Last Updated on 28th September 2021 by Chauncey Morgan
The majority of people who dye their hair have, at some point or other, suffered from a hair color mistake. If you are not keen on wearing a hat for the next few weeks or investing in a wig, learning how to fix bad hair color is your best course of action.
Dodgy dye jobs beware because we have found the best ways to deal with the most common hair color disasters, from quick fixes to saving your hair from a mandatory haircut.
How to Fix Bad Hair Color: You Wanted Blonde, and Got Yellow Hair!
If you are a natural brunette who wanted to go blonde, the chances of your icy hair hue going yellow at some point sooner rather than later are high. If you want to avoid looking like Barbie with burnt hair, choosing the right products is vital.
Quick Fix for Yellow Hair
If your hair dye turned out more yellow than you would like, the quickest fix is to use a lightweight purple-toning shampoo and conditioner and leaving it on for a bit longer than usual so the effect is stronger.
Use a toning mask every week to keep warmth and brassy tones at bay. If you got yellow hair after bleaching careful use of toners can return it to its icy glory but you may need to bleach again.
Prevent Yellow Hair From Happening Again
The best way to fix hair disasters is to avoid them from happening in the first place, and for that, you should prepare before going to the hairdresser or choosing a dye at the supermarket. If your hair has a tendency to go brassy, you should avoid honey and caramel shades that naturally run warmer.
Be very clear and specific with your hairdresser, if you want ashy, cool tones and your natural hair color is dark they may need to bleach your hair lighter and then color it a darker shade of blonde.
How to Dyed Hair: HELP! My Hair Is ORANGE
This is a more intense version of the yellow hair above and happens when brunette hair is bleached but not enough to get rid of the orange and red pigments that give dark hair its brown color. This happens a lot when you are dyeing your hair at home, as sometimes one bleach session is not enough to lift the hair.
A dark purple or indigo shampoo can cancel out the brassiness, provided it’s not bright orange. There is so much a toner can do, and if your hair is truly orange you may need to go to the hairdresser and get it bleached again to remove the orange colors.
Olaplex or Smartbond can help prevent further bleaching damage, but your hair will need a ton of TLC afterward.
Long-Term Solution for Orange Hair
If your hair naturally turns to brassy but you really want silver or ashy hair, warn your colorist ahead of time. Your hair may need to be lightened to a very light blonde shade to remove all the pigment, and then dyed a darker shade of blonde with ashy undertones to get you to the desired color and tone. To avoid damage to your hair, you may want to go the double process route with ashier, lighter highlights instead of all-over color. You may need to use a toner or gloss every few weeks to keep the color bright.
My Hair Is Green! How to Get Green Out of Hair
On the other side of the color spectrum, we have green-grey hair caused by a toner that is too strong and ashy. This makes your hair look overprocessed and damaged, instead of the cool blonde you were looking for.
It can also be that ashy tones are not the best blonde for your complexion and you want to warm things up a bit to avoid looking washed out.
Quick Fix for Green or Grey Hair
To fix grey-green ashy overtones in your hair caused by a toner, you should use anti-dandruff or clarifying shampoo to strip the color as quick as possible. You can try to use a warm temporary at-home hair color mixed with your conditioner to remove green from blonde hair, but be careful to avoid ending up with a muddy green or uneven results.
Warm toners, color correctors, and glosses with red and golds are the best solutions for hair that has taken a green tinge. But be careful and do a strand test beforehand, or visit your hairdresser for a color correcting service.
For blonde hair that has gone green in the swimming pool, using a mask made of ketchup or V8 for 20 minutes can help neutralize slight green tones. Shampoos and conditioners for red-heads can also help.
At-Home DIY Hair Dye Disasters: Different Color for Roots and Ends
Learning how to fix hair dye disasters caused by at-home hair colors should be your priority if you want to ditch the salon because it is likely that at some point, your ends and your roots will end up a different color unless you are really careful. This is because the developer used on at-home hair colors is usually much stronger than the one used at a salon, so your ends will end up darker than your roots if you don’t time application right. If you are also just touching up your roots, but you do your entire head as the package tells you to, you may end up with too much color deposit at the ends. Not a good look!
If Your Roots Are Orange
If you left your box dye too long when going for a lighter color, chances are the developer has over-lightened your hair and you have orange roots and lovely bands of lighter and dark color elsewhere. This is not a good look, but you can fix it by using a darker color on the same family (preferably as a semi-permanent dye to avoid further damage) on your roots. Do an at-home Olaplex treatment or at least deep condition your hair first so your hair suffers as little as possible.
If the Dye Only Took to Your Roots
Something to remember: Dye can’t lift dye. If you tried to lighten your hair, and you previously had dyed it a darker color, the box dye will only lighten your roots, and the rest of your hair will take on various shades of dark green, dark orange or just the original color you used. The only way to lighten dyed hair is by using bleach. While you can bleach your hair at home successfully, if your hair has taken on a variety of different colors it’s usually better to get professional help. Or at least a friend who can help you bleach different sections of hair for different intervals. It’s not easy.
How to Avoid DIY Hair Dye Disasters
There is nothing wrong with using a box dye as long as you do it correctly and take your time.
Section your hair and apply dye to the roots first, with only a very short exposure on the middle and ends to refresh the color. This will avoid your hair suffering from excess deposit of color, and too dark hair. Changing your color radically using drugstore dye is difficult, particularly if you are going lighter, so you may want to visit a professional.
Hopefully you won’t need to fix any of those hair dye disasters any time soon, but if you do, tell us on the comments how it worked out!