Being born with dark brown/black Asian hair is basically being doomed when it comes to doing anything colouring or lightening of the hair. The process can be a drag, but it's not impossible. I'll tell you how.

I've done my fair share of experiments and feel like I am somewhat qualified to write this little 101 post to offer some tips if you decide to go lighter. It's going to be a lengthy one, so bring out your cup of tea and let's get started!

Also, feel free to comment down below if I left out something you think is crucial!



- I have a natural level 2-3 hair, meaning really dark brown hair (I'll come back to this later in this post)

- I first lightened it in 2014

- I've had red, brassy ombré, light ash blonde, ash grey, dark grey, dark blonde and ash brown hair

- As of right now, I have a dark brown-blonde balayage.

Now, onto the good stuff!

So you want to go lighter, maybe because you heard "blondes have more fun" or maybe because you've seen the trends and you really want to try it out. Well, first you need to lighten it. Think of the hair colours of the world this way; 1 is the darkest and 10 is the lightest. Normally, Asians are at level 2-3, while Nordics are more on level 8-9. So this is crucial to keep in mind when you decide to go lighter.



No matter what colour you want, to get the best results, you need to lighten your hair. This also applies if you want a brunette shade, because having a level 2-3 hair can make it very difficult to see any changes.

Here are my first tips;

1. If you have long and thick hair, be prepared to spend a decent amount of money. Bleach is not cheap and lightening dark long or thick hair can quickly add up to the bill.

2. You can do it at home but I would recommend going to a salon, preferably one that understands Asian hair. Because think about it; you lighten your hair at home with some box dye, then you screw up and have to go back and do it once more. Then you have to colour it too because the result came out differently. It'll all add up to the same amount you would've had to pay for someone doing the handy work for you while you sit in a chair and relax.

(I personally go to Hairdo Kværnerbyen, a local salon in Oslo)

3. It isn't a one time deal. You probably have to go back to the chair several times, maybe even three or four times, if you want to go from your dark Asian roots to light blond colours. Again this would depend on what colour or shade you want your hair but generally speaking, going a couple levels lighter requires at least two trips to the salon.



After lightening your hair, you need to tone it. Black hair usually contains a lot of red pigments in it, or rather warm pigments, which comes out when you bleach. This often results in the orangy-brassy hair tones you might've seen around. To get around this, you would have to fight the warm tones with cold tones. Basically, to neutralize your brassy locks, you would need what's on the other side of the colour wheel. This would be purple, and that's why so many salons stress you about using purple shampoo.

NB! If you're going for a brunette look, then blue shampoo works better.


One thing you should keep in mind is that your hair colour won't stay the same forever. Because of the natural pigments that are embedded in your roots, the sun and how warm your water is when you shower, your hair will turn into a brassier tone. This is basically inevitable.

Now, I'm not about to tell you to shower with cold water, but something in-between won't hurt. Also, if you can avoid washing your hair every day, then you should. I personally have periods where I wash my hair every day, and other periods, where I can go one or two days without washing my hair, mainly because my hair becomes too dry out of the blue sometimes.

And again; purple/blue shampoo is key to a fresh looking hair colour!

The method I find most effective is to apply purple shampoo on dry hair and leave it for about 30-60min. This depends on how porous your hair is and what product you use. After half an hour, I lather up my hair, then rinse it out, dry my hair and apply a conditioning hair mask. I leave this on for about half an hour again then rinse off.

You may experience your hair becoming "brittle" after a while. Whenever I feel my hair being like this, I use either a protein-filled leave-in conditioner, mask or simply a protein spray. Keratin is good for your hair (and skin, and nails)

After getting out of the shower, I either spray a leave-in conditioner or work in a protein leave-in creme so my hair can repair itself throughout the day.


Here's a couple of my favourite products that I've tried and liked.


Alterna Caviar Repair Shampoo

Keune Care Satin Oil Shampoo


Alterna Caviar Repair Conditioner

Keune Care Satin Oil Conditioner


Hair Masks;

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque

Leave-in products;

Redken Extreme Cat Protein Spray

Alterna Leave-In Protein Creme

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product plus Keratin



L'Oréal Professionnel Série Expert Silver

Matrix Total Results Color Obsessed So Silver Shampoo

Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo

Joico Color Endure Sulfate-Free Violet Shampoo


This post contains affiliate links; you don't have to pay anything extra, but I will get a small commission if you use my link to buy anything from this post. Thanks for the support <3

If there's anything else you're wondering about or anything you would like to share with everyone, comment down below!

Now go and experiment with your hair, because like my friend once said;

"Life's too short for one hair style"

Have a good day, xx

HAIREllen B.9 Comments