How to gradually turn your hair blonde with highlights

without damaging the hair

One of the safest ways to go blonde is to do it gradually, using highlights as a technique. But before you do it, you need to keep in mind the following:

  • To turn your hair blonde gradually, you need to do the highlights in several sessions, depending on your hair’s dark base tone.
  • Each time you do the highlights, you should lighten your locks up to three shades. Never more than three – I’ll tell you in a minute why not.
  • There are two techniques for doing highlights: using a cap if you have a lot of patience and foil if you’re a little more impatient.


I always compare the “blonde rush” with the famous California gold rush 150 years back.

Of course, instead of showing up in wagons like those ferocious gold miners, the women show up to my salon with their phones in hand, flashing images of that so-desired blonde they’re after.

 But they don’t keep in mind one important detail: to get to that kind of light blonde, they’ll have to bleach ALL OF THEIR HAIR all at once.  

Do you know what it means to bleach your hair?


Force it to undergo a chemical process so intense that it’s able to eliminate your hair’s natural pigments, allowing the new blonde color to be deposited.

And believe me, not even the tin man’s hair would be able to resist this process without his hair suffering some kind of damage.

So, if there were a healthier alternative – if you could gradually get to your ideal blonde without doing so much damage to your hair, but still get that radiant and modern look – would you do it?


Oh, I’ve gotten your attention, haven’t I?

If so, don’t go away, my future-blonde queen, because today I will tell you:

  • Why it’s a good idea to gradually turn your hair from dark to blonde
  • How to gradually lighten your hair to blonde using the highlight technique
  • How to maintain your highlights during your transition from dark hair to light


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Why it’s a good idea to gradually turn your hair from dark to blonde

change hair color little by little

I love mixing shades, and highlights are a great way to get results as enchanting as balayage and ombre.

That’s why I recommend highlights if you want to lighten dark hair, completely updating your look.


There are two different ways to do highlights:

  • With a cap: you’ll need to pull small bits of hair through the holes in a cap to then apply to them the bleach mix.
  • With foil: you’ll need to separate small areas of hair to then wrap them in the foil with the bleach mix.


 The two techniques work well to gradually lighten your hair, and they’re an excellent option for women starting with dark hair.  

Do you think that the blonde highlights will stand out too much in comparison to your base shade?


Don’t worry about that, because the whole idea of highlights is that you can mix your base color and the highlights for a more natural-looking effect.

What do you get out of doing a more gradual transition?

  • First, every time you touch up your highlights, you will see your hair lighten little by little, so it won’t be such a big change when you see yourself in the mirror. After all, if you’ve had dark hair for many years, it’s not a good idea to all of a sudden go completely blonde.
  • And second, all of your hair won’t have to be subject to bleach all at once.


Also, by gradually bleaching your hair, you can choose the kind of blonde that you feel most comfortable with since there are many different kinds of blonde, and you need to find the one that goes best with your features and skin tone.

For example, for paler skin, I’d recommend lighter, platinum tones, while if you’re tanner, then you might go for caramel or golden tones.


Now, let’s have a look at exactly how you can do this gradual color change so you can feel sure about what you’re doing.


How to gradually lighten your hair using highlights

  • Like I told you a few minutes ago, highlighting your hair – whether you use a cap or foil – consists of bleaching some of your hair each time.

As a result, after each session, you’ll have locks that are up to three shades lighter.


  • For example, if your hair is level 3 dark brown, the highlights will reach up to a level 6 light brown after the first session.

That way, 70% of your hair will be lighter and 30% will continue to be your base color.

And you’ll say to me, “But I don’t want to be 70% blonde, I want to be 100% blonde!”


  • Don’t worry, my little blonde miner, because with highlights you can’t be sure that you’ll always lighten the same locks because they are randomly separated. And that is exactly what makes highlights look more natural.

So, when you go in for highlights the next time, the locks that get separated won’t be the same ones as the last time.


  • Let’s keep going with the previous example: the first time you bleach your hair, your highlights will be a level 6 light brown and your base a level 3 dark brown.

When you go back in, your base won’t be a level 3 dark brown, because it’ll become part of the level 6 light brown. And your highlights, which were already a level 6 light brown, will end up level 8 light blonde or level 9 lighter blonde.

 Now do you see how in just two sessions you’ll already have light blonde hair?  


That’s why highlighting your hair is an ideal technique for getting your hair to light blonde without having to excessively damage your hair.


How often do I need to touch up my blonde highlights?

In general, it’s ideal to touch up highlights every five weeks, but if you’re trying to gradually go blonde, then it’s a better idea to touch them up every two months, to give your hair enough time to recuperate from the bleach.

Alright, you should know this from the start, but in case you don’t:  you are going to have to completely change your hair care routine because blonde hair is hard work to maintain. 


First off, your hair will have gone through several bleaching sessions, so it will be damaged.

But, don’t worry, there are ways to recuperate it and keep it healthy.

  • Use hydrating masks with heat once a week.
  • You can also use coconut oil at night, as an overnight mask.
  • Lastly, your ends are the part of your hair that suffers the most from the changes you’ve made, so don’t forget to use a reparative oil on your ends.

If you use all of these products, your hair will be healthy each time you need to touch up your highlights.


Another option is to go to a salon and get a keratin treatment 15 days after you touch up your highlights. After all, keratin is a protein that will restructure your hair and repair the damage from bleach.

Do you want one last piece of advice?


 If you’re determined to gradually go from dark to blonde, put your hair into a professional hair colorist’s hands. 

Because, although highlights seem like a simple technique, they have their quirks, and we are talking about your hair’s health.


A good hair colorist will know exactly how long to leave products in your hair and will use high-quality products from well-known brands.

Also, they should never charge you more than 50 dollars, which in comparison to what you’d need to spend to recuperate your hair if it ends up stripped and destroyed, is not a huge cost.

Now you’re ready to go after that gold, I mean, blonde.

What shade of blonde are you aiming for?

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