The Basics of Going Black to Blonde

Ever gotten the urge to turn your dark locks super light? Yeah, me too. I’m actually going through the black-to-blonde process right now. And truth be told, it’s not as quick or easy as you might think.

So how does it work, how much time does it take, what products should you use, and how much will it cost? Here’s a breakdown of my journey with pictures and products that have saved my hair along the way.

Hair Color 101
First, let’s talk hair chemistry. When you lighten hair from a darker black/brown, it goes through various color stages as the darker color lifts. From black it goes to brown, then to red, orange, orange-yellow, and finally to yellow. A lot of times after your first foil you end up stuck somewhere in that reddish-orange stage. It takes quite a while to get past that warm stage, which is why we often finish with a toner to cut some of the warmth out. No matter how dark your hair is and how light you want to go, we always keep the health and integrity of your hair in mind—the last thing you want to do is fry your hair!

My Journeystep-1.png
I have colored my hair black with permanent color for almost four years. Now that the pesky gray hairs are starting to pop through, I’ve decided to make the trek toward lighter hair for the sake of less maintenance. Here is a breakdown of my journey thus far and how much each step could* cost.

– June 22: Foil $70-$100

– June 29: Malibu and DDL treatments (build up/color removers) $20-$25

– July 8: Foil $70-$100, Toner $25-$30

– July 22: Toner $25-$30 (Because I didn’t have time for another process)

– August 7: Foil $70-$100, Toner $25-$30

– September 7: Haircut (no style) $27-$85

– September 13: Artistry color $111-$145, Toner $25-$30 (I added some depth to my roots and painted my ends lighter. My ends were still pretty warm so I once again toned them)

– September 14: Toner $25-$30 (I toned just the middle of my hair again because it was still a little too red-orange for me)

Grand total: $500-$700*

My Go-to Products
Between all of the different stages, it’s important to use the correct products to replace moisture and protein in your hair. Here is what I’ve used, and it can all be found at Cole’s Salon.


– Oribe Bright Blonde – $49 (A purple-based shampoo to keep hair from looking too warm and brassy)


– Oribe Gold Lust Repair and Restore Conditioner – $49

– Oribe Color Glaze – $58 (once a week to add shine)

– Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Dry Oil Mask – $43


– Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer – $28

– Oribe Gold Lust Oil – $52 (repairs hair and adds moisture)

– Aveda Nourishing Cream – $26 (adds moisture with a little hold).

A Work in Progressstep-1.png
I have still not reached my color goal, four months since I started this process. Keeping the integrity of my hair is very important to me, so I’m taking my time and doing lots of conditioning masks in between each color service. I also took three to four inches off my hair during my last cut to keep my hair looking healthy. Bottom line: I can not stress enough how important it is during this process to use good products and take care of your hair!

The journey can be long, and takes commitment and money! It is not done in a day, in a single service, or even a week! But the end result is a brilliant, shimmering head of blonde hair. Totally worth it, in my book!

*At Cole’s Salon, different levels of stylists have different pricing, so costs may vary.



Erin Caruso

2 Responses

  1. I have the pleasure of seeing most of this first hand. Absolutely gorgeous hair! From black to brown and everything in between. Your gorgeous inside and out!!! Coles saloon is the best I’ve ever been to. ????????????????

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