What do I do when my hair colour came out too dark?

© Model: Persephone, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981, Hair: Ian Robson

I’ve been contacted by someone from Westminster, California, who’s had a problem with her hair colour after going to a cheap hairdresser in Little Saigon! “How do I lighten hair that has been died too dark?”

Firstly, I’ve got to say, I don’t even talk to my own clients over the phone about hair colour because, colour is almost impossible to talk about behind its back, it needs to be there in the room with you, face to face. Colour changes its personality according to the person who’s looking at it, so when colour’s involved it’s ménage à trois and loads of conversation!

I’ll start off with the quick and slightly unrealistic fix:

Wash your hair and scalp thoroughly with a clarifying shampoo (like: Pantene. maybe: Head and Shoulders) twice, don’t apply conditioner. Comb it through very carefully because it will probably be knotty – take your time, no tugging. Blow-dry your hair really, really smooth and straight (don’t use too much heat. don’t use straighteners). O.K. now you’re going to repeat that, wash your hair and scalp thoroughly with a clarifying shampoo twice but, this time use a good quality moisturising conditioner (comb the conditioner through, leave it on for a couple of minutes). Apply a minuscule amount (1 ml) of oil to the scalp (via fingertips). Blow-dry as normal!

What you will then have done is remove any excess tint stain that’s sticking to the scalp and hair shaft. It will make it slightly lighter, but it will not change the hue – you wanted a light cinnamon/ auburn and got a dark brown/ purple, they are two different types of red, one’s a yellow red, the other is a blue red!

Don’t be tempted to go down the Sun-In or bleach road, and lemon juice will only lighten it fractionally and uncontrollably.

All permanent hair colours lighten with time and sun; a tint normally lifts up a shade after about two weeks (BTW Semi-permanent hair colours are almost gone after about two weeks). You can repeat the hair-washing regime for a week – max.

Just thought I’d better mention a product, One ‘N Only’s Color Fix. It’s a gentle way to remove permanent hair colour! However, I’ve no idea what it’d do to your hair colour?

I would recommend that you go back to the hairdresser in Little Saigon and complain A.S.A.P. Then wait for two weeks for your hair colour to lighten and for your hair and scalp to return to its normal state. Then go to a reputable hairdresser – it’s the proper way to get your problem sorted out – don’t try to do it yourself!

I hope that helps a little Eddie, please feel free to ask if you need more help :) xxx