How to lighten my dark hair at home without it turning orange?
March 4, 2009 12:10 AM   Subscribe

Which at-home hair dye kit should I use to lighten my hair from black to chocolate brown?

I once used an at-home dye kit to lighten my hair and got very good results. That line of hair dye was made specifically for lightening dark hair so that it would not go brassy and orange - I think it was a Garnier line. I'd like to dye my hair again, but the line has been discontinued and I don't know what else would work for my hair.

Also, any specific color/shade recommendations are welcome. My hair would be classified as black (I'm asian), but it's actually a very dark brown and is lighter in the strands around my face and at the ends. I've had bad experiences at hair salons where I asked for my hair to be dyed a couple of shades lighter and they ended up dying my hair even darker than its natural shade, because they assumed that my hair must be jet black due to my ethnicity. If I'm going to smell weird for a day and sustain the damage to my hair, I'd at least like the change in color to be noticeable.

Thanks for your help!
posted by keep it under cover to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Everybody's hair reacts differently to dye. And going lighter from dark hair is really, really tricky. Whatever you decide, do the strand test first!!
posted by iamkimiam at 12:29 AM on March 4, 2009

Do you want to bleach it first, then dye to a colour, or just dye...? Probably the latter, but know that if you bleach you'll most definitely get the shade you want but at the cost of slightly damaged hair and probably having to retouch your roots every so often.

The woman who runs the hair salon I live above recommends going to a beauty supply store and seeing what other kind of kits/dyes they have there over getting the common brands that CVS carries. Also, the employees there might be of better service. I think Redken sells some of their dyes mabye you might want to look into the Double Fusion?
posted by saxamo at 1:34 AM on March 4, 2009

I've been lightening my hair at home for about fifteen years now. I, however, like warm tones, which in my opinion are easier to tone. I've had really good luck with both the Feria and Garnier Fructis (I am not sure how that is spelled). Be sure to look for words that indicate cool or neutral to help prevent any orange tones. If you are iffy about the color, try leaving it on for about half as long as you are supposed to, let it dry, then evaluate. Its cheap enough, that you can give it a couple of trys.
posted by stormygrey at 2:07 AM on March 4, 2009

I would skip the drugstore and head to a beauty supply store instead (are there Sally Beauty stores in Canada?). You'll have to buy your color, developer, and gloves separately, but I think their products work better (and are better for your hair) than drugstore brands. Also the employees generally tend to be at least somewhat informed about the products, and if you tell them what you're looking for, they might be able to make a recommendation.
posted by boomchicka at 4:17 AM on March 4, 2009

I'm really surprised to read that you've had such negative experiences at the salon. Any time I've had my hair dyed professionally, they've gone to great lengths to ensure I got what I wanted. Once, this involved coming in for a second, free appointment a few days after the initial job. Go talk to some respected salons and tell them your concerns- I'm sure that you will be able to find someone to do the right job. Make sure to make an appointment with the head colourist, and not just one of their run-of-the-mill stylists. There is a huge difference.
posted by sunshinesky at 5:25 AM on March 4, 2009

I have been using this to take my very dark brown hair to bright red. I can get it at Sally's Beauty Supply.

(The red is a bit extreme, but that's what I was looking for. I imagine the soft brown would be more natural-looking.)
posted by JoanArkham at 5:50 AM on March 4, 2009

I have had some nightmarish experiences at getting rid of black hair (but it was dyed black) either at a salon or otherwise. I had to try a couple different salons to find a pro to get my hair right and it took months of lifting a little bit at a time.

That being said now that the black is out of my hair we dye it with Manic Panic every 4 weeks or so. I say this because Manic Panic recommends using their own "bleach" kit before going forward with their coloring (although I have no personal experience with it, sorry)... Might be something to check in to.
posted by getawaysticks at 9:44 AM on March 4, 2009

I'm not certain, but I feel like there was a Feria or other L'oreal line designed specifically for dark hair. You could also always call the hotline number for the haircolor companies -- they can offer you advice.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:55 AM on March 4, 2009

I use L'Oreal Preference Ultra-Lightening to take my hair a shade or two up from its normal dark brown. They say that if you're not sure which shade, choose the lighter. You'll probably find them in CVS or Walgreen's.

FWIW, I use the Ultra Light Ash Brown, which takes my hair from its natural dark brown (with the odd silver sneakers in there) to a mid-chocolatey brown.
posted by essexjan at 10:34 AM on March 4, 2009

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