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Why won't tints lighten my hair?

If you’ve ever tried to achieve a lighter hair colour but found that tints didn’t quite do the trick, you’re not alone. Many people wonder why tints, which are often used for adding depth or enhancing existing colour, don’t work well for lightening hair. In this blog post, our expert team at Abingdon Hair Salon will explain the reasons behind this common challenge and shed light on alternative methods to achieve your desired lighter hair colour.

For more information on hair advice, our helpful highlighting tips might help. Alternatively, check out our other blog posts for more.


Understanding the Limitations of Tints: Tints are designed to deposit colour onto the hair rather than lift or lighten it. They work by filling the cuticle and outer layers of the hair shaft with colour molecules, enhancing or changing the existing shade. While tints are excellent for darkening or enriching hair colour, they cannot lighten the hair more than a shade or two when applied to virgin hair.

The Role of Hair’s Natural Pigment: To understand why tints cannot lighten hair significantly, it’s crucial to consider the hair’s natural pigment. The natural colour of your hair is determined by the amount and type of melanin present. Melanin is responsible for the different shades of hair, ranging from dark brown to blonde. When lightening the hair, the natural pigment needs to be lifted or removed to reveal the lighter tones.

Alternative Methods for Lightening Hair: If you’re looking to achieve a lighter hair colour, there are alternative methods that our Abingdon hairdressers can recommend:

  1. Bleaching: Bleaching is a process that lightens the hair by removing its natural pigment. It involves the use of a chemical agent, usually hydrogen peroxide, to break down the melanin in the hair shaft. Bleaching can lift the hair several shades lighter, but it requires professional expertise to ensure proper application and minimise damage.

  2. Highlights or Balayage: Highlighting or balayage techniques involve selectively lightening sections of the hair, creating natural-looking, sun-kissed highlights. By strategically placing lighter tones, hairdressers can achieve a lighter overall appearance while maintaining dimension and depth.

  3. Consultation with a Professional: To determine the best approach for achieving your desired lighter hair colour, it’s recommended to consult with a professional hairdresser at our Abingdon Hair Salon. They will assess your hair condition, natural colour, and desired outcome, providing expert guidance tailored to your specific needs.


While tints are excellent for enhancing or changing hair colour within a similar shade range, they have limitations when it comes to significant lightening. To achieve a lighter hair colour, alternatives such as bleaching, highlights, or balayage techniques are more suitable. For personalised advice and expert assistance, consult with the experienced team at ourAbingdon Hair Salon, where our professionals can help you achieve your desired lighter hair color safely and beautifully.

Remember, understanding the capabilities of different hair colouring techniques is essential for achieving the results you desire. Trust the expertise of Abingdon hairdressers to guide you on your hair transformation journey.

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