How to Lift Dark hair Color Without Bleach (Step by Step Tutorial)

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  • To lift the color of dark hair without bleaching it, you should use a permanent hair color, not more than two shades lighter than your base color.
  • You must determine correctly the level of the tone as well as its reflection. Later, I’ll show you how to do it.
  • This method will only work on totally virgin hair, hair that has never been colored previously.

First of all, let me congratulate you. For what?


 Because I finally found someone who, before starting a bleaching process, tries to find other healthier alternatives for bleaching their hair. 

Bleaching hair is a chemical process that professionals must do. No matter how many tutorials you find on YouTube or the hundreds of “before” and “after” bleaching photos you see posted daily by supposedly happy girls.


The truth is that bleaching hair is a very complex matter because several factors must be considered, such as the hair’s health, the underlying pigments, and the source and target color.

It’s not simply a matter of applying a bleaching mixture to the hair and waiting for the hair to lighten magically.

Before you take the final step to bleach, there are other alternatives, which will work for some hair.

Do you want to know why I say “some” hair?


I’ll be completely honest.

  • If you want to go from dark brown hair to a platinum blonde, you’ll have to bleach it. It is impossible to make that color change without modifying the internal structure of the hair.
  • If you’ve been using hair color, you must bleach your hair firstly. This is because the color has already changed the hair’s color molecules and, so a dye will not lighten it.

Do you have completely virgin hair? Are you looking to lighten it but being aware that you won’t go from black to blonde magically?


Then, keep reading, because I’ll tell you:

  • In which cases it is possible to lighten dark hair without bleaching it
  • How to choose the right hair lightening color shade
  • How to lift the color of dark hair without bleaching, step by step


Are you ready for a lighter shade in your dark hair?


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When is it possible to lighten dark hair without bleaching it?

As I told you initially, your hair will need to meet several conditions if you want to lift the tone without bleaching it.

If your hair doesn’t meet these requirements, the hair dye won’t work.


  • There must be no traces of any dye in the hair.

This is because pre-colored hair is an obstacle if you want to lift your hair’s tone without bleaching it.

The reason is that color pigments deposited in your hair are more resistant than the natural pigments present in the hair cuticle.


  Once a hair dye has molecularly modified your hair, there is, unfortunately, no going back. You can only lighten it with the help of bleach, , and I assure you that your hair can end up very damaged if you do it on your own.


  • You can only lift it two or three shades, depending on the color you start from.

What happens if, for example, you have medium brown hair and apply a dark blonde dye?


The dye will change your color, but chances are that orange tones will appear, which will have little to do with the dark blonde shade you were looking for.

So, if you meet these two conditions, i.e., you never dyed your hair and are willing to lighten it by considering how far you can go, it’s time to choose your shade. That’s what I’ll talk to you about next.


Choosing the Right Shade to Lift your Color


I’m warning you. The road we’re going down now won’t be easy, but it won’t be impossible either. I need you to pay close attention. And to bring out your math skills.

Look for a color chart. You can get one at any perfume store or from your trusted hairdresser.


 Having the color card in hand, hold a lock of your hair, but avoid the ends as they are always lighter. Now, compare it with the card to find out what color your natural shade is. 

Did you find out the number of your tone?


Very good. Now math starts.

If you want to know how far you can lighten your hair with a hair dye, you must add ten to the number of your natural base shade.

Why do you have to add ten?


Because ten is the number of the lightest blonde on the color chart.

 Once you’ve done the addition, you must divide the result by two. And once you get the result, it will give you the color you need to choose to lift your hair tone.  


Let’s look at an example to make it clearer.

If your base color is 4, medium brown, and you add 10, you get 14.

Now you must divide 14 by 2, which will give you 7.

What shade is 7 on the color chart?


It’s the medium blonde. And that’s the color you’ll have to choose to lift your hair color.

If we translate this into a mathematical equation, it will look like this: 4+10 =14 and 14/2=7.


So far, we know the shade you should choose to lighten your hair without having to bleach it. But do you know that you can customize that color much more?

Of course you can, and for that you have to take into account the reflections of each shade.

  • If you want a more natural color, choose a dye with ash reflections, which are always identified with number 1, behind the hair dye number. For example, 7.1, would be a medium ash blonde.
  • If you want a brighter, more golden color, choose a hair dye with honey highlights. For example, 7.3 would be a medium honey blonde.


Here is a scale so you can take all the reflections into account:

  1. Ash
  2. Beige
  3. Gold
  4. Copper
  5. Mahogany
  6. Red
  7. Brown


Finally, remember that you shouldn’t color your hair two shades lighter than your base color because your root growth will be seen soon after, and it will take you longer and more money to keep your new color intact.

Dare to play with shades, as they will allow you to give more color and light to the color tone.


Lifting your hair color without bleaching step by step

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My first recommendation is to not wash your hair for at least two days before applying the dye. This way, you will protect your scalp from the chemicals in the dye.


You’ll find everything you need in the dye box: gloves, dye bottle, peroxide and even a post color treatment.

  • Untangle your hair and have a comb and a hair clip handy.
  • Prepare the mixture as indicated in the instructions.
  • Separate hair strand by strand, and apply from root to tip. You can help yourself with the comb to distribute the mixture evenly throughout your hair.
  •  Once you’ve applied all the product, massage it into your hair, making sure it covers the entire surface of your hair. 
  • Wait for the processing time indicated by the manufacturer.
  • After that time, rinse and wash your hair.


Finally, look in the mirror. How does your color look?



  • Lifting your hair’s tone without bleaching is possible, as long as you have never colored your hair before. But you should know that you can actually lighten it three shades at most.
  • All you have to do is use a permanent color and choose the right shade and reflection of color to get a customized shade.

Do you already have your color chart to determine what shade you will get when you lighten your color?


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