What Happens If You Put Blonde Dye On Red Hair?

What Happens If You Put Blonde Dye On Red Hair?

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Having red hair is a fabulous way to turn heads. The color is sure to give you a bold, spicy look.

A girl with a red short hair

But if you’re getting tired of all the attention, you might consider changing your hair color. You might be thinking of lightening your red hair or turning it blonde.

Now, someone who’s new in the hair color world would probably think that they just need to use a blonde dye on red hair to get that new look.

Is it really that easy? Unfortunately, it’s not. Turning your red locks light or blonde can be challenging.

That’s why we’ll help you do it the right way. 

Continue reading to see what happens if you dye red hair blonde and discover the best ways to lighten your red tresses.

Can I Put Blonde Dye On My Red Hair?

Yes, you can put the blonde dye on red-dyed hair. No one’s stopping you. But if you’re expecting to go blonde, prepare to be disappointed.

Blonde hair dye on red-dyed hair won’t give you your desired blonde result. Imagine using a white or pale yellow crayon to cover a picture of an apple you already colored red. There’s little to no effect.

See, blonde dye is a light color, which means it contains mostly a clear gel base and minimal pigment.

So whether you have natural ginger hair or you dyed your hair red, the blonde dye’s pigments won’t have power over the reds.

Now, what exactly will happen when you use a blonde dye? Read on.

What Happens If You Put Blonde on Red Hair Color?

There are two things that may happen after putting blonde dye on red hair, and it depends on what type of dye you’re using.

Permanent Hair Dye

An example of permanent hair dye you commonly use is a box dye.

Blonde box dye on red hair will turn your locks orange or copper. Let us tell you how that works.

The developer that comes with your kit can lift your current color by up to two shades lighter. Then the yellow pigments of your blonde dye will be deposited into the red-dyed hair shaft.

And as you may well know, yellow and red when mixed make orange.

So if you think your red hair will turn a lighter pink or blonde when you use a blonde dye, think again.

Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

The effect of a semi-permanent blonde dye is another story because this won’t make any changes to your red hair.

To be precise, a semi-permanent dye is designed to only coat the strands with color. It won’t lift nor penetrate the strands.

That means, applying blonde is like coating your red strands with a clear or yellow color. Remember our crayon example? 

The effect of semi-permanent dye is similar. Your hair will end up with almost the same red shade you started with or a slight orange.

Understanding Hair Color Levels

If blonde hair dye on red hair won’t work, how can you lighten your red locks? There are two ways to achieve this goal.

But first, you have to understand hair color levels.

Have you ever noticed the hair color numbers on your hair dye’s label? That’s actually a code for the specific shade you’re using.

And that number may help us in deciding which method to use in lightening your red hair.

For example, Garnier Olia’s Dark Intense Auburn is 4.60.

Now, the first number in that code is the depth of the color. It refers to the darkness or lightness of the shade, with 1 being the darkest (black) and 10 the highest (lightest blonde).

In our example, 4.60, 4 is the same level as brown. So you can expect dark intense auburn to be as dark as brown, but with red tones.

infographic of the natural hair color from level 10 to 1

How is this helpful in lightening red hair? Well, the levels will help you decide if you can just use a lighter red dye or if you may need to bleach your hair again.

How to Have Lighter Red Hair

A woman with a lighter red hair

Dye your hair using a higher-level (lighter) red.

If you plan to go one or two shades lighter than your current red color, you can use a lighter red dye with a 20- or 30-volume developer.

Say you dyed your hair with the 4.60, and you want to make it a bit more ginger, which is 6.43. That’s only two levels from your initial 4.60 color, so using a developer can work since it lifts color too.

There’s no need to bleach your hair first.

Remove the red dye, lighten your hair, and dye it.

If your target lighter shade of red is three or more levels from your color right now, you need to start from scratch. That means you will remove the red dye, lighten your hair, and then color it with the shade you want.

A level 8 strawberry blonde dye, for example, simply won’t work on your level 4 dark auburn hair. You have to make your hair blonde before you can achieve that color.

Removing Red Dye

Now that we’ve clarified that blonde over red hair dye is not the best thing to use to have lighter red or blonde hair, we’re ready to show you what can actually remove the red color from your locks.

You can either do this the long and gentler way or go a fast but (somewhat) harsh route.

Let’s start with the fastest methods.

Bleach Bath

Bleach is the first thing one thinks of when it comes to hair lightening. After all, it’s the quickest and most effective way. However, it’s also the most damaging.

A bleach bath is less damaging than the traditional direct bleaching method. However, the effect is also less intense. This method is best for going up to three levels lighter to achieve a light red shade.

After doing this, you’d probably end up with light copper hair, which is fine if your plan is to redye your hair with a lighter red.

Materials You Need

  • Bleaching powder
  • Shampoo (preferably anti-dandruff)
  • 20-volume developer
  • Plastic bowl
  • Applicator brush

How to Bleach Bath

  1. Mix a 1:2:1 ratio of bleach, developer, and shampoo in a plastic bowl.
  2. Apply the mixture on damp hair starting from the tips and working your way up to the roots.
  3. Massage your head like you would when you shampoo.
  4. Leave the mixture on your head for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse your hair with cold water and follow up with a moisturizing conditioner.

Color Remover

Another thing you can try to remove the red pigments is a color remover.

Though it’s not 100% damage free, it’s far less damaging than bleach because it removes the color molecules from permanent dyes without changing your hair’s natural pigments.

It’s also easy to use. Simply buy a color remover from your local beauty store and follow the instructions to the T.

We recommend using Color Oops Hair Color Remover. It’s ammonia-free and takes only 20 minutes to remove the color.

Here’s an attempt at removing red hair dye using Color Oops.

However, do take note that you can’t use a color remover if you have naturally red hair and want to go blonde because it won’t lift your natural hair pigments. Remember, color removers only remove dyes.

Other Products

If you’re scared of using bleach and color remover because you think that instant results can cause intense damage to your hair structure, here are other products you can try.

They may show gradual results, but that means they also cause minimal damage. In fact, the only harm you may notice is a little dryness that a conditioner can fix.

Clarifying Shampoo

This product not only removes tough dirt and oil, but it can also remove dye pigments. For color removal, we suggest you use a clarifying shampoo that has sulfates.

  1. Wet your hair with warm or hot (not scalding) water to increase your hair’s porosity.
  2. Massage the clarifying shampoo into your hair.
  3. Put on a shower cap and wait for 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can be mixed with either water, shampoo, or hydrogen peroxide to remove the dye from your hair.

  1. Mix the baking soda and your chosen solvent in a plastic bowl.
  2. Apply the mixture to your entire head using your fingers or an applicator brush.
  3. Wait for 10 to 30 minutes, then rinse.

Natural Ways To Remove Red Hair Color

We want what’s best for our hair. How can you fade hair color naturally?

You can try the following methods. Just remember that it would take some time before the red dye is completely removed from your locks.

Lemon Juice

This fruit’s citric acid has little oxidizing properties that can reduce your hair’s color.

What You Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Lemon juice
  • Water

What to Do

  1. In a spray bottle, mix one part lemon juice with two parts water.
  2. Spritz the mixture into your hair, saturating the strands.
  3. Leave it on for one to two hours.
  4. Rinse the lemon juice out of your hair.

An optional step would be sitting under the sun while waiting to help activate the lemon juice, but make sure you use sunscreen!


For this method, you can use either apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.

What You Need

  • Vinegar
  • Hot water
  • Shower cap

What to Do

  1. Mix vinegar and hot water.
  2. Let the mixture cool down.
  3. Use this to rinse your hair.
  4. Cover your hair with a shower cap and wait 10 to 20 minutes.
  5. Rinse your hair with warm water.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an acid that loosens the hold of hair dye molecules so they can be washed off.

What You Need

  • 10 to 30 white vitamin C tablets, crushed into powder
  • Shampoo
  • Shower cap

What to Do

  1. Mix the vitamin C powder with four to five tablespoons of shampoo until it forms a paste-like consistency.
  2. Wet your hair and apply the mixture using your fingers.
  3. Put on a shower cap and let the paste sit on your head for an hour.
  4. Rinse your hair thoroughly.
  5. Conditioner your hair if it feels dry.

How to Go From Red to Blonde Hair

If you’re planning to transform your red hair to blonde, direct bleaching is what you should do. 

A blonde haired woman

Since this is a major modification, we recommend that you visit the salon and let a professional turn your hair blonde.

However, you can also bleach your hair at home. Just take note that it won’t be an easy task, and it may take multiple bleaching sessions before you get to a beautiful blonde.

Red pigments are difficult to get rid of, whether they’re natural or synthetic.

  • According to research, synthetic red pigment molecules are really small and can go much deeper into the hair shaft, so it may be hard to get them out.
  • Natural red pigments called pheomelanin are more stable and therefore won’t react as easily to bleach as brown pigments.

Because bleaching red hair is difficult, you have to be careful in following the steps and tips to ensure that there’s minimal damage to your hair.

1. Condition your hair.

Prepare your hair by conditioning it regularly and using a deep conditioner once a week. This will make your strands healthier and stronger, and help them handle the bleaching process well.

2. Remove the red dye.

If you’ve dyed your hair red, make sure that the red dye has been removed using the methods above at least a week before you bleach your hair.

3. Bleach your hair correctly.

For the best bleaching results, follow the instructions of your product and do a strand test first to determine how long you need to leave the bleach in until you’ve achieved your desired result.

Materials Needed

  • Bleaching powder
  • 30-volume developer
  • 20-volume developer (for the next session)
  • Gloves
  • Plastic bowl
  • Applicator brush

How to Bleach Your Red Hair

  1. In a plastic bowl, mix a 1:1 bleach to 30-volume developer ratio.
  2. Section your hair.
  3. Start at the back of your head as it is more resistant to lift.
  4. Grab a thin section of hair and apply the bleach from the middle to the ends.
  5. Once you’ve saturated the mids to tips, apply the bleach to the roots.
  6. Check your hair every 5 to 10 minutes to monitor the progress.
  7. After 45 minutes, rinse off the bleach.

Note: You need to wash your hair after 45 minutes, even if your hair is still orange. Overprocessing the hair with bleach can cause it to lose moisture and protein, making it brittle and gummy.

When your hair has dried, you can determine if you’ve achieved your desired hair level. 

If you’re not satisfied with the results or you see that there are still red pigments in your hair, you’ll need to bleach again.

But on your next process, be sure to use a 20-volume developer.

4. Tone your hair.

To get beautiful blonde hair, you need to get rid of the brassy tones.

For a level 7 to 8 blonde that looks orange, you may use a blue-based toner. For levels 9 to 10 or platinum blonde, keep your hair icy cool using purple-based toners.

5. Deep condition your locks.

We know how damaging all that bleaching and toning can be to hair strands. After those intense chemical processes, your hair will need some restoration.

Use a deep conditioner, preferably rich in protein, to replenish the lost moisture and nutrients. Keep on using this product once a week or twice a month, depending on your hair’s needs.

FAQs About Going Red Hair to Blonde

Will ash blonde dye work on red hair?

Ash-blonde dye on red hair won’t make you blonde. Instead, the ash tones in your dye will help cancel some of the red tones, making your red hair a bit brown.

Which color can you put over red?

The colors that you can dye your red hair are:

  • lighter red,
  • blue,
  • black,
  • brown,
  • green, and
  • blue-black.

Black, brown, and blue-black are really dark colors that contain lots of pigments, so they can overpower the red dye in your hair.

Blue can also be used, but instead of covering your red locks, the two colors will blend and make a violet shade.

As for green, since it is the opposite of red in the color wheel, the two tones will cancel each other out. This will result in a neutral or grayish brown.

Lighten Red Hair Dye or Go Blonde

When you have deep red colored hair and want to lighten it, remember that putting a blonde dye on red hair won’t do the trick.

You can instead use a lighter shade of red. You can also bleach your hair first then redye it with the specific shade of red you want.

Furthermore, it’s difficult to dye your hair blonde from red, but it’s not impossible. With the right method, you can get blonde hair without having to deal with the damage.

Do You Have Other Hair Dye Questions?

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