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QUESTION: Hi :) I use the box hair dyes. I wanted to go lighter and I have dark brown hair. I recently bought a slighty lighter hair color but it didn't make a difference. Once when I had dark hair, I bought blonde color to get it lighter. My hair came out orange. What should I buy to make it lighter?

ANSWER: Hi Shari,

I love and hate box dyes all in one sentence and thought. The problem with coloring your own hair at own is, not having the knowledge and information that leads to blunders. As I walk down the isle of most stores that carry these products, I've often wondered how the picture on the box is actually misguiding many folks. You see the pretty blonde and think, "Oh wow, if I buy this I can do that!" Bu in truth, if you read the instructions it actually says, (Not in these exact words) "If you want to be this light, you need to be naturally light at this level". What is that mean? Simply put, a brunette CANNOT become a blonde, unless, she is already a dark blonde to begin with.

I don't advocate for a dark brown head of hair to try and go lightner at home, because there isn't a hair color product on earth that can get you there.....this is why you go to a professional. They begin by lightening your natural tones first with a lightner or some form of bleaching process, and than, you tone the hair to a desired blonde tone.

If you bought the lightest blonde hair color at your local store and used a strong developer....let's say 40 Volume, it would still leave you in the orange stage. Coloring hair is both an art and chemical science. Go and see a professional, or you will wind up destroying your hair and pay double to fix it! I could spend hours in talking about what is called "under lying pigments" and why the hair turns orange, most of it would not only not make sense to you, but it would further frustrate you and the results you are not getting.

So the answer is, "There is no hair color that will make you a blonde. You first have to bleach it...period." Sorry Shari:(

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QUESTION: Im afraid bleaching my hair will cause damage. Im afraid my hair will fall out. I also have thin hair and I use amonia free dyes. Will it cause any problems??

Hi Shari...let's break this down. Fine or thick hair is not the issue. Even thick hair can break. However, the issue here is ammonia free dye. It is NOT designed to lift the natural tone and go from brown to blonde....not on this planet.

Ammonia is used to open the cuticle of the hair, and the level of peroxide helps to go up the levels of lightning and deposit. We use ammonia free to deposit hair color only, therefore you are wasting your time.

As far as bleaching is concerned, damage only happens when it is not used properly and left on too long. This is why I suggested you start seeking professional help.

Let me advise you to see a professional and stop doing this on your's like pulling your own teeth! See a good dentist instead:)

Wishing you the best!.........and thanks for the great rating!

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The PsyCOLORgist


Ready to color your hair, and don't have a single clue on how to start? I will try my best to guide you in your new or old hair color venture, whether you are going to a professional or trying to do it yourself. If you are going to see a professional I can help by answering all questions regarding your initial consultation, what to say to your colorist, how to describe what your wishes are and well talk about realistic expectations. Everything starts with a good conversation; learn how to discuss hair color in terms which make sense to a colorist.


I started as a young assistant at Vidal Sassoon in 1982 and got the training that has always sustained me throughout my professional life. I first became involved in hair color in the mid 80s when I realized that my passion for painting was a vehicle understanding hair color. I joined the industry of hair color teaching and began a career as a platform artist in 1991. The next 25 years, took me across the USA and North America doing all hair shows, demonstrations on both hair cutting and hair coloring. I went from regional education, to national, eventually crossing into North America and being promoted as the USA Artistic Director for It&lyhairfashion, N.A. My hair salon is an award-winning destination for hair expertise, and I am proud to say that I have one of the most elite hair expert teams working for me.

Modern Salon Magazine Salon and Day Spa Westchester Magazine

Involved in hair shows and teaching professional hairdressers for over 25 years.

Awards and Honors
Best Hair Colorist of 2011 awarded by "Westchester Magazine" in New York. Featured in Modern Salon as one of the top national hair colorists.

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