Q&A: Can you dye brown hair black without bleach?

Reader question:

Cindy, I’ve been embracing my natural chestnut hair color for years, but I’m tempted to go into a darker, more raven-toned hue. The thought of bleaching my hair sends shivers down my spine! Is there a way to get a deep, black shade on my brown hair without subjecting it to bleach?

Avery Woods
Aurora, Illinois

Hi Avery,

Yes, it’s possible to color brown hair black without bleaching it.

When you want to color your hair darker, using bleach isn’t necessary. The only time bleach is necessary for coloring is if your desired outcome is a lighter color than you naturally are or if you have previously colored hair a dark color. Therefore, going from a natural or even colored brown to a shiny black color can be achieved without the use of bleach.

Tips for dying your hair black

You’ll want to make sure you are using the proper color to cover brown hair effectively, especially if you want to achieve a true black color.

If your hair is naturally warm and you want a cool black, make sure you use a color with cool or ash undertones to cancel out the warmth. Using the wrong color can lead to a muddy color versus a beautiful shiny black.