Highlift colors are probably the second best things out there, first being bleach, when it comes to lightening hair. For all of those out there with dark hair, you know how hard it is for us to lighten our hair to a level 6+ or even just a level 5. We've all probably been told that we would need to bleach our hair to get it to a light brown and so forth. Of course we don't want that to be our only option. So, what else is there? Highlift colors!

What exactly are highlift colors?

-- Highlift colors are pretty much hair colors that have some lightener in it. It basically strips some of the natural pigment in your hair and then deposits the color. It's not exactly considered bleach seeing how you don't add any bleach powder or anything like that. They do consist of higher levels of ammonia so that it can really get in to the cuticle.

Who should use it?

-- Most highlift colors are targeted to those with black to medium brown hair. The most common are highlift browns and reds. They also have highlift blonde colors targeted for dark hair, too. However, it's almost impossible to achieve blonde hair from black without bleach. Dark brown to light brown can, however. Dark blondes can also use this to achieve really light or platinum blonde hair.

Fun fact: Did you know if you have level 3,4, or 5 dark to light brown hair you don't need to use bleach to achieve blonde hair? What you need is a highlift blonde dye from a beauty supply store and mix it with 20 or 30 vol developer and process it for 30 mins. I recommend Wella's dye in 12A. It's a highlift blonde shade that can take dark brown to light brown hair to blonde easily. If done on black hair, it might take you to a light brown.

What are the pros and cons to highlift colors?


  • Priced like regular hair dyes
  • Specifically made to lift dark hair
  • Can be used for all over color of just highlights
  • Doesn't damage hair like bleach


  • Can be a little more damaging than regular hair dyes.
  • Can result in brassiness.
  • A little more damaging