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Can I Lighten Already-Coloured Hair?

If you have any colour in your hair (including an all-over colour or highlights), and you want to lighten your overall colour, your options are:

  1. Soften your colour level slightly without a lightening process and then apply a colour one level lighter.
  2. Add some highlights to soften your overall colour.
  3. Do an all-over bleach wash lightening process and then colour with a colour which is 2-3 levels lighter.

1) If you only want to soften your colour by half to one level, an unconventional but effective approach to soften your colour is to wash your hair with an anti-dandruff shampoo for a week. This will lift out some colour pigments, leaving you with a softer base, and you can then apply a lighter colour. Look for a traditional anti-dandruff shampoo (not a colour-safe product).

2) Adding highlights will give you a lighter multi-dimensional finish. Our Highlights Kit let you create highlights, babylights or foilyage to soften your overall colour and silhouette. Highlight applications can vary to suit your needs. You may want some subtle, super-fine babylights to add dimension and to lighten your finish, or a balayage effect. We include illustrated instructions for these different techniques in the kit. You can read more information about the highlights and order them here.

3) If you wanted to achieve a significantly lighter colour result (2-3 levels), and you already have colour in your hair, you would need to do a lightening process. Colour cannot lighten pre-coloured hair, and a lightening process will lift out the pigments that are currently in your colour.

You can lighten your base colour by doing a bleach wash at home, which is quite quick, easy and effective. We offer Bleach Wash Kits which include everything you need to bleach wash your hair.

The bleach washing process will lift out all the darker pigments which are currently in your hair, giving you a lighter base colour level. You can then apply a lighter colour. Please remember that colour selection post-lightening process is critical. Lightening always reveals natural warmth, so choosing a colour with cool tones after lightening is almost always essential.

We always recommend that you consult with our colourists if you are considering a lightening process. They can help advise on the process, colour and care your hair will need to achieve your colour goals.

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