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How To Lighten Dyed Hair In 4 Easy Steps

photo of hair coloring in salon how to lighten dyed hair
In the world of hair, there’s no better thrill than leaving the salon with a brand new hue. Salon professionals expertly transform our manes from dark to light in just a few salon appointments. It becomes a bit complicated, however, when working with hair that has already been colored.

Why is lightening previously dyed hair more difficult? We tapped Amanda Warren, Matrix brand ambassador and colorist, to find out.

“You never know exactly what to expect with already colored hair,” Warren explains. “With already dyed hair, some spots may lift perfectly and other spots may lift differently—making the process a little more difficult than with virgin hair.”

If you’re looking to transform your previously colored dark brown hair into a gorgeous ash blonde hue, you’re in luck. Warren breaks down how to lighten dyed hair the right way.


Begin with a strand test.

To avoid any color mishaps, there’s one step Warren says is crucial for your colorist to do before attempting to lighten your entire mane.

“You should always start with a strand test,” Warren says. “Especially if you are unsure of what color was previously used.”

To do a strand test, your colorist will take a small section of hair and apply the color as they normally would. This helps to determine what the hue will look like on the rest of your hair once it’s colored.


Apply lightener.

With any drastic color change, your colorist will need to use bleach to lift your current color and create a blank slate before applying a new shade.

It’s important to note: Bleach will always leave your hair a bit damaged, but a professional colorist can help you improve the look and feel of your strands with salon quality products.



Once your colorist lifts all of the color from your hair, it’s likely you’ll be left with a pale white or yellow hue—that’s where toner comes in. Whether you desire an ash, platinum, or honey look, your colorist will apply a toner to your strands to neutralize any unwanted brassy tones and personalize your color.


Care for your new color with salon-quality products.

The number one rule of coloring your hair is that the real work begins once you leave the salon. A quality hair care routine is essential for maintaining your new color and hair health.

When asked about her go-to products for color aftercare, Warren recommends the Matrix Total Results The Re-Bond 3-Step System. The collection, which includes the Re-Bond Shampoo, Conditioner, and Pre-Conditioner, helps fortify weakened, over-processed hair, repairs chemically damaged hair, and leaves strands feeling revitalized with strength, smoothness, and manageability.

Lastly, be patient when trying to achieve a color that is much lighter than your current hue. Good things take time—and lightening your hair is no different. Over time, the right colorist will be able to achieve your desired shade the right (and healthy) way!

Looking for more personalized hair care tips? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.