The sad reality of bleaching your hair is that sometimes it doesn’t turn out as you hoped. If you find yourself in a position where your bleached hair turned too light, you might ask, “Can I darken my bleached hair?”
Luckily it’s possible to darken bleached hair with or without dye.
Can You Darken Bleached Hair?
Yes! You can darken bleached hair if you bleach it too lightly.
Toner, purple or blue shampoo, and dye are the most popular techniques to darken bleached hair. However, you may need to wait a few days to two weeks to give freshly bleached hair time to recover.
The key is knowing what products to use and how to care for your darkened hair. Working with or at least consulting a colorist will help you make the best decision in choosing the right product to darken your bleached hair.
How to Slightly Darken Bleached Hair?
Choosing the right products and following the correct process to prevent hair damage is important when learning how to darken bleached hair. Here’s how you darken bleached hair.
Step 1: Assess Your Hair
You must assess whether your hair is healthy enough to dye after bleaching. Indicators of hair health are porosity, split ends, and dryness.
Hold a few strands tightly between two fingers to test for hair porosity. Pour a drop of water on the hair’s surface and watch how long it takes to absorb.
The longer it takes, the healthier your hair is. However, if the hair sucks up the water in seconds, it is porous and will not take color well.
Bleaching dries out hair and increases split ends. While such hair may absorb the dye, it’s best to replenish it for about two weeks with moisturizers and deep conditioners to restore its health and strength.
Step 2: Choose the Right Hair Color
Choosing the right color is vital when darkening bleached hair. The wrong color could easily over-darken your hair, necessitating additional bleaching.
When darkening your hair, it’s best to choose a brown color between 3-5. Going lower than 3, especially if you intend to lighten your hair in the future, exposes it to more damage. It’s also counterproductive to bleach your hair to blonde only to immediately take it back to colors 1 or 2.
Choose the right undertones for your hair depending on your skin tone, eyes, and preferences. If you have warm undertones, choose dyes with warmer undertones and vice versa.
Step 3: Fill the Hair
Filling your hair evens out its porosity, allowing it to take the dye evenly. If you skip this step, your hair will likely turn muddy green, or you’ll have splotchy results.
Blonde, especially at levels 9 and 10, has cool undertones. When filling your hair, you gradually re-introduce the warm undertones into the hair, counteracting the bleaching effect.
Filling with warm undertones is important, even if you intend to darken bleached hair to a cooler color. The filler should be one or two shades lighter than the intended color. Once filled, your hair is ready for even dyeing.
Step 4: Color the Hair
Now that you’ve filled your hair, it’s time to apply color to darken it slightly. Please don’t wash your hair for at least 48 hours before dyeing it.
Adhere to the following tips during the application process:
- Prepare your hair by detangling it with a comb and sectioning it into four sections.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands. Add dye and developer into a container and mix until smooth and fully incorporated.
- Apply the mixture onto your hair, saturating it from roots to ends. Repeat through all sections.
- Rinse with warm water to remove all the product. Use a post-color treatment on your hair. Rinse, then wrap your hair with a towel to dry it.
Dyeing is not the only way to slightly darken bleached hair. Other options include purple and blue shampoo, purple conditioner, and toner.
When darkening hair with purple shampoo or conditioner, wash or condition your hair with these products about once a week to neutralize the warm and bright colors in bleached hair.
How to Slightly Darken Bleached Hair With Toner
Toners are the go-to option when bleached hair develops unwanted tones. You can use toner to darken your bleached hair as it deposits color. The best toner for darkening bleached hair should be up to two shades darker than the final color you want.
Follow these steps once you have the right toner.
- Section your hair. Four sections are ideal but go for more if you have thicker hair.
- Mix the toner and developer in a 1:2 ratio in a plastic bowl. Combine them thoroughly into a smooth paste
- Apply the mixture to your hair, ensuring to saturate every strand
- Leave the toner to process for 20-45 minutes
- Rinse thoroughly
- Wash your hair with a color-friendly shampoo and condition it to rejuvenate your hair
How to Maintain Your Newly Darkened Bleached Hair?
You need to care for bleached hair to restore its health. But how do you maintain your newly darkened bleached hair? Here are valuable tips to consider.
- Minimize heat styling and use a heat protectant
- Use care products developed for colored hair
- Do not comb your hair when wet to prevent breaking and split ends
- Reduce the frequency with which you shampoo your hair. Avoid shampooing your hair for 48 hours after the dye
- Condition and moisturize your hair regularly to prevent breakage
- Air dry your hair more often
- Protect your hair from the sun
- Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase to protect your hair
- Prepare and precondition your hair before swimming in a pool or the ocean
- Maintain a healthy diet to nourish your hair from the inside out
Can Darkening Bleached Hair Damage Hair?
Darkening bleached hair can further damage it if you use a permanent or demi-permanent hair dye. However, semi-permanent hair color does not damage your hair since it deposits color without opening the cuticle or lifting color.
Let’s review some of the most commonly asked questions regarding darkening bleached hair.
Yes, you can darken your hair without dyeing it using natural methods such as coffee. Toner and purple/blue shampoo also work when you want to darken your hair without dye.
Yes! Dark dye, even permanent hair dye, eventually fades. But with the right products and hair tools, the dye can last longer.
Yes. Coffee, black tea, and henna are a few natural ways to darken hair naturally. Henna is the most effective natural remedy to darken bleached hair slightly.
No. Toner doesn’t darken bleached hair the way hair dye does. Instead, it neutralizes the bright yellow, orange or red undertones of bleached hair to give you darker hair.