Best AF Shades for Unbleached Hair

Best AF Shades for Unbleached Hair

To the left is purple text on a pink background that says "Best Shades for Unbleached Hair" with a medium blonde hair swatch to the right of it being overlaid with different shades of Arctic Fox Hair Color

Coloring unbleached hair...

Scroll for our top shades for unbleached hair!

One of the most common questions we get here at Arctic Fox is “do I have to bleach my hair to use the color?” While the answer to this question usually isn’t just a simple yes or no, there are definitely steps you can take to maximize the color payoff you’ll get on a variety of unbleached hair types! Some colors will take better to unbleached hair than others, so today we’ll highlight colors that have the best chance of giving you a vibrant and visible result over unbleached hair, plus some tips and tricks to make sure you get the best results possible! We also have a collections page of colors best-suited to unbleached hair! You can shop it HERE.

 If your hair is in more of a light brown or dark blonde range, most colors will give you at least a tint, and you’d just want to avoid pastels and similar lighter tones. We have swatch charts on all our product pages for your reference too, so if you’re feeling unsure you can always check out the color you’re interested in for a better idea of how it might turn out on your base color! A strand test is always the most reliable way of judging how the color would turn out on your exact base color, but our swatches can give you a general idea of a reasonable expectation for the color. And, of course, if you have your heart set on a soft pastel or a vivid, vibrant result, pre-lightening your hair is always an option.

The natural porosity of your hair will also determine how easily your hair grabs on to pigment and how well it will hold it through styling and washing. Unbleached hair is usually less porous than bleached hair, but porosity can’t really be determined visually. Instead, try placing a strand of your hair in a cup of water. If it floats for a while before sinking down, your hair is not very porous, meaning it will be slower to absorb pigment and may not hold color as well. If it sinks pretty quickly, your hair is more porous, so it will probably hold color better and may absorb it more quickly too!

Unbleached hair can vary a lot in how well it takes color, so keep in mind that your results may vary. But you’ll have the best chance at visible results using a dark and highly pigmented color, applied to hair that has been freshly washed with shampoo only, no conditioner, and fully dried, plus left for some extra time to ensure your hair is able to absorb as much pigment as possible! Using a clarifying shampoo instead of regular shampoo prior to dying will be best to make sure your hair cuticle is as open and absorbent as possible when the dye is applied, as well as applying heat for at least 10 minutes during the processing time to keep the cuticle open.

 Purple AF

Purple AF is one of our most versatile colors and takes well to a wide variety of base tones. On dark brown hair, it will give you a subtle purplish tint especially in sunlight, while on a light brown or natural blonde base it will turn out a very close match to how it would appear on a lightened base!

@erinanastazia Purple Rain on brown hair

@erinanastazia in Purple AF



Similar to Purple Rain, Ritual is a dark, warm tone that plays nicely with natural brown hues. On a darker base, it will give you a dark, subtle maroon or burgundy hue in the light, and may give brown hair a stronger reddish hue overall even in regular lighting. On natural blonde hair, Ritual will take pretty well and will often fade in a more silvery range leaving you with a trendy ash blonde over time!


Sunset Orange 

If you want to give your hair a natural ginger tone, Sunset Orange is a great option! On hair that is in more of a medium to light brown range, it will give the hair a stronger coppery hue for a more natural redhead sort of look. On a lighter base, it will be brighter but still a more muted and toned-down red-orange shade.

@viorosie sunset orange@viorosie in Sunset Orange



Blues can be a bit pickier about the base colors they will take to, but as a very highly pigmented turquoise tone, Aquamarine is one of our best options for giving a blue tone to unbleached hair. On hair darker than a level 5 or so, Aquamarine will give you a dark teal tint, especially in the sunlight. If your hair is naturally a dark blonde or lighter, you’re likely to see Aquamarine turn out a vibrant, dark turquoise!


Virgin Pink

As a highly pigmented hot pink, Virgin Pink will take well to a variety of base hair colors. On a brown base, it will give you a dark magenta tint especially in the sunlight, and will show pretty vividly on natural blonde hair too!

@lindsaywinstead in Virgin Pink

Have you used other shades on your unbleached hair, Fox Fam? Let us know what colors have worked out best for you! Not sure what a color might look like on your hair? You can always email us for advice at, or check out our Fox Fam Facebook Group which is a great place to request pics from other members of the Fox Fam so you can see some results first-hand!

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