How to Dye Bleached Hair Brown

Maybe you’ve bleached your hair to dye it a lighter brown, or maybe you’re just feeling done with the bleached look—whatever the reason, you’re ready for a change! Dyeing bleached hair back to brown isn’t hard, but it does involve more steps than your average dye job since you’ll need to add warm tones back into your hair. Don’t worry though—below we’ll walk you through everything you need to do to transform your hair step-by-step.


[Edit]Adding Back Warm Undertones

  1. Choose a red protein filler to tint and strengthen the bleached hair.[1] Look for a filler with a strong red tint to add warm undertones back into bleached hair. This will help keep your hair from turning green or ashy when you dye it brown.[2] It also helps the dye adhere to your hair for smooth, even coverage.
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • Color layering can be quite tricky, so if this is your first time using a tinted protein filler, you may want to consult with a professional colorist before you start.
  2. Wear old clothes and spread a towel over your shoulders. Although most color protein fillers are washable, you should shield your clothes as much as possible. Put on some old clothes that you don’t care about getting dirty or a hairdresser’s cape. Then wrap an old towel around your shoulders to block them from the spray.
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • You should also put on a pair of latex gloves before you begin to avoid tinting your skin.
  3. Dampen your hair before your start using the filler. Fill a spray bottle with water and spray it throughout your hair until it’s lightly damp. Don’t soak it all the way through—just spray until your hair feels like you’ve just towel-dried it after a shower.[3]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 3 Version 3.jpg
  4. Pour the filler into a clean spray bottle and screw the top on. Since your hair is already damp, there’s no need to dilute the filler solution. Simply pour the solution straight into the spray bottle and cap it tightly.
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 4 Version 3.jpg
    • To avoid any contamination, make sure to use a clean spray bottle for the color protein filler.
  5. Spray the color protein filler all throughout your damp hair. With your latex gloves on, start spraying directly where the bleach begins on your hair. Work in sections, lifting and spraying pieces of hair until all of your bleached hair is thoroughly covered.[4]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • You only need to apply the filler to any bleached or dyed hair! Don’t worry about your natural roots, since they aren’t brittle or porous from being processed.[5]
  6. Comb through your hair with a wide-toothed comb. This will help evenly distribute the filler by pulling it through the strands. Start at your roots, or wherever the bleach begins, and gently drag the comb down to the ends of your hair. Once you’ve combed through all of your hair, rinse off the comb and let it dry.
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • Make sure to use a plastic wide-toothed comb that you don’t mind getting filler on.
  7. Let the tinted filler sit for 20 minutes before you start dyeing. Set a timer and let the filler process for a full 20 minutes. Once the time is up, don’t rinse the filler out! It should stay in your hair until you finish dyeing and processing the brown dye.[6]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 7 Version 3.jpg

[Edit]Dyeing Your Hair

  1. Choose a color that’s 2-3 shades lighter than your final goal color. Since bleached hair is more porous, even with the protein filler, it absorbs more color than healthy hair does and ended up looking much darker than the intended color.[7] You’ll want to choose a slightly lighter color to balance out this darkening effect.[8]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 8 Version 4.jpg
    • If you’re buying based on the image on the front of the box, look for one that’s slightly lighter than what you want.[9]
  2. Protect your skin and clothes with gloves and an old towel. Before you even start mixing dye, put on a pair of latex gloves and lay an old towel around your shoulders to protect your clothes. The color will dye anything it touches, so make sure to wear old clothes that you aren’t worried about getting dirty.[10]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • Use a dark towel to hide any stains from the dye.
  3. Mix and apply the brunette dye according to the box instructions. With an applicator brush and a plastic bowl, measure and mix the dye and developer included in the color kit. Generally, dye and developer should be mixed in a 1:1 ratio, but this can vary between manufacturers. Make sure to follow the instructions on the box and combine the products until they have a creamy consistency.[11]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • Some kits will also include a conditioning or moisturizing treatment.
  4. Divide your hair into 4 sections and clip them up. Using the pointed end of your applicator brush, part your hair down the middle, then from ear to ear. Clip each section up with a plastic clip to keep them out of the way while you work. Unclip and apply dye to only 1 section at a time.
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 11 Version 3.jpg
  5. Apply the dye to your hair, working section by section. Unclip your first section, then load up your applicator brush with dye and paint it onto a thin layer of hair about thick. Start at the roots and paint the dye onto both sides to thoroughly coat the strands. Work your way through each section until all of your hair is coated.[12]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 12 Version 3.jpg
    • Get as close as you can to the base of the roots without touching the scalp.
    • If the color matches your natural roots, try to blend it into the roots so you don’t have to worry as much about grow-out. Color-matching can be very difficult, though, so unless you have a lot of experience with coloring your hair, you may want to just dye your whole head.[13]
  6. Let the dye process for the amount of time listed on the box. Most brunette dyes require 30 minutes to process, but always refer to the instructions. Check your hair’s progress every 5-10 minutes until the 30 minutes is up.
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 13 Version 3.jpg
  7. Rinse out the dye with lukewarm water until the water runs clean. In a sink or shower, run water through your hair work your fingers through, rinsing out all of the excess dye. Check the water draining down to see if it still has a tint from the dye–when it has no tint, you’re done rinsing!
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 14 Version 3.jpg
    • After rinsing, apply a conditioner for color-treated hair, following the manufacturer’s directions. This will help seal in your color.
  8. Let your hair air-dry instead of blow-drying. Avoid using a blow dryer, since the heat can be too harsh on your freshly processed hair. Instead, pat your hair with a dark towel to remove excess water, then let it air-dry naturally
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 15 Version 3.jpg

[Edit]Caring for Processed Hair

  1. Avoid washing your hair for the first 48 hours after dyeing your hair. During this time, the dye will still be oxidizing and settling into your hair. Washing too soon can sometimes lift the color right off the hair, which you definitely want to avoid![14]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 16 Version 3.jpg
    • This may mean skipping a workout or two in order to avoid the need to wash your hair.
    • You can also wear a shower cap to keep your hair dry in the shower.
  2. Wash your hair every other day or less. Since washing can cause color fading, only wash every other day at most. You may even want to give your hair 3-4 days between washes, since it will likely be more dry after dyeing.[15]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 17 Version 3.jpg
    • If your strands get greasy between washes, try using a dry shampoo.
  3. Use color-protecting shampoo and conditioner to wash your hair. These gentle, specially formulated products will help your color last longer and keep your hair healthy.[16] Look for ingredients that will moisturize and help remove product buildup without stripping color, such as keratin, natural plant oils, and minerals.[17]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 18 Version 3.jpg
  4. Avoid using hot styling tools while your hair is still fragile. Since your hair will be more vulnerable to damage after the chemical treatment, you’ll want to use as little heat on it as possible. This includes styling tools such as curling irons, straightening irons, and blow dryers.[18]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 19 Version 3.jpg
    • If you have to use hot tools, make sure to spray on a heat protectant product first and use either the lowest heat or cool blast setting.
    • You should especially avoid using hot styling tools in conjunction with heavy styling products, such as gels, volumizers, hairsprays, and mousses.
  5. Deep-condition your hair once a week to keep it moisturized. If your locks are still feeling brittle or dry, use a deep conditioning treatment or mask once a week. Work the product through your hair, concentrating on the tips, then run a wide-tooth comb through the strands to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes (or as long as the product directs), then rinse well.[19]
    Dye Bleached Hair Brown Step 20 Version 4.jpg
    • Look for a moisturizing mask that’s specifically formulated for colored hair.
    • This is especially important if your hairstyling requires heat tools.

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

  • Red tinted protein filler
  • Plastic wide-tooth comb
  • 2 spray bottles
  • Brown dye
  • Applicator brush
  • Mixing bowl
  • Plastic clips
  • Dark towels
  • Latex gloves
  • Color-protecting shampoo and conditioner
  • Deep-conditioning treatments


  • Apply a layer of petroleum jelly along your hairline and ears to avoid staining when you apply the brown dye.[20]
  • Try a strand test before dyeing your whole head to make sure you’re happy with the color. Choose a strand of hair that you can easily hide, and apply the dye according to the box instructions.[21]


  • Since dyes and fillers contain chemicals, make sure to dye your hair in a room with proper ventilation, such as open windows and air circulation.


[Edit]Quick Summary

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