4 things to know before lightening dark hair at home, according to hairstylists.

Feeling a little... meh ... with your dark hair? Wanna switch things up? But also don't want to spend a whole heap of money going to the salon and getting ALL of the hair treatments?? SO MANY QUESTIONS. SO MANY FEELINGS.

Whether you’re looking for some subtle highlights or want to take the plunge and go blonde, lightening your hair can be a wee bit scary. Fickle. And hella expensive. (See: current cost-of-living crisis).

And if you're doing it at home, let's be honest, it's so easy to mess up. And approximately no one wants to end up with dry, damaged hair that’s nowhere close to the colour that you wanted (and then having to go to the salon anyway to fix it!).

Watch: There are 5 new ways to lift your hair game. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

So, before you go ahead and reach for lemon juice (not the lemon juice!) or start going willy-nilly with random box dyes, we've cornered the experts and asked them exactly what they recommend avoiding.

The good news? It is possible to go lighter at home without doing a number on your hair – you just need to take the right approach.

Below, you'll find two hairstylists' recommendations on what to know before lightening dark hair at home.

1. Steer clear of DIY ingredients.

"Get out your juicers ladies, steal your neighbour's lemons and start juicing... I can’t be serious right? That’s because I’M NOT!!" said Amanda Magistro, Owner Salon Alm and national Kerasilk Ambassador.


*Puts down lemons*.

If your plan was to look at using natural ingredients to lighten your hair, think again. "Brunettes, your hair is not going to shift by using natural ingredients," said Magistro. "I know this because I was that teenager who tried it all."

"The myth of apple cider vinegar, lemons, honey and baking in the sun does not work especially for brunettes." 

Note. Taken.

2. Do it gradually.

Reminder: Lightening dark hair is a process that shouldn’t be rushed — it's better to focus on evolving your colour and taking it slowly and gradually. This goes for both in the salon and at home. 

"When wanting to experiment with taking your hair from very dark to a lighter, warmer and richer brunette, I would suggest choosing up to three shades lighter than your natural dark base shade to achieve this result," said celebrity colourist and Clairol expert Belinda Jeffrey from La Boutique.


Meaning? Don't try to go from brunette to blonde all in one hit. You're probably going to be left with dry, damaged hair that’s nowhere close to the colour you wanted. 

3. Less is more.

Think: Your hair but better. 

If you're looking for a change and want to go the at-home route, instead of jumping ship to lighter tones, Jeffrey recommended embracing your natural colour. 

For example, opting for a much warmer overall colour and looking for chestnut and rich tones.


"My clients are loving warmer brunettes as they create dimension and variation in the hair," she shared, adding, "It will definitely give your hair variation and shine," said Jeffrey.

"If you have naturally dark hair that has a cool reflection choose a warmer brown to apply and you will have a lovely rich warm brown that will work with your natural hair," said Jeffrey. 


"There is nothing more glamorous, stylish and sexy than a beautiful brunette. My go-to inspirations when thinking of brunettes are Kendall Jenner, Cindy Crawford, Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie and Australia's Kate Ritchie, whose hair I have personally had the pleasure of looking after."

Hear, hear.

4. Avoid bleaching.

Put the bleach down, friend. If you're going from one end of the hair spectrum to the other, the stakes are real. 

It can be damaging to your hair when used in a salon, never mind at home.

"There is nothing scarier than when a client walks into your salon with a home bleach job (insert scary music now)," said Magistro. 

"Going lighter isn’t as simple as 'going lighter'."

"Nine times out of 10 your hair will need a toner because, let’s be honest, no one loves the colour of raw bleach."


If you want to go blonde light, we suggest saving yourself the damage and leaving it to the experts. This isn't one you want to stuff up.

"My advice would be, book a consultation with your hairdresser, ask questions about the process and ongoing costs." 

"Remember blonde isn’t the cheapest of services, however, there are so many ways to make it affordable."

Have you lightened dark hair at home? What are your tips? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Instagram; @belindajeffreyhair.

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