Brunette to Blonde Should be Done In a Salon

I recently got a crazy idea to color my hair blonde after being a brunette for 38 years. Going blonde from brunette is not an easy thing to do or so I had heard. I have used the same stylist for 15 years until recently. We moved 65 miles away from her salon and I have not been able to visit her as much as I needed to. Summer was just getting started and I wanted a drastic change to my always very dark brunette hair. I would normally go see Christie (my wonderful stylist) and get her to put a few highlights around my face to give me that summer sun-kissed look. I could not do that as easily as I used to since she was so far away. How hard could this be I thought. I jumped on the internet and started looking up hair styles, hair color, and more importantly, "How to go to Blonde from Brunette". I found many articles with a mix of advice on whether this could be done at home or if a salon visit was a must. It really didn't matter what I read since I was determined to do it anyway.

Brunette to Blonde Experiment

Angel as a blonde during the summer of 2011.
Angel as a blonde during the summer of 2011.

My Journey From Brunette to Blonde

A quick trip to the local beauty store to get the bleach and other misc accessories was on the agenda. I came home with all kinds of hair color tools, blonde color, color oops, lightener and straight up bleach. The gloves went on and the bleach and lightener came out. I put the lightener on my hair first as everything directed me to do. I walked around for 30 minutes while my hair turned orange. It was an awful orange. I washed it out of my hair and looked in the mirror. There was no way I was going to walk around for a day or two with my hair this color while I waited to put another application of the lightener on it. This is what the directions told me to do. Actually it was a warning to wait a day if another application of lightener was required. You would think that a degreed engineer could follow directions. No.. I was impatient and wanted something better than this orange right now. So I put another application of the lightener on my head. Walked around another 30 minutes with my hair getting quite a bit lighter. This application removed most of the orange and red tones which is what I needed done. I was left with a dull weird looking dirty blonde that I might be able to do something with. It was at least to a point that I could wait until later to finish.

The next day came and I woke up eager to finish going from brunette to blonde. I looked in the mirror and was shocked at my transformation that was in process. I have been a brunette hiar color for 38 years and this was a big change for me. I threw my hat on and took the kids to daycare (I had taken some time off from work) as fast as I could so I could finish this project. I did not know what I was going to do next but I knew I was going to work on getting the blonde that I dreamed of being. I looked through my supplies and found some violet lightener (powder) that seemed to be just what I needed to finish my new look. It described what I wanted on the directions and I knew this was it. I applied the powdered lightener as directed. I could immediately see my hair strands becoming much lighter than they were. Yeah, I was getting there. I left it on my hair for 20-30 minutes and then rinsed. What the ...? Yes, hair was coming out of my head into the sink. I finished rinsing and looked in the mirror. My hair looked like a haystack. There were areas of missing hair too! My hair had broken off in two or three different areas. This was a disaster. What was I going to do? The color was a bright blonde that definitely needed toning down but I did not like the bare spots in my hair. My scalp was also very sensitive and sore from all the chemicals that had been on it the past two days. I had to come up with a plan as I continued on this journey of brunette to blonde!

Recovering From My Mistake

After much thought I thought it best to cut all my hair off and just start over with healthy hair instead of buying a wig or going to my stylist crying and asking her to please help me. There was nothing I could do about the lost hair other than cut it and even it out. I don't know how to cut hair so this would be another adventure. I started cutting away in a razor like fashion with the scissors. It was REALLY short but overall it did not look too bad. The color was still a little brigher blonde than I wanted but I could wait awhile to determine what my next move was. The next day I searched through my hair supplies and saw that I had picked up a Light Ash Blonde color. I applied that to my hair and it turned out to be just what I needed. Except my scalp felt like it had been put in the oven and burned. I had multiple small sores in my head but I was determined to finish this.

I don't think I looked too bad as a blonde. I did get compliments every day on my hair. Which made me feel good of course. It was hard work getting it this way and it was great that people took notice. A couple of weeks went by and I started to notice my dark brunette roots shining through. Here we go.. How do I color the roots without killing the rest of my hair and ending up bald? I waited another week or so and just put more of the Light Ash Blonde on it since it was a high lift product. It looked ok but you could still see where the roots were a bit darker, or orange in some cases compared to the ends. It still did not look too bad. I had to do this every 2 to 3 weeks! I could not imagine having to continue doing this long. I knew that I did not want to or could not put bleach or lightener on my hair again for awhile until my hair got healthier and my scalp felt better. One product that helped my hair tremendously was Argan Oil. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to make their hair healthier. It worked wonders on my hair especially since I had killed it with so much bleach and hair color. I still use it today a couple of times per week to condition my hair. Great stuff!

Angel back to brunette during Fall/Winter 2011-12.
Angel back to brunette during Fall/Winter 2011-12.

Back to My Roots

I continued to put blonde colors on my hair for touch ups over a 3-4 month period. I did use bleach one more time; successfully I will add. No hair fell out! I was getting tired of my dark roots peeking through and having to touch them up. I started thinking about darkening my hair since Fall was here and it seemed like the thing to do. Off to the local beauty store again.

I had read that to go back to brunette from blonde that I had to start by putting red back in my hair since I had stripped it all out with the bleaching process. So I put an Intense Red on my head. It was Intense Red too. After rinsing, I applied a burgundy brown color. It looked horrible when I finished. I just did not like the color. But I let my head rest for the night and would continue the next day. I woke up eager to play with it some more. This time I put black on it. I figured it would be the quickest way to get back to my natural dark "almost black" color. Wow. I ended up looking like Elvira! But at least no hair fell out in the process. I did not have much left to lose. I decided to leave it that color and let it rest.

As time has gone on my hair has started to grow back and I at least have a hair style again. I currently have let the hair color grow out and am back to my natural dark brown / black hair. Most say it looks best on me with my dark eyes but I can't help but like the blonde for summer months.

Back to My Hair Stylist

I did recently make an appointment with my stylist and drove the extra miles to get her to shape up my cut since it was growing out from my razored cut a few months earlier. It was such a relief to see her and have her put the magic touch on me. It feels so much better and healthier since the dead ends have been cut off. She also laughed at me and said I am meant to be a brunette. Not a blonde. She also pointed out the hassle with touching up roots as a blonde every 2 to 3 weeks. I knew exactly where she was coming from. I miss my hair and really wish I had gone to her to start with when I got the impulse to go from brunette to blonde. I would suggest that anyone who is a brunette and wants to go blonde should really see a stylist. Don't try it at home. Also, going back brunette after being blonde is just as complicated. I know a lot of my problems came from me not having the patience to take my time and slowly lighten my hair. I had to have it done as quickly as possible and it cost me a lot of nice hair. I am finally back to my natural brunette color. After my hair grows out a little more, I will have my stylist work her magic again and add some subtle highlights. I might even get her to take me to blonde from brunette. Not sure I am ready for the touch ups because of black roots growing every 2-3 weeks. Regardless, I will not try it again on my own. My stylist is the best at what she does and it took a hard lesson for me to learn that.

Blonde or Brunette?

Which hair color looks best on Angel?

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Comments 12 comments

Giselle Maine 5 years ago

An interesting experiment (not one that I am brave enough to try! - but it was certainly eye-opening to read about it). I am actually quite happy as a brunette but it was great to read about your experience. One question that I had wondered: what did your kids think of your changing hair color? Just curious as I have 2 kids myself.

angela p profile image

angela p 5 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

I thought I could do the transformation at home. It eventually ended up blonde and I stayed that way a few months. The price to pay to get there was not worth it. Losing most of my hair was horrible. The kids did not like it... they wanted me to change it back to black immediately. I got so many compliments as blonde that I wish I could try it again. It is just too much maintenance to keep it blonde. Not worth it. I think everyone is much happier with me back to black. thanks for reading, commenting, and following!

Dawn Conklin profile image

Dawn Conklin 4 years ago from New Jersey, USA

What an adventure! I took cosmetology in high school so it has been quite a while but yes if you want to go blond from brunette, you definitely want to go to the stylist! There are so many factors that they are best to determine such as if your natural tones are gold or red. I went pretty light once when I was in cosmo, a student did it with guidance from our teacher. For some reason it did not look like my hair was taking the bleach so we left it on a little too long. I didn't have clumps coming out (we were highlighting through a cap) but I did lose about 9 inches off the length. My hair was to my butt at the time so I had some to spare. In class we treated my hair with Nexxus Humectruss which is expensive but good. When I got home, I put mayo on my hair with a hair cap on and left it on overnight. Mayo does wonders for your hair-trust me!! I would actually recommend the mayo over the humectruss in a case of frying your hair.

I personally like your hair better brunette and think you should stay brunette but I don't like to tell anybody but my kids what to do :)

angela p profile image

angela p 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

Dawn - thanks for commenting. Yeah.. I freaked out when it started coming out... and unlike you I didn't have a lot of hair to start with. I have to laugh now that I look back on it. Wasn't too funny at the time. I will never do that again on my own. I think I do look better too as a brunette.

THEHuG5 profile image

THEHuG5 4 years ago

Thank you for writing this and sharing your story! That is unfortunately what can happen when people try to color their hair at home. No matter what color you are trying to achieve it should ALWAYS be done by a professional. My mom is a cosmetologist and doing color is not as simple as most people think there is a lot of science behind it. Great hub, voting this way up! :)

Peanutritious profile image

Peanutritious 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

I really felt for you when reading this. I've had disasters with my hair over the years. It's been just about every colour going! Pink, blue, blonde, pillar box red... The bleach thing was always a disaster and turned my hair orange and caused blistering on my scalp!

Thankfully, I'm now happy with my long, brown, wavy hair. I have a few highlights in the summer and go more chocolatey in the winter. I'm lucky my hair is healthy and shiny after the years of abuse i've given it!

angela p profile image

angela p 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

THEHuG5 - You are right about that! I won't do it again. I can't believe I even wrote about it but I felt it was quite humorous in a way. I had to put something out there about it. I will make sure I go to my stylist the next time I get the notion to color my hair. Doesn't matter what color. Thanks for reading and commenting.

angela p profile image

angela p 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

Peanutritious - Bleach is not something to play with. I found that out the hard way. OMG it blistered two or three places on my scalp. I thought I was going to die! I think I will keep my natural color for awhile and if I do decide to change it I know what to do. Call my stylist! Thanks for reading and commenting..

kayla r 4 years ago

I am going through the same crisis right now. I am brunette and tonight I am now whitish Blondel on top and orange on bottom. Not an attractive look on me. I have search the world wide web for answers, remedies, cures. I would love to go back to brunette asap. But now I'm terrified to do that. I can't go to a stylist for financial reasons. And I start my new job next week. I can't be a waitress looking like this? What advise do you have?

angela p profile image

angela p 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

Kayla - I am sitting here right now in the same situation. I did it AGAIN! I bleached my hair last night and am waiting a day or so before I bleach it again. If you want to be blonde then have patience and continue on the journey! You need to wait a day or so and bleach again. make sure you are treating your hair in between with argon oil and things like that. When it is all over yellowish blonde then go get a blonde hair color from the store. Lightest Ash blonde is best since it takes out the brassy tones. Try that and be blonde. Or if you want brunette again you will have to add reddish tones back in your hair first since you stripped it. I would add an auburn color first. Then do a darker brown. These are just things that I have done on mine. Try to see if it works. Don't panic. Take your time and it will work out.

kayla r 4 years ago

Thank you Angela. I will for sure go back to brunette taking your advice. At this point I will live with whatever Color other than this kind of Blonde Color. Hopefully there is not too many ugly colors on the color wheel.

angela p profile image

angela p 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

Kayla - my hair has been every color on the color wheel! LOL. It will work itself out. Trust me. Good luck and thanks for stopping in, reading, and commenting.

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