Hair lightening stage one; Black to brunette

 Towards the end of last year i decided i no longer wanted to have black hair. I never really intended to have black hair, but after years of home dying a dark brown and then graduating to black it was just where i had ended up. For a long time i had loved it. I think black hair and red lip can look stunning. But my hair was looking lack-lustre even after it had been freshly dyed. It had become dull and the black was no longer shiny but it looked matte and one dimensional.
So i started to research how to shift black hair, hitting up Youtube to see if it was something i could do myself. Quickly i realised i would need to involve the professionals as hair stripping has a lot of stages (some of them quite scary—see below image of flame hair!lol) and it wasn’t something I was prepared to take on myself.

Here’s a little before and after shot to give you an idea of how black my hair was and to see how much lighter we’ve gotten with just stage one.

So me being me, i decided on the Monday and had my appointment booked and was attending in 2 days time on the Wednesday, in my local friendly hairdressers (FYI Hairs n Graces in Talbot Green are amazing if you’re local in South Wales), we set to it with a quick look at the colour chart and some photos i’d pinned and thrust at the hairdresser expressing “make me look like that please!” and off we went.

The “hair stripping” process is basically trying to draw out as much of the colour from your hair as possible. The only way to do this is peroxide in high volume. 

They set to it and applied the peroxide all over my hair. I was literally the darkest black you could possibly be, so they explained to me that there was no way of knowing what the outcome would be with this first application. After years and years of black application there was A LOT of build up, so to break through that was going to be tough. Knowing this i kind of expected my hair to not really lighten but to at least start in the process was enough for me.

So where was i? Oh yes, we applied the peroxide all over the hair and then we waited.

The lovely hairdresser checked it after and hour and decided my hair could withstand longer so she left it on for another 15 mins, after which she checked again and found a lot of the hair had taken well but there was definitely some stubborn parts that were proving tricky to lift, in particular the front bands of hair that fall around my face. After an hour and a half they were still pretty black, so we upped the dosage, so to speak, with a higher peroxide just on those particularly stubborn parts.

That was left for another wee while (at this point i had a numb arse and had had my fill of coffee and magazines) then rinsed off.

This is the result of the stripping

Oh yeh i had flame coloured hair for a while there. A lady and i were giggling in the hairdressers about how this could catch on and become a new trend!LOL

From here we could see what we had gotten too. It lightened a good 4 shades and had kicked out a lot of warmth as you can see with the reddish colour on the ends. So we decided to go for a warm redish brown colour. This again was then applied all over and left to set for about an hour.

And this is what i have now. A lovely warm multi-tonal colour. 

I never intentionally wanted red hair but i kinda love it. 

Like i mentioned this is just stage one as i do intend to go lighter.. how light i hear you ask? I’m not entirely sure yet. I’m thinking maybe in my next visit (in 6 weeks) i may try for a little ombre, something like this possibly and maaayybee progressing on to this.. who knows..

For now i am happy having fun on this hair lightening journey and just seeing where it goes. 

Have you ever had any drastic hair changes?



  1. February 3, 2015 / 1:57 pm

    I'd love to go lighter but am a bit a scaredy cat with the stripping out process. A girl at work had hers done – very similar to yours – but had to wait a week in between so had the flame hair for a while! Was your colour put on straight away in the same session? It looks gorgeous by the way and all the colours suit you – even the flame 🙂

  2. February 3, 2015 / 3:02 pm

    So fun reading about your hair journey, loves. And I can't wait to see you with some ombre. I think it's going to look absolutely stunning! Excited!! xo

  3. February 3, 2015 / 10:03 pm

    This is so interesting to me as I have been box colouring darkest brown for a while now and I am so not in love with my colour. So love knowing what I might be in for to lighten up a bit. I LOVE the second picture you linked too. The ombre is gorgeous 😉

  4. February 5, 2015 / 9:38 pm

    I love you in auburn – so so pretty. My recent hair transition was a little more drastic than I expected, but I am actually in love with it. I did a bold blonde ombre!

  5. February 13, 2015 / 10:29 pm

    Beautiful! The black really suited you Rachel but this colour adds some warmth! x

  6. April 15, 2016 / 8:22 am
  7. January 30, 2017 / 11:48 am

    I have just installed iStripper, so I can have the best virtual strippers on my desktop.

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