How I Went from Dark Brown to White Blonde

Ever since being a teenager, I’ve been easily bored with my hair styles and in particular, the colour of my hair. When I was 20, I took the plunge and decided to get my naturally dark brown hair lightened to ‘Scandi Girl Blonde’ – aka my term for white blonde.

Dark brown

Natural hair colour – dark brown

Once the decision had been made, I naively booked myself an appointment at my hairdressers and sat in the chair, anticipating the huge change that was about to come… until I found out that a simple bleach would likely make my hair fall out, or turn ginger (neither the effect I was after!)


But then summer was rolling by, and Eurovision was on (have I mentioned I love Eurovision?!)… and seeing electro-pop singer Margaret Berger sing for Norway, I wanted her hair SO. BADLY. Seriously – Google it – she has the best fishtail plait I’ve ever seen!

I spent hours trawling the internet searching how to go from dark brown to white blonde (most people were like, don’t do it!) but my hairdresser’s really good and I knew she wouldn’t ruin my hair.

Light brown

Step 1: light brown (aww how young do I look here?!)

So, the first session I had a full head of highlights which was quite streaky – it looked like I was a blonde with brown lowlights.  I wasn’t really a fan of the highlighted look so the next six weeks couldn’t have come round any quicker; and when I had a second set of highlights, I was actually blonde!

This coincided with my first trip to Copenhagen, which made me very happy as it meant I got to spend my time there as a blonde!

Blonde in Copenhagen

Bleach Out

At my third and final trip to the hairdresser’s eight weeks later, I had an all-over bleach and then a toner put in to take out the brassiness.

fairytale cupcakes

For the first week, I absolutely hated it. I thought my eyebrows and skin tone looked ridiculous, and avoided mirrors at all costs! When I walked past shop windows and caught a glimpse of myself, I inwardly cringed. I really thought I’d made a mistake.

But after that first week, I started to get used to it, and found that I actually liked it. I had to amend the shades of my makeup somewhat, but my hair made a great colour pop against an all-black outfit!

If you’re naturally dark brown and want to go blonde, then it can definitely be done, you just need to make sure it’s done professionally (do NOT try and turn yourself white blonde at home!).

I think if you want to make the change, go for it! The worst that can happen is you don’t like it, in which case you dye it back dark.

One thing you will need to take into account is that your hair will be VERY dry. Brunette hair is glossy as it’s got natural oils in it. Blonde hair is by definition dryer, and the fact you’ve bleached it means you’ve dried it out even more.

Another thing to take into consideration is the upkeep. Your dark roots will start showing after two weeks of it being bleached. If you like the contrast then great, but if not, you’ll need to have your roots done regularly – I went back to the hairdresser’s every six weeks to get my roots done, and have a toner added.

Hair Care Regime

During my year as a white blonde, I had a strict hair care regime that I stuck to, to keep it in the best condition physically possible.

  • Use a toner shampoo (I recommend Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde) to remove any brassiness and keep hair as bright as possible
  • Deep condition hair once a week (I used John Frieda) – you want to leave it in for a good 15 minutes
  • Run repairing oil through your hair once it’s washed; and if you straighten it or blow dry it, be sure to use more oil again
  • Always use a heat protection spray when straightening

When I was white blonde, aside from the dryness of my hair, I didn’t notice a deterioration in the healthiness of it. It was actually when I dyed my hair back dark brown (which took three attempts, and then a colour strip by my hairdresser to get rid of the black block that was halfway down my hair!) that I realised how the bleach had impacted it.

I’ve tried to grow my hair for many years, and I know that the fact I bleached it didn’t help, but when I dyed my hair back dark I was getting really bad split ends, so had to keep getting it cut. The ideal would be to cut a good deal of your hair off once you’ve gone back darker, but I was adamant I wanted longer hair, so had an inch or so cut off every six weeks.

My hair now

Fast forward three years later, and my hair is in much better condition and it’s actually grown (yay!).

Looking back at pictures of myself, I can’t help but wonder whether I should go back white blonde again… at least I know it’s possible; and if I can do it, so can you!

Elle Pollicott

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