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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.

    Barb Quinn on Google+  


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    Hair Color At Home Is Too Dark

    Hair Color At Home Is Too Dark

    The Smart Girl’s Guide to What to do When Hair Color At Home Is Too Dark

    It can happen to the best of us–after following all the instructions and applying it carefully, the results of your hair color at home is too dark. This is a common occurrence, but it can be fixed. Following are a few tips for color correction to help you achieve the shade you really wanted.

    Shampoo Your Hair–Right Away!

    Most hair color manufacturers recommend waiting a day or two after coloring your hair before shampooing, thus giving the pigments an opportunity to really affix to the hair. But if you notice immediately that the semi-permanent or demi-permanent color you’ve applied is far darker than you desired, it’s best to wash the hair as quickly as possible (in an effort to fade the color a bit).

    Clarifying shampoos, which are specially formulated to remove excess buildup on the hair, are especially effective in situations like this. Simply lather the hair with the clarifying shampoo of your choice, then allow the shampoo to sit on the hair for about 10-15 minutes before washing. Be sure, though, to condition the hair well after using clarifying shampoos.

    Oxidative Hair Color Removers

    Effective when used to fade permanent hair color, oxidative hair color removers are formulated to shrink the pigments small enough that they can simply be washed away. Permanent hair color uses oxidative dyes; thus, these oxidative hair color removers operate via a process known as “reverse oxidation.”

    To use, simply apply the oxidative hair color remover in the same manner that you would apply an allover hair color. Leave the product on the hair for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse it out and following with regular shampoo. Oxidative hair color can be drying, so be sure to condition the hair.

    It’s important to remember, though, when using oxidative hair color removers, that the product only removes the artificial color that was deposited onto the hair. In other words, your hair will not go back to its original color, but will return to the color it was right before the artificial pigment was applied. This is okay, because you will simply apply the permanent color shade you really want.

    Contact The Hair Color Manufacturer

    Each of the major hair color manufacturers, operates a consumer hotline, accepting literally thousands of calls from consumers with similar hair color mishaps. The person on the other end of the line is a hair color specialist who can often help guide you in the right direction; however, you should be prepared to explain to the specialist how much hair color is still present on the hair. (Note: The hair grows approximately one-half inch, on average, each month). Also, be aware that he or she will likely ask if you performed the highly recommended strand test prior to the application of color.

    The hotline numbers are as follows:

    Clairol — 800-223-5800

    L’Oreal — 800-631-7358

    Revlon — 800-4Revlon

    Using a Shampoo-Bleach Cocktail

    A shampoo-bleach cocktail is one of the most effective methods for lifting hair color, but it is also the most challenging. Simply combine one package of bleach to 2 ounces of shampoo. If you have long hair, you may need to add a bit of water. Work the cocktail through to the ends of the hair, watching carefully as the old pigment is removed and the hair turns lighter. Wash the cocktail out completely when the color appears to have lifted.

    Preventing Challenges In The Future

    It’s important to remember that hair color is, at its core, the reflection of light off the pigments on the hair shaft. Taking the time to really read and understand the hair color chart can really be helpful in achieving the desired result–the first time. It can also help to prevent the application of color formulas that perhaps lack the warmth needed to prevent ashy, drab or darker tones than you intended.

    Always stay within one to two shades of your original hair color, and consult your highly-trained, professional colorist who can help you achieve the color you want with the least amount of damage. Your professional hair colorist is also your best option for color correction help.

    Barb Quinn on Google+  


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    Why Home Hair Color can be Such a Disaster

    Home Hair Color

    Home Hair Color is Fraught With Dangers

    “Girl, you see that Heather Locklear on TV? She colors her own hair, and all I have to do is go get that home hair color in a box and I’ll save myself a lot of money. I want my hair to look like hers!”

    Ok ladies, first of all, Heather Locklear probably has a hair designer that lives under her bed, and I doubt with the millions of dollars in her bank account, that she is coloring her own hair. All those TV commercials that show you the before and after of going from bad hair to great luscious and shiny hair, are using a very talented hair professional to bring it to a finish and be camera ready, that’s the truth . . . trust me!

    Knowing the information between the, “This is my hair color, and this is what I want to be”, is at the end of every perfect beautiful finish. What most people don’t know is what gets them into trouble in the first place. Let’s have a quick lesson here.

    Most hair color products available in your local drugstore today can be applied very easily. Some on dry hair applied with a brush or a applicator bottle, and some on wet hair which you can work them in like a shampoo and create a lather, there are also coloring products that resemble a mousse, which are applied with ease and you can color from roots to ends.

    What most people don’t realize is that the chemicals in these products can be very harmful to your hair and if used improperly, they can do some serious damage. You need to know the right product for the right job, especially for those of you with chemically relaxed or permed hair. Depending on what you use, we are dealing with either non-ammonia or ammonia hair colors that are mixed with and an activator, you call it peroxide. Let me break down for you in simple terms the three major hair coloring products.

    Semi-Permanent Hair Color

    Works almost like a stain, it adds color without interacting with your natural pigment. Uses no developer and leaves the hair after several shampoos. Will cover up to 50% gray. This product does not contain ammonia and will not lighten your own natural hair color. At best can last up to 12 shampoos. (These numbers are not accurate, as everyone’s porosity is different.)

    Demi-Permanent Hair Color

    Similar to semi, but will last much longer. Some can last up to 24 shampoos. It is mixed with a developer therefore when entering the cortex it will have longer lasting effect. It blends and covers gray. However, on permed or relaxed hair it can almost act like permanent hair color.

    Permanent Hair Color

    This is the real enchilada! It’s what you need to become like Heather . . . well not quite, but we’re on the right path. It uses both ammonia and peroxide. Hair color molecules enter the cortex, they expand to a much larger size and get trapped in the cortex. Not so easy though, you need to realize that there is a process that happens here, this product will lighten your natural pigment and than adds the new pigment, and the peroxide permeates the color.

    This product will generally last from 4 to 6 weeks and note that the same color will look different on you or your friend depending on the hair type, and natural tone. That is why when looking at the beautiful girl on the box, I personally would want to know what she was before the product was applied . . . doesn’t sound so easy anymore, does it?

    In the end, the real pros use activators that start at strengths from 10, 20, 30 and 40 volume. What is this, you ask? This is real color technology, you won’t find it in the home hair color box at the local supermarket or drugstore, trust me!

    Of course, it doesn’t end here. There’s double processing, bleaching and toning, highlighting, low-lighting, and so much more mastery and technology regarding hair color. But this is where we professionals draw the line. You can try this at home, and when the usual kitchen disasters occur, most people wind up either coloring it back to a natural color, which in itself can be another devastating experience, and this is where you find yourself going (FINALLY!) back to see the real pros.

    I just gave you a small synopsis on the three major hair color products. The hair coloring bible is much more elaborate and in the end if you are a beautiful brunette and think that the blonde on Heather or on the box was achieved on a level 4 brunette by a single application, think again! What’s a level 4 you ask? That’s a lesson for another day! Happy coloring.

    Home Hair Color
    Contributing author Nick Trombetta for almost 30 years has shared his passion and inspiration for precision artistry in great hair care color and designs with his clients, students and top rated hair care professionals at Salon Maffei in White Plains NY. A former national educator, platform artist and Artistic Director for IT&LY Hairfashion. In 2011, Nic was bestowed the honor of “Best Hair Colorist of Westchester County”.

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