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    How To Lighten Hair Color That’s Too Dark


    Which hair color remover is right for you?

    When the box of hair color you chose isn’t even close to the color you ended up with, your first reaction is to fix it . . . as soon as possible!  But, at this point, it’s better to take a moment and breath. Before diving into the process of color removal, which can easily end in more horrifying hair results, take some time to read product reviews from those who have suffered similar circumstances.  It’s always a good idea to talk with a professional who can assess your unique hair color situation, and this is especially true if you’re attempting to remove permanent dye from your hair.

    Permanent hair dye removers contain bleaching agents and need to be carefully applied to remove dye evenly and still keep the integrity of the hair intact. Additionally, if a solution containing bleach gets onto virgin roots, it will lighten them as well, giving you “hot roots,”  that are lighter than the rest of your hair and another problem to deal with.

    Removing temporary or semi-permanent dye is easier. These solutions are gentler on the hair and can normally be used more than once. It’s a good idea to buy more 2 or 3 of these products in case you’ll need them. They work by opening the cuticle and expanding the color molecules which can then be shampooed out of the hair. Conditioning in-between applications is important.

    Be sure to read all of the product information before purchasing a color remover. I’ve generally found the folks at Sally’s Beauty Supply to be helpful and knowledgeable about the products they carry. Talking with someone who is experienced and well- informed can be extremely helpful for your unique situation.

    Here are some effective hair color removers you should be able to find at your local beauty supply stores;

    • Color Oops –  A top selling product that removes permanent and semi-permanent color without the use of bleach or ammonia.  To assure the effectiveness of this product, you should use it within 48 hours of coloring your hair.  It will lighten your hair to it’s lightest shade. That means if you’ve used a permanent hair color that lightened your hair, it will lift to that shade and not to your natural hair color.
    • Ion Crystal Clarifying Treatment Packet – This product is formulated to remove hard water buildup, mineral buildup and product buildup. It can be effective at lightening hair color and it’s gentle enough to use multiple times when conditioned in-between applications.
    • One N Only Colorfix Removes permanent hair dyes without the use of ammonia.  Read the directions extremely carefully and follow their suggestion of doing a strand test to determine the length of time to leave the solution on your hair.  I believe the only hair color this product says it will not remove (in fine print) is color that contains metal dyes.  It’s possible that your hair can redarken after 24 hours of lightening with this product. The directions will tell you to repeat a couple of steps, but if you read the reviews, you’ll find that fully rinsing the product from your hair may be the crucial step to success in the first place.
    • L’Oreal Effasol Color Remover  – This product contains bleaching agents and can be used to remove permanent hair color. It can be used with warm water (more gentle) or a developer (more drying) and it works well at getting rid of old layers of dye or color build-up on the hair. Effasol is also believed to be the only remover to get rid of henna dye.
    • Ion Brilliant Color Corrector A non-bleach formula that removes permanent hair color. Open the box and read the instructions before purchasing to see if you are up to the process.  It is a multi-step process that requires patience, but it’s been given good reviews for hard to remove hair color.


    Note: For successful color correction always perform a strand test prior to application. The ends of the hair are normally dryer and more porous than the rest of the hair, consequently they absorb more dye resulting in a darker color. So, when lightening hair color, the ends are typically the most stubborn and will require more time to lift than the rest of the hair.

    To avoid problems like this in the future formulate 1-2 levels lighter than your desired end result. Or, take a look at Why Home Hair Color can be Such a Disaster.



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