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Can black hair dye be lightened?

Black hair dye can be notoriously difficult to lighten. The dark pigments penetrate deep into the hair shaft, making it a challenge to lift back to a lighter shade. However, with the right products and techniques, it is possible to significantly lighten dyed black hair over time.

Can You Go Straight from Black to Blonde?

Trying to go directly from black dyed hair to blonde in one session is extremely damaging and usually ineffective. The lightener has to work extra hard to penetrate and lift out the dark pigments, leading to major breakage and very brassy, uneven results. It’s best to transition black dyed hair to blonde gradually over several appointments.

Steps to Successfully Lighten Black Dyed Hair

Here are the key steps to lighten black dyed hair safely and effectively:

  1. Do a Strand Test – Test lightener on a small section first to assess lifting and damage.
  2. Lighten in Stages – Lift hair to a medium brown first before going lighter. Expect each stage to require a few hours and multiple applications.
  3. Use a Clarifying Shampoo – Remove styling products and enhance lightener penetration.
  4. Apply Lightener Properly – Section hair cleanly and saturate each section fully.
  5. Use a Bonding Additive – Bonder helps protect and strengthen hair during the lifting process.
  6. Neutralize and Tone – Use a toner to counteract brassiness and achieve the desired shade.
  7. Deep Condition – Intensively hydrate and reconstruct hair between sessions.
  8. Trim Off Damage – Some breakage is likely, so trim split ends after lightening.

How Many Sessions to Go from Black to Blonde?

It usually takes 3-4 separate lightening sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart to safely transition black dyed hair to a light blonde shade. Trying to drastically lighten hair in one session risks massive damage. Taking it slow allows the hair to recover between appointments.

Products to Help Lighten Black Hair Dye

Using the right lightening products is key to effectively lifting black pigment while minimizing damage. Some products that can aid the process include:

  • Color Remover – Helps strip some black dye before lightening.
  • Clarifying Shampoo – Removes buildup for better lightener penetration.
  • 30+ Volume Lightener – Higher volume lightens stubborn dark pigment.
  • Purple Shampoo – Neutralizes brassy yellow tones.
  • Olaplex – Bonding treatment repairs and strengthens hair.
  • Protein Filler – Reconstructs hair between sessions.

Tips for Maintaining Lighter Hair After Dyeing It Black

Once you’ve successfully lightened black dyed hair, maintenance is crucial for keeping hair healthy and vibrant. Here are some top tips:

  1. Use a Sulfate-Free Shampoo – Gentler cleansing preserves color.
  2. Shampoo Less Frequently – Washing less helps limit fading and drying.
  3. Use a Purple Shampoo – Keeps blonde tones bright and neutralizes brassiness.
  4. Apply a Weekly Mask – Intense hydration prevents damage and dryness.
  5. Protect Hair From Sun – UV rays speed up fading for lighter colors.
  6. Get Regular Trims – Prevent split ends and breakage.
  7. Avoid Heat Styling – Limit use of hot tools to maintain integrity.
  8. Get Gloss Treatments – Refreshes tone and shine between salon visits.

What Level to Lift Black Hair to First?

When lightening black dyed hair, it’s best to lift hair to a medium brown shade first, around a level 5 or 6. Jumping straight to a light blonde risks major breakage and an uneven “hot root” effect. Going from black to a medium brown provides a solid base to then lighten further to pale blonde tones.

Can You Dye Hair After Bleaching Black Hair?

It’s best to wait 2-3 weeks after bleaching black hair to dye it again. Bleaching is very damaging, so hair needs time to recover and rebuild lost moisture and protein before applying more chemical treatment. Be sure to deep condition regularly before attempting to dye bleached hair.

What Kind of Dye Can Go Over Bleached Black Hair?

Here are some effective dye options that can work with bleached black hair:

  • Demi-Permanent Dye – Less damaging for compromised hair.
  • Ammonia-Free Permanent Dye – Gentler formula with added conditioners.
  • Highlights/Lowlights – Adds dimension without solid color.
  • Gloss/Toner – Refreshes tone without full coverage.
  • Semi-Permanent Dye – Temporary color that fades gradually.

Always do a strand and patch test first when applying dye to bleached hair. Focus on hydration and nourishment to keep bleached strands healthy.

How to Care for Hair After Bleaching Black Hair

Bleached black hair needs special care and attention during the post-lightening phase. Here are some tips for maintaining the health of hair after bleaching:

  • Use a weekly reconstructor treatment.
  • Avoid heat styling tools.
  • Rinse with cool water to seal the cuticle.
  • Trim regularly to prevent split ends.
  • Use a deep conditioner at least once a week.
  • Wear a protective style like braids or a wig.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner after every wash.
  • Sleep on a silk pillowcase.

Focusing on moisture, protein, and minimizing damage will help support bleached black hair. Be very gentle and patient with the lightening process.

How to Fix Brassy Hair After Bleaching Black Hair

Brassiness is common after bleaching black hair due to the underlying warm pigments. Here are some techniques to counteract brassiness:

  • Use a purple shampoo once or twice a week.
  • Apply a toner or gloss in an ash blonde or platinum shade.
  • Rinse hair with apple cider vinegar to neutralize brassiness.
  • Opt for an ash or platinum toner all over the hair.
  • Use a pigmented conditioner to fight brassiness between washes.
  • Get a professional toner service done at the salon.

Consistency is key when battling brassiness in bleached black hair. It may take multiple toner or gloss appointments to fully neutralize unwanted warm tones.

What is the Process to Highlight Black Hair?

Here are the key steps for highlighting black hair:

  1. Wash and thoroughly dry the hair.
  2. Separate hair into thin subsections.
  3. Weave hair and apply lightener to the highlight strands.
  4. Cover with foil and monitor lift frequently.
  5. Rinse when desired level of lift is reached.
  6. Shampoo, condition, and tone highlights.
  7. Style as desired.

When highlighting black hair, choosing fine highlighting weaves and watching development closely allows for maximum control so hair does not get over-lightened.

Can You Use Bleach to Highlight Black Hair?

Yes, bleach (lightener) is necessary to effectively highlight black hair. Because of the very dark base pigments, highlights on black hair won’t show up without lifting with bleach. Lower volume developers around 20 can help control the lightening process. Monitor often so hair lifts gradually to the desired color.

What Color Highlights Go Well with Black Hair?

Here are some top highlight shade options that pair beautifully with black hair:

  • Caramel
  • Warm Golden Blonde
  • Honey Blonde
  • Strawberry Blonde
  • Copper Red
  • Auburn
  • Bright Red
  • Violet

Choose shades that contrast well with the black base to make the highlights stand out. Warm tones tend to look most natural and harmonious with black hair.

Can You Put Black Dye Over Highlights?

It is possible to go back to solid black hair over highlights, however the results can be uneven and opaque. The previously lightened strands will likely grab the dark dye differently. It’s better to grow out old highlights over time rather than try to dye back to black. Using temporary black colors may disguise highlights slightly.


Transitioning dyed black hair to a lighter blonde shade takes time, patience, and TLC for severely compromised strands. But going slow with a series of lightening sessions, using nourishing products, and taking proper aftercare makes getting to blonde from black achievable. Focus on gradually lifting color while maintaining integrity. With the right techniques, black hair can successfully be lightened for a beautiful and modern look.

Stage Goal Level Volume Developer Process
1 6-7 Medium Brown 20 or 30 Vol Lighten all over for base
2 8-9 Light Brown 20 or 30 Vol Lighten further to brown blonde
3 10 Pale Blonde 30 or 40 Vol Lift to lightest blonde

This table outlines a gradual approach to lightening dyed black hair in 3 sessions. Lifting hair in stages minimizes damage while allowing time for hair to recover between appointments. The volume developer can be increased slightly with each session as the underlying pigment lightens.

Some key takeaways for successfully lightening black dyed hair include:

  • Lift hair in multiple sessions over several months
  • Use bond building and protective additives
  • Opt for ammonia-free lighteners
  • Thoroughly saturate sections
  • Work in small subsections
  • Frequently monitor lift
  • Tone hair after each session
  • Deep condition after rinsing lightener
  • Trim hair regularly

With the proper timeline, techniques, tools, and aftercare, black box dye can be lightened gradually for beautiful blonde hair. Take it slow for best results with the health of hair in mind.