3 Best Hair Dyes to Lighten Dark Hair without bleaching (updated 2021)

hair dye to lighten dark hair

The three best hair dyes to lighten dark hair are:


  • Any of them can lighten your colored or natural hair up to 3 or 4 tones in each application.
  • Still, nothing is miraculous. You must have healthy hair and be very careful with the application process.


Do you want some advice?

Before applying any of these HIGH LIFT hair colors, a professional should evaluate the condition of your hair.

All these hair dyes are applied with a 30 and 40-volume developer.


That means two things.

First, they have powerful chemicals that produce a permanent change inside your hair fiber.  There’s no going back in the process. So, you have to be sure that you want to lighten your hair. 

Secondly, and more importantly, your hair fiber must be healthy.


How do you figure out if your hair will withstand these high lift hair dyes?

Your hair is wise and will tell you.

  • Does your hair feel dry, even when you apply nourishing masks once a week?
  • Do you have split ends?
  • Are you tired of fighting frizz?
  • When it’s wet, is it so tangled that it’s a pain to comb?
  • Do you have moderate to severe hair loss?


In those cases,  you shouldn’t apply any of the hair dyes. 

At the very least, you should ask a stylist first. If your hair shows any of these symptoms, it means it’s fragile.


If you apply one of these hair dyes, you’ll burn and break it. There’s no going back from that.

Now, if your hair is healthy and strong, and you are very meticulous and careful in the application, you can choose any of them to lighten your dark hair.


 This new generation of hair dyes allow you to give a lighter color to your hair without the need for several bleaching sessions.  These dyes were previously only for blonde hair, but they’re now also for dark hair.


Therefore, you can lighten your hair 3 to 4 tones at each application and you don’t need to apply a toner. The color will be uniform, even, and without unwanted tones.

Have you made your decision?


Then, stay with me because I’ll tell you:

  • How high lift hair color work to lighten dark hair
  • How to apply high lift hair color on dark hair correctly
  • Best 3 high lift hair colorss

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How do high lift hair colors work to lighten dark hair?

High lift hair colors lighten your hair by 3 to 4 tones because they contain a higher amount of ammonia.

Also, unlike regular permanent hair dyes, they’re applied with a 30 or 40-volume developer, which means considerable damage to your hair fiber.


We already talked about that. If you’re still here, you’re sure that your hair can withstand the coloring. 


So, going back to the peroxide, the 30-volume peroxide will lighten your dark hair up to 3 tones. Alternatively, the 40-volume peroxide will lighten your dark hair up to 4 tones.

Therefore, the exposure times and application are not the same as the common permanent hair dyes.


Any high lift hair color is applied in 2 steps. It has to be on the hair for 30 to 35 minutes.

What does it mean that it is applied in 2 steps?


It means that  you should start on the mid-lengths and lengths, wait for 30 to 40 minutes, and finally apply it to the roots and growth. That’s the newer hair that lightens faster. 

If you apply high lift hair dye on the entire hair surface at the same time, your roots and the rest of the hair will get different colors.


How to apply high lift hair color to dark hair correctly

with dye brush

  • Comb your hair separating 4 sections, from forehead to nape and from ear to ear.
  • In a plastic container, mix the hair dye with a 30 or 40-volume developer, depending on the instructions.
  • Loosen one of the sections and apply the hair dye from mid-lengths to lengths without touching the roots. Repeat on all sections.
  • Leave it on for 30 to 35 minutes, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Rinse your hair, blow-dry, and separate 4 sections again.
  • Apply the hair dye from roots to ends and leave it on for another 30 minutes.
  • Rinse with plenty of lukewarm water.


Best 3 high lift hair colors

The three brands I’ll mention below work on both color-treated and naturally dark hair, so you can use them without any problems.


Choose the tone you want to apply and  read carefully the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the exposure time and the number of developer volumes to use. 


1- Majirel High Lift


L’Oreal offers you the excellence of its brand with the Majirel High Lift hair color. You can choose from 6 different tones according to your desired result:

  • Ash
  • Ash +
  • Ash Violet
  • Beige
  • Neutral
  • Violet


majirel high lift

  • If you’re looking for cool tones, you should opt for: ash, ash +, ash violet, and violet.
  • If you’re looking for neutral tones, you should opt for: neutral
  • If you’re looking for warm tones, you should opt for: beige


This hair dye is not sold as a kit. So, you’ll need to get the 30 or 40-volume developer separately, depending on how light you want your new shade.

Forget about unwanted colors like orange or yellow! The neutralizing power of this hair dye is superior to any other.


2- Igora Royal Highlifts


This brand offers you a wide variety of tones. Plus, they’re made with premium products that protect your hair from the damage caused by the developer.

  • 12-0 Natural
  • 12-1 Ash
  • 12-11 Intense Ash
  • 12-19 Violet Ash
  • 12-2 Gray
  • 12-4 Beige
  • 12-46 Brown Beige


  • If you’re looking for cool tones, you should go for 12-1 ash, 12-11 intense ash, 12-19 violet ash.
  • If you’re looking for neutral tones, you should go for 12-0 natural, 12-2 grey.
  • If you’re looking for warm tones, you should go for 12-4 beige, 12-46 brown beige


An extra tip?

Use the 40-volume developer for cooler tones and the 30-volume for neutrals and warm tones.


3- Koleston Perfect Me+

Koleston, the blonde specialist, offers you the best blonde shades for dark hair. You can choose from:

  • 12/0 natural blonde
  • 12/1 ash-blonde
  • 12/11 intense ash-blonde
  • 12/17 blue ash-blonde
  • 12/3 golden blonde
  • 12/7 brown blonde
  • 12/89 pearl blonde


  • If you’re looking for cool tones, you should go for 12/1 ash blonde, 12/11 deep ash blonde, 12/17 bluish blonde.
  • If you’re looking for neutral tones, you should go for 12/0 natural blonde, 12/89 pearl blonde
  • If you’re looking for warm tones, you should opt for 12/3 golden blonde, 12/7 brown blonde


The great advantage of Wella is that all of them can be applied with a 30-volume developer.



All these high lift hair colors will allow you to lighten your dark hair between 3 and 4 shades.

Remember to know the condition of your hair before applying any of these hair dyes. This way, you’ll know beforehand that your hair can withstand the action of the hair dye.


Then, when you’re going to apply the hair dye, you must be very strict with the time and application.

After dyeing your hair, you have to moisturize it with coconut or almond oil. They’ll provide hydration after having processed it with a 30 or 40-volume developer.

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