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How to Lighten Dark Brown Hair with Box Dye

How to Lighten Dark Brown Hair with Box Dye

As someone with dark brown hair who likes to experiment with color, I can guess that you probably have wondered if you can lighten your dark hair with box dye. I know I have and I even spent hours and hours of research on this topic. And I wasn’t happy about the results.

How to Lighten Dark Brown Hair with Box Dye? Apparently, you CAN’T lighten dark brown hair with regular box dye. However, you can try with a high lift dye. Also, you can lighten your hair gradually with some kitchen ingredients. Keep on reading to find out how and decide what works for you. Let’s dive into the subject.

Can you lighten your hair with box color?

As I mentioned in the beginning, no, you cannot lighten your hair with box color, unless it’s a high lift dye such as the ones professional hairdressers use. Other than that you should use bleach if you want to go from dark brown to light brown.

Still, you should know that a  transformation like this will happen overnight. And that’s why I recommend that you begin lightening your hair gradually.

No matter if you have semi-permanent hair color, permanent or henna, you cannot lighten your hair with box color just like that. You can try, of course.

However, your hair might get brassy and you won’t get the wanted results. No matter what the label of the box dye says, it’s in a hair’s nature to turn ‘brassy’ once chemically altered.

And even if you get the wanted results, your hair will show warm tones, eventually. So, it’s best if you accept this and look for some other than bleach to lighten your hair.

Bleaching damages your hair, that’s for sure. That’s why I decided to share some homemade ways to lighten your dark brown hair. I have tried them on myself and noticed tremendous results.

How can I lighten my dark brown hair?

Firstly, you should choose the right hair color. That’s the first step towards the lightening process. I know how tempting it is to go from dark brown to blonde just to see if the color suits you but in order to avoid unnecessary damage, I recommend that you pay attention to the hair color you choose before you start. Choose something that matches your skin tone.

Next, you should lighten your hair gradually, if you want perfect results. You can try the recipes for lightening down below. Or you can use bleach. How many times will you lighten your hair depends on how dark your hair is. However, a single time won’t get the job done.

It doesn’t matter if you choose to visit your hairdresser and let him or her do the job. It’s still important that you give your hair time to rest between sessions.

If you decide to do it by yourself at home, you will need a higher level developer. Apply a light ash brown with 30 volume developer on a dry hair and make sure that you have everything completely covered.

Wait for hair 30 minutes before rinsing. Avoid your regular shampoo and conditioner if you have dyed hair. Buy a good shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair if you want your new color to last longer. Wait for your hair to dry completely before you look into a mirror.

How to lighten dark brown hair to light brown?

I already mentioned that bleach is the prime way of lightening dark hair. However, if you want to avoid damage, try some of the natural ways that I’ve already tested and approved.


lighten dark brown hair


My first suggestion is mixing half distilled water with half lemon juice. It will lighten dark brown or dark blond hair and won’t leave reddish tones unless your hair already has reddish tones. According to my research, this is one of the best natural ways to lighten dark hair.


Next, on my list of best natural ingredients, you can use to lighten dark hair is vinegar. It will remove reddish highlights if you mix half distilled water with half apple cider vinegar.

After, just spray all over the parts you want to lighten. Or apply the mixture with a cotton ball. After, leave for 30 minutes before you rinse out and style your hair as you usually do.


Mix half water with half hydrogen peroxide and apply onto your hair. Wait for 15 minutes before you rinse out. Keep in mind that you will notice quick changes and results.

However, make sure to rinse your hair well, once you get the wanted shade. Just like lemon mixture, this too is one of the most popular methods of lightening dark brown and dark blonde hair.


Allegedly, our ancestors who wanted to lighten their dark hair use chamomile to do it. All you have to do is brew a cup of chamomile tea and let it cool for a few minutes before you apply to parts of your hair.

Pour the whole cup over your head, if you want all of your hair lightened. Let it dry naturally in the sun for about 30 minutes. Rinse out and dry as usual.


Although henna only darkens on most hair, it can lighten on very black or dark brown hair. However, it leaves reddish highlights as well. If you want to try out this method just add three tablespoons of henna to a half a cup of boiling water. Let the mixture sit overnight.

Also Check: How Long to Leave the Henna on Hair

Apply to your dark hair and wait for 2 hours before you rinse out. Dry and style as usual. Next, you can use another popular method for lightening very black and dark brown hair:

Olive oil and honey

If you use this method, you will not only get subtle highlights but softer hair as well. Just mix a ¼ cup of olive oil with a ¼ cup of warm honey.

Stir well before you apply the mix to the parts you what to lighten. Wait for an hour before you rinse out. Before you wash off, work the mixture into all of your hair but focus on ends. Rinse out well and style as usual.


Mix half a cup of your conditioner with some cinnamon powder. Add as much powder as you feel you need to get a thick paste. Apply it to your hair. Wait for 3 hours before you rinse out. However, for better results, you can leave on overnight. Wash well and style as usual.

This will not only lighten your hair but make it soft. The best part about this method? Did you know that cinnamon acts as a natural sunscreen for your hair? Meaning, it will protect your hair from sun damage as well.

Vinegar and honey

If this is your first time lightening your dark hair why not mix two of the best ingredients for lightening with plenty of benefits for your hair such as vinegar and honey?

Mix 2 cups of raw apple cider vinegar with a cup of honey and a tablespoon of warmed coconut oil and you will get a mix for lightening your hair that will add softness too. Apply to your hair and leave on overnight, wrapped in a towel. Rinse out and dry your hair as usual in the morning.


Another old-fashioned way for lightening is mixing ¼ cups of chopped rhubarb with 2 cups of water. Boil them together. Strain the juice and let it cool. Apply to your hair. Wait for 10 minutes before you wash your hair. Rinse out well. Otherwise, your hair will feel sticky.

Baking soda

Mix baking soda with warm water and apply the mixture to your hair. Make sure that the paste you make is not too thick or too thin because it will not work as expected. Wait for 15 minutes before you rinse out. For greater results, leave it on for some extra minutes.

Vitamin C

Next on my list is vitamin C. Did you know that crushing 8 vitamin C tablets can help you lighten your hair if you mix them with your regular shampoo? Just shampoo as usual and condition your hair. According to my research, vitamin C is great for your hair and nails.


Mix a ½ cup of warm water with a tablespoon of salt. Add on your hair. Wait for 15 minutes before you rinse out. You probably know that ocean salt highlights hair after swimming.

So, why not try this natural method at home? However, keep in mind that no matter which one of these methods you try, results can and will differ because everyone has different hair.

Can you lighten brown hair with blonde dye?

If you have enough bright hair, you can lighten without bleach. As I said at the beginning of this article, you can buy a high lift dye.

You can also try the methods I have previously mentioned like lemon juice, chamomile tea, honey, and so on. However, the most effective way to light brown hair is not with regular blonde dye but with a high lift professional dye.

If your hair isn’t light enough, consider using bleach. However, if you decide to use a high lift dye, keep in mind that no permanent dye is supposed to be present in your hair.

Also, it can’t be darker than light brown. Otherwise, it will never work. You will have to remove the permanent dye somehow. For example, you can cut your hair and wait for it to grow again.

How do you fade dark hair dye?

If you aren’t happy with your dark dye, you can use some of these tops to make it fade faster. Normally, it could take an entire month or month and a half for a dark color to fade on its own. However, with these practical tips, you can speed up the fading process.

Tip 1: Use color tint remover

A hair color remover often referred to as tint remover can be bought online. However, you can also buy the product in your local drugstore.

It will shrink artificial color molecules and bring back your natural hair color. You can face red or black hair dye with a color remover in just 15 minutes. Keep in mind that stubborn hair colors can take longer processing time.

Tip 2: Hydrogen peroxide or bleaching

Although I don’t recommend bleaching because of the damage it can cause, I have to admit that it’s one of the most effective ways to lighten your hair. Mix hydrogen peroxide with bleaching powder to fade red or black hair color quick but beware of the damage it causes.

Tip 3: Avoid color protecting shampoos

Since you want to fade dark dye, I suggest that you avoid color protecting and fade-resist shampoos and conditioners. Instead, use a strong shampoo + conditioner with surfactants to destroy the color build up. Wash your hair frequently during the week for better result.

Tip 4: Dish detergent

I know it sounds crazy at first, but dish detergent can fade and lighten hair color because of the strong cleaning ingredients it contains. Apply dish detergent to wet hair. Wait for 3 minutes before you rinse out. You’ll notice instant results., however, don’t do it very often.

Tip 5: Beer

I am the biggest beer lover I know. And wasting beer to lighten or fade hair color doesn’t sound good to me. However, it works. Apparently, if you apply beer all over your hair after shampooing, it will not only lighten your hair but also repair your damaged hair structure.

Final verdict

Now that you have learned a few tips and tricks on how to lighten dark brown but a high lift one and other methods I have recommended, try them out and feel free to share your experience in the comment section below. I hope you find this guide helpful.

Mery Polanco

Monday 3rd of August 2020

Excellent!! And Thank you!