the Dark & Lovely Uplift Hair Bleach Kit, and at-home hair dyes like Dark & Lovely Fade Resist. Below, explore each dyeing method to help you determine which works best for your skill level.


Dyeing Natural Hair Blonde at a Salon
This method is the longest and most expensive since you’re working with a professional and it technically consists of two different hair treatments. When dyeing natural hair blonde at a salon, your stylist will bleach your hair first to lighten it enough to then dye it the desired shade of blonde.

Expert hair colorists use a hair bleaching system that includes a combination of peroxide and hair lightener to lift the pigment from your hair. This system as described in the Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair can get complicated since professionals have to measure and mix the products themselves, taking into consideration the different peroxide strengths and the type of lightener (powder, cream, liquid, etc.) to use.

Once a stylist mixes the right formula for your hair, the application process begins. They will section your hair, then apply product to the length first and then the roots, and (in some cases) they’ll use heat to process the lightening treatment. If you have previously color-treated hair an expert will apply different bleaching combinations on the different colored strands to get an even color at the end.

After bleaching the hair, your stylist will follow up with a hair toner to eliminate the brassiness that is common with hair lightening. Finally, depending on the desired shade of blonde, your hair colorist may add a hair dye on top to get the right blonde color. All in all, this can take several hours, and even days (with weeks in between) if your stylist recommends waiting between bleaching sessions to minimize hair damage.

Dyeing Natural Hair Blonde at Home
Going blonde at the salon is a long process, which is why that method of dyeing is best left to the professionals. When dyeing natural hair blonde at home, you can skip all the measuring and use a dedicated and affordable hair bleaching kit and at-home hair dye. You don’t have to be a professional to use these kits; everything you need (instructions, ingredients, gloves) is right in the box. Additionally, at-home hair dyes from Dark & Lovely can be easily purchased at major retailers, including Walmart, Walgreens, Family Dollar, Target, and Rite Aid.

You’ll want to use a product that can lighten hair without overprocessing your strands. We recommend the Dark & Lovely Uplift Hair Bleach Kit which lifts dark hair eight levels without ruining the texture of curly hair. Go intense with this hair kit that’s perfect for obtaining platinum blonde hair that makes an ideal light base to top with vibrant colors — like pink, purple, or blue. Each kit features two bleach powder sachets, a cream developer with an applicator bottle, gloves, and a violet toning care conditioner.

For a natural blonde look try one of the various blonde shades from the Dark & Lovely Go Intense or Dark & Lovely Fade Resist hair dye sets. These products differ from the bleach kit since they’re made to lighten and deposit the desired color. Each kit will feature a tip-applicator bottle of cream developer, one bottle of a specific color, and a conditioner to use after processing hair. And remember to always read the instructions included for that specific kit before you begin.

What Blonde Shade Should You Dye Your Natural Hair?

There are endless blonde possibilities when deciding on a specific shade. Check out these seven rich, vibrant colors from Dark & Lovely to get inspiration for your new blonde hair color.

Dark & Lovely Go Fade Resist Luminous Blonde Rich Conditioning Color
Dye hair this bright warm-toned hair dye that matches the sandy beaches you’ll wish you lived on year-round. Even if you live in a cold climate you can embrace the beach babe lifestyle with a luminous blonde color. Keep your newly dyed natural hair soft year round with this formula that minimizes dry, brittle hair with the addition of argan oil and vitamin E, which helps protect against damage.

Dark & Lovely Go Intense Bright Blonde Ultra Vibrant Color
This bright color is a traditional blonde shade that is similar to the strands found on a certain beloved pink-loving plastic doll. If you’re looking for a bold change try this light blonde color that’ll leave your strands looking sun-kissed and feeling nourished with the olive oil added into the formulation.

Dark & Lovely Fade Resist Light Golden Blonde Rich Conditioning Color
If you’re a fan of subtle golden blondes but want something a little lighter, pick up this hair dye that has undertones of red that pop against all darker complexions. As the hair dye lightens strands, the glowy color blends with natural hair for a true-to-tone hue that dazzles with brilliant shine for up to eight weeks.

Dark & Lovely Go Intense Golden Blonde Ultra Vibrant Color

Drench curls in a warm blonde hue like this one that reflects a golden color with every head turn. Formulated with a creamy gel texture, this dye easily spreads on hair without the worry of runny product dripping down your face.

Dark & Lovely Fade Resist Honey Blonde

One of the trendiest hair colors is a warm-toned honey blonde like this one. Cool touches of blonde evolve the popular honey color with a tinge of gold that shines like amber in the light. No matter the hair color you’re starting with, this medium-toned blonde shade offers fade-resistant coverage (like the product name suggests) and up to 100 percent gray and silver coverage.

Dark & Lovely Fade Resist Golden Bronze Rich Conditioning Color

Deeper hues like this Golden Bronze shade embrace the darker side of the blonde spectrum for a color similar to caramel. Combine the conditioning blonde color with the included developer before applying the no-drip jelly formula to your entire head.

Dark & Lovely Fade Resist Chestnut Blonde Rich Conditioning Color
Paint strands with this subtle blonde color with deep undertones that add dimensions of shine to natural hair. The darker chestnut blonde hue (that can look brown with certain flips of your curls) is perfect for those who aren’t quite ready for that bright blonde lifestyle. An added benefit is this hair dye’s moisture seal technology, which protects hair from dryness with the infused vitamin E and argan oils that keep hair nourished during the dyeing process.

How Many Boxes of At-Home Hair Dye Should You Use?

If you have a lot of hair then you already know how important it is to have enough product to cover your entire head. The last thing you want is to run out of hair dye halfway through the process. (And if you do just rock the blonde two-toned hairstyle; Gemini hair is a fun look afterall.)

How to Dye Curly and Coily Hair Blonde at Home

Read our steps below for a more detailed explanation of dyeing natural hair platinum blonde with the Dark & Lovely Uplift Hair Bleach Kit. Keep in mind, these steps are a general guide and you should always follow the instructions included with any box of hair dye before you begin the process.

Step 1. Make sure your hair is dry, free of tangles, and not freshly washed.

Step 2. Gather your hair dye kit of choice and put on the included gloves to protect your hands as the product formulation can dehydrate the skin.

Step 3. Remove the pointed applicator tip from the cream developer bottle and (based on your dye kit) pour both bleach powder packets or the conditioning color into the bottle. After combining the ingredients, place the cap of the cream developer bottle back on and shake it vigorously to blend the formula.

Step 4. The application process is different for hair that has been previously color-treated and completely virgin (unprocessed) hair.

Dye Application for Virgin Hair: Section hair into at least four parts to guarantee that you cover all of it. For those with short haircuts or shaved heads, section as needed. Apply the mixture onto the hair one section at a time starting an inch away from your roots and gently smoothing the dye into the hair with gloved hands. You’ll want strands to be completely saturated.

Wait until the entire head is covered before applying the hair dye to your roots, making sure to avoid rubbing any product into the scalp, which can cause a chemical burn. For the most even coverage you’ll want to do the roots last since the head naturally runs hot, which processes the mixture faster at the scalp. If you do apply the product all at once you risk the roots turning lighter than the mid-lengths and ends of the hair.

Dye Application for Non-Virgin Hair: If you have any color on your hair consider removing it first with a dedicated color-remover. Or, following the above application method, apply the product to hair that has been previously dyed first so it has more time to process over any existing color. Then continue applying product to the rest of your hair, making sure to leave your roots for last. An intentional application like this is key to guaranteeing the most even color.

Step 5. After application, cover your hair with a plastic shower cap to seal in the heat and moisture. Let the mixture sit on the hair for 30 minutes before washing it out thoroughly with lukewarm water. Set a timer as you don’t want to forget and leave the product on for too long — this could lead to serious hair damage. Make sure to check the recommended processing time for your product as different products and colors may require more or less time to develop.

Step 6. Toning blonde hair is a must to eliminate any unwanted yellow or orange hues. Use the included violet toning care conditioner to neutralize brassiness while adding moisture to your freshly bleached hair. Leave the toning conditioner in your hair for three minutes before rinsing it with warm water. Keep any extra product in your shower for upkeep on subsequent wash days.

Step 7. Live your best blonde life. The Uplift Hair Bleach Kit will leave behind a light blonde that can be worn as is or as a base for adding another color.

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