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How to Lighten Dark Brown Hair to Light Brown?

How to Lighten Dark Brown Hair to Light Brown?

Changing your hair color from a darker shade to a lighter one always comes with certain challenges. There are also differences between lightening your natural hair color or your colored hair shade.

In this guide, we will talk about how you can get from a dark shade of brown to a light one.

It is important to go through this transition the right way if you don’t want to radically damage your hair. If you dyed your hair in a darker shade than you want the tips here will be very useful.

You can use bleach or home remedies such as lemon, salt, chamomile tea, or others in order to get your brown hair lighter.

We will go through each one of these methods step by step so you can achieve just the shade of brown you want. So, keep reading and decide which method suits you best.

We have to mention that all the following methods are safe to try at home, as long as you follow the right steps. Don’t overdo it and don’t take any risks because you might not get the results that you are looking for.

How to Lighten Dark Brown Hair to Light Brown?

The fastest, as well as the most common option to lighten the shade of your hair radically, is using bleach.

You can go to a salon to bleach your hair or do it at home. However, you should be aware of the fact that this method is also the most harmful one. It becomes even more dangerous for your hair if you bleach it too often.

Here are the steps that you should take to lighten your brown hair at home.

Step 1: Make sure your hair is dry and you have the right tools to bleach it

Before you bleach your hair you should make sure that is it dry and it has been at least 24 hours since you washed it last. Use a bleach of 10 percent volume if you want to get your hair one or two tones lighter.

If you want a more drastic change you can go for a 30 percent or even 40 percent bleach. But keep in mind that the stronger the bleach is, the more dangerous it becomes for your hair.

You will need a dye brush and a towel in this process. It will help you to have a shower cap or anything else that you can cover your hair with.

You might also need a toner to get rid of brassy or orange highlights in your hair after you bleached it.

This depends on the color of your hair as brunettes are at more risk of getting such a brassy effect. Get all the tools and products you need handy so you don’t waste time looking for them once you get started.

Step 2: Apply the bleach

You will have to prepare the bleach powder according to the instructions. You will get everything you need in the package. Basically, you will mix the developer with the bleach powder until you get a homogeneous cream.

Apply this cream on your hair evenly by using the brush. You will apply it in the same way you would use hair dye. It is important to keep a 1 cm distance from your scalp.

Bleach is a strong combination of chemicals that could easily burn your scalp. This risk is even greater if you use a 40 percent volume or stronger. Try to apply your bleach on your hair fast.

It will start lightening your hair rapidly and if you don’t speed up the process you will end up with uneven color.

Place the shower cap or another plastic bag over your hair once you applied all your bleach. Give it as much time to take effect as it says on the package.

Some products might require 20 minutes while others might need 40 to 60 minutes.

Step 3: Rinse your hair

You will notice the effect of the bleach by checking the shade of your hair regularly. Try to take a look every five minutes in order to decide when your hair is light enough.

When you are satisfied with the shade you got, you can rinse the bleach of your hair. Use lukewarm water and no shampoo for this wash.

Step 4: Neutralize your shade

If your hair is very dark, you will need to use a toner. Apply this toner just like you applied your bleach. It will take about 20 to 30 minutes to take action and you will end up with a light, even shade.

Not everyone needs to go through this step. If your hair is not very dark or if you bleached your natural color, you might get away without the toner. But it is nevertheless useful to have it handy as you never know what you will get after the bleaching process.

Also Read: How to Use Hair Toner After Bleaching?

Step 5: Apply your hair dye

Now, you have to know that bleaching your hair will not give you the definite shade you want. It will lighten your brown shade to a significant degree though. This process will make it easier for you to apply the type of dye you want.

It is better if you can give your hair one day before you apply the dye so it can catch some of its natural balance. But if you don’t have this time, you can also apply the hair dye after the bleach and toner.

Use a dye brush and apply the color on dry hair. You can blow dry your hair before this or allow it a few hours to dry naturally. Most hair dyes require about 30 minutes to give you the color you want. So, you will not have to wait too long.

Step 6: Rinse your hair and admire your new, lighter shade of brown

All you have left to do now is rinse your dye off your hair.

You don’t need shampoo here either but you should use a moisturizing conditioner. Choose a conditioner that will add all the nourishment and hydration your hair needs after the bleaching and dyeing processes.

You can also use coconut oil at the end of this journey. Coconut oil will moisturize your hair fast and it has a great healing factor.

Can You Go From Dark Brown to Light Brown Without Bleach?

If you want to go from a dark brown to a light brown in a more natural and less harmful way, you have plenty of options. You should know that none of the following methods is fast, nor it will give you instant results. But they will definitely get your hair lighter without exposing it to dangerous chemicals.

Vinegar and water

If you rinse your hair with a mixture of vinegar and water, you will notice that it gets lighter over time. You will have to stay persistent at this and have the right amount of patience.  

You will need six parts of water with one part vinegar. Rinse your hair for 10 to 15 minutes with this mixture every time you wash your hair. If you use apple vinegar you will reduce some of the vinegar smell. Any type of vinegar will work the same though.

Add some salt

Salt can also help you reduce the darkness of your brown hair. If you mix one part of salt with five parts of water and wash your hair with it, you might notice a difference.

People notice that their hair gets lighter if they swim in salty water as well.

You will have to let the salt and water sit in your hair for about 15 minutes in order to notice an effect. Do this as often as you need until you reach your ideal shade of brown.

Use some vitamin C along with your shampoo

For this method, you will need tablets of vitamin C and your regular shampoo. Use eight or nine vitamin C tablets and crush them until they get close to a powder form.

Mix this powder with your regular shampoo and keep washing your hair as normal. You should notice that your hair becomes lighter over the course of several weeks.

Plus, vitamin C is very healthy for your hair as well. It is important to use plain vitamin C, though. Any other medicine that includes vitamin C will not work as well because they are not as concentrated.

Honey can also lighten your hair

Another natural option you have to lighten your brown hair if you don’t like chemicals is honey. Honey also contains hydrogen peroxide which is efficient in lightening your hair color. But this method is a gambling one.

It will work great for some while others might not notice such a big difference. The effects you get are according to the texture of your hair as well as if it is a natural brown shade or not. Colored hair tends to respond less to this honey treatment.

You will have to mix two tablespoons of honey in water or even vinegar and give it time to dilute. Because honey is sticky, it will be uncomfortable to apply it directly to your hair.

Cover your hair with this mix and use a shower cap. Your hair should stay soaked in the honey and water or vinegar mix overnight. If the method worked for you, you will notice that your hair is lighter in the morning, after you rinse it.

Also Read: How Long Does it Take to Dye Hair at a Salon & Home?

Lemon juice

Lemon is a great natural solution when you want to get your hair lighter. You can use lime juice as well but lemon tends to be more efficient. Mix one part lemon juice with one part water and add it to a spray container.

Use it to spray your hair throughout the day with this mix. Make sure you spray it all over and don’t wash it for a few days. If you do that once an hour or as often as you remember, your hair should get lighter in a couple of days.

When you do wash your hair, you will have to use a good conditioner because lemon will also get your hair dry. You will have to wash your hair weekly or maximum twice a week for this method to give you the best results.

Chamomile tea is also a great natural option

Most likely you heard about the health benefits of chamomile tea. But you probably don’t know that it can lighten your hair color as well. Make a concentrated chamomile tea without adding any other ingredients.

Use natural chamomile for the best effects. Apply the tea on your hair until it is completely soaked in it. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let it sit for about one hour.

If you do this twice a week, you will notice a healthier and lighter hair. It works best on natural brown hair but you can expect some results for colored hair too.


Finding the best hair color is not easy. But if you have a darker shade of brown than you prefer, try applying the methods in this guide. You will most likely end up with just the right shade of brown.

If you are not in a hurry to change your hair color, we recommend trying the natural remedies before you bleach your hair. This strategy will reduce potential damage to a minimum. And you might be surprised of the positive results you get. You can even combine several natural options in order to get a better and lighter effect.

However, if you do choose to bleach your hair, make sure to hydrate it properly. Bleach will get your hair dry and reduce its health. So, a strong conditioner is essential for such a process.

Using a hair mask once a week will also help you maintain it healthy and shiny.