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How to Lighten Dark Hair

Lightening dark hair is hard because dark hair has red, brassy undertones and the lightening process brings out these undertones if you don't bleach the hair first. Bleaching comes with its own set of problems, though, such as hair breakage. However, there are natural ways of lightening dark hair, and professional colorists can help with extreme dye jobs.

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Buy hair dye specially formulated for dark hair. Look at the color chart on the back of the box for an idea of how the dye affects hair. If the colors appear too brassy or the original hair colors shown are much lighter than yours, consider switching formulas.

Mix natural ingredients such as henna and chamomile for lightening dark hair a few shades. Create a paste with henna and chamomile by adding boiling water. When the mixture cools, comb it through your hair, wrap your head with plastic wrap and wait 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Sit in the sun for natural lightening. Dark hair takes on sun-kissed highlights when you expose it to the sun repeatedly. Sprinkle on a little lemon juice for faster results.

Visit a salon if lightening your hair at home doesn't give you the desired results. Professional colorists can easily strip your dark hair and add a lighter color.


For best results with at-home dye jobs, purchase dye only a couple shades lighter than your natural color. Always perform a hair strand test before lightening your hair with an at-home kit. Dark hair can turn orange, even with a specially formulated product.


Always mix henna with another herb, such as chamomile, because henna is strong and produces brassy tones when you use it alone.

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