How to Color Dark-brown Hair Light Brown

Actress Natalie Portman has rocked a variety of brunette shades.

Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Looking to trade in your dark, chocolaty-brown locks for a sweeter, honey-brown hue? Lightening your hair from dark brown to light brown is actually a piece of cake. To get the perfect tone of light brown, have a close look at your current hair color and take note of its tone. Are there hints of red or gold? Or is it a cool shade of brown? Whatever tone you find, look to find a new hair color with the same, and you'll be sure to complement your skin tone.


Head to your local beauty supply store and pick up a tube of level-five light-brown hair color and a bottle of 20-volume developer. Choose an ash-based level-five color if you want to nix excessive red or gold tones in your new color, or choose a warm, golden or red base if that's your preference. You should also pick up some latex gloves to protect your hands from the color.


Once you get your goodies home, mix the hair color and 20-volume developer together in a color bowl, according to the product directions. Mix the two together really well with your color brush to remove any lumps. Slip on your gloves and get ready to get colorful.


Separate your hair into four equal-sized sections. Use a comb to make a part from the center of your front hairline to the center of your back hairline. Make another part from the top of one ear to the other. Secure each of the four sections with a hair clip to keep them separated.


Let your hair down in one of the back sections and begin applying your color to the mid-shaft of the hair (called a virgin application). Taking 1/2-inch-wide, horizontal sections of hair at a time, apply the hair color 1 inch from the scalp to 2 inches from the ends. Do this throughout the entire section.


Now repeat the virgin-application method for each of the other three sections of hair. Once you've slathered the mid-shaft of each section, start back at section one, applying color to the roots and ends you previously left out.


Relax and wait. Set a timer for 30 minutes, thumb through your favorite beauty magazines, and let that color lift you higher.


When the time has elapsed, rinse your hair thoroughly until all the color is gone and the water runs clear. Finish up by slathering on a hair conditioner for color-treated hair, and rinsing after one minute. Now go and marvel at what a difference a couple of levels lighter can make.

Things You'll Need


1.Level-five light brown hair color

3.Latex gloves

5.Hair clips

7.Hair conditioner

2.20-volume developer




Tips & Tricks


Dark-brown hair is considered a level-three hair color, while light brown is a level five. A 20-volume developer will easily lift your hair color the two levels needed.

If you really don't like mixing hair color from scratch, you can buy a color kit from a drugstore. Since you're only going two levels lighter, a color kit should do the trick.

Hair color cannot lift artificial hair color. If your dark-brown hair color is a result of artificial color, you'll have to use a color remover or bleach to remove or lighten your existing color first.


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