What Happens If You Put Blonde Dye On Red Hair?

Do you want to go from red hair to blonde hair? Then putting blonde dye on your red hair is a bad idea. It will not have the results you are looking for.

Because red hair is several shades darker than blonde, simply applying blonde hair dye doesn’t work. You have to go through a longer process.

In this article, I explain what happens when you put blonde dye on red hair, and how to go from red to blonde the right way.

What Happens If You Put Blonde Dye On Red Hair?

What Happens If You Put Blonde Dye On Red Hair?

If you are expecting blonde hair when you put blonde dye on red hair, you’ll be disappointed. Here’s what to expect instead, depending on whether you are using permanent or semi-permanent blonde dye.

Permanent Blonde Hair Dye

Permanent blonde hair dye, what many people call box dye, will turn your red hair orange or copper.

The developer that’s included with the kit will open your hair cuticles, allowing the blonde color molecules to get in and mix with the red pigmentation in your hair.

Now, blonde contains mostly yellow pigments. Yellow and red mix to make orange. The exact shade of orange you end up with depends on how red your hair was in the first place and the strength (volume) of the developer you used to lighten your red hair.

But what you certainly won’t end up with is blonde hair.

Semi-permanent Blonde Hair Dye

Semi-permanent blonde dye does not penetrate the hair cuticles. Instead, it coats the outside, meaning it doesn’t interact with your natural or permanently dyed red hair color.

So the effect of putting semi-permanent blonde hair dye on red hair is the same as trying to color a red apple  using a yellow crayon. It does nothing. The red pigment in your hair is too intense that the yellow color in the blonde dye cannot overcome it.

Your hair will still appear red, probably with a very slight orange-ish tint.

Is Going From Red To Blonde Easy?

I wouldn’t describe it as easy, but it’s doable either at home or a salon. Red hair, whether natural or dyed, is one of the most challenging to dye and there’s actually a scientific reason for this.

Red hair dye contains smaller color molecules that penetrate deep into your hair shaft and are harder to remove.

In addition, the pigment that’s responsible for natural red hair, pheomelanin, is more stable than the pigments in lighter brown hair. This makes it more resistant to bleaching, which in turn makes it harder to dye red hair to blonde.

In fact, some people with natural red hair may need a few rounds of bleaching to get to the blonde color they want.

My advice is to go to a professional at a salon. Salons have more powerful and safer dyeing products that work faster and protect your hair.

The pros also know how to handle different kinds and shades of red hair. Going to a salon is especially important if you want to lighten your red hair more than three shades.

That said, you can still go from red to blonde at home. Surprisingly, you probably won’t need any blonde dye at all since you are just lightening your hair.

The exact process depends on whether you have natural red hair or dyed red hair.

Make sure you know the exact shade of blonde you want as this will affect how you go about the process. Options range from dark blonde to lightest blonde. Consult a color chart such as this one from L’Oréal to figure out where you are and where you want to end up.

How To Go From Dyed Red Hair To Blonde

Let’s start with changing dyed red hair to blonde.

1. Remove Hair Dye

The first step is to remove the permanent dye from your hair. The best products for this are color removers such as Oops.

Color removers work by penetrating your hair shaft and dissolving any artificial color pigments. Depending on the intensity of the dye you have in your hair, you may need multiple rounds of application to completely remove the red color.

Color removers don’t affect your natural hair color. Only bleach or developer (or a mixture of the two) remove natural color pigments. So after you use a hair color remover, you’ll be left with your natural hair color.

Note: If you have semi-permanent or demi-permanent red hair dye, you can simply wait for it to fade off. Use clarifying shampoo often to quicken the fading process. For quicker removal, look for color removers formulated specifically for semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair dye.

2. Apply Toner

The next step depends on what your natural hair color is.

If your natural hair color is the perfect kind of blonde that you are looking for, all you need is to apply toner to prevent brassiness and really bring out the hair color. Make sure you select the right blonde toner color.

3. If Necessary, Bleach Your Hair

However, if your natural hair color is still not the shade of blonde you want, you’ll have to lighten it further. Remember to consult a color chart to figure out how many shades lighter you need to go.

If you only need to go one or two shades lighter (e.g. from medium brown 4 to dark blonde 6), a 20 volume developer is ideal. I highly recommend using the developer along with toner to get the perfect shade in one go.

If you need to go three or more shades lighter (e.g. from medium brown 4 to light blonde 8), you have to bleach your hair.

Get a hair bleaching kit that includes 20 or 30 volume developer and follow the application instructions. You’ll need to mix bleach and developer to dramatically lighten your hair.

If it doesn’t lighten enough after the first session, wait 3-4 weeks then give it a second try.

Finish by applying a toner.

Tip: If you’ve made your hair too light after bleaching, you can apply blonde dye on it to get the color you want.

How To Go From Natural Red Hair To Blonde

The process for natural red hair is roughly the same, apart from the first steps. Hair color remover only works on artificial pigment, so it will not have any effect on your natural red hair.

However, if you have any dyes on your natural red hair, first use a color remover to get rid of it.

The only solution for natural red hair is bleaching. If you have light red hair, you could get away with using a developer on its own to change it to blonde.

But for most people with red hair, a mixture of strong developer (20 or 30 volume) and bleach is necessary to get a color change.

Get a kit online or at a local store and follow the instructions. Remember to wear gloves and work slowly. Divide your hair into four and work on each section at a time, making sure to blend the bleach thoroughly into the hair.

Check the instructions for guidance on how long you should wait before rinsing your hair (it’s usually 30-45 minutes).

Don’t leave the bleach on the hair longer than instructed even if you don’t see a color change. It could permanently damage your hair. It’s better to wait 3-4 weeks and then bleach again to further lighten your hair.

Once you’ve bleached your hair, wait a few days then apply toner. Note that you have to apply toner along with a developer; you can’t use toner on its own since it needs the developer to penetrate into the hair.

That’s why it’s a good idea to give your bleached hair a few days to rest before opening it up again when applying toner.

For more advice going from red to blonde, this fun video contains tons of helpful information.

As with dyed red hair, you likely won’t need to use blonde dye if you have natural red hair. Just bleach then use a toner.

But if you misjudge how much bleaching you need and make your hair too light, you can always apply blonde dye on it to get to the level you wanted.

How To Maintain Blonde Hair

Your hair will be weak and stressed from all the processing. So proper aftercare is extremely important to nourish and strengthen your hair.

Look for nourishing products formulated for blond hair such as repair balm, hair masks and nourishing oils.

It’s also important to regularly use moisturizing conditioner to keep your hair soft, supple and strong. And every now and then, apply purple shampoo to neutralize any brassiness in your hair.

Which Dye Can You Put on Red Hair?

If you want to avoid the whole bleaching process, there are some dyes you can apply right on top of your red hair and it’ll look great.

If you have light red hair, you can apply a darker red dye to make it a deeper red. If it’s the other way round and you have dark red hair that you want to lighten, you can apply a 10 or 20 volume developer (without bleach) then follow it up with a light red dye.

You can also apply blue dye on red hair. The blue color will overpower the red pigment and turn your hair purple.

Black dye also overpowers red hair and turns it black (though you may be left with red undertones).

Green dye, on the other hand, neutralizes red hair and turns it a neutral brown. Many salons use green dye to get rid of red undertones in hair.

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