We know what you’re thinking, you want a bold new hair color but aren’t ready to submit your tresses (or scalp) to some bleaching. Though there are a lot of beautiful hair color ideas that require pre-lightening, you’ll be surprised to find out that there's a myriad of options to choose from if you’re not (yet) ready to go blonde.
What colors should I choose if I don’t want to bleach my hair?
The trick to picking a shade that doesn’t require bleach is to set very realistic expectations in terms of the color result. Since Asian hair has naturally warm undertones (which is the main reason why Filipinas are more susceptible to their hair color turning brassy after a while), never pick a cool hue if you’re not willing to pre-lighten your tresses. Examples of cool colors are blue, green, purple, and any iteration of ash. It’s best to avoid that section of the color wheel, especially if you’re dying your hair from black or dark brown to any lighter shade.
Why isn’t my hair color turning out the way I want?
There’s also the factor of hair thickness and pigmentation. There are some salon-level hair dyes and DIY boxed dyes that tend to look different on everyone because of how each person’s hair reacts to the dye. This is also the same case when you decide to bleach your tresses. Some people might only need two treatments to lighten their hair to a silvery blonde shade, while others would require three to four sessions for their locks to lighten to their desired level of blonde.
Here are 10 flattering hair colors you should consider that don’t require bleaching:
1. Chocolate Brown
This deep brown shade is subtle and sweet and looks even better with some caramel or golden brown highlights. This is the perfect color to get if you’re transitioning from a lighter shade or would like to give your virgin black hair a chic update.
You’ll be surprised at the number of mahogany shades you can choose from if you’re not sure which one to get. Since this is an extremely rich warm brown hue, the color will definitely add some spice to your look. Not to mention, it’s subtle but not boring.
3. Chestnut Brown
This beautiful tree bark hue has this caramel-ish undertone that looks even better if done with as a balayage or ombre. We definitely recommend this color if you’ve got a layered haircut, curtain bangs, or wavy hair texture. If you want more options for this color, make sure to check out our list of chestnut brown hair colors here.
If you’re thinking of going for a natural-looking reddish brown, auburn is the way to go! The upkeep for this color is pretty much wash and wear because of its natural brassiness. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into a muddy orange color!
Though this shade may seem too light, the trick is to find a dye that’s potent enough to lighten your hair to this level. We recommend shopping L’Oreal and Revlon’s boxed dyes in this color range if you want to achieve this hue at home.
Surprisingly, wine red is an achievable shade without bleach. The beauty about this color is that it’s not too stark or eye-catching if you prefer a change that’s subtle but unique. It also makes your hair look pretty healthy if you’re sporting mid to waist-length tresses.
7. Golden Brown
You’ve probably seen this color on a boxed dye, and it’s no lie that you can get this color at the comfort of your home. This is a great hue to try if you’re not sure of going blonde but want visibly light tresses. If you’re getting this done at the salon, we suggest you try it with very subtle blonde highlights (but avoiding your roots) for a more dimensional dye job.
If you can’t decide between a more reddish or blonde brown, then why not have the best of both with a cinnamon hue? This color is gorgeous on girls with medium to deep skin tones to make your complexion pop!
9. Mushroom Brown
If you’re dying to try a cool brown shade, here’s the hue to try. Mushroom brown is basically a subtle ashy earth tone with a tinge of warmth. For the Pinterest-perfect color result, a salon visit is a must instead of trying to DIY this dye job.
This color is right in between caramel and golden brown. Not too warm or yellow, this beautiful shade looks particularly great if you’re sporting a lob or an even longer ‘do. It’s the perfect hue for girls with fair to medium skin tones to brighten up your complexion.