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How to Color Previously Highlighted Hair

Hair High lights

Color over previous hair high lights can be tricky

A very good portion of the top of my head is my natural color. Which is a light brown. Probably a good 4 inches of it has grown in. I have long hair and the rest of my hair always fades back to this blonde color that I dyed it a year or so ago. Is there a way where I can dye the blonder part of my hair to the natural light brown shade of the top and have it stay? Or will I always have to keep re dying it every few months.

Comment by Kari


Sounds to me the old color you are trying to cover is a cool or platinum blonde, you have little to no warmth from the mid-shaft to the ends of your hair. If this is the case, a tint back to your natural hair color can be a little tricky!

The reason your hair keeps fading back to blonde is because your hair is hollow on the inside. In other words the hair has been stripped of any original melanin and that pigment needs to be put back in order for the color to stay.

A two step hair color application is your best bet in order for the color to be a success! You will need a semi-permanent hair color that is one shade lighter than your natural hair color with a red and/or gold tone to it. You will also need a permanent color that is as close to your natural hair color as possible or, one shade darker to allow for fading. You will want to pick a permanent hair color that is neutral in tonal value so the outgrowth is nearly invisible.

Once you have chosen the hair colors to best suit your hair you will apply the semi- permanent hair color first. Apply the color from the outgrowth to the ends of the hair, this is the filler for the blonde hair and will replace the missing pigment that was previously stripped out.

After the filler is processed and rinsed, apply the permanent color from roots to ends of the hair. If your hair tends to be dry, keep the color off the last inch and a half of your hair until the last 5 minutes of processing time, this will prevent the hair from getting too dark on the ends.

Hair High lights
Keep in mind that to get maximum results, it is best to section the hair into four quadrants taking ½” sub sections when applying the hair color. Also despite popular belief, it is best to apply color on freshly shampooed, damp hair. This helps the color to apply more easily and evenly.


  1. I have both highlights and low lights in my hair do to my hairdresser messing up. She corrected it by highlighting it but now there is so many different colors in my hair and it looks like crap. Can I get one solid color over multi colored hair? My hair is fine and medium length brittle and dry but I cannot have my hair a rainbow of colors. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Comment by aimee — November 10, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

  2. Hi, i’ve got natural curly very drak brown hair almost looks black but has a lovely warm color under the sun.
    I coloured it about 4-5 months ago (for the first time) a honey color and loved it. But i really really miss my old hair color, since i think its suits me best. My natural hair color is already about 3 to 4 inches long, which is making me look not on the good side (>_

    Comment by Jamila — March 11, 2010 @ 6:22 am

  3. great advice! worked like a charm. i had some reddish tones in my highlights so i opted for a nuetral demi-permanant base filler of a med. blond. for my permanant color i chose nuetral dark blond. the result was a rich med. golden brown!

    Comment by leslie — December 3, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

  4. My natural hair color is a dirty blonde/brown. I colored my hair on my own with a sun blonde hair color for the first time and it came out yellow/orange. I waited a week n it kept getting more orange untill i went to the salon and told them i wanted to apply highlights n get rid of the orange color. After applying the highlights i still had a orange/yellow color to my hair. So i went back for the second time and they told me that i need to cover the orange parts of my hair with a lowlight similair to my natural haircolor. After a week that started washing off and blening in with my highlights n i had a greeny look to my hair. So once again i went back for the 3rd time n got more highlights wanting to give myself a blonde looks. It looked okay, but today which is almost 2 months later my hair has a yellow look to it. I have yellow blonde hair. Is it possible for me to get more platnium highlights and a lighter blonde look instead of the yellow look that i hae now or will it keep fading and blending in?

    Comment by Ashley — July 9, 2009 @ 9:15 pm

  5. To soften the grow-in, have low-lights in your usual brown base color scattered throughout hair from root to tip (have seen this done with cap and with foil, but capped color damages more). This will help disguise the color differences and let the gray blend into the colored areas as it grows in. You may have to have this done twice as hair grows and is cut. There’s no foolproof way to completely disguise gray grow-in without compounding the problem, but this helps make it bearable.

    Comment by Nancy — May 11, 2009 @ 6:56 am

  6. I was a blonde until about 20 when my hair changed to mousy brown. I’ve been frosting & highlighting for almost 40 years. About 10 years ago, I began coloring the base brown to give depth and then highlighting over that, touching up roots every 6 weeks. I’m turning 60 this year and sick of the high maintenance. The top of my hair is naturally gray but the back still brown. How can I stop this without getting all locks chopped? If I stop coloring the roots brown and just highlight over all, what is the process to avoid regrowth showing?

    Comment by Donna — April 28, 2009 @ 5:24 pm

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