Ask a Hairstylist: How to Go Blonde After Dyeing Your Hair Dark Brown

Follow these steps to a golden sandy blonde.
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Lighten dyed hair

Q: I've been colouring my hair dark for years, but I'd like to try going blonde. I'm tired of dyeing it over and over again, only to have it fade and go brassy—no matter who does it or what shampoo I use. 

Hair consultation - Emily

After dyeing her hair dark for years, Emily is looking to go blonde.

My natural colour is ash blonde and I am very, very fair. Is it possible to match my natural colour? I don't want the blonde to wash me out. — Emily

Hair consultation - Emily

Emily's natural hair colour is ash blonde.

A: Emily, first of all, you have beautiful, flawless skin. 

And you're right. Any light blonde colour will wash your skin out because you are already very pale. 

When you dye your hair dark, it goes brassy because you have a lot of highlights underneath and your under-pigment is orange. That's why, if you stay on the lighter side, your colour will be maintained better.

But you should also reconsider what brassy is. What you think is brassy with your current hair colour is actually very pretty for you. I think it's the darkness that's maybe a little bit overwhelming for your skin. But you do suit these warm tones.

Going back to your natural ash blonde is a good idea. A sand would be a great base colour. 

Then your highlights should go above the sand to a golden honey. Sand with gold will look amazing with your skin.

Cara Delevingne British Fashion Awards 2012

Cara Delevingne at the 2012 British Fashion Awards.

Gigi Hadid Balmain HM Collection launch 2015

Gigi Hadid at the 2015 Balmain x H&M Collection launch.

Stella Maxwell Victoria's Secret Viewing Party 2017

Stella Maxwell at the 2017 Victoria's Secret Viewing Party.

Now, to achieve this there will be a transition period. Start by doing quite a bit of highlights, staying in the gold tones. And stop colouring your base. There will be an awkward stage until the next time you get more highlights. You want to get them two to three times over the next few months.

Within three applications, the highlights will start to take over, and you will have less of that browny-reddy colour—it will start to look like lowlights. Eventually, the dark colour will fade out and the highlights will take over. 

By the third time, about six months from now, you can introduce the warm sand colour and you'll be in the clear. So, just be patient!

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