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Bleaching Brown Hair Blonde


Is it even possible to bleach dark hair blonde?

Bleaching brown hair blonde is something that all salon professionals do.

It's not hard and not damaging for the hair.

But it does need to be done right. Using the right products and the right techniques.

How to bleach brown hair blonde

At Ugly Duckling, we are not a great fan of incremental bleaching.

By which we mean taking hair gradually blonde by repeatedly applying bleach over several sessions.

Rather, we believe it's far better for the hair (and cheaper, and easier) to do it once, but do it right.

In this blog, we're going to show you how.

We'll guide you to how to prepare the hair, what products to use, how to apply.

And how to tone afterwards.

What to Do Before You Bleach

Brown Hair before Bleaching

Brown hair before bleaching

It's best to prepare your client's hair by not washing it for 2 days at least before bleaching.

This gives the hair a chance to build up natural oils which will protect the hair and scalp during the bleaching process.

Hair bleaching involves stripping the hair of its natural pigments. 

Brown hair, in particular, has a lot of pigments, so it's really a major change for your client's hair.

Bleaching also involves your scalp coming in contact with the bleach and peroxide mixture.

Choosing the Right Bleach

Choosing a good bleach is very important as no 2 bleaches are the same.

Ugly Duckling has 2 bleaches, both of which are suitable for brown hair.

Brilliant Blonde blue bleach was especially formulated for dark bases and can lift up to 8 levels.

And Brilliant Blondexx white bleach, with Bond Protect inside, which can lift up to 7 levels.

It is very comfortable on the scalp - something all users will notice.

And it will protect your hair thanks to a special bond protecting cosmetic ingredient - Maleic Acid.

This will make sure that the hair is as strong after bleaching as possible.

Brilliant Blonde Blue Bleach

Brilliant Blonde Blue Beach

Brilliant Blondexx White Bleach

Brilliant Blondexx White Bleach with Bond Protect

Choosing the Right Developer Strength

Taking brown hair to blonde essentially means a lift of 5 - 6 levels.

You will need to keep 2 developer strengths handy: 20 Vol and 30 Vol.

You will be using 30 Vol the first time round on the lengths.

And you will be using the 20 Vol for the root area (which always processes faster) and for any second applications you make.

Sectioning the Hair and Getting it Ready for Bleach

Comb out the hair fully. Then segment it into four major sections.

Pin up the sections, leaving one section at the back un-pinned.

The back is typically where the hair takes longest to lift and is the thickest, so this is where we should start.

Making Your Bleach Mix

Brilliant Blondexx and 30 Vol mix

Brilliant Blondexx and 30 Vol developer mix

Keep both your 30 and 20 Vol developer handy, as well as the bleach.

Keep at least 2 plastic bowls handy also.

We are going to start by making a bleach and 30 Vol mix.

When using Ugly Duckling bleaches, the right mix is 1 part bleach to 2 parts developer.

You can use the spoon provided in the bleach.

Alternatively you can use a kitchen weighing scale.

The mix should be quite wet, like gravy.

You need to literally drench the hair in bleach, so the wetness is important.

Also, the wetness will allow you to work fast, which is important.

You will need to work around the full head in as little time as possible - ideally 20 minutes maximum.

How to Apply Bleach on Brown Hair

Applying Bleach to the Back

Start off applying Bleach to the back

When looking to do a full head bleaching on brown hair, do the lengths first, using 30 Vol.

Make sure that these have fully lifted to level 9.

If after 15 minutes of processing you can see that they are still very yellow, or orange, make a fresh mix.

Use 20 Vol developer this time and re-apply.

One the lengths are done, rinse off, leaving the root area untouched.

Now make another fresh mix using 20 Vol developer.

Apply to the root area. Check this part in a similar way.

The root area normally lifts fast, so it is important you rinse off when it is also at a similar level to the lengths.

When to rinse the hair

Stop bleaching and rinse when you get thee entire head up to a consistent level 9 or level 10.

Do not under-bleach, by which we mean leave plenty of brassy yellow and orange yellow in the hair.

Those reflects will stop your toner from working.

Rinse when your hair looks like this:

Bleached hair level 9

Bleached hair level 9; this is what your hair should look like after bleaching

Toning Your Bleached Hair

Applying toner

Ugly Duckling cream toner being applied on the hair

Apply toner after bleaching

Toning the hair using an oxidative toner is an important step to produce the exact shade of blonde that you are going for.

At Ugly Duckling, we have three types of toners.

Intense Lift Toners

These toners give extra lift as well as tone.

They are useful to use if for some reason you have not been successful in bleaching your hair all the way.

And also if you are searching for ultra white blonde results.

Intense Silver Blonde

Intense Silver Blonde 100B

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V

Regular lift toners

The second type of toners we have are regular lift toners.

These have some lift. But more importantly they have very, very intense pigmentation guaranteed to get you very precise blonde results.

2 of these toners are shown below.

The Pearl Blonde toner (10V) is violet or purple based.

Use this one to get the hair to a white pearl-like blonde (grey blonde)

Whereas the Silver Blonde (10B) toner is blue based.

Use this one for a more natural white blonde look (silver blonde).

Pearl Blonde

Pearl Blonde 10V

Silver Blonde

Silver Blonde 10B

Non-lift liquid gloss toners

If the hair has been well lifted, and you are looking for a quick gloss toning, we recommend that you use Blondify liquid toners.

These toners are ammonia free and can be mixed in an applicator bottle and just poured over the hair and rubbed in.

Processing time is just 10 minutes.

They are ammonia-free and non-lifting.

Here are 4 very effective toners you can use after bleaching.

Choose the level 10 toners if your hair has been bleached to level 10 (very pale yellow).

Choose the level toners if your hair is at level 9 (yellow).

10A toner

Natural Ash Blonde 010A

10V toner

Natural Violet Blonde 010V

9B toner

Blue Ash Blonde 09B

9V toner

Violet Blonde

Rinse and Apply Purple Mask

Purple Mask

Brilliant Blonde Purple Mask

Now rinse the hair with water.

Apply Brilliant Blonde Purple Mask to the entire head. 

This will help close the cuticles as well as help to tone away some of the remaining yellow in the hair

The Final Result: From Brown to Blonde

Final Result

Brown Hair Bleached and Toned with Ugly Duckling products.

Hair by Ashley Betancourt.

Maintaining Your Bleached Hair

We would recommend you use Ugly Duckling's Brilliant Blondexx Hair Treatment range.

This range contains Bond Protect.

This makes it ideal for keeping blonde hair strong, soft and in good condition.

You can alternate this with Ugly Duckling's Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo and Mask.

This will help keep yellow away.

Both treatment ranges are acidic (meaning that they help close the hair cuticle) as well as sulfate-free.

About the author

Sally has been a hair colorist and trainer for many years in both the US & Europe. She currently does hair color training for Ugly Duckling. She also helps develop new & awesome products for the brand.

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