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How to Go Gradually from Brunette to Blonde

Slow and low is the way to go.
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Welcome to our Hair Consultation column. To request an online hair consultation from celebrity hairstylist Bill Angst, follow the instructions here.

Q: I've always loved to experiment with my hair colour, but I've always had the same style, long and with bangs. 

My most recent experiment was going BRIGHT red, like Rihanna. 

Daria briefly tried bright red hair.

After four months, I decided to go back to a more normal colour. I tried to stay as light as possible, because before the red I was dark brown. So my hair was bleached and dyed to a medium brown.

Daria is bored of her brown hair colour.

Now, I am scared of touching my hair anymore but I really want to be blonde—or at least closer to my natural hair colour, which is dirty blonde. I feel bored with a brown colour. I have been growing my hair out along with my bangs and I feel stuck. I look forward to your life-changing advice, thank you in advance!!! — Daria

A: Daria, if your root colour is dirty blonde, then your hair has a bright future... as a blonde.

In the long-haul, though, getting through this kind of change requires removing the pigment from the ends and this is where you may run into problems.

My suggestion is to do your tips, which means bleaching or removing the colour from your ends to see how light you can get them. That is, if they still stay attached to your head! You may end up with a chemical cut and the only way to find out is to test-drive it. If your ends melt, you have to wait—unless you cut a shorter haircut.

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From The Skincare Edit Archives

My friend moved to LA with almost black, long hair and now she is a blonde; you must go in slow and low. Try a lifting agent with a low-volume peroxide and leave it on as long as you can, watching to see how far the lightening goes. The stronger the peroxide, the worse it is for your hair.

These photos of Gisele show the progression from brown to the final blonde:

Gisele's balayage warm light brown hair.

Gisele's blonde balayage on a light brown base.

Gisele's warm blonde hair with darker roots.

Gisele's bright blonde hair.

Here is a shorter cut that could be pretty, and you could possibly bypass the ends melting.

Karlie Kloss' wavy bob.

Best of luck! I'm here if you need me... 


Bill Angst is one of Canada’s top celebrity hairstylists and the owner of Angst Salon at 240 Queen Street East in Toronto. Call 416-360-5942 to book an appointment.

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