Dark to Light: Hair Lightening Tips for Dark Hair

January 21, 2014  |  

So you’re lusting for the ever-popular honey blond highlights for your hair or an all over shade of sandy brown, or maybe you want a shocking shade of bright red. At some point, many women have been bored with their existing hair color, whether enhanced or natural, and we might feel the need to keep our appearance fresh. Before you skip down to the local beauty supply or try your best to seduce your stylist into a platinum blond crop, ask yourself these questions to find out if you’re ready for hair color.

Is my hair healthy?
If your hair is brittle, thinning or in some other S.O.S. state of emergency, abort the hair color mission immediately. (Unless you’re one of those people who don’t care and want to go from royal purple to lemon yellow despite all the lightening involved, then go ahead.) If you go through with lightening your hair, you’ll spend every wash day under the dryer with animal placentas, horse tails or some other sulfate smelling protein booster atop your head. If your hair is healthy and well-conditioned, proceed with caution and plan for all outcomes.

What color is my hair and what color do I want it to be?
Account for the discrepancy in the hair color. For example, if you want your inky black hair to be a vibrant shade of red, you’ve got to think about how many levels you’ll need to lift your hair. This is the time to also consider how much maintenance you want to put into any after-care that could be involved. That very same shade of bright red could cause you to need to refresh your hair color every two weeks.

Which product should I choose?
Semi-permanent, glossers, permanent, powered hair color, henna, oh my! An easy stroll down the hair color aisle or the hair color talk with your stylist becomes difficult when one party is indecisive. You don’t want to be indecisive. Do some research so you’re able to easily choose a shade and formula to help you achieve the color you want. If you’re seeing a stylist, you’ll be able to ask informed questions. Also, take photos and swatches that illustrate what you want.

Also, don’t be afraid to consider bleach products if you’re visiting a stylist. Using a packet of bleach can help you get the color you want. If you’re set on reaching the platinum, silver-blonde look, you’ll need to get past that golden stage and bleaching hair first usually helps.

What tools are needed for the work space?
Plan an attack. Seriously, don’t just slap dye on your hair thinking perfect highlights will appear upon rinsing your hair. Just, no. Prep your hair. Detangle. Part it, stretch it, braid it or clip it up. Use whatever method you need to to be able to manipulate hair coloring tools and chunks of your hair. This is especially important if you’re highlighting or experimenting with some creative hair color concepts. At the least, you’ll need a plastic bowl, tint brush, gloves and hair clips.

Most importantly, keep an open mind. Your hair could turn out perfectly, or it could be an adventure where you learn the intricacies of toner. Either way, the more research and preparation done before you dye, the better the results will be for you and your future hair color.

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