How to dye dark hair a lighter color

Updated March 23, 2017

Getting your dark hair to a lighter colour can be challenging depending on how dark your hair colour currently is. The darker it is, the harder it will be to get to a lighter colour. However, there are a variety of ways to achieve this either at home or in a salon. Most beauty experts agree that if you have very dark hair, it is best to go to a professional to have this look achieved.

Decide on the colour you want your hair. If you have dark hair, and you want a light brown colour, this can probably be done using a home kit. However, if you have extremely dark hair and want to become a blonde, your best bet is to go to a salon and have your hair chemically stripped. Although beware, his process can be damaging to your hair and very expensive (between £130 and £195 on average).

Go to a beauty supply store and purchase an at-home hair colour kit that is designed specifically for people with dark hair. These kits are different from the other kits in that they have a higher concentration of the colour processor and dye to change your hair's colour.

Mix the hair dye according to the package directions. Place the dye into the provided bottle in the kit. Prepare your hair to be dyed by dividing it into various sections with hair clips, making it easier to get the roots and be sure that all hair gets covered in the dye.

Put gloves on to protect your skin and hands, and begin applying the dye to your hair with the bottle. Start at the nape of the neck where the hair is generally the darkest and thickest. Then, cover the additional hair, including the roots.

Allow the dye to sit on your hair for the recommended amount of time. In general, this is about 30-45 minutes.

Rinse your hair with lukewarm water. This can be done in a sink or in the shower. Be sure that the water running from your hair is clear, making sure all of the dye and processing chemicals are rinsed from the hair.

Apply conditioner to the hair. Some kits come with a conditioner that needs to be applied directly to the hair after it is rinsed. Typically, the conditioner must be left on for 5-10 minutes and then rinsed out.

Dry your hair and be sure that all of the hair was dyed correctly. If there was a spot that was missed, you can repeat the process on that one particular spot (not all of your hair).


Extremely dark hair can be very difficult to colour. Instead, you will need to visit a salon where they will chemically strip the hair (essentially bleaching it free of all colour), and then apply the hair dye in the colour you want.

Things You'll Need

  • At-home hair dye kit designed specifically for Dark Hair
  • Salon appointment (if necessary)
  • Sink or shower
  • Hair clips
  • Gloves
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About the Author

Lauren Farrelly has been writing and producing for television since 2003. She has experience covering sports, business news and general news events for CNBC, ESPN and Bleacher Report. Farrelly has a BA in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University.