How to Lighten Dyed Red Hair to Strawberry Blonde [Expert Advice].

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So, you’ve got dyed red hair and you want to lighten it up? You’re wondering whether you can go from that bold red to a subtler shade of strawberry blonde? You’re exactly where you should be! 

In this awesome guide, we’re going to walk you through the fascinating process of hair lightening from dyed red to a gorgeous strawberry blonde.

Here’s everything you need to know to transition from red to blonde successfully.

Step-by-Step Guide to Lightening Red Hair to Strawberry Blonde.

You’ve rocked the fiery shades, but now you’re longing for a softer, on-trend strawberry blonde look. You’re in luck. We’ve got the ultimate step-by-step guide just for you.  

This isn’t just a simple dye job here. It’s a process that requires patience, some hair-loving TLC, and a pinch of courage. But fear not! We’re with you every step of the way.

Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive in!

Step 1: Assess the Condition of Your Hair 

Before we even get started, let’s take a good, hard look at the state of your hair. Have you been treating it right? Or does it look more like a neglected broomstick? 

  • Is your hair dry or damaged? If so, it might be a good idea to give it some TLC with deep conditioning treatments before you begin the lightening process.
  • Is your hair thick or thin? The texture and thickness of your hair can affect the lightening process. Thicker hair might need more time or product to lighten.

Step 2: Choose the Right Lightening Product 

Now here’s where things can get a little tricky. There are a ton of hair lightening products out there, but you need to choose the one that’s right for your hair.

For gentle lightening, you might want to consider a bleach bath. This mixes bleach and developer with shampoo and water to make it less damaging for your hair.

If you’re aiming to lighten your hair by several shades, you might need to go for a stronger lightening product like regular bleach. But remember, this can be damaging and drying if not used correctly so take care!


Remember, when it comes to lightening your hair, slow and steady wins the race. It’s better to lighten your hair gradually than to damage it by trying to lighten it too quickly.

How to Lighten Dyed Red Hair to Strawberry Blonde applying bleach to red hair

Step 3: Apply the Lightening Product 

Once you’ve chosen your lightening product, it’s time to get down to business. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package to the letter. We don’t want any mishaps here! 

  • First, apply the product evenly to your hair.
  • Then, leave it in for the recommended amount of time. Don’t leave it in longer than suggested, as this can lead to damage.
  • Finally, rinse it out thoroughly. You don’t want any product residue left in your hair.

You’re well on your way to becoming a strawberry blonde bombshell.

Step 4: Apply the Strawberry Blonde Dye 

Now that your hair is ready, it’s time to apply that gorgeous strawberry blonde dye. But before you do, make sure you have everything you need. Here’s a quick checklist: 

Got everything? Awesome, let’s get started! 

  1. Put on your gloves and drape the old towel or shirt over your shoulders to protect your skin and clothes.
  2. Open the strawberry blonde dye and stir it well using the application brush.
  3. Apply the dye to your hair, starting from the roots and working your way down to the tips. Make sure every strand is covered!
  4. Once your hair is fully coated, let the dye sit for the recommended time on the box. This is usually between 30 minutes to an hour.

Friendly tip: Always follow the instructions on the box of the dye, as different brands may vary. And remember, patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to hair dye!

Step 5: Rinse and Condition 

Once you’ve waited the recommended time, it’s time to rinse out that dye.

Before you rinse, you’ll want to add a small amount of warm water to your hair and massage the dye into a lather. 

This process helps to emulsify the dye, which will make your rinse out more effective and even. 

Now, you can hop into the shower and rinse out the dye using lukewarm water. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear. After that, apply a color-safe conditioner to your hair.

Let the conditioner sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out. This will help lock in the color and keep your hair feeling soft and manageable. Okay, you’ve done the tough part.

Now comes the exciting part – seeing your new strawberry blonde hair! 

Your hair color might seem a bit intense at first, but it will gradually fade to the perfect shade of strawberry blonde over the next few days.

Red to blonde hair: Before and after.

Watch and learn: How to fade red hair to strawberry blonde.

Here’s a great video tutorial that shows you how to fade red hair to blonde without using bleach – using baking soda, clarifying shampoo, Vitamin C tablets and vinegar methods!

Top Tips to Maintain Strawberry Blonde Hair 

  • Condition, Condition, Condition: Dyed hair needs extra love and care, and that’s where a good conditioner comes in. Get yourself a quality conditioner and use it religiously. This will keep your hair healthy and shiny, and ensure your strawberry blonde color lasts longer. 
  • Use Color-Protecting Products: To maintain the vibrancy of your new hue, consider investing in hair products specifically designed for dyed hair. They help seal in the color and protect your locks from environmental damage. 
  • Avoid Heat Styling: Heat styling tools can cause dyed hair to fade faster. Try to cut back on the use of straighteners, curling irons and blow dryers as much as possible. If you must use them, ensure you apply a heat protectant to your tresses first.
  • Try Dry Shampoo: Frequent hair washing can cause dyed hair to lose its color fast. Dry shampoo can be a lifesaver in between washes. It not only absorbs excess oil but also helps to maintain the color.
  • Touch Up Regularly: Depending on how fast your hair grows, you might need to touch up your roots every 4-6 weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long does it take to lighten dyed red hair to strawberry blonde?

The length of time it takes to change dyed red hair to that stunning shade of strawberry blonde largely depends on the current condition of your hair.

If your locks are healthy and robust, you might be able to pull off the transformation in a day. 

But if your hair has been through the wringer with previous dye jobs, heat treatments, or simply not being pampered enough (we’ve all been there), then it’s a different story.

In that case, it’s always a good idea to seek professional help. A seasoned hair stylist will assess the condition of your hair and suggest a plan of action that may span a few days or even a few weeks.

Remember, it’s all about achieving that perfect shade of strawberry blonde and keeping your hair healthy at the same time.

Can I lighten my hair to strawberry blonde without bleach?

The answer, in most cases, is no. Not from dyed red hair anyway.

Here’s the deal. Bleach is usually the go-to product when it comes to lightening hair. It works by removing your hair’s pigment, making it a lighter shade.

So, if you’re looking to transition from a fiery red to a sweet strawberry blonde hair color, bleach might be in your future. 

Bleach is a strong chemical. It can be harmful if not used correctly. So, it’s essential to either have a professional do it or make sure you’re well-informed before you take the plunge.

However, if the thought of bleach sends shivers down your spine, there are a few alternatives you can consider. 

  • Color Remover: This nifty product can remove the red dye from your hair. But keep in mind, it may not lighten your natural hair color.
  • Lemon Juice & Sun: This is a natural lightening method where you apply lemon juice to your hair and expose it to the sun. It can gently lighten your hair over time, without the harsh side effects of bleach. But remember, it’s a slow process, not a quick fix. 

A table comparing these options might help you make your decision: 

BleachHighQuickCan be damaging if misused
Color RemoverVariableQuickLess damaging than bleach
Lemon Juice & SunLowLongLeast damaging

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. What might work wonders for one person may not work the same for another. So, make sure you consider all the factors before deciding on your lightening method. 

Will lightening dyed red hair to strawberry blonde damage my hair?

When it comes to lightening dyed red hair to strawberry blonde, there’s always a bit of concern about potential damage, and rightfully so.

The process involves chemical reactions that lighten the hair, so it’s not completely risk-free.

But if you follow the right steps and take care of your hair properly, you can achieve your strawberry blonde dreams without causing significant harm to your gorgeous locks. 

  • Preparation: Prepare your hair for the lightening process by deep conditioning it a few days prior. This will help strengthen your hair and make it more resilient to potential damage.
  • Quality Products: Not all hair lightening products are created equal. Some are more damaging than others. Always opt for high-quality, reputable products. They might be a bit pricier, but your hair will thank you for it.
  • Professional Help: While it’s possible to lighten your hair at home, if you’re nervous about the potential damage, consider seeking professional help. A skilled stylist will know how to lighten your hair while minimizing damage.
  • Post-Process Care: After you’ve achieved your dream strawberry blonde color, it’s essential to take care of your hair properly. Use color-protecting shampoos and conditioners, and regularly deep condition your hair to keep it hydrated and healthy.

Can I lighten my hair to strawberry blonde at home or should I go to a salon?

You can absolutely lighten your hair to strawberry blonde at home.

However, if you’re not too confident about doing it yourself or if your hair is very dark blonde, you might want to consider heading to a salon. 

Going the DIY route can be an adventure, and we’re all about self-expression and creativity here. But remember, there are pros and cons to each approach: 

  • DIY: It’s cost-effective and you get to have control over the entire process. On the flip side, there’s a risk of uneven color application and potential hair damage if not done correctly.
  • Salon: A professional hairstylist knows their stuff. They can provide you with expert advice and application, along with hair care tips. But this comes with a heftier price tag.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Weigh these factors and decide what works best for you. Either way, we’re pretty sure you’re going to rock that strawberry blonde look!

Can I dye my hair strawberry blonde if I have previously used henna?

While henna is a stubborn little pigment, it’s not an impossible task to transition from henna-dyed red to a gorgeous strawberry blonde. However, it’s important to remember this is not a one-step process either! 

Here’s the deal with henna: 

Henna is a natural dye that binds to the keratin (protein) in your hair. This binding makes it quite resistant to removal, especially when it comes to lightening the color. The bad news? It won’t budge with normal dye. The good news? With a little time and the right technique, you can achieve your strawberry blonde dreams.

So, what’s the game plan? Here’s a step-by-step guide: 

  1. Consult a professional: This isn’t for DIY-ing. It’s crucial to work with a professional hair stylist who has experience dealing with henna-dyed hair. They’ll be able to assess the current state of your hair and recommend the best course of action.
  2. Gradual Lightening: Because henna is so stubborn, it’s essential to lighten your hair gradually to avoid damage. This will likely involve multiple sessions with your colorist. 
  3. Last step – Strawberry Blonde: Once your hair has been sufficiently lightened, your stylist can apply the strawberry blonde dye. And voila! You’re a strawberry blonde stunner.

So, while the process may require some time and a skilled professional, it’s definitely possible to transition from a henna-dyed red to strawberry blonde. 

Is it necessary to use a toner after lightening dyed red hair to strawberry blonde?

While it’s not strictly necessary to use a hair toner after lightening dyed red hair to strawberry blonde, it can certainly help you achieve that perfect, coveted shade. 

Here’s the lowdown: 

  • Toner: This magic little product is the secret formula to banish unwanted warm tones that can pop up after lightening your hair. It works to neutralize these brassy hues and replace them with cool or neutral tones to achieve that dreamy strawberry blonde.
  • No Toner: If you skip the toner, you might find that your hair has a more brassy yellow or coppery hue than the strawberry blonde you were aiming for. Not a disaster, but maybe not quite what you had in mind.

So there you have it. It’s not the end of the world if you skip the toner, but using it could give you that little extra ‘oomph’ to really nail your new look. 

Parting words

And there you have it, folks! A step-by-step guide to lightening dyed red hair to strawberry blonde.

Remember, every hair journey is unique, so don’t be afraid to tweak this process to suit your needs. Happy coloring!

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!