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How to Dye Hair Black

Updated on March 1, 2016

Black hair is one of the easiest colors to dye your hair. As it is the darkest hair color possible, it will cover any other hair color almost completely, and there is no special requirements precluding anyone from dyeing their hair black like there are with blonde hair and many other colors. Of course, like all hair dyes, you need to know how to apply it properly to get the best results, and there is a special rule to follow if you have blonde hair.

Shades of black hair color

When you think of black hair color, you probably don't realize that there are far more shades possible than just plain old black. Blue black hair is the most common alternative shade of black, and one that most people are familiar with, but did you know that you can also dye your hair red black or violet black?

With color brands stretching the definition of what black hair color can really be, your choices of shades of black hair color include:

  • Natural black
  • Blue black
  • Violet black
  • Red black

In the case of natural black hair, the color is true black and it is the darkest color you can dye your hair. Hair colors like blue black work on a different principle where they are such a dark blue color that they appear black with a blue tone. In this case, your hair isn't a true black, but the difference is more a question of semantics. For all intents and purposes, the color is black with a blue tone.

Hair dye brands saw blue black rise in popularity, and some brands were innovative enough to realize there was the potential to create more new hair colors in the same way. Violet black and red black hair colors work on the same principle, were the violet or red color is so dark that it looks black, but you can clearly see a violet or red tone when viewed in light.

You could potentially even dye your hair a green black through this same principle, but the problem here is that no color brand stocks a true color like this. If you wanted this particular color, you would need to create it yourself by adding green intensifier or creator to a dark brown hair dye.

Socolor by Matrix - Honey Creme Hair Color - Cools Series - Size: 3.0 Fl. Oz. - Shade Selection: 2 - Natural Black
Socolor by Matrix - Honey Creme Hair Color - Cools Series - Size: 3.0 Fl. Oz. - Shade Selection: 2 - Natural Black

For a softer black color, you can use Matrix 2N mixed with 10 vol developer to dye your hair.


Preparing black hair color

Black hair color is prepared like any other dye. To use the color, you need to first mix it with developer, and depending on dye brand, this is usually in a 1 to 1 ratio of hair dye to developer. Some brands use a 1 to 1.5 ratio of dye to developer though and you will need to check your own brand before you use it to find the correct ratio for the formula. The volume of developer you use should be 10 vol for permanent color, and 5 - 7 vol for demi-permanent colors.

In order to apply a black hair color, you will also need to section out your hair in the same way you would to dye or bleach it any other color. Even though unevenness is largely non-existent with black hair color, sectioning out your hair helps to ensure you don't miss any strands and allows you to take a quicker and more systematic approach when you apply the dye to your hair.

To section your hair, part it down from your forehead to the nape of your neck and then part it again from each ear. You'll have four distinct quadrants to work with then, and by taking thin layers from the top of each quadrant, working your way down to the bottom, you can efficiently cover each of these sections with dye.

As black hair dye is extremely difficult, if not impossible to remove from most surfaces, flooring, and clothing, it is more important than ever to ensure that your house is well protected from any dye splatter and you are not wearing clothing that you would hate to ruin. Whilst other hair dyes can often be removed from your floors or clothes, black hair dye will usually never come out, even if it only makes contact for a few seconds.

Matrix Logics Color DNA System Dual Nourishing Action Imprints Demi-Permanent Gelucent Color 1V Full/Sature Violet Black
Matrix Logics Color DNA System Dual Nourishing Action Imprints Demi-Permanent Gelucent Color 1V Full/Sature Violet Black

Matrix Logics 1V is a demi-permanent violet black hair color. You can use this shade by mixing it with Matrix 10 vol developer.


Applying black hair color

When you are ready to apply your black hair color, section your hair out as noted above and begin mixing your dye in the correct ratio with a tinting bowl and brush. If the color is a permanent dye, it needs to be mixed with 10 vol peroxide. This volume of developer will deposit color without unnecessary lightening, so it causes next to no damage to your hair.

Once the color is mixed, begin applying it by brush to thin layers of your first quadrant. Usually this would be the back left section of your hair, but you can begin anywhere. Start at the top of each quadrant and work your way down, applying hair dye to the top and bottom of each thin layer until you are done with a section. When you finish a section, move on to the next and continue in this fashion until your hair is completely covered.

The black hair color will need anywhere up to 45 minutes to develop once in the hair, but this isn't set in stone. The actual development time will depend on the brand of hair dye you're using and can range from 20 minutes to 45 minutes in total. Resistant hair should be left to develop for the maximum time.

When the development time is up, rinse out the color and condition your hair as usual. You can dry and style it right away if you wish.

Igora Royal Creme Hair Color (1-1)
Igora Royal Creme Hair Color (1-1)

Igora Royal 1-1 is a blue black hair dye. You can use it by mixing it with 10 vol developer.


Dyeing blonde hair black

Dyeing blonde hair black is a little more difficult than simply applying a black hair color and waiting for it to process. In this case, your blonde hair is devoid of red pigment and won't look the way it should when black dye is applied.

When a natural black dye is applied to blonde hair, it will turn out blue black because the blue tones in the dye aren't balanced out by the copper tones that would be present in brown hair. When a blue black dye is applied, your hair will be a very intense blue color but won't actually look as dark as it's meant to be.

These strange results occur for a reason and it's the lack of red pigment in blonde hair that causes it to happen. In order to dye your blonde hair a natural black or a red black color, you will need to fill it with red first. To do this, simply dye it with a demi-permanent or permanent warm brown hair color prior to dyeing it black and you won't have any issues with your black hair color turning out overly blue.

Iso I Color Permanent Conditioning Creme Color - 1N Black by Iso Hair
Iso I Color Permanent Conditioning Creme Color - 1N Black by Iso Hair

For a natural black color, you can use I.Color 1N mixed with 10 vol developer.


Blue black and other shades

When you dye your hair blue black, red black, or violet black, there is another problem you might face in that the vibrant tone you're expecting won't show on your hair if your hair is already black or a very dark brown color.

In this case, your hair is too dark for the blue tone of a blue black hair color to show up when you dye it with this shade. If the dark color is your natural hair color, you can avoid this problem by mixing your dye with 20 vol developer to lighten some of that dark color and replace it with your chosen dye.

For hair that has been dyed dark brown, there's not much you can do other than to wait for it to fade first or pre-lighten it one shade before you dye it black.


Dye hair can be just as fun as any other color. To really spice your color up, try adding brighter streaks or under-layers to your hair to accent your black hair and draw more attention. Your black hair color should be just as individual as you, and you can do whatever you want to add your own personal touch.

Do you have a question about black hair dye or need some advice to dye your hair black? Leave a comment and share your insight with other readers.


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    • Abdul Haadi profile image

      Abdul Haadi 2 months ago from Lahore, Pakistan.


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      Laurie 2 years ago

      Oh and my email don't work so I can't sign up. Anyway you can answer my questions without it?

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      Laurie 2 years ago

      I want to know how I can achieve a natural dark brown without it turning black. Thank you