How to Dye Your Black Hair (Without Ruining It!)

While rich raven locks are enviably lovely, black-haired beauties sometimes feel the need to shake things up. Unfortunately, black hair is notoriously difficult to lift. Luckily, there are proven methods for lightening black hair to any shade on the colour spectrum.

Poor colouring attempts often lead to brittle, damaged hair. In some cases, the hair doesn’t even change colour. In other instances, the dye results in temporary lightening that fades quickly. Often, colouring leads to a completely unexpected final result, such as a muddy cherry tinge instead of auburn, dull, greyish highlights, or the dreaded orange of bleaching gone awry. Things get even trickier when you want to remove black hair dye rather than lighten naturally black hair. 

Either way, colouring black hair can be disastrous. Fortunately, there are reliable ways to dye black hair any colour you wish, and as such, you can have a wonderful experience. As long as you have a great colourist and a solid understanding of your hair, you can successfully achieve any colour from deep chocolate brown to platinum blonde. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your hair colouring goes off smoothly.

1. To Dye Black Hair Safely and Effectively, Just Go to a Salon

Female model with black hairDyeing black hair a lighter colour – especially a significantly lighter colour – is quite an endeavour. Black hair requires a specialised dyeing process compared to other, lighter colours, which is why it’s exceptionally easy for things to go wrong. Lifting black hair to a pale colour is an art, one that often takes multiple appointments at a reputable salon. 

Avoid common pitfalls like over-bleaching, under-colouring, uneven dye application, and damaged, brittle hair by booking an appointment at a salon. Professional colourists have the skills, knowledge, and experience to dye black hair any shade you want.

2. Go In Stages

Whether you dye your hair at home or at a salon, there’s no one-step way to take hair from raven black to white blonde – or, for that matter, to red, light brown, or pastel pink. Never attempt to lighten your hair completely in a single go. Take it slow, and lighten your hair in stages. For example, lighten black hair to deep chocolate, chocolate to medium brown, and medium brown to light brown. Scheduled lifts are healthier for your hair and produce a much more reliable colour result.

3. Black Hair is Different From Any Other Shade

Black hair is an entirely different animal than even the deepest, darkest brown hair. Essentially, the pigmentation requires, at minimum, a developer with two or three times the strength of standard developer to lighten even a few shades. What this means, essentially, is that one-size-fits-all box dyes usually don’t work properly. In order to get a natural-looking, flattering lighter shade, you need specialised, high-intensity dye.

At best, standard dye will lift black hair to underwhelming, vaguely lighter shade that fades quickly. At worst, you’re left with a terrible colour and badly damaged hair. If you plan to dye your hair at home, find the right developer and use high-quality dye. 

4. If You Want to Go Light, You Have to Use Bleach

If you’re eyeing a bright golden blonde or vibrant neon colour, bleach will be part of the process. It’s the only compound that safely lightens black hair several shades for colouring. Bleach is easy to misuse, and can be disastrous in inexperienced or careless hands. A good colourist will use it appropriately, and knowns how to calculate the minimum amount he or she can use in order to prevent unnecessary damage. 

5. Choose a Colour and Colouring Technique that Works With Your Hair Type and History

Dry, curly hair works with colour differently than fine, oily hair. In addition, past colouring, chemical processing (such as relaxers or perms) and even hair care products can impact the way hair dye molecules bind to your hair. Always be honest with your stylist about current or past colouring, processing, treatments, and products. This gives your colourist the information she needs to mix dye that will work with your hair. 

6. Maintain Your Colour

Without proper care and maintenance, even the best colouring fades right back to black. Schedule follow-up appointments to keep your hair vibrant and bright. In between salon visits, use sulfate-free shampoo, deep conditioning treatments, and oil masks regularly. This will help preserve your new colour. It also keeps your hair as soft and healthy as possible even after extensive processing.

A new, bright hair colour a fresh, exciting change no matter the time of year. As long as you take the process seriously, do your research, and give your hair the care it deserves, you can get your dream hair colour.