Level 5 ash brown hair color on bob

Blonde To Brunette in 4 Simple Steps Plus The 3 Things to Consider Before You Start Coloring Your Hair Darker

Going From Blonde to Brunette Your 4 Step guide:

Below are the 4 simple steps I have followed and that will get you from natural or colored blonde to brunette in no time with photos.  Make sure you read this whole article because I also share the 3 things you should consider before you start.

short blonde pixie
My short level 10 blonde pixie
short black pixie on natural blonde
My level 2 black permanent hair color over my blonde pixie.
level 9 blonde with level 8 roots
My level 9 blonde hair with level 8 roots before I recently re-colored it darker
Level 7 demi permanent Dark Blonde
My Hair with Ion demi permanent color level 7 dark blonde & 7WR warm red dark blonde over my level 8/9 hair

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Why using Demi-Permanent hair color is a good choice

Demi-permanent hair color has no lift just deposit. This is why it is so great for easing blonde hair to a brunette shade.

Demi-permanent hair color can help add back the missing red and dark gold tones that are missing from blonde hair.  Permanent blonde hair color, highlights, and bleaching remove these natural pigments from your hair.

Demi-permanent hair color as you see it right after coloring only lasts up to about 28 shampoos.  While it never fades out completely leaving you blonde again it does fade out gradually and will, like a permanent hair color need to be redone every 6-8-10 weeks.

long beautiful red hair
Red pigment needs to be added back into pre-lighted hair before you can color it a brunette shade. Demi-permanent hair color can coat the cuticle with needed red and gold tones before using permanent hair color. It is also great on its own, it just fades over time so needs to be reapplied every 6-8 weeks.

What about using Permanent Hair color?

With permanent hair color, you can get up to 2 shades of lift and or can go 2 shades darker.   It is a permanent lighting or darkening because it has 20 volume peroxide and does not wash out or fade. Level 20 volume peroxide opens the hair cuticle further deepening the deposit of color. With the 10 volume peroxide used in demi-permanent color only opens the hair cuticle partially.

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platinum blonde bob

Below are all the things you will need to have on hand:

You may already have some of these items or you can pick them up at the Sally Beauty Supply or order them on Amazon.  I find If I get my items online during the week I am prepared to start coloring when the weekend is here and I don’t have to rush around collecting the items they are already here and ready to go.

I have added some affiliate Amazon links to make it helpful for you.  I may get a small commission if you order from these links, and I appreciate your support but feel free to use any store you like to gather your items.


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Step 1

Prepare by gathering what you need for both coloring sessions.


* I prefer neutral protein fillers to red color fillers especially if you are only worried about your porous ends.

Red hair filler is so intense it can sometimes show through after the demi-permanent hair color is rinsed out.  Leaving your newly Demi colored brunette hair with too strong red undertones at the most porous parts of your hair.

While it is not the end of the world and fixable, you will have to re-color over it.  You can recolor it with the same demi-permanent color you just used, or a shade darker demi-permanent color. You can also use a permanent hair color on the same color level or a darker one.

If However, It can be a better choice if you are a level 10, or a level 12 or a bleach blonde. I do recommend if you do use one I recommend  Colorful Brand Protein Hair filler in #10 Red.

Safety First:

  • **Always perform a patch test every time you color your hair or when using any hair color, allergies can happen anytime.
  • You can also choose to use similar shades of brown in PPD  (paraphenylenediamine) free hair color which has a less likely chance of allergies. These hair colors are used in Europe as PPD is not allowed in hair color.
  • Brands that are PPD free in the USA are John Freida Browns, Schwartzkopf Browns, Madison Reed Browns and I have picked colors here that could be substituted for the permanent color. Most Demi-permanent colors have no PPD.  John Freida has some beautiful browns. Garnier colors gray hair very well with little fading.

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Step 2:

  • Put on the neutral protein filler on porous ends and leave on for 20-25 minutes or as per directions on dry hair. Do not rinse.  Towel blot excess so that hair ends are damp before applying color.
  • Some colorists on  YouTube have coated their hair with coconut oil pre-coloring over blonde with demi-permanent so that the ends will not grab color to darkly.  I have never tried it and so you can watch this video here to see the results of this method.


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Step 3: 

Mix 2 oz. of ion Intensive Shine Demi Hair Color with 4 oz. ion Sensitive Scalp Creme Developer 10 Volume in a non-metallic bowl.

Mixing ratio is 1:2 unless otherwise noted. All instructions are based on average texture, normal porosity; Fine hair is much more receptive to hair coloring where coarse hair is not.

  • Put on your cape, gloves and section hair into 4 quadrants using hair clips.
  • Mix up the Ion shine demi-permanent color both 2-ounce tubes in your plastic bowl.
  • Stir well with a color brush or small whisk until it is creamy and smooth about 2 minutes.
  • Mix with 8 ounces of 10 volume cream developer
  • Apply to hair starting at the root area and mid shaft leaving ends for last.
  • Leave on 25 minutes.
  • You can check the end and If you think they are getting too dark…mine where ok, then you can dilute color on ends with some water in a spray bottle.
  • Rinse, shampoo with gentle shampoo deep condition.
  • Blow dry to see results.leaf and stem divider

    After 25 minutes of the demi-permanent mix of  Ion Shine Demi-permanent hair color level 7N & 7WR. Here are my results:

Level 7N & 7WR ion shine hair color

side view of hair dyed with 7N/7WR ion demi permanent color

Side view in kitchen under artificial lighting.

How to get the red tone out of demi-permanent hair color over lighter blonde hair that has faded.

I loved the results of this dark blonde demi-permanent color combo 7N and 7WR and loved how it filled my cuticle, my hair looked natural, healthier and wasn’t damaging to my hair.

But as the week progressed my hair was getting redder.  You could only see this in bright sunlight as in regular lighting it was not as red but it bothered me as true natural light or medium brown was preferred.

I hesitated going over it with an ash demi-permanent color because my ends still being porous would be flat as ash has a tendency to not reflect light as well as gold and red tones.

Tip: For those of you with gray in your hair, you should always stick to a neutral based hair color or a mix of the above.  Gray hair is colorless so it grabs the tone of the shade you are using stronger.

Like with very light bleached or lightened hair, with gray hair you need to add back some gold and red tones to gray hair to make it look more natural.

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Here are some photos a week after I colored my hair.It was fading to red which is ok because my hair needs the red back in, now I just needed to tweak it :

Hair getting redder as color fades

bleached out ends causes hair color to fade

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So now onto Step four below so that we can get the  look in this photo below:

Level 5 ash brown hair color on bob

Step 4:

  • 1 box of number 50 Garnier Hair color in Truffle***.
    You can use any brand of this level 5 hair color.
  • 1  box of number #50 Garnier Hair color in # 60 Acorn Light Brown***.
    You can use any brand of a level 5 & 6 permanent hair color.  
  • A gentle color conditioning sulfate free shampoo I love this one by Loreal.
  • Good spray leave-in hair conditioner I love this one by Frizz Ease.

You can use the brush and bowl method or apply with a bottle the choice is yours.

*** You can use a demi-permanent hair color in the same shade of level 7 blonde. You can also use a shade of light or medium level 5 or 6 brown instead of the permanent hair color.

You could also go over it with the same ion demi-permanent level 7N and 7WR over for more saturation and cuticle fill.

leaf and stem dividerLet’s get started:

  1. Section hair into 4 quadrants unless you have short hair.
  2. On dry not recently shampooed hair, put on your gloves mix the Garnier Truffle hair color or another level 5 brown and apply to your roots to about 3 inches down from your scalp for long hair and about 1-2 inches for short hair, make sure you cover the back of your hair by the neck area and leave the ends, using a brush and
  3. when you are finished with this. Mix up the level 6 Garnier Acorn#60 or another light brown hair color of your choice and start brushing the color or using the nozzle on the bottle and apply it onto your mid-lengths and ends.
  4. Making sure you push it into the area where the darker color is on your roots meets the mid-lengths so that you do not have a demarcation line.
  5. Leave on for 20-25 minutes or whatever the directions are on the instructions.  I left mine on for 25 minutes.
  6. Wash hair gently with the conditioning sulfate-free color care shampoo if you use this one by Loreal you don’t need an additional conditioner unless you feel you need or want to.

Use leave-in conditioning spray all over your hair before blowdrying and hot ironing.

3 things to consider before dying your hair from blonde to brunette

Beautiful Long Brunette Hair
1 Changing your hair color is not a decision you should take lightly.  Even though it has many benefits:

It is better for your hair if you can get away with demi-permanent color. It eventually fades usually within 28 shampoos. It will also blend more naturally with your gray or blonde adding natural highlights between shampoos.  Using Demi-permanent hair color can make you feel more beautiful and give you a different overall look.  You can wear different color clothes and It can help you grow your hair longer.

2. Choose the right shade and level of brown for your natural coloring and the desired look and effect you are going for.

When going darker, If asked I would recommend a natural shade of brown first.  Because gray hair like blonde hair as I mentioned above needs to have some gold and red tones added back.

Natural tone hair colors with an N in the level like 7N has an equal amount of red and gold and ash tones.

A good rule of thumb for a hair color that will flatter your skin tone: Pick a tone that’s opposite from your skin’s undertones. So if you have warm undertones you might opt for a cooler color, and if you have a warm skin tone you could opt for a warmer color.

And if you have neutral skin which I do, you’re a lucky girl—everything looks good on you.

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3 Changing your hair color back to blonde can be a difficult process to do yourself.

It is important to know that permanent hair color cannot lighten your hair more than two shades. So a lighter brown hair color or a light blonde will not work to lighten your hair more than a tad that you might not even notice.

For example, you cannot put level 10 blonde on even light brown hair and get a blonde result.  You may get a very, very slightly lighter brown.

Use these tips to help when choosing a boxed hair color:

  • Use the shade selector photos on the side or back of most hair color boxes to help you determine shade your hair will come out after coloring.
  • First, find the starting level of your hair color at the time of coloring using the before and after photos on the box.
  • Then follow it over to the opposite swatch to see what your final color results will be closest too.

What to do to remove the brunette hair color if you are not happy?

When dealing with permanent brunette and brown hair color, you will have to use hair color removers, super hair lighteners that remove hair dye pigments from the hair by stripping the color.

Using hair color remover, cream or powder bleach or high-lift – high peroxide volume hair coloring products to remove the brown hair dye should be left to the professionals but you can do it at home if you are armed with the right products and knowledge and have a good hairdresser on speed dial if things don’t turn out as planned.

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Schwartzkopf “Blonding Me” Line of products to go from black or dark brown to Platinum Blonde

If you are using Demi-permanent hair dye you can use a color remover, get professional highlights or wait until it fades out over time and re-color it lighter slowly 2 shades at a time to a lighter brown or medium dark blonde.

But it will not dramatically take you a high-level blonde. If you try it your hair can go an ugly shade of orange.

This can especially happen your roots. Only stripping the hair of color will take you back to blonde.  Even a medium blonde hair color has to be added back in after you strip the brown color out first.

The bottom line is it will be a slightly difficult process to revert to your original blonde color and while you can do it at home, It is better left to the professionals for any color correction.

Below is My latest video about my hair color change:

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and good luck with your hair coloring.  I do have a cosmetologist degree. However, I do not guarantee the results of this blog post and can only offer my expert opinion based on my personal results and personal research personal experience.

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