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How to Get your Hair Blonde Without Bleach - Detailed Application Tips for Professionals

BY SALLY MADISON
NATIONAL COLOR TRAINER

1. Is it Even Possible to Take My Client's Hair Blonde Without Bleach?

  • One of the best ways to get your client's hair blonde is of course to use bleach.
  • Bleach is really the hairdresser's friend, and will help you achieve the type of results that your client is likely to be looking for.
  • And very importantly, bleach helps you achieve these results fast.
  • However, in some cases clients are reluctant for whatever reason to use bleach.
  • This could be due to scalp and hair sensitivity.
  • It could also be due to a previous bad experience when poor quality bleach was applied.

2. Can You Go From Dark Blonde To Light Blonde Without Bleach?

  • If your client's hair is level 6 (that is to say dark blonde) and above, then the answer is yes you can.
  • However, you would be better off using a double process blonding process rather than trying to do everything in one application.
  • In this blog we will show you exactly how you can do this.

3. First, Do Your Hair Analysis

First, check the level of your hair and compare it against the picture below:

Hair Color Levels

  • When doing this hair analysis, it is important to distinguish between roots, mid-lengths and ends.
  • So take a careful look and answer the following questions:
    • What color are the roots?
    • What color are the mid-lengths?
    • What color are my ends?
  • Now ask the following question:
    • What color am I looking to take the hair to?
  • If the difference between the 2 questions is 4 levels or less, then you can consider using high lift color instead of bleach.
  • So, for example, if the hair is level 6, you can take your client to level 10

4. Now, Choose Your Ugly Duckling High Lift Color

  • Ugly Duckling high lift colors are built to live up to 5 levels.
  • You need to use them with 30 Vol, using a mix of 1 part high-lift color to 2 parts developer.
  • You need to leave them on for 40-50 minutes to get the maximum lift.
  • We recommend you use either High Lift Deep Ash Blonde 100.11 or High Lift Ash Blonde 100.10.
  • Both of the above colors contain a lot of ash which is what you need when you lift and tone at the same time.
  • These colors are pictured below.
100.10 High Lift Ash Blonde 100.11 High Lift Deep Ash Blonde

5. Application Tips to Get the Maximum Lift & Vibrancy When Using High Lift Color

  • Use Ugly Duckling High Lift color with 30 Vol developer. 
  • The recommended mix ratio is 1 part High Lift to 2 parts developer.
  • Saturate the hair really well when applying first time with a brush, and go through a second time using fingers (with a glove) to make sure that a maximum of the product goes into the hair cuticle.
  • Leave for 40-50 minutes - that is to say, up to 20 minutes longer than regular color.

6. Now You're Ready for the First Stage of the Double Process Blonding 

  • In most cases clients will have a darker regrowth which they need to lift. In most cases the mid-lengths and ends will be lighter.
  • So you need to first apply your mix on the darker, regrowth area, saturating it really well.
  • Restricting yourself at that stage to the darker regrowth area. Do not place color anywhere else.
  • Watch that part carefully and let it process up to 30 minutes.
  • Make some fresh mix and extend to the mid-lengths or anywhere else that you see any brassiness or indeed anywhere the color is darker than the target color (let's say level 10 blonde).
  • If the ends are totally white blonde leave them well alone, even if you think they need toning. We are going to take care of them in the second step of the blonding process.
  • If there are parts which are darker, you can make a fresh mix and add in some more product.
  • Rinse with water after 40-50 minutes.

7. Now do the Second Step of the Blonding Process

  • Now you should have a situation where most of the hair is relatively even and consistent.
  • Take your choice of Ugly Duckling intense toner and mix with 20 Vol.
  • The reason that we would recommend using intense toners at this stage is that these toners contain additional lift which can be useful when you are in the process of lifting your client's hair up - without bleach.
  • Apply to the whole head this time, starting with the place where the hair is the most brassy.
  • Generally speaking, with clients with darker regrowth, this will be the regrowth area even when they have been successfully lifted using high-lift color.
  • Apply to the whole head and let the product sit for around 20 minutes.
  • Rinse and apply Ugly Duckling purple shampoo and mask in order to tone the hair and close the hair cuticles (Ugly Duckling purple shampoo and mask are all acidic formulations, meaning that they do close the cuticle well after the coloring process).
  • The toners that we would recommend at this stage are given below.
Intense Silver Blonde 100B Intense Pearl Blonde 100V

8. Finish With Purple Shampoo & Mask.

  • If you have followed this double process blonding technique well, you should have achieved a very nice toned, blonde result.
  • However, it is often a good idea at this stage to use purple shampoo & mask to get rid of any remaining yellow.
  • Rub in the products really really well at the back bar. Leave for 10 minutes and rinse.
  • You should have a very nice blonde result - without the use of bleach.

8. Are There Any Cases Where High Lift Color Won't Work?

  • In general, for hair which is level 5 and darker, you would need to use bleach first before doing anything else.
  • If the hair has been heavily colored in the past, it won't work.
  • You would need to use bleach to strip out the excess color build-up first.
  • It won't work if you have used a semi-permanent hair color, a henna based dye or a metallic dye.
  • For these cases you would need to lift out color with bleach first.

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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