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How to Fix 5 Common Hair Color Mistakes

When hair coloring goes wrong, it often does so in strange ways. Green or orange hair are just some of the potential results from a bad dye job. Luckily, any hair color mistake can also be corrected with the right knowledge.

Some of the most common mistakes include:

  • Green or blue hair
  • Over-toned hair
  • A hair color that is too dark
  • Orange hair
  • Yellow hair

1. Green or Blue Hair 

Green or blue hair are the result of dyeing your hair with an ash dye. In some cases when used incorrectly, the strong cool pigment in ash dyes can become very dominant. This leads to your hair turning either blue or green depending on how dark the ash dye was and what color you applied it over.

The main situation where you could end up with green or blue hair is when dyeing a much lighter color darker. In this case, your hair is missing a lot of the warm base tone that is needed to balance the new color and the green or blue tone shows through completely as there is nothing to inhibit it.

How to Fix It

Fixing strange colors like these aren't as easy as some other common mistakes but it is possible if you understand hair color levels and toning. To correct it yourself:

  1. Determine what level your hair is at.
  2. Determine what color you need to tone with (Red to neutralize green or copper to neutralize blue).
  3. Apply protein filler, demi-permanent dye, or permanent dye in this color (If using dye, use a shade 1–2 levels lighter than your hair to prevent too much warmth being deposited).
  4. Rinse the product after it develops and fills the missing warm tones back into your hair.

2. Fixing Over-toned Hair

Over-toned hair is another common problem. If you tone hair for too long it will take on purple, blue, or grey tones and make your hair look darker. Luckily it's incredibly easy to fix this one.

How to Fix It

To correct it yourself:

  1. First, shampoo your hair a few times with clarifying shampoo to remove the build up.
  2. If the toner was demi-permanent or permanent, use a very mild bleach wash (with 5 vol developer) only if the shampoo didn't strip enough color out.
  3. Re-tone your hair with a weaker toner if it's now too warm.

3. Fixing a Hair Color That Is Too Dark

A hair color that is too dark is another easy fix and the process is exactly the same as what you need to do to fix over-toned hair.

How to Fix it

To fix it at home, first determine what kind of dye was used.

Temporary dye:

  1. Shampoo it several times.
  2. Bleach wash it only if necessary after this.
  3. Retouch with another dye to get a new, lighter color that looks natural.

Fade dark permanent dye:

  1. Shampoo several times.
  2. Bleach wash it to remove remaining excess color.
  3. Retouch the final color so that it looks natural.

 Strip dark permanent dye:

  1. Shampoo several times.
  2. Apply dye remover.
  3. Rinse and shampoo after development.
  4. Retouch the final color to look natural.

Heavy dye buildup:

  1. If permanent dye has been applied multiple times, shampoo it several times first.
  2. Use hair dye remover to strip as much pigment as possible.
  3. Bleach wash to remove any lingering dye after a few days of resting your hair
  4. Retouch the new color


4. Fixing Orange Hair

Orange hair usually happens when bleaching dark hair to go blonde. It can also occur if you use a red or strawberry blonde dye on very light hair though as the copper tones can run wild on a pale base.

How to Fix it

To correct the problem instantly:

  1. Ascertain what level your hair is (usually around 5–6 if orange).
  2. Use an ash dye 1 level lighter than that.
  3. Develop until your hair tones.
  4. You'll be left somewhere between a dark blonde and light brown color depending on the level of your hair before this. 

While this is an instant correction through the use of toning to neutralize the orange color, there are two other ways to fix the problem too but they're more involved. 

You can continue lightening and then tone your hair to achieve a lighter blonde result. Or, you can return to a darker color using the correct method to ensure that the warmth your revealed during lightening doesn't remain in the new brown color.


5. Fixing Yellow Hair

Yellow hair is another problem that mainly affects people who want to go blonde. In this case, it can occur due to lightening or from a lack of toning. 

Even warmer shades like golden blonde need some cool tone added to make them look natural. Without this toning, your hair will simply look a fluorescent yellow color.

How to Fix it

There are several ways to fix it and most are very easy depending on your skill level. See here for more detail or skip to the fixes below.

Instant and easiest fix:

  1. Get a good purple, violet, or silver shampoo (something with a decent amount of pigment).
  2. Shampoo your hair with it twice.
  3. Condition. 

The above method is so insanely easy that anyone can do it. If it doesn't neutralize the yellow, your shampoo isn't strong enough. If it over-tones, your shampoo is too strong for your hair depth (dilute it down with white shampoo or use it less frequently from then on).

Purple, violet, and silver products will all tone equally well but they differ in how much blue pigment they contain. Violet shampoo only contains violet tone and will give a clean tone. Purple contains a little blue and is great for pearl or ash blonde shades. Silver has more blue tone and gives ashier results (and is the ideal choice if there are any orange tones present in your blonde hair).

Harder but longest-lasting fix:

  1. Determine the level of your yellow hair (Likely 7–10 but may be as dark as 6).
  2. Dye using either demi-permanent or permanent ash blonde dye 1–2 levels lighter to avoid over-toning.
  3. Rinse and condition, then maintain with a blonde shampoo when needed.

More Information

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