3 Must-Follow Tips for Lightening Dark Hair

(blonding tips)

“I want my hair blonde in 20 minutes, and I only have 90 bucks! Can you do it?” Sure, questions like this have made hairdressers laugh for years but the truly crazy part is how common it is to have clients who don’t fully understand the procedure and cost for blonding services. This is especially true for clients with natural darker hair, as their hair takes a lot more work to lighten. Let’s share some of the keys to success in creating a blonde masterpiece on dark hair!

Don’t Skip the Consultation. We always want to please our clients, right? Sometimes, trying to meet our clients’ desires can lead us into nasty color correction situations. That’s why it’s so important to educate your client on the science of haircolor and enlighten them on what is and isn’t achievable with their hair. A client with dark hair may think that all you need to do is put bleach on their hair to make it platinum, but she doesn’t know that lightening happens in stages from red, to orange to yellow. She may also not realize that harsh lightening of her hair can change the feeling of the hair permanently, as the damage caused by lightener is irreversible. Make sure your client understands the steps necessary to successfully lighten her hair and be honest with her if you don’t think it’s possible. Even if you lose the client, think of the money you’ll save not having to color correct her hair for free after promising a color she can’t achieve.

Select the Right Product. Each clients' hair is different and will require a different product to get the desired result. Although we might use an oil-based lightener to blonde our lighter haired clients, we may need to use a powder lightener to get the same result on naturally darker haired clients. And, don’t forget your toners! Is her hair lightening to red, orange or yellow? Toners are not one-size-fits-all product so make sure to select a shade that will neutralize the undertone that the hair has lifted to. I recommend using an acidic PH level toner like Redken Shades Eq Gloss because it will condition the hair, close the cuticle and add tons of shine for a beautiful end result.


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Stress the Importance of At-Home Care. Blonding doesn’t stop in the salon. Clients need to have the right tools at home to maintain their look! Send them home with a strengthening treatment like Redken Extreme Anti Snap; it’s fortified with protein to support weak hair after lightening. They may also benefit from toning shampoos or masks. My current favorite is Redken Color Extend Blondage Hair Mask. It has a strong violet tint to cancel out yellow tones for a clean, cool blonde.

Follow these tips for a successful career in blonding! Once you educate a client on what you know about the science of haircolor, they will be more open to your professional suggestions and will trust your expertise as a color master.