Hair Color

How Light Does Hair Have To Be To Dye It? What is Hair Lightening?

Hair dyeing is on the rise, and with this popularity, there is an increase in the number of people doing it at home. But the worst nightmare that anyone could have is to get a different hair color than expected. Also, many people do not know the whole concept of bleaching and lightening of the hair.

And as hair lightening is an integral part of dyeing, with this come a question of how light the hair must be to dye it?  To which the answer depends upon one’s initial hair color and the color of the hair dye. So if you are wondering about how light your hair must be to dye it: then, this article serves best for you.

What is hair lightening, and why is it needed?

Hair lightening is exactly what its name suggests. It is simply the lightening of the hair before dyeing it. It is the main part of hair coloring as the end hair result depends on the initial hair color.

For lightening purposes, we mainly use bleach. But, there are many other less harmful alternatives that one could explore too. Also, considering the initial hair color and the color you want, one might need multiple bleach sessions.

Lightening is essential because most hair dyes deposit color on the hair. So if we don’t lift the previous hair color, the dye will get deposited in our old base color. It results in a mixed color rather than the expected one.

Here is a number guide on the ten natural hair colors that will guide you.  It will help you to choose the right developer for your bleach+developer mixture.

There are four types of developers available: they are volume 10, 20, 30, and 40. A volume 10 developer lifts 1-2 levels of the hair color.

Likewise, volume 20 and volume 30 developers lift 2-3 levels and 3-4 levels of hair color, respectively. And a volume 40 developer will lift 4 levels of hair color and more.

LevelHair color
 1Black
 2Darkest Brown
 3Dark Brown
 4Brown
 5Light Brown
 6Dark Blonde
 7Blonde
 8Light Blonde
 9Very light Blonde
 10Lightest Blonde

For example, if you have a black ( level 1) hair color and you want to lighten it to brown ( level 4), then this means that you need to lift the hair color by three levels. So for this, a volume 30 developer is the best.

Likewise, to lighten your hair from black (level 1) to light blonde (level 8), 7 level lift is needed. And for this, a volume 40 developer is the best. Also, you might need to bleach multiple times to get your required lighting.

How light does hair have to be to dye it blue?

Blue hair dye comes in multiple shades like light blue, dark blue, pastel, and more.

Hence, based on your preferred shade, the hair has to be light to anywhere around light brown (level 5) to light blonde ( level 8).

And, with the help of the above guide, you can easily determine the level of lift you require and the best developer.

What if the hair is not as light as required?

If the hair is not light enough, then the blue color won’t get in the hair. So there will be only vague effects of blue which will fade away quickly.

What if the hair is lightened more than required?

Up to a certain shade of blonde, one might even get good results but, the hair will end up being green if we blue dye extra lightened hair. It’s because the blonde hair has a yellowish tint on it.

So, when combined with blue, it will give the green color. But we can fix this easily by neutralizing the yellowish tint first with a violet dye.

Below are some of the popular blue hair dyes available in the market:

How light does hair have to be to dye it purple?

The hair has to be anywhere between medium brown (level 5) to lighter shades of blonde: to dye it purple. It is very similar to the blue dye.

Also, the purple dye is available in multiple shades like pastel, lilac, orchid, magenta, indigo, dark purple, violet-black, and more.

Hence, It is always a good idea to confirm your desired shade before lightening your hair.

What if the hair is not as light as required?

In hair without enough lightening, the dye won’t get deposited, resulting in no color change.

What if the hair is lightened more than required?

In extra light hair, the problem is not the lightness of the hair itself but the yellowish tint present. It is because yellow and purple color lies exactly opposite to each other in a color wheel.

So, when mixed, it will give brown color. This same thing happens when we use purple dye directly on light hair with a yellowish tint.

But this can easily be solved by neutralizing the hair before dyeing it purple.

Below are some of Popular purple hair dyes available in the market:

How light does hair have to be to dye it green?

Depending upon the shade of green you want, you will need to dye your hair accordingly.

To dye your hair green, you can lighten your hair to anywhere between light brown (shade 5) to lightest blonde (level 10).

For a darker green color, lightning up to light brown is enough. But if you are going for neons and pastel green color, then the hair needs to be lightened up to the lightest blonde.

What if the hair is not as light as required?

Hair, if not lightened as required, will get only a minimal dye effect.

What if the hair is lightened more than required?

The level to which the hair has been light does not matter in green dye. One will get the corresponding shade of green as per the lightening of the hair.

What matters is the pattern by which the color fades. So if the hair was lightened to blonde with a yellowish tint in it: then as the dye fades, the hair turns into lighter shades of green.

But if the hair was somewhat blue or white blonde then, the hair turns turquoise blue as it fades.

Below are some of popular green hair dyes available in the market:

How light does hair have to be to dye it pink?

The hair has to be light blonde (level 8) to dye it pink. Also, like other dyes, the pink dye has different shades available too. And these shades are achieved by lightening the hair further. 

For example, your hair needs to be platinum blonde to dye it pastel pink and, for neon pink, darker blonde is fine too.

Hence, you will be getting a different shade of pink as you lighten your hair further. A black to brown hair might need to be bleached 4 to 5 times.

What if the hair is not as light as required?

The hair, if not light enough, will turn reddish or orange. It happens due to the mixing of the dark base color and the pink dye itself. It is the sole reason why hair lightening is important before the dye.

What if the hair is lightened more than required?

Similar to the previous two dyes, the amount of lightening for a pink dye will not be that much of a concern. You will be getting a shade of pink at any level of light hair.

Below are some of popular pink hair dyes available in the market:

How light does hair have to be to dye it grey?

For grey hair dye, you should lighten hair to the lightest shade (level 10). Without this, it is not possible to achieve gray hair.

Also, you should neutralize the yellowish and orange undertone as much as possible. You can do this by using a purple shampoo.

So, depending upon your black to brown hair, you might need at least 4 to 5 bleaching sessions.

What if the hair is not as light as required?

The answer is simple for this: it won’t turn gray. The dark hair cannot turn gray if not lightened prior.

What if the hair is lightened more than required?

As we need the lightest shade ( level 10), there won’t be any problem with excess lighting.

Below are some of popular gray hair dyes available in the market:

How light does hair have to be to dye it silver?

Dyeing the hair silver is the same as that of dyeing it gray: the only difference is the dye we use.

Hence, you should lighten your hair to the lightest shade of blonde possible (level 10).  Also, we need to use a toner and a neutralizer to balance out the underlying hue.

Similar to a gray dye, if the hair is not light enough, there won’t be any color deposition and, the silver dye won’t work.

Here are some of popular silver hair dyes available in the market:

How light does hair have to be to dye it red?

Like many other dyes, hair dyeing with a red dye depends upon the shade of the red you want. So, it’s upon one’s individual choice.

For instance, there are five shades of red: auburn, Bright red, Ginger, Copper, and Mahogany. So, you need to lighten your hair anywhere from dark brown (level 3) to dark blonde (level 6) to dye it red.

What if the hair is not as light as required?

The hair color at level 3 (dark brown)  is enough for red dye.  Not light enough generally means the hair is black or darkest brown. In such a case, the red dye will not show up as much as it should have.

What if the hair is lightened more than required?

This will work until and unless you apply an orange-red color to your hair before you dye it red. It is because the red dye if applied right away, turns the hair pink.

A pre-color use will form a base on the lightened hair giving a rich red color. Although, the resultant red might be of a slightly lower shade.

Here are some of popular red hair dyes available in the market:

How light does hair have to be to dye it lavender?

Lavender color is somewhat similar to that of the purple color. The only difference is that of their undertones.

But, unlike the purple dye, you have to lighten the hair to light blonde ( level 8). Also, the rest of the process is similar to that of any other dye.

What if the hair is not as light as required?

If the hair not light enough when dyeing with a lavender dye, the hair might turn purplish.

What if the hair is lightened more than required?

There is no harm in excess lightening of the hair in the case of lavender dye. You will still get lavender hair but in a lighter shade than expected.

Though, neutralizing the undertones with toners or purple shampoos is essential before you dye it.

Here are some of popular lavender hair dyes available in the market:

Final words:

Hair dyeing requires hair lightening. And depending upon the color of the hair dye, we need to lighten the hair accordingly.

Also, all the process listed above applies to a previously dyed hair too. But before you do so, you need to remove the previous hair color with a color remover.

Still, despite the many online information regarding hair lightening, it is always a good idea to consider a professional consultation.

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