How to bleach dark hair to get caramel highlights

Updated April 17, 2017

You may think beautiful highlights are only for those people born with natural blonde hair, but even if you have dark hair you can get natural looking highlights either through a hair-care professional or bleaching it yourself. However, bleaching hair is not the safest or easiest way to get caramel coloured highlights with dark hair. Bleach strips pigment out of hair and will turn your hair almost white-blonde. To achieve the caramel colour, you need a highlighting kit with the proper colour that you want.

Prepare hair for colouring by making sure it is unwashed and free of product. Hair will accept the colour dye better if there is no shampoo, conditioner or hairspray to block it.

Section out hair by choosing a thin strand of hair -- 1 inch wide or less -- to be highlighted. Apply the colour using either the highlighter brush or highlighting cap from the colour kit. Brush back on your head about 1 inch and repeat, until your entire head has highlighted strands.

Allow the colour to sit and process for at least 20 minutes before rinsing out with lukewarm water and applying colour-protectant conditioner.


Buying bleach is not healthy for your hair because it strips your hair of pigment and kills the strands. Using a hair colour kit is much less damaging and will help you achieve the caramel colour better than bleach, since bleach turns the hair very light. Caramel coloured highlights look much more natural on dark hair than bright blonde highlights.

Things You'll Need

  • Light Brown/Caramel Highlighting Kit
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About the Author

Bess Harrington has been a writer since 2009. She is the author of the blog Bess Be Fit and is writing her own book. She is currently an American College of Sports Medicine personal trainer. Harrington is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication with a focus on communication science and health media.