What’s the deal with colouring dark hair?

What’s the deal with colouring dark hair?

When Kim Kardashian West went from sultry brunette to a banging blonde bob in 2015 hairdressers around the globe braced themselves for an onslaught of misguided requests. Kim made it look easy but it takes patience to go from dark hair to a lighter colour. And Kimmy K’s secret to her overnight transformation? A really great wig!


Luckily for our dark haired beauties you can still get the colourful hair you've been dreaming of. Read on for everything you need to know about colouring dark hair with semi permanent colours. 


Your base hair colour will affect the final colour


Think of your hair like a wall in your house you want to paint; the colour of the wall will show through slightly when you paint over it, and this will impact the final colour.


The same goes for your hair when you apply semi permanent dyes. Semis coat the outside of your hair rather than developing on it, so the colour your hair is before you dye it (aka your ‘base colour’) will show through slightly and affect the outcome.


Being aware of this means you can manage your expectations and pick the best colours for your hair.


For pastel hair you’ll need to pre-lighten first.


Sticking with our wall painting analogy, if you wanted to paint your wall a light colour you would first paint it white with an undercoat. Similarly if you want to dye your hair pastel, it’s best to start from a very light base colour. Otherwise the dark hair colour will show through and make the pastel virtually invisible in most cases. Not the best reward for your efforts!


Using a bleach kit to pre-lighten your hair is the best option if you have dark hair but dream of it being pastel. You might need to bleach it in 2 stages if you are starting from very dark hair.


If you pre-lighten your hair let it rest before dyeing it


Similar to your muscles after a big sweat session at the gym, your hair needs a rest day (or more) after bleaching. This is super important to protect your hair and keep it looking at its shiny best with your new colour. If you notice your hair breaks easily or feels dry after bleaching, use a repair treatment like Briteplex before dyeing it to rebuild the bonds broken during the bleaching process and strengthen your hair.


You can still achieve colourful hair without pre-lightening


If bleaching isn’t for you, the good new is that pre-lightening isn’t necessary for all colours! If you pick a vibrant dye with lots of colour pigment you can still achieve a beautiful hue when applying the dye directly onto dark hair. Our vibrant range (purple, red, pink, blue, and turquoise) are all packed with pigment and designed to work on dark hair as well as light hair.


On dark hair you’ll get a more tonal result than on light hair - a glowing in the sun vibe!

Strand test for no regrets


Semi permanent dyes will turn out a little different on everyone because your hair is unique to you. Always strand test before dyeing your hair all over to avoid unpleasant surprises.