Let's face it, for all of us who have black hair, we know how hard it is for our hair to lift. We have to struggle much harder and might not even end up with the color we want. Not only is black hair hard to lift, artificial black hair is even harder to remove! In this article we're going to be talking about how to lift black hair and also how to lift artificial black hair. Let's get started!
Some background information on black hair is always a good place to start!
-- Black hair is considered levels 1-3 with red/orange undertones. I refer to these levels as "the bad guys" because they are not like levels 4-10. Black hair is different because it is very difficult to lift and they act differently than the other levels. Many people mistake their hair for "jet black" when their hair can actually be a level 2, 3, or even a level 4. I used to think my hair was jet black until a professional swatched my hair and I found out I'm actually a level 2. It's not much of a difference but every level counts. There's also artificial black dyes with blue and violet/purple undertones.
What's the difference between black and dark brown hair?
-- There's actually a HUGE difference between black and dark brown hair. I know, they're only one level apart but that one level apart separates them completely. You see, when dyeing dark brown hair, you use the standard rules of hair dye by using a 10 vol for one level of lift, 20 vol for 2 levels, 30 vol for 3 levels, and 40 for 4 levels. However, when working with black hair, you have to drop everything down one level and increase the vol of developer by one. In order for you get from a level 3 to a level 4, you need to use a 20 vol. To get from a level 3 to 5, you need to use a 30 vol and so on. This is why it is very hard to go from black to blonde in just one step. It's virtually impossible without using bleach. Let's look at the different ways to lift black hair. I broke them down into sections depending on what color you wish to achieve.
Black to Brown hair:
-- The easiest and most simplest way to go from black to brown is to use a Hi-Lift shade. These are pretty much boxed dyes with a 30 vol developer. The problem with these is that it will run brassy. If you want to achieve a light golden brown it is best to use a hi-lift ash brown shade. This will bring out the natural red in black hair and turn it golden. If it does turn red/orange you could always use a color additive in your hair dye to get rid of it or use a toner.
-- The second way is to use a blonde shade with 30 vol developer. I would recommend a level 8 or 9 ash blonde shade with a 30 vol developer to achieve a light brown shade. It works really well but it also runs the risk of going brassy. Again, use a color additive or toner.
-- Another way is to use bleach. I find that bleach really isn't needed just to achieve brown hair, but it is an option. Pretty much get your hair to a yellow/orange or yellow color and then tone your hair and then apply the shade of brown you would like. The problem is if you tone your hair and it gets you blonde, you will need to use a color filler like red before putting on your shade of brown as it might turn out too green and ashy. This is recommended for people wanting a light ash brown shade. Make sure you fill in your hair before applying your color as it might turn out too green.
-- The last way is to use bleach... in a more reasonable way. By this I mean that you'll only use the bleach to get rid of the base. Use a 10 vol or less developer with some bleach powder nd get it to the consistency of a crepe and apply it to your hair. Wait around 15-20 mins and keep checking to see how the hair is developing. The key to this process is to just remove the base. You're only looking to lift the hair light enough so that you can go in with your regular 20 vol developer and color. This method will give you nice color results with barely any damage.
Black to Blonde:
-- The first, and most common method, is to use bleach. Pretty much combine some bleach powder and a 20, 30 (most recommended), or 40 vol developer and process it on your hair. I wouldn't recommend using heat when using bleach because it can literally melt the hair of your head if it is not kept under constant watch. They key is to get your hair to a yellow/pale yellow color and to tone afterwards. You can tone your hair using a demi-permanent hair color with a 10 vol or 20 vol developer. I wouldn't recommend going platinum blonde in one process especially if your hair is a level 2 or 1. This can be dangerous and I would opt for highlights instead. However, depending on your hair condition you could always try to get as light as possible but do not continue if you notice a lot of damage occuring.
-- Another way is to use the same method above that is used to break the base of your hair. Again, just use the bleach so that it lightens your hair enough so that you can go in with your regular hair dye.
-- The safest way to go blonde is just to get gradual highlights. Remember that getting highlights means you will use bleach but it isn't as harsh because it's only being used on little sections of hair and it's gradual!
Black to Red:
-- Easiest way to get from black to red is to literally get a red shade and use a 30 vol or 40 vol developer. Some boxed dyes already have Hi-Lift red shades. Another option is to use something like L'Oreal Hicolor in any red or copper shade you would like.
-- The second most common way is to use bleach. For this process, you're pretty much only leaving the bleach on for 5-10 mins just so the natural red undertone is revealed. Afterwards just leave it as it is or go in with a vibrant red shade.
-- You could also use something called Sun-In to lift your hair. It's pretty much a lightening spray that uses hydrogen peroxide. This could be good to lift your hair to the red shade but I wouldn't use it to actually dye your hair a dramatically lighter shade.
Black to Vibrant, Pastel, or Neon colors:
-- For this you're going to need to bleach your hair to a yellow/pale yellow color. Afterwards you're going to need to tone and then apply your semi-permanent dye. Good part about getting colors like these is that it's not damaging like getting a permanent color. Semi-permanent dyes are usually vegan and conditioning. The process to get a pastel color is to actually dilute it in conditioner with your hair color. That's the best part about getting pastel colors!
Artificial Black to All of the above:
-- If you want to get rid of your dyed black hair you're going to have to either wait for it to fade, wait to cut it all off, or strip your hair with a hair dye remover. Hair dye remover is basically bleach. You could choose to use a hair dye remover or just bleach it out using regular bleach. Both are damaging but there's really nothing else to do.
That's pretty much it! I know, a whole page dedicated to just talking about black hair is kind of ridiculous, right? But, I thought that it deserved a page to itself because it is an on-going problem that people face and black hair is much different from the other levels of colors. I hope this article was helpful to you guys and please feel free to ask me questions. Also, don't be afraid to correct any information that is wrong.