DIY Dark to Light Hair Highlighting / Balayage

DIY Dark to Light Hair Highlighting / Balayage

So you're a dark haired girl thinking of dying your hair lighter, but you don't want to go orange / brassy.  

I have very dark hair and for the longest time, I've been using L'Oréal highlighting kits to lighten my hair. It was cheaper than going to a salon and since my hair is wavy, I could make a few mistakes and it would look okay. This is the easiest way. Recently, I switched to using beauty supply products and noticed it damaged my hair WAY less. I was suuuuuper nervous at first, but found out it's really not that much harder than the highlighting kit. These are the products I used for an ashy bronde color. 

Da Vinci Blue Powder Bleach - this helps give an ashier tone.

Da Vinci Crème Developer 30 or 40. The higher the number, the lighter. I wouldn't go higher than 40. I usually do 30. 

To mix, I add 1 part of the color to 1 oz of the developer. If you're doing a lot of color, I would recommend increasing the quality. (3x if you have thick hair and want to do highlights + ombré). To figure out your ideal ratio, watch this video.  

Highlighting Cap

For natural looking highlights. I purchased the hair highlighting cap. It makes the highlights look more natural and the grow out is better. 

Place the highlight cap on your head and pull through strands with the metal tool. This is a great video demo.

If you want to do a balayage, you can pile heavier color at the bottom of your hair and work lighter on the way up. For a more dramatic effect, you can add color to the bottom section of your hair (outside of the highlighting cap). This is the best video tutorial I've found. Using the highlighting cap gives you the ability to mindlessly pull strands rather than being specific and choosing. 

 Purple Shampoo - Get Rid of Brassiness

This is your best friend. Right after dying, use this to remove orange tones. After I remove the dye, I apply the shampoo for 10 minutes and then deep condition for 10 minutes. To maintain, I use the shampoo once a week. (I wash my hair 2-3 times a week). Again, make sure you let the shampoo sit in your hair before washing it out.  I also try to wash my hair with cool water. 

Any purple shampoo works, but here are my favorite. I prefer the shampoo and conditioner combinations: 

Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo- highly effective, cheap. For this one, you make want to use a regular shampoo beforehand to clean because this one doesn't do a great job of cleaning

 Joico Color Balance Purple- this one is mid-range in price, but had more natural ingredients

 Naissant Treatment Blond Pearl- this one is expensive, has natural ingredients, and does the best job. This is also recommended by whippycake who brandishes very platinum blonde hair. I also bought the conditioning mask.

At the end of the day, all of these will work. Some may work faster than others. 

 Keep your Hair Soft

I try to use a good moisturizing mask once a week. You can do a DIY at home one: coconut oil + avocado oil. Or I like the Earth Science Olive & Avocado Hair Masque because it has natural ingredients.


  • Don't do a dramatic color change all at once. Dye incrementally with a few weeks in between. The process of lightening hair takes time & you don't want to get eager and mess up your hair color. At home, it's better to play it safe.
  • If you want a VERY specific look, I would not recommend dying your hair at home by yourself.
  • Disclaimer: I am not a salon professional. Dye your hair at your own risk.  Everyone's hair is different.
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