Single Vs Double Process Hair Color: A Simple Explanation
Latest Color Techniques Used By Your Stylist

Single Vs Double Process Hair Color: A Simple Explanation

25 September 2018
photo of single vs double process hair color
photo of Jessie Amato

Jessie Amato

Junior Beauty Editor

In the world of hair color, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re looking to go platinum blonde or dying to try a grey balayage, the right colorist will be able to satisfy almost any hair desire imaginable. Before you commit to a new hue, however, you should know exactly what you’re asking for. Out of the many salon color services available, single and double process color are among the most popular.

What exactly is the difference between a single and double process hair color? We spoke to Nancy Braun, L'Oréal Professionnel brand ambassador and colorist, who breaks down what you need to know about the two services.


What is a single process hair color?

A single process color service is exactly what it sounds like. For this service, the colorist applies one color throughout your mane to create a new base shade. According to Braun, many women also look to single process color as a way to cover up grays.
You’re doing a global application all over the head...Usually the purpose in doing a single process is either to lighten the hair, darken the hair, which includes covering gray, or changing the tone.


What is a double process hair color?

If you’ve ever gone from a deep brunette shade to platinum blonde in just a few hours, you’ve probably experienced a double process hair color before. Stylists use double process color, or what Braun refers to as a “bleach and tone,” to lighten the hair by two or more shades in one session. The colorist will first bleach the hair completely, then tone it to create your desired shade.

“First, you lighten it to the desired level, which is usually a pale yellow or pale clear yellow...The second part of is putting a toner on it to adjust the tone,” Braun says.

When it comes to coloring your hair, you should expect to be left with a bit of damage. Since double process color requires bleach, Braun warns it may not be best for anyone already dealing with extremely damaged hair or breakage.

“If the hair is really damaged, then it’s just a service that you probably shouldn’t do,” she explains.

If you do decide on a double process, Braun also suggests asking your colorist for a bond-strengthening service like the L'Oréal Professionnel Smartbond. Smartbond is a unique system that protects and strengthens the hair during technical services such as bleach and hair color.

How do you care for your hair after a color service?

Whether you opt for a single or double process color, Braun says having the right products to maintain and protect your new hue is essential—both for single and double process color. Start by adding a shampoo and conditioner system for color treated hair like the L'Oréal Professionnel Vitamino Color A-OX system to your routine. The Vitamino A-OX Complex of antioxidants and UV filters in this professional product help withstand elements that fade color and shine.

If you’re concerned about maintaining the tone of your hair between salon appointments, Braun suggests picking up a color depositing shampoo like the Serie Expert Silver Shampoo. The neutralizing system, enriched with magnesium and anti-yellowing agents, counteracts unwanted brassy tones.

To help bring moisture back to your mane after any color service, Braun recommends adding a deep conditioning mask to your hair care system like the L'Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Lipidium Mask. Lipidium Technology in this professional product provides instant shine, smoothness, and softness for curly, wavy, straight, natural, fine, or thick hair.

No matter which service you choose, be sure to use the hashtag #hairdotcom to share your final look with us!

Interested in a salon color service? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

I like this article
Be the first to like this article

Oops, something went wrong! Please try again later...

More to discover

two women with golden blonde hair color
19 July 2019

All Your Favorite Celebs Are Going Golden Blonde For August

Golden blonde hair is making a splash! Our pro explains what you need to know to get it right. Strike gold on this gorgeous hue!

two women with peach hair
08 April 2019

Peach Hair Color Is The Fruity Shade To Try This Summer

We’ve got a craving for the sweetest shade out there: peach hair color! We’re serving up our favorite inspo on how to rock this look.

woman with platinum blonde hair and red lipstick
01 June 2018

The Blonde Bible: 18 Shades Of Blonde Hair For Every Skin Tone

Blonde hair is timeless, chic, and the hair equivalent of a beach vacation. If you'be been thinking about blonde hair color, now is your time to finally try it out.

Salon Locator

Salon Locator

Can your hair look as good as your Pinterest board? Short answer: YES. Long answer: STILL YES… but you need a professional salon and the right products to get you there. Find the best match for your style, hair goals, and price range now. Find a hair salon near you to get your dream hair now.

We use cookies to give you the best user experience and personalisation on our site and third party sites. By continuing to browse our website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, see our Cookies Policy.