What Happens If You Put Blonde Dye On Red Hair? Ask The Experts.

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What happens if you put blonde dye on red hair?

Going from brown to blonde is one thing, but what about if you want to go from red to blonde? Is it even possible? And if it is possible, what kind of results can you expect?

Keep reading for all the answers to your hair Qs!

So if you’re curious about what happens when you put blonde dye on red hair, or how to get rid of brassiness, read on! We’ve got everything you need to know right here.

Spoiler alert: it’s not always pretty!

“The pigment in a lighter blond coloring product is not strong enough to neutralize orange. Only by bleaching the hair past the red pigment can you acheive a nice light blond color.”

Versions Vividamnesia, Master Hair Colorist

What happens if you put blonde dye on red hair?

If you put blonde dye on a redhead, the result will be orange!

This is because color does not lighten color. It changes it. So putting a lighter color on top of a darker one, will only make it darker.

This is true if you’re trying to get red hair with blonde highlights too.

The color wheel is helpful for understanding this concept.

As you can see, the colors are divided into warm and cool groups. Colors that are next to each other are called complementary colors.

Blonde dye contains yellow, which is a warm color. Red hair has orange in it, which makes it a warm color too. So by putting blonde dye on red hair , you have created an orange-red color!

hair color wheel

“I would go with just a neutral blonde. because there’s so much red in your hair you need that neutral base to kind of tone it down so you don’t end up with bright gold hair. The neutral base should allow you to accomplish the light strawberry blond that you want.”

Susan Clark, Licensed Cosmetologist / Barber 20 years experience

Can you dye your hair blonde over red?

No! You can’t dye your hair blonde hair dye over red hair dye and expect the perfect result.

If you want to be a blonde, you need to use either bleach or highlights. You cannot put blonde dye on red hair! It will turn orange!

The trick to dying hair blonde is using the right amount of bleach or highlighting, not just throwing whatever dye you have on it.

Using boxed dye will also not work. It’s best to go to a salon if you want your red dyed lighter.

Also remember that when you’re going from a darker color, especially with box dye, the dye will fade to pinkish skin tones to orange and yellow overtones before it goes away completely.

“Red hair is stubborn, so when you lift it to make it blonde it will often still pull really warm, red tones (which translates to super brassy blonde). If you don’t know how to work with it, you’ll just end up looking like you made a really bad mistake. Done well, you can have gorgeous blonde hair.”

Ginger Knowles, Licensed Cosmetologist

What hair dye cancels out red?

  • Black is best for canceling out red hair.
  • Dark ash brown will also cancel out red and neutralize warm tones.
  • Green cancels out the red tones but is a color that can fade fast.
  • Blue will cancel out orange and yellow tints in dark hair, but may also turn red into greenish blue or purple.
  • Blue-black can work with deep red tones.

Can you put ash blonde dye on red hair?

No! If you want to dye your hair blonde, you’ll need bleach or lighteners.

Then it will be possible to dye your hair ash blonde over red hair.

The trick is using the right color of dye, and enough bleach to completely remove the red color.

Once you have removed the red hair dye with bleach, you can use any type of ash blonde or silver toned box-dye or semi-permanent dye that you want.

The only thing to be mindful of during your coloring process is that you must do a strand test in order to find out which verity and tone of ash blonde will work best on your specific shade of red.

“Most stylists will use these options:

Process one: Color remover to safely strip out the color of your hair (as much as possible) it will be quite orange.

Process two: then since it’s much lighter than red and has less pigment a stylist will go in with bleach and use various levels of lightener in the hair to ensure it’s all done timely and without damage.

May have to bleach again if the hair can take it. Not all hair is created equal – which a professional knows.

Process three: toning and making the hair look natural.

May also include conditioning treatment and depending on the red it may also take another session.”

Leah Jones, Former Stylist

Red hair to blonde hair transformation

What happens if you put blonde dye on ginger hair?

If you have ginger hair and you bleach it, you will end up with a yellow or straw-like color.

If you dye your ginger hair blonde, it will most likely turn out to be a brassy shade.

If you have ginger hair and you want to go blonde, the best thing to do is to consult with a professional colorist!

They will be able to help you achieve the perfect shade of blonde for your skin tone and hair type.

How do I go from dyed red hair to blonde?

If you want to dye red hair blonde, it’s an easy, three step process:

  1. Bleach your hair to remove all traces of red.
  2. Re-dye your hair with the blonde hair dye of your dreams.
  3. Tone your hair to reduce any warmth.

If you’re trying to go any lighter color than what you have now, you will need BLEACH!

So to go from red hair to blonde, you’ll need to strip the hair dye out using bleach. You’ll then need to use toner on red hair to reduce any brassiness.

Hair color remover also gets rids of hair dye, but red pigments can be really stubborn color remove. That’s why you need something stronger to remove all the color.

A bleach bath may lighten your hair enough to give it a good base for blonde. This is a gentler process than full on bleaching your hair and can lift your base 1-2 levels.

If you need to lift your hair more levels than this, it will be necessary to use regular bleach. And you may need more than one session to get rid of all the colour.

After bleaching your hair, it will still contain warmth and orange or red tones. You’ll need to neutralize this with hair toners or pick an ashy blonde color that will counteract the brassiness and stop it from fading.

You can also go blonde gradually with blonde highlights on a red hair base. Go for a partial or full head of blonde highlights for a bright blonde effect.

What color covers red hair?

When it comes to dying over faded red hair, dark hair colors aren’t your only option.

Dyeing your red hair a new shade of red is your best option to bring life and luscious color back to your strands.

You can choose from a whole spectrum of red hair dyes – from deep berry hue, spicy ginger, luscious copper, or even try a subtle red ombre.

From vivid semi-permanent magentas to pastel pinks, there is something for everyone and all tastes when ti comes to red hair color ideas.

Watch and learn: How to lighten red hair to blonde.

If you’re feeling brave enough to bleach your hair at home, this how-to video makes it easy.

Can you go from red to blonde without bleach?

If you don’t want to use bleach but still need your red color lifted, you can use a color remover.

Color removers are professional treatments for removing hair dye out of the hair or lifting your base color without bleaching it. These will lift 1-2 levels in most cases.

However, deep colors like maroon and burgundy may not come out easily with this treatment alone.

This is why you would need to either bleach your hair with regular bleach (a more intense process) or use a bleach bath instead (where you leave it on for 10 minutes).

Using a hair color remover may work if you’re choosing a warm-blonde color that has natural red undertones. You won’t need such a pure blonde, cool base to achieve these on-trend hues.

What happens if I bleach red hair?

Red hair is naturally resistant to bleaching, but if you bleach it the natural red pigments will be destroyed and not only your hair color will change, but also your hair texture.

The main reason why people want their red hair dyed or bleached is because they want to get rid of the orange hair tones that appear after a while.

So, even though this procedure may seem simple and safe enough, you should always consult an expert before taking such a big step in order to avoid damage to your hair shaft, texture and undesired results. 

How long does the process take?

To give yourself an idea of how long these processes will take, 30 mins -1 hr is common when using a color remover or bleach bath.

When using regular bleach, the process will take from 1-3 hours as you need to make sure all your hair is bleached evenly and not burned.

You’ll then need to re-dye your hair with blonde hair dye which can take 1-2 hours from start to finish.

Then depending on what kind of final tone you want to achieve, you may use a purple toner shampoo afterwards.

These shampoos will make sure your final tone stays ash (for any cool or ash toned colors like; grey, lilac, lavender etc) instead of orange!

So in total, the whole process could take anything from 2-5 hours to go from red to blonde!


The process of bleaching and re-dyeing is really harsh on your hair.

Make sure your hair is in good condition leading up to it with plenty of deep conditioning treatments before, and after.

If your hair is particularly dry and damaged after bleaching, try waiting up to a week to re-dye it so it has time to recover in between.

Parting words.

So, there you have it.

It’s possible to go from red hair to blonde, but don’t expect your results to be perfect.

If you want a dramatic change such as this one, it will take some time and patience on your part.

You may need several touch-ups or dye jobs before achieving the desired look because of how stubbornly resistant red is to the chemicals in bleaching treatments.

When going for a dramatic color like this, we recommend using Olaplex (or similar treatment) with every coloring and spending more money upfront than usual on getting high quality products that do not contain ammonia which can cause dryness and damage.

We hope these tips help!

This article was written by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!