Ten Stages of Hair Lightening

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If you have dark hair, it will take up to ten stages to go from dark to platinum blonde. You need to take your time with all stages to avoid damaging your hair. Strong and quick-acting products will increase the chances of damaging your hair. Once you’ve completed all necessary stages, it will be easier to maintain your new platinum blonde look.

Bleach and Developer

The first seven stages require powdered bleach and a developer. Use a 20 percent developer as opposed to 30 or 40 percent to reduce damage to hair. Once a week for seven weeks, apply the developer to your hair. Do not leave bleach on your hair for more than one hour. This process will gradually remove color, and your hair will become lighter each time. If your hair is not very dark to begin with, it will take fewer stages to reach your desired color. In between each of the first seven stages, it is important to deep-condition your hair and use a leave-in protein conditioner.

Stages of Color

During the first seven stages, your hair will go through various color changes, including some that may be less than desirable. If your hair is black to begin with, it will be dark brown after the first stage. Subsequent stages result in red-brown, red, red-orange, orange, yellow and platinum. The lighter your hair is to begin with, the fewer bleaching stages you will need.


Stage eight is the final touch for color perfection. Remove brassiness or yellowish color with a toner. Toners may be purple to counteract yellow tones or silver for platinum hair. Play around with different brands to find the one that works best for your hair and color.


Stage nine is maintaining color by using a purple-based shampoo specially designed for blonde hair. Use this shampoo once a week and keep heat-based hair appliance use to a minimum. Your hair will be at least slightly damaged and dry from repeated bleaching. Allow your natural oils to return by not shampooing too often. Try to get by with one shampooing per week until your hair has regained some moisture.

Root Touch-Ups

Depending on how fast your hair grows, you need to touch up your roots every two to six weeks. This is the tenth stage of lightening your hair. Use the same bleach and developer for root touch-ups as you did to lighten your hair. Be very careful to not overlap already bleached hair when doing roots. Unless you are extremely talented, you should entrust this procedure to a professional or at least a good friend. Be careful to avoid getting bleach on your scalp, as it will sting a bit and may damage your hair cuticles. Apply the product to your roots with a cotton swab or other specially designed applicator.