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How to Dye Dark Hair Without Bleach

Updated February 21, 2017

Dyeing hair when it already is dark can be a problem. Bleaching before dyeing dries out the hair and makes it stringy and straw-like. This is more damaging than simply dying it. In most situations, dying dark hair will require lightening prior to adding the dye, and it is impossible to get light colours such as blond without lightening. But dark hair can be dyed without bleach.

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  1. Buy a hair dye designed for dark hair colours. These can be purchased at hair supply stores, where there will be a section for dark hair colours.

  2. Use a natural lightener to get hair lighter before dying. Citrus from lemons is very effective for lightening hair naturally and doesn't have the harsh side effects of bleach. Spray some diluted lemon juice--approximately half lemon and half water--then either sit in the sun or blow dry the hair. Let lemon juice sit on the hair for approximately 10 minutes before rinsing it out. It will noticeably lighten hair. Another natural option for lightening hair is honey. The honey will need to sit on hair for a few hours--sometimes as long as eight hours, depending on the original colour. Peroxide also can be used, but it is harsher than honey and lemon juice and shouldn't be left in hair for long periods of time.

  3. Add the dye once the hair is lightened. It doesn't need to be blond to take hair dye, and some hair colours will not need to be lightened at all beforehand.

  4. Allow the dye to sit according to the directions on the box of hair dye.

  5. Rinse the hair in the sink or tub. The water should be a comfortable lukewarm. Rinse until there is no longer colour in the water, and then add conditioner. It is important to condition immediately after removing the dye. Hair dye dries out hair, so the conditioner can help it recover. If there are split ends or the hair is fried, it will need to be cut.

  6. Allow the hair to dry and enjoy the new colour.

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Things You'll Need

  • Hair dye
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey

About the Author

Helen Jain has been writing online articles since December 2009 for various websites. She has studied English and psychology and hopes to get a Ph.D. in English in the future.

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