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Black to Blonde

The process everyone dreads, but after the pain, hard work and patience, it is all worth it.

Many people don't understand the process of going black to blonde. They don't understand the money it costs, the blood seat and tears that go into it, and the damaged caused by it.

If that is you, we are here to break down the process and give you a clear understanding of it.

The Colour Process

Let's start with the colour process. Think about your hair as a black jumper. And you're wanting to do a dip dye ombre effect with the bleach.

What colour does it strip too after the first dip?


This is the exact same as your hair. The first colour of the process is orange. Then it's yellow. Then it becomes pale yellow. It is extremely hard to create a white blonde as it is natural for your hair to have a warm base.

Everyone throws warm tones such as yellow, orange, reds, etc so that's when toners come into play. However, to get you to a clean enough blonde to achieve the colour that you want, we need to get you to the palest yellow colour (level 10).

In the picture to the left, you can see the natural levels from 1, being black, and 10, being blonde. Above the natural levels are the underlying pigments. The darker your hair is, the warmer the underlying pigment is which means there is more red we have to strip out.

This could take 2 lightening sessions, it could take 5, it could have a year of lightening appointments. It all depends on the colour and history of your hair.

Someone who has been dying their hair black for 5 years will have an extensive amount of colour build up that the bleach needs to break through to strip out. This is also the same for someone who uses supermarket shampoo and conditioner. Supermarket shampoo and conditioner create a plastic barrier around your hair cuticle as an illusion to create a soft feeling. However when we put bleach on, the chemicals react with each other and create the hair to sweat and sometimes even steam.

At Cactus Hair, we love to use the image to the right of Khloe Kardashian's hair process as a real-life indication of the different steps. Even the top celebrities go through the whole process in different stages. It is not an over night process . . . unless you wear a wig or snap your hair off.

The Health of the Hair

As you can imagine, the amount of bleach needed to strip all the products and colour out would be quite harsh to the hair cuticle.

It is extremely important to listen to what products your hair dresser recommends you. It would be a heartbreak if you finally got the colour that you have dreamt of but you have to chop all your hair off because it's snapped and damaged.

You want to make sure you are including moisture and protein into your hair care routine.

The top 4 most important products you need in your bathroom is shampoo, conditioner, treatment, and heat protectant. These 4 products are the basic products that you need to maintain the health of your hair.

Expectations vs Reality

Everyone wants a clean blonde, but sometimes that's not always achievable . . . especially on the first go and maybe even the second.

For some people it can take 2 appointments, for others it can take 15. Everyone’s hair is different, and everyone’s hair has been through a different journey.

If you are wanting to go blonde, don’t get your hopes up for your first appointment. Creating a beautiful blonde is a work in progress. It takes steppingstones and it’s a journey but it’s all worth it.

Please also keep in mind that depending on the desired colour, it may not be achievable until all your old colour has grown out or been cut off. Your hairdresser will access the state of your hair and the journey needing to be taken to reach your dream colour. We can always give you an estimate as to how many sessions it will take however it is just an estimate.

To the left is a photo of a client who is on a lightening journey. We have done two lots of full head of foils and 1 session of a scalp bleach. Our end goal is to get it as clean and light as possible while keeping it long and healthy. Even after 3 lightening sessions we still aren’t to the colour we want bit you can see we have come a long way from where we started. It all takes time and patience. It also takes the correct home care products and also in salon treatments to make this end goal achievable.


If you are wanting to go blonde, please make sure you have thought about it and are prepared for the different phases. It is not a 1 step process. It is not a cheap process. It is also not a quick service. Please make sure you are 110% committed!

Work with us through this journey. We are on your side and want to give you the best results we possibly can. Some hair is more stubborn than others and likes to hold onto the unwanted colours, but we do our best and we try our hardest to work with what your hair lightens to create a nice colour for you to walk out the door.

This blog is copyright to Cactus hair. For more info visit the salon to chat to one of our stylists.

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