These are the 12 Best Blonde Hair Dyes for Lightening Hair at Home
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These Are the 12 Best Blonde Hair Dyes for Lightening Hair at Home

Garnier Hair Color Nutrisse Nourishing Color Creme lightens hair while moisturizing for mega-shine.
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Box dye has been around forever. But thanks to the pandemic, a new wave of at-home dye-ers has emerged. And while salons have now fully reopened, many bottle blondes are still opting to color (or touch-up) their own strands to save time and money. 

Going blonde, or bleaching your hair, can be one of the most intimidating colors to attempt at home. We did the leg work for you to find the best products for a DIY blonde. Not only do these formulas give you a natural-looking blonde, but they also are packed with nourishing ingredients, are easy to use, and promise long-lasting results that cover even pesky gray hairs. Garnier Hair Color Nutrisse Nourishing Color Creme took the number one spot due to its extensive shade range and nourishing blend of oils that deliver vibrant color.

Whether you are a bleaching pro or coloring your own hair for the very first time, these are the best blonde hair dyes for salon-level results at home.

Our Picks

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Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Hair Color Creme
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Best Overall: Garnier Hair Color Nutrisse Nourishing Color Creme

View at Walmart ($8)

Also available at Walgreens

What We Like: This dye takes dark hair to buttery blonde while nourishing it with plant oils.

What We Don't Like: You might need to use a toner after for slight orange hues.

Garnier has an extensive line of hair dyes, but it especially excels at a girl-next-door shade of buttery blonde, with shopper's after photos comparable to a golden retriever's glossy coat (in the best possible way). The line offers three different levels of golden blonde, from medium to extra light and a whopping 16 blonde shades overall. The formula is enriched with grape seed and avocado oils to condition your hair and allow the color to better penetrate and last longer. It also excels at covering gray hairs.

Type: Permanent | Formula: Cream | Shades (Blonde): 16

Color Dye
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Best Value: L'Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying + Shine Permanent Hair Color

View at Amazon ($8)

Also available at Walmart and Target

What We Like: This fool-proof formula is easy to use to enhance your strands.

What We Don't Like: The scent is very strong.

This is the box to reach for when you're looking to tone away brass and overt yellow hues. With 15 blonde options to choose from, there's lots of variety to find your perfect blonde. Shoppers with silvery-blonde hair say this L'Oréal range is their go-to for dimensional color on the fringe of silver and blonde. And the box of Soft Silver Blonde is able to replace $120 highlights. The process is so easy and the end result is smooth color with good gray coverage.

Type: Permanent | Formula: Gel | Shades (Blonde): 15

Kristin Ess Hair Gloss
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Best Gloss: Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss

View at Ulta ($15)

Also available at Target and Amazon

What We Like: This in-shower gloss revives your blonde between coloring sessions.

What We Don't Like: It can be a little drying.

If you are between color sessions but still want to revive your color, go for a gloss like this at home version by Kristen Ess, a celebrity hairstylist to the likes of Lucy Hale and Lauren Conrad. Coming in three different shades (golden, neutral, and ash) for blondes, this gloss either cools or warms up your color, depending on which formula you choose. It's also great for when your blonde ends up a little too cool or warm for your liking, and you just want to change the tone. Because the effect only lasts three to four weeks and doesn't actually bleach your hair, you can try this without all the stress of a true dye job. Just put it on your hair for 10 to 20 minutes and then wash and condition your hair like normal.

Type: Semi-Permanent | Formula: Liquid | Shades (Blonde): 3

Related: The Best Purple Shampoos

Color Dye
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Best for Coarse Hair: Creme of Nature Moisture Rich Hair Color Kit

View at Walmart ($11)

What We Like: The formula is gentle enough for breakage-prone coarse hair types. 

What We Don't Like: You might need to tone your hair afterwards.

Taking dark brown and black hair to blonde isn't for the faint of heart, but the before-and-after photos from Creme of Nature's Lightest Blonde set are so gorgeous, it's like the brand bottled good lighting. Celebrity hair stylist and founder of TO112 Haircare Luis Pacheco recommends that those with coarse hair stick to gentler formulas as their hair is already more prone to dryness and breakage. Ammonia-free and infused with shea butter, coconut oil, and keratin, this color kit will lighten your hair without over damaging it. The dye and lightener come with high praise from those with naturally curly hair, who write that their blonde hair is still going strong four months later.

Type: Permanent | Formula: Cream | Shades (Blonde): 3

Color Dye
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Best for Blonde Highlights: L'Oréal Paris Couleur Experte 2-Step Home Hair Color and Highlights Kit

View at Amazon ($14)

Also available at Walmart and Target

What We Like: You can get salon-quality highlights with this fool-proof formula.

What We Don't Like: We wish there were more shades to choose from.

L'Oréal's highlight kit in Toasted Coconut takes all the mental calculations and guesswork out of creating expert highlights in the privacy of your own bathroom, customized to exactly the level you want. It's immensely comforting to know this kit is nearly goof-proof. The kit combines one all-over dye and a finger-tip comb for follow-up highlights. The end result is natural-looking "spent the summer in the sun" highlights that might even fool your friends into thinking it's salon-done. 

Type: Permanent | Formula: Cream | Shades (Blonde): 3

Color Dye
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Best for Wheat Blonde: Naturtint Permanent Hair Color Wheat Blonde

View at Walmart ($15)

Also available at Amazon

What We Like: You still get gorgeous blonde hair with less chemicals.

What We Don't Like: If you want really light hair, this won't be the color for you.

If you've ever found yourself scrolling through hair salon Instagram searching for inspiration, you've likely seen wheat blonde hair many, many times over. The cool-toned hue appropriately looks like a field of wheat—so pretty, but brassiness comes through like a wrecking ball in no time.

To perfect the hue without an astronomical colorist fee, shoppers love Naturtint Permanent Hair Color's Wheat Germ Blonde shade. The brand's dye is the rare one that doesn't bathe your bathroom in harsh fumes, and the ammonia-free ingredients translate to shiny, healthy, beautiful hair despite years of dye. The package also comes with a hair mask to further nourish your hair.

Type: Permanent | Formula: Liquid | Shades (Blonde): 13

Color Dye
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Best for Ash Blonde: Wella Color Charm Liquid

View at Amazon ($7)

Also available at Sally Beauty

What We Like: This product leaves your hair icy with no hints of brass.

What We Don't Like: You get less product than with some other brands.

Similarly in the cool-toned family, the ideal ash blonde hair comes with subtle gray undercurrents for an incredibly sophisticated look. Salons often charge a bucket of money for the maintenance-intense color, but stylist-favorite brand Wella created an easy at-home experience with the shade 10A Palest Ash Blonde. Need more convincing? The brand's also behind Sophie Turner's always-remarkable hair colors — and since ash blonde works from a gray base, it's an easy lift for people naturally in the silver fox realm.

Type: Permanent | Formula: Liquid | Shades (Blonde): 36

Color Dye
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Best for Medium Gold: John Frieda Precision Foam Color

View at Amazon ($12)

Also available at Walgreens

What We Like: The foam is easier to apply than liquid and doesn't drip.

What We Don't Like: We wish there were more shades to choose from.

If you're intimidated by the hair dye process, it doesn't get easier than this beginner-friendly mousse — and the one-step results are so flawless, even hairstylists say it looks good (and if you've ever visited a stylist post-home dye job, you know how rare that is). The thick foam spreads easily so you can cover every strand without worrying about it dripping and staining your bathroom. The formula promises long lasting color and 100 percent gray coverage. Shoppers setting out with dark brown hair write that they love the golden blonde the Light Natural Blonde 9N shade gives them.

Type: Permanent | Formula: Foam | Shades (Blonde): 2

Color Dye
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Best for Platinum Blonde: L'Oréal Paris Excellence Creme Permanent Hair Color

View at Amazon ($9)

Also available at Walmart and Target

What We Like: The formula gives you platinum locks without all the dryness.

What We Don't Like: Be ready to tone your hair to eliminate any brassy tones.

Platinum blonde hair that doesn't feel like it's going to snap off in your brush is something of a white whale, both figuratively and literally. Working with any amount of bleach does a number on hair, but L'Oréal's cream formula in Extra Light Natural Blonde is phenomenal. The formula combines ceramides, collagen, and pro-keratin, so you can reach platinum blonde without completely frying your hair. The cream ensures it covers all your strands evenly and doesn't drip. The box also comes with a hydrating mask that you can use weekly to maintain your color and hair health.

Type: Permanent | Formula: Cream | Shades (Blonde): 10

Related: The Best Hair Masks

Color Dye
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Best for Strawberry Blonde: Clairol Nice'N Easy Permanent Hair Color

View at Amazon ($8)

Also available at Walmart

What We Like: With different tones mixed together, this formula gives you dimensional color.

What We Don't Like: Strawberry blonde tends to fade faster.

Toeing the line between ginger and blonde, strawberry blonde hair looks gorgeously unique on everyone who tries it. The key is finding a formula with depth, and Clairol's Medium Copper Blonde delivers: This shade is comparable to a wearable rose gold jewel, a true strawberry blonde crown that shines and glows. It also leaves hair feeling soft and light, and the color is rich and vibrant beyond expectations (and bright orange fears). The formula combines three different tones so your hair looks dimensional and natural. The dye is also gentle enough to use for those allergic to most dyes.

Type: Permanent | Formula: Cream | Shades (Blonde): 19

Color Dye
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Best for Fragile Hair: Schwarzkopf Keratin Color Anti-Age Hair Color Cream

View at Amazon ($9)

Also available at Walmart

What We Like: You can color and strengthen your hair at the same time with this formula.

What We Don't Like: We wish it came in more shades.

It pays to tread carefully when it comes to box hair dye, and even more so when your hair is already fragile or damaged. Going blonde can notoriously leave even the most healthy hair stringy and broken, so when people say they've found a treatment that leaves their hair's health fully intact, our ears are wide open.

Since the brand's "Enhanced K·Bond-Plex" repairs hair as it's being colored, you're not left frantically searching for a rebonding treatment to undo damage in the aftermath. The Silky Blonde shade of Schwarzkopf's Keratin Color Anti-Age Hair Color Cream leaves strands beautifully golden. All hail genius technology.

Type: Permanent | Formula: Cream | Shades (Blonde): 1

Color Dye
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Best for Sensitive Scalps: Herbatint Permanent Herbal Haircolor Gel

View at Amazon ($15)

Also available at Vitacost and iHerb

What We Like: This low-peroxide formula is gentle enough for even sensitive scalps.

What We Don't Like: The color on the box is not always accurate.

When you have a scalp that's sensitive to certain common ingredients, coloring your hair can be a nightmare akin to the third layer of hell (we're talking burning, rashes, hair loss, scabs — Dante could never). If that sounds familiar,  you'll find solace with Herbatint's ammonia-free formula. It uses a low level of hydrogen peroxide to lighten hair while organic herbs protect the hair and scalp. In addition, it's free of alcohol, fragrance, parabens, nickel, and gluten. Even those with eczema on their scalp say it's non-irritating, and the Honey Blonde shade in particular covers grays with ease.

Type: Permanent | Formula: Gel | Shades (Blonde): 13

What to Keep in Mind

Tone

From warm strawberry to icy platinum, there are so many different shades of blonde. Before you pick a box dye, consider your skin tone to decide whether you want to go for a warm, cool, or neutral blonde. 

"When deciding what tone of blonde, follow the cues of your skin tone. Cooler blondes (think ash or icy blonde) often look best on cooler skin tones and warmer tones, like honey or golden blondes, for warmer skin tones," says Pacheco. If you are not sure if you have a warm or cool base skin tone, do a vein check at the wrist. If you have green veins you have a warm skin tone, and if it leans to blue or purple you have cooler skin tone. Neutral or olive skin tones often have a hybrid of blue and green. "When in doubt, go neutral and stay closer to your natural color to protect the health of your hair," Pacheco says.

Peroxide Level

While you may be tempted to go for the highest concentration of bleach if you want platinum locks, it's better to gradually lighten your hair. Bleaching hair at home is always risky, and a general rule of thumb when bleaching (even professionally) is to go with milder, low volume peroxide formulas, says Pacheco. 

"It's better to do a low volume peroxide, over a longer period to avoid damaging the cuticle of the hair," he says. "Naturally dehydrated hair, like kinky and curly hair, should be wary of high volume or high-intensity peroxide because the hair is already more fragile due to its natural tendency towards dryness." 

You can also look for ammonia-free formulas. While the chemical is extremely effective at lightening hair, it gives off harsh fumes and can damage the hair's cuticle, so more brands are leaving it out.

Formula

These days, home hair dyes come in liquid, foam, cream, and gel forms. Liquid is the traditional consistency and tends to be thin and very spreadable, making it easy to cover your entire head of hair. However, it tends to be more messy, potentially dripping and staining your clothes and bathroom. 

Foam, creams, and gels tend to be more beginner friendly as they are thicker and less likely to drip. You tend to have more control where you place the color with these thicker formulas, so they are good for beginners or anyone trying to concentrate the color on a specific area.If you want to be extra gentle to your hair, look for formulas that have extra nourishing ingredients, too. Things like plant oils offer a hydration boost and proteins, like collagen and keratin, work to rebuild the hair shaft.

Your Questions, Answered

How do I bleach my hair without over damaging it?

"The best way to protect your hair from getting overly bleached, or damaged in the process, is to be patient and give your hair time to achieve the blonde you're after. It took Billie Eilish multiple sessions over six weeks to go from black to blonde," says Pacheco. "Even on naturally dark hair, you have to lift through the orange stage to get to blonde."

If you are going from dark hair to blonde, Pacheco recommends waiting two weeks between bleachings to allow the cuticle to bounce back and recover from the process of lifting. 

Another way to lighten your look without over drying your hair is to get highlights rather than bleaching your entire head. 

"When bleach overlaps previously bleached hair you get breakage. This is why highlighting is so popular, because it not only creates beautiful dimensional colors, but it preserves the overall hair strength, shine, and health by meticulously selecting sections for bleaching," says Pacheco.

Unfortunately, Pacheco says it's hard to reach that multidimensional, expensive blonde look at home. So if you want hand-painted highlights, or simply are wary of bleaching your locks by yourself, it's best to go to the pros.

How do I maintain my blonde shade?

Once you reach the blonde of your dreams, you have to put in some work to maintain it. Pacheco recommends using a detoxifying shampoo once a week to remove water buildup and prevent your hair from turning brassy. If you already have a brassy tone, you can use a purple shampoo to cancel out yellow tones and blue shampoo to pull out orange.

It's also key to add a mask to your routine. "I can't recommend protein masks, like TO112 Collagen Hair Mask, enough. Look for collagen and keratin in the ingredient lists to repair the broken bonds on the cuticle for maximum hydration and strength," says Pacheco. "The lighter the blonde, the more frequent you should mask. Do it in every wash to fortify and moisturize your chemically treated hair, and I promise you'll see less breakage and hair on your pillow."

And take a cue from Kelly Ripa and Kristen Bell and invest in a silk pillowcase to prevent breakage and frizz while you sleep.

How often should I bleach my hair?

Another important point to consider before going blonde is that the color needs regular touch ups to look good. Pacheco says you shouldn't wait longer than six weeks to get your roots done, so they are more easily managed to prevent color bands and overlapping damage. 

"Only apply bleach to the regrowth to match the roots to the previously bleached hair," says Pacheco. "The heat from your scalp assists the bleaching process to help speed it up, so focus on the roots and watch the shade lift to match the existing blonde level."