For Ladies Who Want To Be A Bleached Blond

This post should help ladies, who would like to be very light blond, to understand a process of becoming a blond.

If you were dying your hair with any permanent dark color (dark brown or black) and/or if you did not do each time a color application the right way, you will not be able (most likely) to lift your color to a very pale shade. You may be able to lift (bring) the color to a yellow stage such as Katie Perry's hair color on the left.

Credit: Kate Perry's image is from THIS website

  • Stripping a dark permanent color:

As many of you know, Kate Perry is well known for her carefully coiffed BLACK tresses. In the image above, she went blond. This is a perfect example of stripping her dark hair that she has been coloring for a long time. The area starting at her roots and going half way down her hair length is lighter. Then her mid section is about a shade darker than the root area, and ends are about two shades darker than the roots. The length of her hair is about two years old - what it means is that if anyone would shave their hair, it would take her/him to grow hair to hers/his shoulders in about two plus years. (One year is about a chin length).

So now imagine that you are coloring your hair every 4 weeks (once a month) and you are applying your color all over the hair shaft, you are each time depositing a dark pigment into the hair. In Katie's case the ends (before she became blond) would have about 24 applications, yet directly on the root area she had just one dark color application. Now imagine you have to strip that color - how much more you have to work to remove 24 applications on the ends versus the roots. That is why her hair is lighter on top than on the ends. Even if the colorist tried to strip the hair half way down first.

I can also see that a blue or violet color was applied to combat that yellowness in her hair. So this is how many of you will end if you try to become blond from dark brown or black artificial color.

What I would do in a salon: First I would ask my client to do a heavy duty conditioning treatment at home the day before. Then in the salon I would use first a color remover (such as Effasol) and start from the ends working slowly up the shaft. After the recommended time by the manufacturer I would shampoo and condition the hair and let it dry naturally, because wet hair would dilute the next chemical concoction - I would not speed up drying as I would not want to open pores on the scalp

I would examine hair condition while wet before moving onto a bleach. If hair would still feel strong, I would use on scalp bleach (such as L'Oreal's Super Blue or Clairol's 7th stage - they are about the same), mix it with 40 volume peroxide and all the crystals provided in the package. I would do a super fast application and I would not leave it longer than 30 minutes, as hair could start getting damaged. I would be checking for the condition of the hair continuously and shampoo the bleach as soon as I would feel the hair is starting to look "funny", which would be a sign of hair being damaged. If the chemical would be left on hair any longer, it could start breaking off while dry.

Please, understand that some hair is much weaker than others, so for some even 15 minutes would be too much of a processing. I always recommend anyone to go to very skilled colorist who understands pigmentation and the quality of hair. There are many colorists, but not all have the proper knowledge at working with such strong chemicals. They may know how to use them, but if they do not understand pigmentation and hair quality they still may do a damage. 

  • Stripping a dark semi-permanent color: 
If you use semi-permanent color - it may be similar or perhaps half to one shade  lighter. But again, it really depends on HOW the color was applied, and HOW MANY applications a color remover or bleach must work with.
Other than that everything from above mentioned "stripping a dark permanent color" applies here also.

  • Stripping a naturally dark hair:
If the hair was not colored previously I would skip the Effasol step and start with a bleach instead. Again, it would be great if the hair was heavily conditioned the night before. I would mix my bleach either with 20 or 30 volume peroxide - depending on the natural color. Some natural black color would need even 40 volume peroxide. Before I would decide which peroxide I would use I would do a strand tests (one with 20 volume and one with 40 volume). Because of a body heat and to ensure an even processing (without a blotchiness) I would start putting my bleach mixture onto the hair very swiftly, starting on the ends first. I would wait about 5 minutes and apply it from mid shaft down, blending it with the mixture on the ends. I would wait again about 5 minutes. Then I would apply it about 2 inches away from the scalp, wait 5 minutes, and finally apply it on the scalp. I would watch my time and hair quality every 10 minutes, later on every 5 minutes. If I would need to use heat, I would process my client under the heat lamps (or a dryer).  If I would use heat I would do it with a great caution. Only strong hair can take heat plus chemicals.

  • Stripping some natural and some colored hair:

If any one of you, readers, have long hair that you used to color, but stopped for several months and never cut off your color treated hair, then you have a combination of natural hair and color treated hair. This should be approached with combination of two different application - Effasol and bleach on color treated hair, only bleach on natural hair, taking into consideration all variables of your hair history.

  • After hair is sufficiently light I would apply a toner (or a color) if there would be a need for it.

John Frieda has an interesting page on blond color shades, of course only if the hair was never colored. You may want to visit their web site.


This post should be taken as a first step for a discussion with your hairdresser and/or colorist about your ideas, desires or problems with your hair. Under no circumstances, you should act upon this post ONLY. I strongly advice you to have your hair done by a skilled and reputable hairdresser/colorist in your area.