When reminiscing about your youth, you may recall the need to resort to hair bleaching for lightening or colour correction. However, it’s important to acknowledge that bleaching can have adverse effects on your hair’s porosity and pH balance. Fortunately, advancements in the field of hair care have introduced an alternative solution that allows you to lighten your hair without causing damage – the high lift hair colour treatment. This innovative colouring process achieves lighter hair without the detrimental impact of traditional bleaching agents.

The high lift hair colour treatment leverages an oxidative process triggered by exposure to specific chemicals or hair treatments designed for hair lightening. It effectively lightens dark hair by eliminating pigmentation without penetrating the hair strands. The central question is, does this approach deliver on its promise?

The creation of most blonde hair shades typically necessitates a lifting process to attain the perfect hue, whether you aspire to achieve a bright ash tone or a warmer caramel shade. Fortunately, high lift colours offer an alternative to traditional bleach, enabling you to achieve a flawlessly, light toned hue in a single step.

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Understanding High Lift Hair Colour:

High lift hair colour is a permanent hair colour that achieves lightening without the use of bleach. This method essentially “lifts” some of the hair’s natural pigment while depositing the dye simultaneously. The high ammonia and colour pigment content in high lift hair colour play a pivotal role in this process. Ammonia assists in opening the hair cuticle, entering the cortex, and facilitating colour absorption. Importantly, this method is less detrimental to melanin production, regardless of your hair type or texture.

To activate the lightening agent in high lift hair colour, it is typically used in conjunction with a double ratio of 40 volume developer while also toning the hair. However, some stylists recommend additional toning after using high lift hair colour to achieve the precise desired hair shade.

In essence, high lift hair colour is a permanent colour that simultaneously lightens and tones natural hair in a single application, eliminating the need for two separate products – a lightener and a toner.


Distinguishing High Lift Hair Colour from Bleach:

Before celebrating the potential obsolescence of traditional bleach and eagerly planning your blonde transformation, it’s crucial to recognize the significant differences between these two products:

  1. Lifting Capacity: The primary distinction lies in their lightening capabilities. While bleach can lighten hair by up to 3 to 8 levels, high lift hair colour is limited to a maximum of 5 levels. This means that high lift hair colour is suitable for individuals with dark blonde hair aiming for a lighter or platinum blonde shade. If you have dark brown hair and aspire to achieve a significantly lighter blonde shade, bleach remains the more suitable choice.


  1. Toning Requirement: Toning is essential after bleaching to eliminate orange or brassy tones, while high lift hair colour also benefits from additional toning to achieve the precise desired hue.


  1. Sensitivity and Irritation: High lift hair colour typically does not induce the irritation and burning sensations associated with traditional bleaching.


  1. Application Limitation: High lift hair colour is intended for use on natural, uncoloured hair. It is not effective for lightening previously dyed hair, which requires a prior hair dye removal process before bleach application.


  1. Hair Health: While high lift hair colour is generally less damaging to hair than bleach, it can still cause damage if used incorrectly. It is particularly suitable for retouches on level 6 and lighter hair, offering a gentler treatment option.


  1. Softer blonde transition with natural finishing: Achieving a platinum high lift hair colour shade requires a starting hair colour no darker than medium blonde.


  1. Minimizing Damage: High lift hair colour is recommended for single-process hair services to reduce damage to the hair shaft and mitigate the appearance of orange and yellow tones common in freshly pre-lightened hair.


Preparation and Usage of High Lift Hair Colour:

Before embarking on the journey to lighten your hair using high lift hair colour, several prerequisites must be met. You should possess uncoloured, untreated hair that falls within the dark blonde/light brown colour range. If you’ve previously undergone permanent hair treatments such as straightening or perming, it’s advisable to wait two weeks before using high lift hair colour. Applying high lift hair colour immediately after mixing is crucial, as it undergoes chemical reactions that weaken its lightening properties if left out for an extended period. For temporary purposes, you may explore semi-permanent or demi-permanent colour options. Consulting a hair stylist for colour selection guidance based on colour theory and the use of the colour wheel can be particularly helpful.

It’s essential that your hair is free from any dye residue before applying high lift colour, as it may otherwise result in lackluster and unattractive orange shades.


Correct Application of High Lift Hair Colour:

High lift hair colour is a permanent hair dye that both lightens and deposits a tone in a single step. This product offers a more efficient and expedited process for achieving blonde hair shades, provided you know how to apply these shades and when to do so. Your choice between high lift hair colour and bleach ultimately depends on the specific hair colour you aim to achieve. If you have dark brown hair and desire a complete transition to blonde, bleaching remains the preferred method. However, if your hair is light brown or dark blonde, high lift hair colour is a suitable option for your preferences.

High lift hair color is available in various shades and levels, and it’s essential to choose the shade that best suits your desired look. Here are some common high lift hair color shades and their descriptions:

High Lift Blonde (HLB): High lift blonde shades are used to achieve a range of light blonde colors. The final result can vary from a pale, icy blonde to a more neutral or golden blonde, depending on the specific product and your starting hair color.
high lift hair colour

Image Credit: @shermaine.lai

Ash Blonde (HLA): Ash blonde high lift shades provide a cooler, less brassy blonde tone. These shades are ideal for those who want a more neutral or cool-toned blonde.


Beige Blonde (HLB): Beige blonde shades offer a natural and slightly warmer blonde tone, often with a hint of beige or sandy undertones.

sandy blonde hair

Golden Blonde (HLG): High lift golden blonde shades aim to achieve a warmer, sun-kissed blonde color with golden undertones.

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Copper Blonde (HLC): Copper blonde high lift shades provide blonde hair with hints of copper or warm, reddish undertones.

copper blonde

Platinum Blonde (HLP): High lift platinum shades are designed to create an extremely light, almost white blonde color. These are the lightest of the high lift shades and are often used to achieve a platinum or silver look.

Caramel Blonde (HLC): Caramel blonde high lift shades offer warm, caramel-toned blonde colors. These shades are ideal for those who want a rich and golden blonde look.

Cinnamon Blonde (HLB): Mahogany blonde high lift shades combine blonde with mahogany or reddish undertones, creating a warm and vibrant color.

Chocolate Brown (HLB): Some high lift shades in the brown range are designed to achieve lighter, chocolate brown hair colors with warm undertones.

Red (HLR): High lift red shades are used to lighten dark hair while adding vibrant red or auburn tones to the hair.

The specific shade names and numbering may vary between different brands and product lines, so it’s essential to check the label and swatch colors to choose the shade that best matches your desired outcome. Achieving the desired result with high lift hair color depends on your current hair color, hair condition, and the product’s quality, so it’s a good idea to consult with a professional colorist if you have specific goals in mind or if you’ve previously colored your hair.

red brown hair

Frequently Asked Questions:

– Can you use high lift colour on coloured hair?

High lift colour is ineffective on coloured hair, as it cannot lift dye. It should only be applied to untreated, uncoloured hair. To transition from coloured to lighter hair, a hair colour remover is necessary before using bleach.


– Can you use a toner after using high lift colour?

High lift hair dyes contain ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and colour pigments, offering swift lightening and toning effects. However, to achieve precise desired hair colours, additional toning with a separate product may be required.


– What characterizes high lift colour?

High lift colour is a permanent hair colour that lightens the hair while simultaneously depositing a tone.


– What is the most potent high lift colour?

Extra light silver 908 is often regarded as one of the most powerful high lift colours, imparting silver tones to the hair, ideal for creating a stunning platinum bob.


– What sets high lift colour apart from regular colour?

High lift hair colour is essentially a permanent colour with greater lightening capacity than regular hair colour, primarily due to its higher ammonia content.


– Can high lift colour cover grays?

Yes, high lift colours are permanent and provide excellent coverage for concealing gray hair.


– How many levels can hair be lifted?

High lift hair colour can typically lighten hair by up to 4 levels, with some blonde shades achieving up to five levels of lift depending on the starting natural hair colour and the developer used. A 9% developer can lighten hair up to three levels, while a 12% developer can achieve the maximum lift of five levels, with an adjusted mixing ratio of 1:2 (one part colour to two parts developer) for special blonde shades.


Key Takeaways:

– High lift hair colour distinguishes itself from bleach as a gentler technique for achieving hair colour up to four shades lighter.

– High lift colour should not be used on previously coloured hair.

– The correct sufficient amount of developer is essential to avoid undesirable shades.

– Sulfate-free shampoo and minimal use of heat-styling tools are recommended for maintaining hair health.