9 Best Hair Colors Without Bleach to Minimize Damage

Save your strands and enjoy a nice color refresh.


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There’s no getting around the reality that bleach is notoriously damaging for your strands. Seeing a professional colorist and taking time between appointments helps minimize this damage, but if your hair’s already in feeble condition then it’s best to avoid bleach altogether. 

Guy Tang, celebrity stylist and color expert, says that “hair that looks and feels very dry” is likely damaged. Other signs include dullness, breakage, thinning ends, and hair that feels gummy or stretchy when it’s wet. 

If any of the above sounds familiar, then you’ll want to skip the bleach and instead opt for one of these no-bleach hair colors at your next appointment. And even if your hair’s already in great shape, you may wish to keep supremely healthy with one of these alternatives. 

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Chocolate Brown


“If a client comes in with virgin non-colored hair they’re able to lift their natural color about three levels without using bleach,” says celebrity hair artist Joseph Michael. That said, if you have very dark brown or black hair, then consider lightening it up and adding some warmth with a chocolate brown hue.

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Beige Bronde


Those with medium to light brown hair can achieve a bronde color sans bleach. To get this hue, your colorist will lift your strands a few shades. One of the perks of this no-bleach hair color is that it’s super flattering on all complexions since it combines both cool and warm tones.

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Just a shade darker or two darker than bronde, toffee is a beautiful hair color that lends warmth and dimension. Your colorist can achieve this color without using bleach if you’re starting with dark to medium brown hair. For a natural-looking, low maintenance grow out, as your colorist to keep the roots darker with a root smudge.  

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Red tones, such as copper, are an excellent no-bleach hair color option whether you’re naturally dark haired or light haired. The color instantly creates a bright, fiery hue, and can be achieved with a hair dye or a color-depositing conditioner. 

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If you prefer a cool-leaning red tone, consider burgundy hair instead. This hue gives off a rich, wine hue that’s bound to turn heads. When going with red colors, just make sure you use a high-quality, fade-resistant shampoo and conditioning system since these tones are known for fading. 

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Golden Light Brown

no-bleach-hair-color-Golden Light Brown

Want that golden-y, sunkissed effect? Cataanda James, a color expert and multicultural hair specialist, recommends trying golden brown and blonde tones. “Brunettes on the darker side of the spectrum [can achieve] beautiful shades of caramel and warm, golden light browns—without the damage.”

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Chestnut Highlights

no-bleach-hair-color-Chestnut Highlights

For just a touch of brightness, dimension, and warmth, ask your colorist for coffee brown highlights. They’ll be able to lift the color without bleach which can help protect hair and keep it healthy and glossy.

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Caramel Blonde

no-bleach-hair-color-Caramel Blonde

Following that “lighten three shades” rule, Michael says that natural brunettes can easily transform their mane into a gorgeous shade of sugary, caramel blonde. Along with all-over color, he says you can also opt for highlights for a multidimensional effect. You could even concentrate the lighter pieces around your face if you wanted a super subtle effect.

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Natural Blonde

no-bleach-hair-color-Natural Blonde

Those starting with a darker blonde or very light brown can lift their hair a few shades to achieve a natural blonde without reaching for the bleach, says Michael. To infuse either warm or cool tones, ask your colorist about a toning treatment. In addition to infusing more color and imparting a glossy sheen, it’ll help seal your strands and keep brassiness at bay.

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