How do I Correct Hair Color Mistakes?

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  • Written By: Paul Woods
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2019
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Correcting hair color mistakes requires taking action within 48 to 72 hours of applying the incorrect hair color. Options to fix the mistake range from lightening the color with aggressive washing to re-coloring the hair to a more acceptable shade. If the coloring was done by a professional, you should go to that person for help first.

Generally, a hair color will not be sealed into the cuticle of the hair for about 48 to 72 hours after the coloring process. It's important to decide quickly if the color is unacceptable and if you want to take any action to fix the mistake. If you determine that the color needs to be changed, immediately contact the beautician who did the coloring for advice. For do-it-yourself hair coloring, the manufacturer of the hair color product often will have a toll-free number to call.

The first steps in fixing hair color mistakes typically involve aggressively washing the hair to get rid of as much dye as possible. Use a clarifying shampoo or a detergent-based shampoo. If these are not available, dish detergent, which also is an abrasive soap, can be used. In all cases, leave the soap in for about 10 minutes and rinse with warm water.


If lightening the hair by washing out the dye is not what you want, consider making your hair a darker shade. This usually means using a semi-, demi- or vegetable product. Experts advise individuals not to try to fix hair color mistakes with permanent hair colors or bleaches. You might also want to consider highlighting your hair if a minor adjustment can make the color acceptable.

The longer-term fix, of course, is either cutting your hair to minimize the color or waiting and letting your hair out. This will remove the color naturally. Dye will sometimes fade over time, and you can also have the colored hair cut off as soon as your naturally-colored hair has grown to an acceptable length.

The 48- to 72-hour time frame usually allows enough time to consider the best alternative for fixing any mistakes. Experts often suggest that people be patient and not try to change the color immediately, which might create a worse problem. In many instances, individuals find an initially unacceptable hair color isn't so bad after they've lived with it for a day or so.


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Post 2

If you are trying to lighten hair that has been dark for a long time, or the opposite, it usually needs to be done in stages. An actress recently was seen with odd, reddish-blonde hair; she said it was because she wanted to stop dyeing her hair black, which it had been for years, and return to her natural blonde- doing it all at once, she was told, would have broken the hair off; she had to dye it in stages, weeks apart.

Post 1

Hair color removal will take a long time, especially for people with naturally light hair; the lighter your hair follicle, the easier it is for the hair dye to sink in. That also means that if hair has been accidentally lightened too much, it can require a lot of dyeing to bring it back to the starting point, or to darken it further.

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