Best hair dye for black hair without bleach (according to a hairdresser)

dyeing hair traditional black vs jet black

  • The best hair dye for black hair without bleach is HICOLOR by L’Oréal. It works for an instant color change. I’ll tell you about the colors you can choose from.
  • This dye is applied with a 30-volume developer and could damage your hair. If it’s already damaged, I recommend you apply it gradually.
  • In this case, you could start with a dark brown 3 from GARNIER NUTRISSE or REVLON COLORSILK, for example. Then, the following time, you could apply light brown 5.
  • In other words, you would gradually move up the color scale two levels each time.



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Does L’Oréal HiColor damage the hair? More or less than bleaching?


Yes, just as you read it.

You can change the color of your black hair by simply applying a dye.

  The only dye that can be applied to black hair without bleach is HICOLOR/   It’s a line of hair dyes created by L’Oréal specifically for black and very dark hair.

Of course, not all that glitters is gold.

What do I mean?


Unlike other permanent dyes, this one is applied with a 30-volume developer.

Therefore,   after using it, you’ll notice your hair more dehydrated, brittle, and dull.  


The 30 volume developer generates a chemical reaction in the hair.

So, what’s my advice?


I’ll divide my advice into two parts:

  •   If you have no coloring experience or your hair is seriously damaged,   you should go to a salon. A professional stylist will be able to decide what’s best for your black hair.
  •   Alternatively, if you’re experienced in coloring,   before applying the HICOLOR dye on your black hair, you should do the strand test. This way, you’ll make sure your hair will withstand the 30 volume developer.


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Why do I recommend a salon if you’re not sure your hair will withstand the chemical reaction of the 30-volume developer?


Because it won’t do you any good to have lighter hair if your hair is damaged and dry after coloring.

When my clients want to lighten their damaged black hair, I use some special products such as Olaplex, Wellaplex, or Smartbond during bleaching to prevent hair damage.

These products are for professional use and are applied exclusively in the salon.


Now, if you don’t want to go to the salon, and you don’t want to risk your hair by applying L’Oréal HICOLOR, I suggest another alternative.


  You can gradually lighten your black hair two levels each time until you reach the color you want.  

I’ll tell you about the process later.

For now, we’ll focus on the HICOLOR dye.

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L’Oréal HICOLOR for unbleached black hair

HICOLOR is specially formulated for black hair 1 to dark brown 3, which are the darkest on the color scale.

Until a few years ago, if you wanted to change the color of your black hair, the only option was to bleach it. Of course, it exposed the hair to extreme damage.


That’s why I think HICOLOR is a breakthrough in coloring techniques.

They’re permanent dyes that are applied with a 30-volume developer. So, they allow you to change your hair color while they strip your hair of the black pigments.

You can choose from sixteen different colors, ranging from red to vanilla blonde.

Which one can you choose?


  • If you’re looking for an innovative look, you can opt for HICOLOR Red Fire.
  • Alternatively, if you want a traditional style, you can apply HICOLOR Soft Brown.
  • Otherwise, if you plan to scale levels on the numbering system, you can apply HICOLOR Vanilla Champagne or Honey Blonde.


Once you choose the color, you just need to apply the dye to your black hair. No need to bleach it first.

However, I must warn you.

Although HICOLOR won’t damage your hair like bleaching,   it’ll lose moisture and nutrients.   This is impossible to avoid when using a 30 volume developer.


Therefore, after applying HICOLOR, you must follow a deep repair routine.

That means using moisturizing masks for color-treated hair at least once a week.

You can also use coconut oil as a deep repair mask once a week.

Do you promise to do it?


How to use HICOLOR

mix in bowl

  • Comb your hair and divide it into four sections, holding each section with hair clips.
  • Put on gloves and, in a plastic container, mix the HICOLOR with the 30-volume developer. Blend to integrate.
  • Release one of the back sections and start the application from roots to ends. You can help yourself with a hair color brush.
  • Cover all of your hair, and repeat the procedure on each section.
  •   Leave the dye on for up to 50 minutes.  
  • Finally, rinse your hair with plenty of lukewarm water until it runs clean. You can use shampoo to completely remove all traces of dye and conditioner to moisturize your hair.


HICOLOR hair dye is renewed every four to five weeks.

Remember that you need to maintain a moisturizing routine, apply keratin masks once a week and coconut oil on lengths and ends up to three times a week.


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How to lighten black hair gradually without bleaching

various colors

If your black hair is damaged and you don’t want to apply HICOLOR dye, you can lighten your hair gradually.

You’ll need permanent dyes that are applied with a 20 volume peroxide.

But I must be honest.   This option is gradual and you’ll see noticeable results in the long term. 


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For example, if your base color is black, and you want to achieve a dark blonde 6 or blonde 7, the color change can take six months.

When you want lighter colors in your mane, but don’t want to expose your hair to bleaching or a 30 volume developer, you can move up the color scale by 2 levels at a time.

In other words,   you can apply up to two levels lighter each time.  

What permanent dyes can you choose from?




All these dyes are applied with a 20-volume developer, which is strong enough to open the cuticles of your hair and deposit the pigments.

But their lightening strength is very low, so you can’t move more than two levels each time. Otherwise, if you apply colors that are more than two levels apart, your roots and lengths will have different colors.


How to gradually lighten black hair without bleaching

go from dark hair to blonde

  • First coloring session: On your black 1 hair, apply a brown 3 dye from any of the brands I recommended above.
  • Second session: After four weeks, you should dye your hair again because you will notice a difference in length and growth. In this case, apply a brown 5 dye.
  • Third session: Four weeks later, you’ll see a noticeable change in your hair. It’s time to apply a light brown 5.
  • Fourth session: Your transformation has been going on for four months and it’s time to apply a blonde hair color 7.


If at some point, you get stuck on a color and you can’t continue to scale, I recommend pausing the coloring sessions.

It means that your hair hasn’t been able to expel all the black pigments.

If you notice that your hair doesn’t lighten after two coloring sessions, visit your salon so they can advise you on how to continue.



So far, the only hair dye available for unbleached black hair is HICOLOR from L’Oréal.

However, your hair must be healthy to use it. It’s applied with a 30-volume developer and can severely damage your hair.

Alternatively, you could gradually lighten your hair. It’ll take some months because you’ll use dyes with a 20-volume developer.

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