If you've made it this far in life without any major hair dye disasters, you're luckier than most of us mere mortals. Yup, the majority of us have struggled through many a hair colour fail, and when that shit strikes, the first thing you do? (Besides scream, cry, and swear), most of us turn to the internet for help... Well, if you're reading this after a dodgy dye job, fear not, I hit up Hershesons' hair colour expert, Mitra Mir, to get some pro advice on how to deal with the most common hair colour disasters. From a quick fix to disguise the mess till your next hair appointment, to what you should to say to your stylist when you finally get in that salon chair, here's everything you need to know...
1. The blonde looks yellow
A common concern for all the blondies out there, hair can quickly become yellow and barbie-like, especially if your using the wrong products.
Purple sits opposite yellow on the colour wheel, so that’s the shade to opt for if you want to neutralise warm tones ASAP. “Go for a lightweight purple-toning shampoo and conditioner, like John Frieda’s Sheer Blonde Tone-Correcting Shampoo, £5.99 and Conditioner, £5.99” recommends Mitra Mir.
John Frieda’s Sheer Blonde Tone-Correcting Shampoo, £5.99 buy now
John Frieda’s Sheer Blonde Tone-Correcting Conditioner, £5.99 buy now
Next time you visit the salon be sure to ask your stylist for a cool-toned blonde. “Be very specific about what you don't want (i.e. no yellow or warm tones). Ask for ashy, cool colours and avoid shades like caramel and honey, as they tend to run a little warmer.” Says Mitra. Once a week use a toning mask to keep any warmth from returning. Try Christophe Robin's Shade Variation Mask in Baby Blonde, £16, it works for lifting subtle warm tones or neutralising full-on yellow hair disasters.
Christophe Robin's Shade Variation Mask in Baby Blonde, £16 buy now
2. Your hair has turned orange
Brassiness can happen to the best of us, orange tones can be particularly stubborn and difficult to deal with, but it’s not an impossible task…
There are a ton of purple toning treatments out there, but dark-blue/indigo purples work best for cancelling out orange undertones. “I always recommend friends to use L'Oréal Professional Blondifier Shampoo, £14.50, but instead of just washing your hair with it, use it as a mask. Leave it on for 10-15mins neat (i.e. use on dry hair and then shampoo off) and it’ll get rid of those brassy tones.” Explains Mitra.
“Let your colourist know that you’ve been struggling with the brassier or orange tones in your current hair colour. Make it very clear what you want - if you prefer an ashier shade, they need to know this” says Mitra. “Sometimes your stylist will need to lighten your hair to a blonder colour to lift out the orange tones, but then they'll drop it back down to the desired colour and tone. For example, if your hair is naturally dark, but you want an ashy blonde you will need to lighten the hair more and then tone it darker, adding the ash into it.”
3. The blonde is too ashy
You wanted an ashy blonde but it’s gone wayyy too ashy; think, grey-meets-green. 😷
“If it's a toner that's gone too ashy, use a clarifying shampoo like Head & Shoulders for the next few washes, it'll help to strip out the colour quicker. If that doesn't work, use a warm, at-home hair colour like L'Oréal Professional’s Colourful Hair in Coral Sunset, it’s a colour toner that will add warmth back into the hair. Mix it with a bit of conditioner and leave on for 5-10mins, then wash out. You’ll notice hair is instantly warmer and those ashy undertones will be neutralised” says Mitra.
“Ask your stylist for golds, coppers and peaches – these are all warmer tones. Take a picture of the shade you want, but if you’re not sure, a good colourist should be able to advise you on which hair colours will suit and which won't.”
4. The roots are a different colour to the ends
The hair dye hasn’t taken as well to the roots and now they’re a totally different shade to the rest of your hair…
“As a short term fix, try colour blending at the roots. Use something like the John Frieda's Root Blur Colour Blending Concealer, £9.99 to help disguise the shade difference. If that fails, sometimes the best option is the simplest; a tinted dry shampoo like Batiste spritzed into the roots can work wonders.” Explains Mitra.
John Frieda's Root Blur Colour Blending Concealer, £9.99 buy now
Batiste Dry Shampoo, £3.99 buy now
“A good colourist should be able to match your roots to the rest of your hair. They should spend time sectioning your hair and applying dye to the roots first, then blending down the rest of the lengths - if needed.” Says Mitra.
5. One dimensional hair colour
It’s the week before pay day and your hair's looking a little tragic, so you grab a box dye from Boots and go to town... The only problem? Now your colour looks suuuper flat and one-dimensional. Ugh.
Dig out your best curling tong and add a few waves to create the illusion of movement. "Style with a clear gloss to add shine and bounce through the hair" says Mitra. "This will help reflect the light naturally, and offset the otherwise flat, one dimensional colour."
"Ask for a subtle balayage or strobing" recommends Mitra, "this is where the stylist adds lighter tones through the mid-lengths and ends of the hair using a free hand technique. The flat colour will act as your base shade, whilst the lighter balayage highlights will give hair that multi-tonal look."
6. Super-stripy highlights
You wanted a few subtle babylights, instead, you got super-stripy, chunky highlights painted across your parting.
“A super quick trick is to use a coloured dry shampoo” says Mitra, “simply spray it over the stripes to help blend them.” You can’t go wrong with a little Batiste, and thankfully they make tinted dry shampoos for blondes and brunettes, £3.99 each.
“If you’re hate the stripy look, why not try balayage instead of highlights? It looks more natural” explains Mitra. “Your colourist will first need to cover the stripy situation with the same colour as your base or roots, but then you can give balayage a go.”
7. Dip-dye gone wrong
You wanted a gradual ombre, but have end up with a tell-tale line of colour running across your locks...
"Sometimes the only thing to do is simply tie your hair up until you can get into the salon and have the colour corrected." Says Mitra.
Hope is not lost though, "sections of your hair will naturally grow at different speeds, so this should help to break up any harsh colour lines".
"It goes without saying, but explain that you want a more natural-looking ombre" says Mitra. "Your stylist will need to work with your hair to blend out and diffuse the line of colour."
8. The hair colour is patchy
You wanted one colour all over, but the dye has taken to some spots better than others, now it looks patchy and uneven...
“The easiest way to hide patchy hair is a little clever styling. Wear your lengths in one or two French or Dutch braids and it’ll help to disguise the mess.”
When it comes to a patchy hair colour, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all fix “giving your stylist pictures as a references is so important” says Mitra. “A good colourist will know what to do when they see your patchy hair, and the colour you’re actually trying to achieve.” Whatever happens, do not, I repeat, do NOT, reach for that box dye. It’ll only make matters worse.
9. The colour is way too dark
We've all been there, right? You wanted rich, chocolatey-brown hair, but have ended up with jet-black locks that'd make your inner 14-year-old goth-wannabe self very smug. The 27-year-old you that has a 9am meeting with her boss tomorrow morning, not so much.
Firstly, try not to panic (easier said than done, I know). Secondly, wash, wash, and then wash your hair again... "Fairy liquid and Head & Shoulders shampoo are your best friends when it comes to striping colour out fast." Yes your hair is going to feel hella dry, so after you've washed it grab a rich, nourishing hair mask and leave it on your locks overnight.
"Let your stylist know that you want the colour to fade ASAP and ask what they can to do help it on it's way. Whether it's adding highlights, balayage or just a gloss, they should be able to lighten up those lengths." Explains Mitra.
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