The 7 Most Popular Lighteners Right Now

Written by SalonCentric TeamOct 26, 2021

Read time 5 min



When it comes to beautiful color, techniques like balayage, ombre, highlights and hair painting can’t successfully be pulled off without the help of a colorist’s workhorse. Cue the lighteners! From platinum blondes and vivids to rainbows and pastels, a good lightener makes all the difference in the brightness and vibrancy of a hue. Check out this list of the top 7 lighteners colorists are reaching for today.


Redken Blonde Idol Flash Lift Bonder Inside
Lift: Up to 8 levels
Details: It’s all the bells and whistles of Redken’s Blonde Idol Flash Lift, but with the added benefit of a built-in bonding additive, which eliminates the need to bump up developer. Plus, the newly customized packaging features a measuring cup designed into the pack.
The Buzz:
“I really like this lightener. I’m glad they added the protection in, it’s so convenient. I do find that it does help my clients that need something more gentle and it helps their hair get as light as I need it without getting over processed. It’s also nice that I don’t have to give up the lifting power.”―Chaslem, Walla Walla, WA
“My clients have all been so happy with how big of a change I’m able to make with this lightener while still keeping their hair integrity! As a stylist I have been able to push hair a little further with the bonding agent directly in the lightener. I love the packaging with the measuring cap, however it’s hard to get the very last of the lightener out so I just cut it open to get the last of it.”―Janessa, Alma, MI

L’ANZA Healing Color Powder Decolorizer
Lift: Up to 7 levels
Details: This dust-free and easy-to-mix powder allows for smooth consistency and application, and is ideal for on- and off-scalp lightening. Infused with a hint of violet, it prevents warmth at any stage of lift.
The Buzz:
“This is one of the greatest powder highlighters out there. It doesn't matter what volume you use (unless hair is already damaged), it will not damage the hair.”―LoveHAIR, Marion, VA
“Love the fact that I can apply wet. It makes a world of difference on the amount and time, which is everything!”―Tash, Rock Valley, IA

Matrix Light Master Lightening Powder
Lift: Up to 8 levels
Details: This high-speed lightener contains panthenol for extra conditioning, and processes 20% faster as compared to Matrix V-Light Powder Bleach.
The Buzz:
“I love Lightmaster because it’s gentle enough not to cause a lot of damage, but strong enough to bust up color when I need it to. It’s also very versatile with the additives that Matrix has made for it. I can turn it into a clay lightener and an oil-based one, and both versions work very well. Plus, it’s super affordable!―Sierradidit, Statesboro,GA
“Love this bleach both for on and off the scalp. Doesn’t get dusty and mixes easily.”―Keys Hairmasters, Marathon, FL

Redken Blonde Idol Free Hand
Lift: Up to 6 levels
Details: This creamy lightener is specially formulated for open air, free hand and balayage techniques. It’s ideal for off-scalp application like ombre and sombre, and stays put after application.
The Buzz:
“This is the best lightener for free hand painting! It lays exactly where you need it to and has great consistency. Just remember to follow the manufacturer’s directions when mixing; if it is over mixed it will not lift the way it should.”―Maggie, Woodhaven, MI
“I am so very pleased using Free Hand lightener. It stays exactly where applied. I also use it when adding a fashion shade with no swelling or overlap. I save time and still get the results I would get with foils. Adjust the volume of developer so the tint has enough time to process.”―Jeri, Wenatchee, WI

L’Oréal Professionnel Blond Studio Platinium Plus Ammonia-Free Lightening Paste
Lift: Up to 7 levels
Details: This odor-free, zero dust lightening paste features Nutriceride and beeswax to help protect and smooth the hair fiber, and can be used for on- and off-scalp lightening.
The Buzz:
“This is a great product when I want to throw in a few highlights along with base color. It leaves some golden tone in the highlights, which is very pretty when you don't want a lot of lift.”―Artsygirl10, North Palm Beach, FL
“A dust-free lightener that lifts to a beautiful pale blonde. Very conditioning especially when combined with Olaplex treatments. Clients will LOVE their hair.”―Melner, Everett, WA

Pulp Riot Clay Lightener
Lift: Up to 7 levels
Details: Perfect for balayage enthusiasts, this clay-based formula features kaolin clay to create a shell barrier which allows hair to lift without the lightener swelling, transferring or bleeding.
The Buzz:
“For visual artists like myself, this is fantastic because of the application. As you move through your sections, the consistency doesn’t change so you don’t get any surprises.”―Jay Wesley Olsen, Los Angeles, CA
“I am completely blown away by how amazing this lightener is. It’s easy on the hair, super smooth and stays put wherever you place it. Perfect for any ombre or balayage.”―Shalina, Rainsville, AL

Kenra Color Simply Blonde Clay Lightener
Lift: Up to 7 levels
Details: Designed especially for freehand and balayage techniques, this kaolin clay polymer-based formula produces an ultra-creamy application. Creating a single cast around the hair to encapsulate moisture, it eliminates the need for foil or plastic.
The Buzz:
“My client loved this product. I took her from a level 1 to a level 8 in no time, and was very fast to apply and coverage was great. So great in fact that no toning afterwards was necessary. On another client, I applied twice in one day and there was absolutely no damage at all.”―Nick, Ocala, FL
“Love how this clay lightener keeps the hair moist while lightening.”¬―Cindy, Guyton, GA
Source: Photos Courtesy of Alfredo Lewis (@alfredo_lewis)