“How easy is it to change from brunette to blonde?” was the questions posed to me by a friend. I asked the same question to Goldwell Celebrity Colorist Rona O’Connor. Rona is responsible for one of my favourite blondes, Blake Lively, who is just one of her many celebrity clients who frequently change their hair colour for roles.
Rona shared her tips for changing your hair colour from brunette to blonde, but how long can you expect to be in the salon to see results, and how often will you need to go back?
It all depends on how dark your natural colour is, and what shade of blonde you want to become. You can change your hair colour in one visit but is not usually recommended. Rona warns,
“You can change your color in one visit, but, if you have previously colored hair or have a damaged texture, the coloring process will take longer to become a blonde. If your hair is brittle or damaged as a brunette, it will take more visits to be light blonde to keep your hair healthy. Healthy hair reflects your best blonde!“
There are three easy options to change your brunette hair to blonde in the salon:
- Highlighting with several lighter shades shades – this can be done in two and a half to three hours, thicker hair will take longer. You’ll need to return to the salon approximately every six weeks.
- Lightening your hair overall, with highlighting and toning to achieve your perfect blonde – this process will take approximately three hours. You’ll need root touch ups every four weeks plus highlights at every second appointment.
- Bleach blonde and toned – make sure you choose a reputable salon for your first time. You’ll be in the salon for most of the day, and will need four weekly appointments for root touch ups.
Rona warns against using box colour for a major hair colour change.
“Box colors for a brunette trying to go blonde could be risky. Often the color results are gold or orange. I would only recommend a professional for a dramatic change like this. There is too much room for error.”
“On a personal note: I am a natural brunette, that likes to be blonde, and had my own color disaster as a teenager and didn’t know a corrective colorist. The most common mistakes people make when coloring at home, is believing they’ll look like the box.”
Have you ever tried to go from brunette to blonde using a box colour?
I have medium brown virgin hair and have an appointment to go honey blonde (not from the roots but more of a fade into blonde), do you think this will be achieveable in just one appointment?
Hi there. It is going to be my very first time colouring my hair. My natural hair is almost black and makes me look very washed out. I’m looking to go a strawberry blonde, I don’t want to go a white blonde as it prob won’t suit me. I would like a dark kind of blonde like natural looking. My hair is very dry I have a dry scalp and dandruff. Also hair is damaged from using a straightener. I’m also afraid that the hairdresser won’t be able to do it. Also I heard from people from colouring their hair that it’s not as soft and silky like it used to be and gets strawy and coarse from it. Any advice please.
Hayley Towey Hall says
I’ve coloured my hair dark brown twice over a year , it faded dramatically to alight red brown, I’ve been to the salon 3 times for full head of highlights, my hair is still dramatically ginger 3/4 of it, she’s been using 6% peroxide and says she never uses more than 9, I think it’s going to take at least 3 more visits and it won’t be completely gone, is she doing this deliberately to make more money from me ? She keeps trying to get me to cut my hair shorter each time so I can “cut” out the ginger
Camilla Strunk Nielsen says
Hi i have a wedding next summer and I do wish for long healthy hair. I am a blonde, dirty blonde by nature.
But Are thinking about a light golden blonde achieved with highlights or a dark brown, i have been dark before, but I sometimes get a headache after colouring when i was brown, but not every time.
The most importen is long healthy hair, so Will highlights destroy My hair at some point? Even when it would be every third month.
Or Will i get most healthy hair by going dark brown?
Best regards Camilla
Hair Romance says
Hi Camilla, going lighter is always a little more damaging than going dark, but I’d have a chat to your colourist about how your hair can cope. I think it’s better to enjoy your hair, whatever length it is, rather than having hair you don’t like because you want it to be longer. Clip in hair extensions can give you the length you want if you only want them for a wedding 😉
Hi, i am having a weeding next summer, and I really would like to have as healthy and long hair as possible. I am by nature what you would call a blond, dirty blonde with light blue eyes.
And I am flirting with the idea of golden light blonde hair. I thinking about achieving it with highlights to look natural.
But also a dark brown, i have tried dark brown in the past but I am sometimes surffering from headache after that.
My goal is just long ” healthy” hair as possible.
What is best? And can you have long hair while doing highlights?
Clarrissa Johnson says
Ladies of all ethnicity leave that bleach alone. It destroys the hair. Get you a high lift one step color. If needed wait 3weeks and do it again. Please leave the bleach alone. Once the hair is destroyed its destroyed expect hair lose in abundance. Over time you will see.
Hey, so I’ve been talking about changing my hair color with Mom for a while. She says the salon will only go two shades lighter at once. I have a medium brown hair color and I want a very light platinum blonde hair color. This would be my first time dying my hair so I’m honestly a little nervous. My Mom thinks we should bleach it at home, however I feel a little uneasy about this. My hair has a couple dead ends, I don’t know if that would affect the process. I’m fifteen, turning sixteen in a month and have long hair. Could I get platinum blonde in one visit, if not how many visits would it take? I’m also a little worried about going gradually lighter as I’m very picky about my hair and might not like some shades. Is there anything specific I should get or request that will help? (I also want to dye the tips a baby blue)
Hi, I have been trying to go lighter over a few sessions by balayage technique. I have had 5,6 sessions now with bleach over a couple of months, my natural root is a 5 base but my base at the moment is a 6. Even though I have done it over a few sessions with olaplex so it doesn’t become damaged the mid lengths and 60% of the ends have massive amounts of warm tones, I have tried cooler tones using Wella 8/81, 9/8, 9/1 still no help, so I tried fudge silver shampoo and conditioner still warm, then I tried a /6 wella colour fresh and it is still warm, have you any advice of what to do? I just hate that it’s so multi tonal and I’m getting fed up but I don’t want to go back brown again because it’s taken so long to get blonde, many thanks
Hair Romance says
Hi Elle, if there are warm tones, it may be in the colouring process in that they’re not lifting your hair light enough. I’m not a colourist so can’t comment on products and I would recommend you go for a consultation in salon to see if they can recommend a new process or toner to adjust your colour x
Hi. I dyed my hair a reddish brown 6 months ago and went today to the hair salon to go to a medium champagne blonde. I came out of the salon with a slightly lighter color but not close to the color I wanted but the stylist kept telling me that the color I want will show up in a couple of weeks. Is that true?
Hair Romance says
Hi Norrah, it’s very difficult to lighten hair to a champagne blonde, especially having previously been dyed with any red tones. I’m not sure what she means bu your hair will lighten, I guess if you’re in the sun a lot? However she’s probably doing the right thing by your hair in lightening it over a few visits. You wouldn’t want to compromise teh quality of your hair by going light in one session x
Charity Jeanette Martinez says
So my hair is dark brown and I need some help … I’m trying to go platinum blonde or just an ombré but they told me it would take 5 visits to get it the color I want but I’m so desperate to get it done cause I’ve been waiting so long and just had my baby 2 weeks ago went 9 months without dying my hair. Is there a blonde I can do that it will be done the same day I go in and it actually look good?¿ hopefully this makes sense lol
Hair Romance says
Hi Charity, I don’t know of any blonde you can do in a day that won’t damage your hair. If you want ombre blonde hair, I really recommend clip in hair extensions. So much easier and you can change your hair in seconds xx
My natural hair colour is dark brown I would love to dye it ash blonde but it’s my first time getting my hair dyed and I’m scared I will really damage my hair I would love your opinion on what I should do
I decided to go for a lighter color, my natural hair color is a medium brown.. I have already been to the salon twice in the past 3 months for blonde highlights.. the first time they came out a gold/brass color and the last time I went the highlights came out a little better, my beautician toned my hair this time as well.. I’m just curious how many sessions could this take for me to achevie the blonde I’m going for (ice/light ash blonde)? I understand this is a process.. Also, how long should I wait in between times to do another session?
I NEED HELP! I’ve recently dyed my hair dark brown about 4 weeks after getting it professionally bleached. I dyed it dark because the bleaching made my hair orange! I want the platinum look before I go back to school in 2 months. Would it be possible to get my hair platinum within that time? I dread the possibility of my hair falling out! But I want this done asap .
Hair Romance says
Hi Bailey, oh I know the feeling but I’m not sure you can keep your hair and go platinum in two months. With the dark dye over your lightened hair, it will be difficult to lift your hair to blonde again. Going platinum is a pretty lengthy process too. It can take up to 9 hours in the salon and sometimes two visits of this length. Not only is that $$$$ but you’ll have regrowth that will need to be coloured every 4-6 weeks as well. Don’t stress, go and have a consultation at a salon to see what they suggest. I wouldn’t go with anyone that says they can do it quickly as it most likely would compromise your hair. Sorry I don’t have an easy answer for you, good luck and hope you get back to blonde soon. Christina xx
I have a little longer than shoulder length hair and also have thin hair. I am a natural dark ash blonde that I recently dyed medium brown. I wantvto go back to my natural dark ash blonde with some low lights and maybe sokme lighter blonde highlights. I was wondering how long the process would take to do. Thank you so much.
Hair Romance says
Hi Brandi, with highlights you could get a good result in one session but I’d chat to a hairdresser to be sure. Most likely it would be 2-3 appointments to get your perfect blonde xx
Hi, my natural color is light brown and now some grey growing in. I was dying it blond with dark brown low lights and then I went crazy and had it done green, orange, dark brown and yellow. It’s been a few months and now it’s a horrible mess of worn out colors. I have a salon appointment to go all blond and my stylist said she will just heavy foil it. Is this going to destroy my hair? Are there any suggestions I can give my stylist as to eliminate any more damage as she is not very experienced.
Emily Jane says
This has been a very interesting read not sure the post is still active… but!!!
My natural hair is a medium brown. But have been dying it for years all varying shades of brown at the salon. With occasional highlights and balayage.
However earlier this year i was determined to try a new colour bright red. I went into a salon and they said they could dye it red, however due to previous balayage they could not guarentee the red would be all one shade throughout the hair. On impulse i insisted they went along with it, so they obliged. I loved it… for the first couple of weeks. But the more i washed it the more it faded and i began to lose steam. I wanted another new colour!
Roughly 3 months after the red dye was applied i went to another salon, and i was desperate to go light blonde. They said it could be done but over time. I booked an appointment and they said they would get it lighter, but needed to focus on removing the red from the hair (it had faded to a orangey colour at the ends and was a dark red at the root, thanks to the bayalage from previous dyes). So long story short, they gave me another balayage dark brown at the roots, and woven highlights. It definitly doesnt seem lighter. Now it looks brown on the midlengths to end, the red didnt really come out of the roots as well as they hoped and is still clung on but is much darker. They also applied a toner to the highlights, which are now very grey looking. They also chopped off a good 5 inches, much to my dismay, as i only wanted a trim, and when the stylist showed me how much he wanted to cut i asked if he could cut max of 2 inches, but he cut off 5 inches anyway. I was upset by the whole experience as i hadnt achieved anything that i wanted. And lost a lot of length off of my slow growing hair. I still would like to go light blonde, but with the red still showing theough the dark brown in the root area, im not sure how blonde will go over it. Is it still possible to go much lighter? In the end i hope to get rid of the balayage and be an all over light blonde. What can i tell a salon to get the desired result? Full head of woven highlights? All over colour? Confused and not sure what to do?
Sorry for the essay post! 🙂 x
Hair Romance says
Hi Emily Jane, your hair sounds like it has gone through as much colour as my hair! When I went red it took about 2 years to get back to the light blonde that I wanted. Or maybe 18 months, anyway it was a really long time! Red dye is the quickest to fade but it’s also the most persistent and sticks around for a long time. Don’t worry about the over toned ends of your hair, they usually go more violet-grey at the salon as it washes out quickly once you get home. You can go blonde but if you want to keep your hair, go slowly. Highlight is probably your best best as it will blend all the colours that are in your hair and look more natural as you go lighter. It’s also more predictable as it’s hard to create an even colour over balayage and the red dye. I ended up doing a root colour and highlights and my salon uses Olaplex which meant I could go a lot lighter. Check out my post on Olaplex here – https://www.hairromance.com/2015/05/how-to-go-blonde-with-less-damage-olaplex-review.html. You can see there’s still a lot of red in my hair. My hair is now this colour – https://www.hairromance.com/2016/11/quick-easy-braided-updo-tutorial-beginners.html xx
Susan M. says
Just came across this… So helpful.
My natural hair color is dark brown. I currently have a short pixie haircut that I have cut and colored every 4 weeks (due to some stubborn gray). Although my hair doesn’t have much gray at all, it shows up a lot at my temples because it contrasts so much against dark brown. At the salon, they most often do root touch-ups and on occasion pull the dye all the way through.
I have recently seen hair dyed gray and was wondering what your thoughts were on my ability to achieve this. Would it be possible to go from dyed dark brown to dyed gray? The look I’m going for isn’t natural gray. I want it to look like it was intentionally dyed gray. Given my hair is short, I’m not sure foils would be the best method to begin lightening, as the back of my hair is fairly short and I wouldn’t want it to look spotty. Given the length of my hair, although dyed regularly it is very healthy. Could this gray color be achieved in a single visit? Any info would be appreciated.
Hair Romance says
Hi Susan, I love the dyed grey look but it is harder to achieve than you think.
There isn’t a specific grey dye, like for blondes, brunettes or redheads. They need to mix a specific colour and it usually involves lightening all of your hair to an almost platinum blonde level.
For shot hair, this is easy to do and I wouldn’t worry about the damage as short hair grows quickly and is cut regularly. It is possible to do in one appointment but may take 6+ hours to do. It would depend on how much dark dye is in your hair and how easily it lifts.
I would say from those I know with dyed grey hair that it takes a couple of appointments to get the colour just right.
Good luck! I think it is a fab idea xx
I am in the process of going blonde, I have naturally dark brown hair and had never dyed it before this. I have had 2 sets of highlights on it so far, I want to achieve a dirty/honey blonde but I am still a few shades off this, do you think one more session will get me to the look I require?
Hair Romance says
Hi Jo, it’s very hard for me to say but I would follow your hairdresser’s advice. It may seem like it’s taking forever now but it’s important to maintain your hair quality so slow if often better 🙂