Here's What You Should Know Before Going Blond, No Matter Your Natural Hair Color

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Dyeing your hair blond can make a huge difference in your overall appearance, but it's a pretty involved process — especially for people with a naturally darker (or red) hair color.

Depending on your base shade and how light you want to go, it might take you a while to achieve the color you want if you're not a natural blond. That's why hairstylist and brand founder Guy Tang suggests you get a proper consultation ahead of time with a pro stylist "to understand your hair's color history," he told POPSUGAR. "This can change the process dramatically."

While the specific stages and steps vary depending on your particular goals, the general process of going blond is relatively similar across all hair colors. The main difference, he said, lies in the strength in the bleach and developer the pro uses. "This is all determined by the current level of your hair and how many levels you would need to move to get blond," Tang said.

The level system is a system used by colorists to denote how light or dark your hair is. The colors in the system are scaled from one to 12; level one hair is black, while level 12 is the lightest shade of blond. Read ahead to get more info on how to safely go blond if you have black, brown, or red hair and what the aftercare process should look like.

How to Safely Go Blond If You Have Darker Hair
Getty | Andreas Kuehn

How to Safely Go Blond If You Have Darker Hair

When it comes to the level system, brunettes tend to fall somewhere near level six, according to Tang, which means they would have to lift the hair at least three or four levels to achieve the blond they want. Aside from making sure you're getting your hair lightened by a professional, the safest way to go blond if you have dark hair is to approach it in phases as opposed to bleaching your hair all at once.

"A phased approach is best for anyone's hair," Tang said. "You can push the hair to do what you want, but that doesn't mean it will stay on your head. The safest way to go platinum blond is to gradually get lighter and lighter each salon visit."

Tang also suggested using the weeks or months prior to going blond to give yourself routine protein and deep-conditioning treatments — like the #Mydentity #MyHero Internal Collagen Reconstructor ($36) — to ensure your hair is as healthy as it can be before putting harsh chemicals in it.

How to Safely Go Blond If You Have Red Hair

The level system doesn't actually sort red hair into a specific category, though Tang said many redheads can fall under level six as well. This means that, like brunettes, people with red hair would have to lift their hair color at least a few levels to get to a blond color. Again, you may have to see your colorist a few times to get to your desired shade of blond, so be patient.

In the same phased approach, adding highlights to your hair may also be worth considering when going from red to blond, since the highlights will make the contrast look less harsh when your natural color begins to grow back out.

What Should the Aftercare Process Look Like?

Once you've gone through with lightening your hair, the most important thing you can do is be gentle with it considering it's been through a lot with all of the bleach and chemicals.

"Weekly hydration or Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfecter ($28) treatments at home will be very important to replenish the moisture in the hair," Tang said. "Also, be careful with products that have any kind of pigment, such as a yellow hair serum or oil."

The aforementioned yellow products can give your hair a brassy look over time, which is why it's recommended that people with lighter hair colors use purple shampoo to correct the color and cancel out the yellow. A few of our favorites are the Kérastase Blond Absolu Anti-Brass Purple Shampoo ($35), Not Your Mother's Blonde Moment Treatment Shampoo ($8), and Moroccanoil Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo ($24).

Other Factors to Consider Before Going Blond
Getty | Peathegee Inc

Other Factors to Consider Before Going Blond

Before you lighten your hair, it's important to know that not every shade of blond is going to look the same on everyone, so make sure to ask your colorist what will work best with your individual undertones.

"Not every skin tone will look great with Kim Kardashian's ice-blond hair," Tang said. "This blond works for [Kardashian] because she has a lot of warm tones within her skin and eye color. Someone who has more fair skin, such as redhead, would look better with a warmer blond tone. Brunettes can sway either way."

Eye color is also a factor. "If you have blue eyes with a cooler skin tone, I would recommend more of a white-blond end result, but if you have blue eyes with a warmer skin tone, go with a warmer brunette tone so it doesn't wash you out," Tang said. "The overall process to achieve this blond look is similar, but it all depends on how dark your starting tone and level is to see how long the process will take to achieve the perfect even blond tone."