Going lighter with your hair color looks and feels great -- as long as hair stays healthy. Most women lost their virgin hair long ago, so dousing your tresses with peroxide, a key ingredient in almost all lighteners, might seem like a lot of hair stress. But there are ways to lighten your locks so that they flow bright and shiny.
Highlights are a simple way to go a shade or two lighter without a major production. You can get these streaks that mimic the sun's effect on your mane by brushing them in or using foil and painting them in. Unless your hair is seriously brittle, highlights are a no-fuss step that can be done at the same time as an all-over color job. Unless your hair is really dark, you won't need to go near any harsh bleach.
Stripping removes all the color from your hair. If you're taking your hair several shades lighter, the paler shade won't show unless you strip the current color, even if it's not really yours. Women with deep, dark brown or black hair will have to strip color even for highlights in some instances. Since this bleach process is tough on hair, stick to stripping and recoloring your hair once. Anything else is too stressful for your strands.
Silver foxes are sometimes surprised that their gray hair doesn't do what they want when they dye it. Your hair is coarser now, so try a little delicacy while still embracing the change. Take your hair down to silver-white. You may need to strip it, especially if you're aiming for trendy moonlight colors that are almost platinum. Use a formula that's made especially for gray hair, so that you're not dyeing and retouching every few days.
Wait it out if you're only lightening to fix an unhappy accident. Going around with a shade you hate can be nothing short of torture, but unless it's really bad, your locks deserve a rest from chemicals. You don't want to perform multiple processes -- a dye job, a strip job and another dye job is a lot for any head to handle. Wait a few days and visit a professional colorist.