How to Dye Brown Hair Blonde

How to Dye Brown Hair Blonde

This is an article on how to dye brown hair blonde.

I have a lot of fun with different hair colors. I have naturally dark hair so it’s not the most exciting hair color there is. It’s what pushed me to enjoy playing around with different hair colors. From a lighter brown hair, highlights, bleaching, and the fun pinks and purples, I’ve tried them all on me.

I’ve had my fair share of experience of both DIY bleaching both at home and getting it done professionally at a salon. Brown hair has a lot of layers to lift for any signs of blonde hair color to show up and look pretty. Though going from a dark hair color like brown hair to blonde hair is difficult, it’s not entirely impossible, especially with the right steps to follow.

For today’s know-how, I have below the very steps you should take on when you’re going from brown hair- whether dark brown hair, medium brown hair, or light brown hair – to blonde hair. I’ve also included some preparations and precautions to keep in mind just to ensure that you achieve your desired results in your blonde hair transformation.

How to Dye Brown Hair Blonde

1. Choose your blonde hair shade

Going from dark brown hair to blonde is not an easy process. It’s not entirely impossible as some people would tell you but it’s definitely a challenge. Before going ahead and mixing your coloring solution, you should first ask yourself what blonde result you’re expecting.

If you’re doing an at home DIY blonde job, there’s obviously no room for miscommunication and mistranslation. But if you’re going to a salon for an appointment, make sure you have at least 3 pictures to show your colorist of the color you’re trying to achieve. Remember, a picture is better than describing it with words.

Blonde hair can have many underlying tones that will affect the final result. You can have white, platinum, ash, yellow, orange, and rose gold shades, to name a few. This will determine the formula you should use. Check out our inspiration guides on light blonde, dirty blonde, and dark blonde hair shades.

Hair color levels system

Bleached hair levels

Before proceeding with your dyeing job, it’s also important to familiarize yourself with the hair color levels system. It’s basically a way to tell how light or how dark your hair color is. According to the system, there are 10 hair color levels, with 1 being the darkest, which is black, and with 10 the lightest blonde.

Knowing where your current hair color is in the system is a way to determine how you’re going to proceed dyeing your hair to blonde. Let’s say you’re starting at a level 2, a dark brown hair, and you want to achieve a level 10, which is the lightest blonde. To achieve that, you would have to lift 8 levels. But if you’re starting at a level 5, you only need to lift 5 levels to achieve a level 5.

Each hair level also has its own accompanying undertones which would greatly affect how hair color processes your hair. This should also play a role in choosing your preferred blonde shade.

Knowing where you’re at and knowing where you want your hair to be is a great help in determining how you should proceed with the dyeing job.

2. What’s your technique

Going blonde doesn’t just mean full-head application. You can go blonde through many different styling techniques. Aside from full-head application, there’s the option of highlights, ombre, or balayage. 

Full-head application means going blonde from roots to tips so make sure you’re ready for the solution to touch your scalp and sting a bit. Highlights, ombre, and balayage wouldn’t entail this as much and would only bleach and lighten specific parts to achieve a certain style.

  1. Prepare what you need

Now that you’ve determined the blonde shade you’re after, it’s now time to make sure you have everything you need to dye your hair. It’s important to have everything you would need within an arm’s reach to make it easier for you, especially if you’re doing the dyeing yourself.

  • Hair lightener or bleach
  • Volume developer
  • Mixing bowls for the dyeing solution
  • Applicator brush
  • Gloves and old shirts
  • Hair clips
  • Toner

4. Prepare your hair

Dyeing, coloring, and lightening hair can be a damaging and drying process for your hair – that is no secret. That’s why it’s very important to prep your hair before the coloring session to make sure your hair and scalp are healthy and that you finish off with minimal damage.

So, how does one prepare for a coloring and lightening session?

In the few weeks leading up to your coloring session, make sure you give your hair and scalp as much moisture as you can and as needed. Coloring, let alone going from brown to blonde, is very drying. Up your moisture game in those few weeks to ensure that you go into with the healthiest hair and scalp possible.

One to two days prior to your coloring session, it’s best not to wash your hair. What this will do is allow your hair to build a protective layer on your scalp with its natural oils. This will protect your scalp from too much damage and will, to some degree, keep it moisturized.

Wounds, spots, and abrasions on the scalp can make it extra sensitive to the coloring and lightening solution. Avoid scratching or picking at your scalp in the few weeks before your session to avoid that extra sensitivity.

5. Mix developer and hair lightener

Now that we’ve got all the preparation stages out of our way, it’s now time to mix your coloring solution. You would do this with your developer and hair lightener or bleach of your choice.

The manufacturer of the product of your choosing will tell you the proper ratio of your coloring solution. Generally, the recommended ratio for the bleach and developer mixture is 1:2 – one part of bleach for every two parts of the developer.

Remember, do not eyeball this part. Always follow the right measurements as the right mixture will play a huge role on whether or not your dyeing job will be successful.

6. Section hair and apply

Remember to wear gloves before application. As the bleaching solution is a strong chemical, it can irritate if there is direct contact on bare skin. Opt to wear clothes you don’t mind staining as it will stain clothes. 

When coloring hair, it’s best to section your hair into 4 large parts. Start application with one of the back parts. Apply the bleach solution to thin and fine sections of that back part. Remember, start application at the roots and middle section of the strands first. Save the roots for later as roots tend to process and lighten faster than the rest of the hair. This will prevent uneven color results.

Repeat the process for the rest of sectioned hair parts.

7. Time to tone

Now that you’ve waited for the appropriate amount of time for the bleach to process and lighten your hair and wash the solution out of your hair, it’s time for toner.

A toner is also known as a coloring job for blonde hair. A toner basically helps get rid of orange, red, and brassy tones on bleached hair. It’s also a way to personalize your blonde shade into what you’re hoping to achieve. Using and applying a toner after the bleaching session gives your hair a more natural look instead of it ending up a harsh bleaching job.

Toner is used and mixed just like bleach. You also follow the same 1:2 ratio of toner to developer. Read more about how long to leave toner in hair before moving on.

And voila – welcome to the blonde train!

But Wait…Before You Go Blonde

Going blonde is a fun and wild experience. It’s beautiful, bold, and can often be a statement. It’s sure to turn heads wherever you go. Anyone can go blonde no matter what people tell you, just make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Below are a few more reminders (and some precautions) before you decide to go all out blonde.

Going blonde might take more than one (or a few) sessions, depending on how light of a blonde shade you’re going for. This is definitely true if you’re coming from jet black hair to the lightest or platinum shade of blonde.

Going blonde can be very drying on hair and can often lead to damage. Because of this, you might need to up your moisture game well after your session. Good bond repair treatments are also great at bringing your hair back to optimal health.

If you have textured hair, bleach and hair coloring might take more effort to bond into your hair. Textured hair is also more dry and fragile than other hair types. If you have textured hair, you might notice a change in your curl pattern and texture right after going blonde. No worries though as with the right products and treatments, your natural curls and texture will go back to how they used to be.

Blonde hair requires more maintenance than brown hair. If you went with a full-head blond application, you would need to frequent salons for touch-ups or more frequent DIY touch-ups at home. It might also require you more bleaching sessions if you’re going for very light shades of blonde.

If you don’t like too frequent root touch ups, balayage or highlights are a good way to go low-maintenance blonde.

After Color Care and Maintenance

As we’ve mentioned above again and again, going blonde requires a lot more maintenance than any other hair color. So, how does one do it?

Opt for color-safe hair products. Regular products with the usual chemicals and ingredients might cause your new hair color to fade too quickly. Sulfate free products are also a better choice for your new blonde hair.

Keep a purple shampoo in stock and use it regularly. A good purple shampoo to use every week or whenever your hair needs it helps you maintain the beautiful color of your locks. It’s able to get rid of any orange-y or brassy tones.

Up your moisture game – and this includes both regular conditioner and deep conditioner. After going from brown to blonde, hair can be dry and fragile. It needs the right amount of moisture so it can repair and rejuvenate itself. Bond care products are also excellent choices to add to nurse your hair back to optimal health.

And lastly, retouching hair with lightener and toner should be done 6 to 8 weeks. It seems like a lot but this is to keep the color’s integrity and true pigment.


Going from brown hair to blonde is difficult and a long process but it’s not entirely impossible as some people would think.

When going blonde, you have a variety of colors and shades to choose from. It’s also important to note each shade’s accompanying undertones. You can opt for different techniques and styles – full-head, balayage, ombre, or highlights. Knowing the shade you’re after is important to determine how you should proceed with the dyeing job.

Going from brown to blonde can also be painful and stripping for the scalp and hair. This is why one should prep their hair before the set appointment. Moisture is very important to dyed and bleached hair – both before and after the coloring job. And you should also let the hair’s natural oils protect the scalp well before and during bleaching.

Going in with a toner allows you to personalize your blonde shade all the while getting rid of orange, red, and brassy tones. It also helps you achieve a more natural blonde look instead of something that just looks harsh.

Going from brown hair to blonde is a big decision as it takes a toll on your hair’s health. It also requires a lot more maintenance than brown hair.

Before you go and make the big decision, consider all other factors that come with it because there are a lot.

Lastly, happy blonde-ing!