How to lighten permanent hair color that is too dark – 6 super easy methods.

Evidence Based

Fact Checked

Has your hair color turned out darker than you expected? Don’t panic! There are plenty of easy ways to lighten permanent hair color that is too dark. Keep reading for 6 super simple solutions that will help you get the look you want. Here’s how to lighten permanent hair color that is too dark.

How to lighten permanent hair color that is too dark.

Method #1. Clarifying Shampoo

How to get green out of blonde hair with clarifying shampoo

One of the easiest and most natural methods for lightening permanent hair color is a good clarifying shampoo.

This type of shampoo helps strip away product buildup in your hair, which can help lighten the color slightly without harsh chemicals or bleaching agents. It also opens the hair cuticle so it can absorb new colors more effectively when it comes time for touch-ups or new looks. 

The best part? You probably already have one in your shower! 

Method #2. Lemon Juice

lemon juice

Another popular method for naturally lightening permanent hair color is lemon juice.

Lemon juice contains citric acid, which helps break down the pigment in your hair and allows it to fade faster.

By mixing equal parts lemon juice and water, you can create a natural lightening agent that will help reduce the darkness of your permanent hair color.

Simply apply the mixture to damp hair and let sit for 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Be sure to use conditioner afterward as lemon juice can dry out your strands!

Method #3. Baking Soda

baking soda

Baking soda is another excellent natural way to lighten permanent hair color that is too dark.

It works by gently lifting the cuticle layer of your strands and allowing more oxygen into each strand, which helps speed up the fading process and makes it easier for lighter colors to penetrate into each strand of hair.

Combine four tablespoons of baking soda with one cup of warm water until it forms a paste-like consistency.

Apply this mixture to damp, freshly washed hair and let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing with cold water. Afterward, be sure to use a deep conditioning treatment on your locks! 

Method #4. Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has long been touted as a natural remedy for many things, including lightening dark locks!

The acidic nature of this vinegar helps break down pigment molecules, which can help make those dark tresses look brighter over time.

To use apple cider vinegar as a toner, simply mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spritz onto dampened strands, let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water before styling as usual! 

Method #5. Vitamin C Tablets

vitamin C tablets

Using vitamin C tablets mixed with shampoo can also help lighten darker shades of permanent hair dye quickly and easily!

All you need to do is dissolve a few tablets in some warm water (or mix them directly into your favorite shampoo) before washing your locks as usual—it should start working within just a few washes!

Be sure not to leave this mixture on longer than 10 minutes though as extended exposure can cause damage your hair over time. 

Method #6. Hair lightener or toner

hair toner

If all else fails, you can always use a professional-grade lightener like bleach or toner to achieve lighter shades of permanent dye faster than other methods.

Professional lighteners are much stronger than anything else we’ve mentioned here so make sure you’re prepared (and properly trained!) before using them on yourself or someone else’s locks! 

There are lightening products on the market like bleaching kits with gloves, applicator brush, protective cover, and bleach powder.

Be sure to read all the instructions carefully – some products need new mixtures each time you apply them so you can gradually transition from darker to lighter shades rather than going directly from black to blonde!

Look for products containing natural ingredients such as chamomile, honey, or almond oil which can help gently lift away unwanted tones while still keeping your locks healthy and strong!  

Watch and learn: How to lighten dark hair dye at home – fast!

Here’s a great video that shows you a quick, easy and cheap way to remove black hair dye at home and lighten it a level or two.

What do I do if my permanent hair dye is too dark?

If you’ve accidentally gone too dark with your permanent hair dye, don’t worry – it’s a fixable mistake!

There are a few ways to soften the hue, from investing in some golden blonde highlights or maybe even a new cut to distract from the darker strands.

You could also try shopping for a color-correction shampoo that might help lighten the shade if you want to stay in the DIY realm.

The methods above work pretty well if you want to try lightening the dark color at home. Patience is key as you may need to try something more than once.

If all else fails, visiting your local salon can help as they can strip your hair color safely and take you back to your previous shade of choice – no drama necessary!

How to lighten permanent hair color that is too dark

Can I use a color remover to lighten dark hair?

If you have dyed your hair a very dark color like black or dark brown, you can use a color remover to take some of the pigment out and get closer to your desired hue.

It won’t reverse the dyeing process entirely, but it can help lighten the colors so that they’re more subtle or suitable for toning down with new colorant products.

More often than not the result will have a lot of warmth (and can make your hair orange!), so you’ll need to recolor and tone your hair afterwards.

How long does it take for dark permanent hair dye to fade?

If you want to wait for your permanent hair dye to fade, you can expect it to take several weeks or even months for the color to lighten significantly.

Sun exposure and regular shampooing can help speed up the process, as well as using treatments like baking soda or apple cider vinegar. As mentioned above, these methods should only be used sparingly as overuse can damage your hair!

If you’re in a hurry to go back to your natural shade or a lighter tone of blonde, visiting a professional hair salon is usually your best option—they have special products that are designed specifically for fading out dark tones quickly and safely.

No matter which method you choose, make sure you always use quality products tailored toward colored locks and give yourself enough time—sooner or later, you’ll be back to the shade you desire! 

Parting words

No matter what type of shade you’re trying to achieve with your mane, sometimes things don’t turn out exactly how we’d like them too – especially when it comes to permanent dyes!

Luckily there are plenty of easy ways you can try at home first before resorting to professional grade products or services – all without breaking the bank or having any major mishaps along the way!

So give these 6 tips a try next time you find yourself stuck with results that are too dark – they may just save the day (and your locks!).

Best of luck and happy lightening! 🙂

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!