7 Best Hair Dyes For Dark Hair Without Needing Bleach [Expert Advice].

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It’s time to change up your hair color. You’re ready for a new look, a new vibe, a new you. But you don’t want to use bleach and potentially damage your hair to do it. We don’t blame you!

So which is the best hair dye for dark hair without bleach? Let’s find out!

You’ll be able to find reviews on some of the best hair dyes on the market and see which one will work with your current hair color. Keep reading below!

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Can you dye dark hair without bleaching it?

It’s a common misconception that you can’t dye your hair without bleach.

In reality, most colorists use no bleach at all when applying new colors to clients’ locks. And yes, you can even use permanent hair dye for dark hair without bleach.

Getting a great hair color without bleach really depends on the base color of your hair now.

Blondes – can have more fun with colors, it’s true. A lighter base is the perfect blank canvas to try a whole range of bright, bold colors.

On-trend silver and pastel hair dye colors like lavender and lilac will still need a lightened base. And icy-white platinum blonde certainly will.

But generally, if you have a blonde base already, you can have some fun experimenting.

Brunettes and darker – This page is for you.

The trouble with brunette and darker hair is that your base color is already dark. So bright colors won’t show up and will probably make your hair an even darker shade than it already is.

The trick is to choose colors that add depth, warmth and richness to compliment your base.

Vibrant and strong shades like metallic silver, copper and rose gold and pastel hues lavender, lilac and even blues are all in need of a bleached hair base. You can’t lighten color with color!

Red heads, same goes for you. It’s about adding a different tone or dimension to your color, rather than radically changing it.

These are the 7 hair colors and the best hair dyes for dark hair you need to confidently change your hair color without using bleach.

Pick one that’s closest to the base you have now for the best and most fabulous effects!

Best colors to dye dark hair without using bleach.

  • Chocolate brown
  • Burgundy
  • Blue black
  • Chestnut brown
  • Rich reds
  • Black
  • Rose Gold

Which is the best hair dye for dark hair without bleach?

Want to change your hair color without needing bleach? You’ve got options!

There are specially formulated dye products that can lighten or color your hair without any harsh chemicals.

They’re designed to be gentle and won’t damage your precious locks. And if you’re looking for a more natural option, try henna or herbal dyes.

They can give you vibrant and long-lasting results without the need for bleach.

So go ahead, pick your hair color and have fun experimenting while keeping your hair healthy and beautiful.

#1 Chocolate brown

Chocolate brown is a rich, warm color that adds depth and multidimensional tones to your hair.

We love chocolate brown for making any type or condition of hair appear glossier and thicker.

Because of its deep dark tones, it doesn’t need a bleach base to begin with. The lighter your hair color now, the lighter chocolate brown you can experiment with.

For darker brunettes, you could try a choc brownie, dark chocolate color or a mocha brown hair color without bleach to add a hint of warmth and rich brown color.

Always look on the side of your chosen box dye to match your hair color to the color on the box.

Best brown hair dye for dark hair without bleach.

John Frieda’s Medium Chocolate Brown Color.

John Frieda Precision Foam Colour, Dark Chocolate Brown 4BG

This is the first dark hair color on the list and we used this hair dye on a medium brown hair base. It gave a beautiful rich, almost mocha brown sheen to our hair and left it feeling like silk and well conditioned.

You’ll need two boxes if your hair is long as the foamy bubbles really sink into your hair, especially if it’s dyed hair which is more porous.

Overall, this hair dye is really easy to apply as the foam makes it simple and mess free.

Get the look.

#2 Burgundy.

Burgundy is a intense infusion of purple with undertones of brown, red and purple.

It frames faces. It makes skin glow and eyes pop. And it’s suited to every skin tone.

Burgundy is a great hair dye to put on a dark colored hair base such as brunettes without using any bleach.

It’s an easy color to dye yourself at home and it will add purpley lowlights that glint in the sun. If your hair is lighter brown, go for a red wine or plum color to get a brighter look.

Best purple hair dye for dark hair without bleach.

Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color, Deepest Intense Burgundy

Garnier Hair Color Nutrisse Ultra Color Nourishing Creme, BR1 Deepest Intense Burgundy (Acai Berry) Red Permanent Hair Dye, 1 Count (Packaging May Vary)

Garnier Nutrisse Deepest Intense Burgundy is the deepest of the three Ultra Color Burgundy shades – the others are Dark Intense Burgundy and Intense Burgundy.

Each is a different tone to suit light to dark hair. Nice touch!

We tried this on dark brunette hair as instructed and loved the condition of our hair after using it.

It definitely felt nourished and not as dry as some of the others on the list. The color is fab.

It’s darker than the box but it has a beautiful shimmering tone that catches the light. Go for this dark burgundy hair dye if you have darker hair.

Get the look.

#3 Blue black

The metallics trend is full on this year.

Whereas colors like copper and silver are best applied to a bleached blonde base, the blue-black shades of midnight blue make it a perfect color to dye your hair without bleach.

Midnight blue is a color you’ll have to commit to. It’s luxurious mix of black and blue tones will definitely take to any hair color base. But will once the dye is in your hair, it can be really hard to remove.

It’s a color that suits cooler skin tones but you can try other blue black shades such as indigo to warm it up a little with hints of purple-blue.

Best blue hair dye for dark hair without bleach.

Clairol Nice’ n Easy Crème, Blue Black.

Clairol 2BB Blue Black Nice'n Easy Hair Color with Conditioner

Nice n easy is certainly that. It smells great and wasn’t as messy to apply as some of the other hair dyes on the list.

This is a dark shade that turned almost black on our dark brown, dyed hair. In the light, it has a subtle blue hue that warms up the black and gives it a beautiful iridescent shine.

Lots of the reviews said the color kept really well. Best of all, it left our hair feeling in tip top condition. Use this for long lasting, deep blue black color.

Get the look

#4 Chestnut brown.

Chestnut brown is an on-trend brunette color for those with lighter bases.

It’s not as dark and rich as chocolate brown but it’s not as cool as the lighter, grey-toned ash brown that might wash some people out.

It’s a warm color with undertones of red or gold and looks fabulous blended with dark blonde ombre, balayage or highlights. Chestnut is an easy color to do at home and there are a variety of box dyes that will help you to get the perfect silky chestnut brown color.

Best light brown hair dye for dark hair without bleach.

L’Oreal Preference Permanent Hair Dye, Medium Chestnut Brown.

L'Oreal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying + Shine Permanent Hair Color, 5CB Medium Chestnut Brown, Pack of 1, Hair Dye

This is a beautiful color. We dyed our medium brown hair and left it in for slightly longer than the recommended time. It’s a real, nutty colour that’s not as red as some chesnut browns can be. It’s almost slightly golden in some lights.

It has gorgeous multidimensional tones and left our hair feeling soft and silky too with plenty of shine. This is the best chestnut hair dye for us.

Get the look.

#5 Rich red.

Rich red hair colors are never out of fashion. Red is such a statement color and can add dimension and flirty flair to any style.

The spectrum of red hair dyes out there is immense. So warm or cool toned – you’ll find the perfect color for you.

Red is the perfect color to add to any dark base. Add depth and richness with auburn brown hair color, mahogany and dark cherry red to any dark hair base color.

Best red hair dye for dark hair without bleach.

Garnier Nutrisse Vibrant Red Hair Dye Permanent.

Garnier Hair Color Nutrisse Ultra Color Nourishing Creme, R3 Light Intense Auburn (Red Hibiscus) Permanent Hair Dye, 2 Count (Packaging May Vary)

This is the most vibrant red of the bunch. It’s not quite full-on perfect pillarbox red if your base hair color is dark. But it adds deep red tones of fire engine red that really glint and shine in the sunlight.

This colour is also fab for combining with darker colors and lowlights for the ombre or balayage look. Gorgeous!

Get the look.

#6 Jet Black.

Another timeless classic that looks amazing from season to season is black hair.

Solid black can make your hair appear fuller, shinier and in tip top condition. It’s a show-stopper that can suit warm or cool tones and an easy color to do yourself at home.

Black is a heavy color that will take to any base without the need for bleach. Once it’s on, black can be hard to get off so make sure you’re in it for the long haul.

You might need a couple of boxes of hair dye for full coverage if you are going for solid black.

Root regrowth is more noticeable with black but it’s nothing a good cover up can’t take care of in between colorings.

Best black hair dye for dark hair without bleach.

Revlon Colorsilk Beautiful Color Hair Colorant Black.

Revlon Colorsilk Beautiful Color Permanent Hair Color, Long-Lasting High-Definition Color, Shine & Silky Softness with 100% Gray Coverage, Ammonia Free, 010 Black, 1 Pack

This Revlon hair dye is certainly the most deepest and darkest color of the bunch.

It’s easy to apply and our hair felt saturated with the dye, although we needed two boxes to completely cover our shoulder-length hair.

We used this one dark brown dyed hair and the result was super duper black! Great coverage and solid tones.

The conditioner gave shine and softness. This is the one if you’re looking for total gray coverage.

Get the look.

#7 Rose Gold

Rose gold has been a trending hair color for a while now, and for a good reason.

This color looks great on brown hair since it enhances the warm undertones in brown hair. Rose gold is a perfect choice for those who want a subtle, yet elegant look.

Before you try this color, be sure to talk to your hairstylist to help you get the right tone for your hair. It’s not best for black hair but brunettes can give it a try.

Best pink hair dye for dark hair without bleach.

Garnier Hair Color Olia Dark Rose Quartz

Garnier Hair Color Olia Ammonia-Free Brilliant Color Oil-Rich Permanent Hair Dye, 7.20 Dark Rose Quartz, 2 Count (Packaging May Vary)

If you have dark hair and you’re thinking about pink, all is not lost! A deep rose gold can work on dark hair.

We tried it on a base of dark brown hair, and the results were subtle but still made a noticeable difference.

Plus, our hair felt healthier and smoother thanks to the oil blend in the formula.

Give this this hair color a try if you’re in the market for a subtle change that still makes an impact.


Best hair dyes for dark hair without bleach at a glance.

Hair Dye ColorSummaryRecommended Brand
Chocolate BrownRich, warm color that adds depth; suits all hair typesJohn Frieda Medium Chocolate Brown
BurgundyIntense purple-red that makes skin and eyes pop; glints in sunlightGarnier Nutrisse Ultra Color Deepest Intense Burgundy
Blue BlackLuxurious mix of black and blue; subtle blue hue; long-lastingClairol Nice’n Easy Crème Blue Black
Chestnut BrownWarm nutty color with red/gold tones; multidimensionalL’Oreal Preference Permanent Hair Dye Medium Chestnut Brown
Rich RedVibrant cherry red adds dimension; perfect for ombre/balayageGarnier Nutrisse Vibrant Red Hair Dye
Jet BlackMakes hair look fuller and shinier; complete gray coverageRevlon Colorsilk Beautiful Color Hair Colorant Black
Rose GoldSubtle, elegant look that enhances brown hair’s warm tonesGarnier Hair Color Olia Dark Rose Quartz

Frequently Asked Questions

What color can I dye black hair without bleaching?

While black hair can be stubborn when it comes to changing shades, there are still a few tricks you can try.

Think dark brown, burgundy, or deep red for subtle variations and added depth. And if you’re not ready to commit, semi-permanent or demi-permanent dyes in darker shades can give you a temporary color boost.

Keep in mind that results may vary depending on your natural hair color, condition, and texture.

It’s always a good idea to seek advice from a professional hair colorist who can tailor their suggestions to your unique needs and preferences.

Types of hair dyes for dark hair without bleach

  • Semi-permanent hair dye – semi-permanent hair colors coat and stain your strands with color. Lasts 10-14 washes
  • Temporary hair dyes – Includes temporary hair color spray, hair chalk, sprays, strands
  • Permanent color – Longer lasting but uses ammonia and peroxide
  • Color conditioner – Subtle, fades gradually over time
  • Hair makeup – Such as mousses, gels, colored setting sprays
  • Henna hair dye – Made from natural henna plant, conditions hair while coloring

What color can I dye my brown hair without bleaching?

If you have brunette hair and want to dye it without bleaching, you might have a limited selection of colors to choose from.

You can totally rock shades like burgundy, dark red, and deep purple without bleaching, but getting lighter shades like blonde or pastels might be a bit tricky.

To get the best results, it’s always a good idea to chat with a professional hairstylist or check out semi-permanent dyes designed specifically for dark hair.

They’ll help you achieve the look you’re after and let you know the best options for your hair type and texture.

Best hair colors to dye brown hair without bleach.

  • Red – Adds a pop of color. Choose shades like auburn, copper or bright red. Red dyes work well on brown hair without bleach.
  • Purple – Adds edge without being too bold. Choose deep plum to merlot. Use dyes made for darker hair.
  • Burgundy – A dramatic, deep rich color that highlights warm tones. Choose a shade that complements your skin.
  • Dark Blue – A cool-toned adventurous look. Dark blue works well on brown hair without bleach. Choose a dark enough shade.
  • Rose Gold – A subtle, elegant look. Enhances the warm tones in brown hair. Consult a stylist to get the right rose gold tone.

What hair color doesn’t need bleach?

If you’re naturally black-haired, you’re in luck because you can maintain your color without bleaching.

The same goes for those with brown hair – you can easily enhance or darken your shade without bleach.

You can even achieve certain shades of red without bleach, depending on your natural color.

Just remember, if you’re looking for lighter or more vibrant colors like blonde or pastel shades, you might need to use bleach to lighten your hair beforehand to get the right hue.

Are there permanent hair dyes for dark hair without bleach?

The good news is that there are plenty of permanent hair dyes for dark hair that don’t involve bleach!

In fact, most permanent hair dyes don’t actually contain bleach at all!

Instead, they contain a combination of chemicals designed to lift the hair cuticle and deposit color molecules.

While every brand is different, some common ingredients in permanent hair dyes include ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and various types of dyes.

So don’t worry, it is still totally possible to achieve your dream hair color without reaching for the bleach.

Parting words

Whether you’re looking to switch up the subtle red, copper, and honey tones in your hair or go for a more dramatic change, one thing’s for sure: you don’t have to risk damaging your hair with bleach.

With the right hair dye, you can find a great new look without having to worry about safety first.

Use our reviews as a starting point to using no bleach hair color and give yourself the new vibes you’ve been dreaming of.

Coloring your hair is a great way to express yourself and that extra bit of confidence that comes with it will always be worth it.

Everyone deserves to feel beautiful! Go out there and take charge – you got this!

Found your perfect shade? We’d love to see it! Tag us on Instagram @colouredhaircare or Facebook and share your hair dye success stories. Looking for more hair care tips? Check out How to Look After Colored Hair: 11 Expert Secrets For Long-Lasting Color.

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Our Research & Review Process

To ensure our recommendations are as comprehensive and reliable as possible, we’ve undertaken an extensive research effort.

We cite scientific evidence and journals, collect real user reviews and gather impartial perspectives from hair stylists, users, and experts in the field.

Additionally, we conduct hands-on testing by using products and applying hair dyes not only on our own locks but also on real human hair extensions and hair pieces of different hair type, textures and lengths.

This rigorous approach allows us to provide you with insights into which products genuinely live up to their promises.

As always – please consult with a professional hair colorist or stylist for advice on how to color your own hair at home. It’s different for everyone!

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!