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What Color Can I Dye My Black Hair Without Bleaching?


People with dark hair face the biggest dilemma when it comes to coloring their hair. We all have that phase where we can’t wait to dye our hair in vibrant pinks, purples, and blues. 

But what about bleach damage? 

Dyeing dark hair without bleach seems impossible, particularly when you are looking to attain a lighter shade. 

The color options you have seem to be limited as well compared to the options that are available for blonde hair. 

But you have to set your priorities straight. Hair color is temporary; hair damage is permanent.

hair bleaching

Dyeing your dark or black hair without bleaching may give you a slightly less striking color, but it will surely protect your hair from being ruined by bleach. 

Also, with innovations in the hairstyling industry, dyeing your dark hair purple or blue without bleaching is not impossible anymore. 

There is a range of other color options too that work very well on dark hair. We’ll get into the details shortly.

Table of Contents: 

  • Why is black hair difficult to dye?
  • What hair color is best for black hair without bleach?
  • Dark brown
  • Chestnut brown
  • Mahogany
  • Burgundy
  • Auburn
  • Warm purple
  • Haircare tips for colored hair
  • Oil your hair at least once a week
  • Use a mild organic shampoo
  • Try hair masks and leave-in products

Why is black hair difficult to dye?

It all boils down to the natural characteristics of your hair. Ivan Iovlev, Creative Director at Colournation salon, tells fashion and beauty magazine Elle that Asian hair is more resistant to products than others. 

As Elle quotes Iovlev, “The cuticle layer is stronger on Asian hair, and it is one of the only hair types where the true color black is found.”

Thicker cuticles make it harder for hair coloring products to penetrate the hair shaft and impart color effectively. 

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Then there is hair texture too. Thick, coarse, and non-porous hair is harder to color compared to finer hair.

Also, the hair color you attain depends on the base color of your hair. Black or dark hair has a darker base color as well. 

Even if the hair dye strips the first few tones of your natural color, a dark base color does not give the same vibrant shade in the end as lighter base colors do.

So, yes, it is difficult to dye black hair, but with a few tips and tricks, you could still achieve a hair color that complements your personality.

What hair color is best for black hair without bleach?

Well, you could pick any color of the rainbow you like, but it would be wise to remember that not all colors will give you the result you so desire. 

There are certain hair colors that people with black hair should go for if they want to see the color bloom, even without bleaching.

Choosing the right color to dye your hair without bleaching depends primarily on the undertone of your hair. Asian hair, for instance, has a warmer undertone. This means that cool shades like blue, green, cool purples, or ash will not give the same color payoff as they do on bleached or blonde hair. Go for warmer shades instead.

Here are a few color options you can choose from.

Dark brown

If your hair is naturally black and you just want to make it 2-3 shades lighter, a dark brown is all you need. Dark brown hair color looks very subtle but still gives your hair some much-needed definition. Being a few shades lighter than your black hair, it will reflect more light making your hair look more voluminous too. Dark brown can be a suave upgrade if you feel black hair is too boring.

Chestnut brown

Chestnut brown is another deep brown shade that you can go for if you aren’t feeling too adventurous. This brown has a reddish undertone, so it will be a little more vibrant than the dark brown above. It looks good on everyone, irrespective of hair length or skin tone.


One more reddish-brown hair color that’s perfect for black hair is Mahogany. The red here is a little more striking. Mahogany hair may also sometimes have a purple hue, depending on which brand of hair color you’re using. The final color you achieve will be very similar to the deep brown of the Mahogany wood it is named after.


This is one of our absolute favorites. Burgundy is a dark hair color that is a blend of brown and deep purple. The resulting color is a beautiful wine red that looks ravishing, especially when you’re out in the sun. The deep purple undertone adds a hint of chic to the classic brown hue. If given a chance, we would surely paint the town Burgundy.


If you want to go for a more dramatic change from your natural black hair, try Auburn. Auburn is a bright reddish-brown or deeper ginger hair color that looks stunning. The vibrant orange-red may not be as prominent on black hair without bleating. But what you will certainly obtain is a much more vibrant brown with a visible red hue. If you’ve always wanted hair like Princess Merida from Disney’s Brave, this could be your best shot at it.

Warm purple

Yes, we said purple is not a great choice for dark hair. But we were talking about the lighter, cooler shades of purple. Warm purple color can still give you excellent results. Try highlighting or color the end of your hair with a warm purple shade. The outcome may not be too obvious, but you’ll surely get a beautiful purple tint, enough to make others envious.

Haircare tips for colored hair

Even if you are not bleaching your black hair before coloring, hair dye itself can do some damage to your hair. The chemicals in the dye can make your rough and frizzy, making it prone to breakage. Caring for color-treated hair is extremely important, not only to keep your hair healthy but also to retain the hair color for longer.

Choosing the right hair oils and the best mild shampoos for colored hair is the key here. Here’s what you should do.

Oil your hair at least once a week

The best remedy for dry, frizzy hair is hair oil. Oiling your hair at bedtime at least once or twice a week followed by shampoo the next morning can significantly improve your hair texture. It also keeps your hair protected, so the color lasts longer.

Try the WOW Skin Science Moroccan Argan Hair Oil that is made to revive dull, lifeless hair. This 100% natural, cold-pressed oil without any added mineral oils rejuvenates frizzy, brittle hair, reduces split ends and scalp irritations, and nourishes your hair naturally.

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Use a mild organic shampoo

The biggest enemy of your hair color and your hair, in general, is harsh shampoo. Shampoos laden with chemicals can fade your hair color sooner than usual and also damage your hair. To retain your hair color and its shine for longer, pick organic shampoos that have natural active ingredients. They are great for your hair in every way.

The WOW Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner set is a dynamic solution for your color-treated hair. The Coconut Milk shampoo and conditioner made with 100% natural actives helps fight frizz and nourishes hair from the inside, maintaining its shine.

Try hair masks and leave-in products

Nourishing hair masks and leave-in conditioners can give your hair some more hydration. Pick mild ingredients that don’t react with your hair color.

The WOW Skin Science Coconut Milk Hair Mask and the WOW 10-in-1 Hair Revitalizer spray are great choices. The natural ingredients hydrate, smoothen and revitalize your damaged hair to add more shine and volume.

Discover more in our range of 100% natural haircare essentials for glossier, healthier hair that makes heads turn.

Dorothy Clifton

Dorothy Clifton is a beauty blogger specializing in haircare and skincare. She has reviewed hundreds of beauty products as a blogger and a guest writer for other blogs and websites in her domain. Dorothy loves to stay current with the latest trends in the world of beauty and fashion. Her honest reviews and opinions are loved by readers and brands alike.

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