We’re constantly bombarded by images of celebrities and models dramatically changing their hair colour from dark to light.  What they don’t tell you is that a lot of these photos are taken with wigs, hairpieces and sometimes photoshopped. Now if you don’t have hundreds to spend on your own collection and are looking for something more permanent the big question is - is this really possible?

Well… the answer is yes. Sometimes. It really depends on each individual’s hair, this is why, a lengthy consultation is so important.

So what are the deciding factors:

  • Do you have colour on your hair at the moment? If your hair has a very dark or red colour on your hair, it’s unlikely it will ever be able to lift out to blonde. Why? The darker your hair is, the more red and gold pigments your hair has and these are very difficult to lift out. You’re looking at 6/7 attempts of stripping your hair out before it’s even a light golden tone, and by this point it’s likely to be breaking off and in terrible condition!
  • Is your hair virgin without colour, but dark? If it is and it’s short (maybe no longer than your chin) then it is possible to concentrate on small areas of hair to lift it out, but any longer than that would compromise the condition.

Let’s see this in action.

Below is my client Luke, he has virgin dark hair and we lifted it out and toned it grey. It’s not a fast process, and unless your hair is short it’s a step by step process.

Step 1- Before colour:


Step 2- Mid lengths and ends lifted in foils first (because the heat from the scalp makes the roots lift lighter than the ends)


Step 3- Roots lifted and pulled through the ends


Step 4- Toning out the yellow and adding the silver/grey tone

The finished result

Luke was lucky, he had virgin hair, it was strong and coarse in texture and it was short, although it was a process that took most of the day, for Luke it was possible!

Dark to light is not possible for everyone

When pre-lightening/stripping hair, the hair becomes very dry, porous and vulnerable. I kid you not, it is not a kind thing to do to your hair.

Home care is key

It’s a step by step process. To gradually go lighter, the best way is to build up with highlights, giving your hair at least a month's rest and lots of TLC in between. Be prepared, it’s not going to be a cool or ash colour straight away… It will be a warm colour for a while. For some, for people with reds, or very dark hair it will always show some warmth, without completely wrecking and breaking your hair it’s just not possible.

If you have faith and trust in your stylist, you can have a thorough consultation and they can advise you of the choices that you have; honesty is always the best policy.

So, I hope this has given some insight to the ins and outs of changing your hair colour.

For ideas and advice and hair appointments, you can find me here: Nicola.anne.hair@gmail.com






Nicola Jackson, Creative Stylist



This is Nikki, she's been in the hairdressing industry for 15 years now. Having been trained at Toni and Guy and since then worked at several salons around Leeds, Nikki has built up her clientele before bringing them all to Ego Hair studio. Easy to talk to, a confident stylist that makes people feel great through their hair.