The 7 Realistic Stages of Bleaching Hair: from Dark to Light Hair

seven stages

  • Knowing and differentiating the different stages of bleaching hair from dark to blonde will allow you to lighten your hair and schedule the different sessions with minimal damage to your hair.
  • The bleaching stages are the different levels of color that hair can reach, and they’re seven. Not all hair needs to go through all seven stages, though.
  • The darker your hair, the more bleaching stages you need to get a blonde color.


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If you want to go from dark to blonde hair, you must understand the different stages of your bleaching process.

This is the first step, and it’s much more important than buying the bleach and peroxide.  That first step means understanding what color you’re starting from and what color you want to get to. 


For example, to bleach black hair and take it to platinum blonde, you’ll need more stages than to bleach brown hair and take it to medium blonde. Make sense?


Therefore, what color is your hair right now – is it black, dark brown, or brown?

That’s the first thing you need to know.


And the second thing would be to know exactly what color you want to go for.

Would you like a medium blonde or a very light blonde?


 Once you know what color you’re starting with and what color you want to get, you’ll know what and how many bleaching stages you’ll need. 

In short, the stages of bleaching hair are an essential reference to get the exact color you want to achieve. Also, they are important to know what color you should apply later on your bleached hair.


That’s where knowing about the stages of bleaching plays an important part. They are seven, and your base color will determine which ones you’ll have to consider.

Each stage is named after a hair color, and it’ll make it easier to know how many stages of bleaching your hair you should go through.

Sounds difficult?


Keep reading and you’ll find that it’s simpler than it looks, because I’ll tell you:

  • What the different bleaching stages are
  • Which bleaching stage you have to reach to apply the color of dye you want

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What are the different bleaching stages?

stages of bleaching hair

Bleaching is a chemical process that removes all color (both natural and artificial) from hair and in which two chemicals are used: 30 or 40-volume developer and bleach.


The different stages of bleaching hair take the hair color at the level achieved by this process.  There are seven in total and each one contains a group of tones.  Let’s see each one of them in detail.


  • Stage 1: Medium brown

This is the first level reached in the first bleaching, starting from a black (1) or dark brown (3). After this stage, the dark pigments are completely removed.


  • Stage 2: Light brown

This is the most common color achieved in a bleaching process.  Most women start from this color to move on to a lighter color. 


  • Stage 3 : dark blonde

Beware of this color because it is deceptive. Although light brown can look like a dark blonde, they’re two different colors because dark blonde does not contain brown pigments but yellow.


  • Stage 4: medium blonde

This color is also very similar to light brown, but the difference is that its pigments are lighter yellow.

To achieve this bleaching shade, a lot of experience is needed in the process since it is one of the most difficult colors because of the similarity with stages 2 and 3.


  • Stage 5: light blonde

Here begins what we, colorists, call intense bleaching. Being such a light color, if the bleach mixture is left longer, very high tones can be achieved.

 Bleach has to stay in hair for a short time, and you must pay a lot of attention not to damage it. 


  • Stage 6: very light blonde

To achieve this shade, you must go through at least 7 color degradations, especially if your hair is dark.

It’s a very dull and pale yellow color because all the bright or strong yellow pigments have been removed.


  • Stage 7: extra light blonde, white or silver

It’s an almost invisible blonde, so my best advice is that if you want to go from dark hair to this bleaching stage, go to a salon.


Now, let’s bring this list to reality:

Let’s say your hair is black and you want to get to a dark blonde. How many bleaching stages will you have to go through?


That’s right! You’ll have to go through three stages.

  • In stage 1, your hair will go from black to medium brown.
  • In stage 2, it’ll go from medium brown to light brown.
  • And in stage 3, it’ll go from light brown to dark blonde.


If your hair is black and you want to get to a very light blonde, how many bleaching stages will you have to go through? Six! They are:

  • from black to medium brown, stage 1
  • medium to light brown, stage 2.
  • light to dark brown, stage 3.
  • dark blonde to medium blonde, stage 4.
  • medium blonde to light blonde, stage 5.
  • light blond to very light blond, stage 6.


Remember that bleaching is a very aggressive process, so you should always allow three weeks between each stage. In the meantime, you should deeply moisturize your hair.

You can also use the colors’ numbering scale to know how many bleaching stages you’ll have to go through. So, here’s what to do according to the bleaching stages for your hair.


Which bleaching stage should you reach to apply the color you want?

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The bleaching stage you must reach will depend on the color you want to get.

To achieve that color you want, you only have to consider the number that identifies the hair dye and the bleaching stage you must reach.


Stage 1 medium brown, apply:

  • Chestnut 4
  • Light brown 5


Stage 2 light brown:

  • Light brown 5
  • dark blonde 6


Stage 3 dark blonde:

  • Dark blonde 6
  • Blonde 7


Stage 4 medium blonde:

  • Blonde 7
  • Light blonde 8
  • Very light blonde 9


Stage 5 light blonde:

  • Dark blonde 6


Stage 6 very light blonde:

  • Very light blonde 9
  • Extra light blonde platinum 10
  • Fantasy colors


Stage 7 extra light blonde:


 As you can see, the stage or bleaching level you have to reach will determine the name of the hair dye color you need to apply. 


For example:

This way, you can have your bleached hair in the exact shade you’re looking for, and it’ll look like the picture in the coloring kit.



To know how many bleaching stages your hair will go through, you must consider the color you are starting from and the color you want to achieve.


The darker your hair is, the more stages of bleaching you’ll have to go through. However, remember, bleaching is a very aggressive process for your hair. So, you must allow at least three weeks between stages to repair and moisturize your hair.

Now tell me, how many bleaching stages will your hair have to go through to get the color you want?

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