Many of us desire a new fresh look, and dyeing our hair is a great way to switch things up! However, sometimes things don’t go as planned, and our hair turns out much darker than we anticipated. This can be frustrating because dealing with too-dark permanent hair color is more complicated than working with semi-permanent formulas. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, there are some things you can do to fix your too-dark permanent hair color.
The Science of Hair Dyeing
Before we delve into the steps to fix too-dark permanent hair color, let’s discuss the science behind hair dyeing. Hair dyes contain chemical pigments, which penetrate the hair shaft and bind to the keratin protein present in the hair cuticle. The type and concentration of pigments used determine the color outcome. Hair color products have a standard level of developer, which is the peroxide that lightens the hair before the dye pigments bond to the keratin. Different brands of hair dye have different levels of developer, and this determines how much lift (lightening) occurs before the new color is added.
The Common Causes of Dark Hair Color
There are a few reasons why your hair may turn out too dark after dyeing it:
- You left the dye in for too long: Leaving the dye in your hair for longer than the recommended time can cause the color to turn out darker.
- Using a dye with a high developer: If you used a hair dye with high developer, it might cause too much lift resulting in a brassy or even darker color.
- Failing to remove the old color and buildup: If the old color wasn’t removed before new dye was applied, it can contribute to darker color results.
- Different lighting: The lighting in the salon is quite different from natural outdoor lighting, so it’s possible to choose a darker color than you intended.
Don’t Panic! Here’s What You Can Do:
Now that you know why your permanent hair color is too dark, you can take the following steps to fix it:
1. Clarify and Wash with Clarifying Shampoo
The first thing to do is to wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo. This type of shampoo removes the buildup on the hair and scalp, which can contribute to the darker color. It also helps to lighten your hair color a bit.
2. Use a Peroxide and Baking Soda Mixture
If your hair still looks too dark after using the clarifying shampoo, the next step is to use a mixture of baking soda and peroxide. This mixture helps to lighten the color of your hair. You’ll need:
- 3 tablespoons of baking soda
- 1 tablespoon of peroxide (3%)
- 1 tablespoon of conditioner
Mix the baking soda and peroxide in a bowl until they form a paste. Add a tablespoon of conditioner and mix well. Apply this mixture to your hair and let it sit for 45 minutes. Then rinse your hair with warm water and a moisturizing conditioner.
3. Use Color Remover
If you’ve tried clarifying shampoo and peroxide to no avail, it’s time to use a color remover. Color removers are formulated to remove the artificial color from the hair without damaging it. Apply the color remover according to the instructions on the package. Rinse thoroughly and then condition your hair.
4. Apply a New Dye
If your hair is still too dark after using a color remover, apply a new hair dye in a lighter shade. Choose a shade that’s two or three levels lighter than your desired color. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package and work with the appropriate developer volume.
Tips to Consider
Here are some tips to keep in mind when fixing too-dark permanent hair color:
- Do a Strand Test: Before applying a mixed solution to your whole head, test it on a small part of your hair to see how it reacts.
- Choose the Right Developer: Always use the developer recommended by the specific hair dye brand.
- Get a Professional Hair Color Correction: This should always be the last resort when things go wrong, but it is the best option to fix a hair color disaster that you can’t solve on your own.
The Bottom Line
Fixing too-dark permanent hair color can be tricky but not impossible. Start with clarifying shampoo, then move to more aggressive remedies like a baking soda and peroxide mixture, color remover, or applying a new dye. In addition, make sure to take the time to perform a strand test before applying any treatments to your whole head. Following these tips can help you fix your hair color and make it look as you intended.
Common Questions & Answers
- Q: How long do I need to leave the baking soda and peroxide mixture on my hair?
- A: Leave it on your hair for 45 minutes. This should be enough time to give you the desired lightening effect.
- Q: Can lemon juice help to lighten my hair?
- A: Lemon juice contains natural bleaching agents; however, it’s not an effective way to remove permanent hair dye.
- Q: How can I prevent over-dyeing my hair in the future?
- A: Always choose a hair dye that’s the same or no more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural hair color.
- Q: How can I fix splotchy hair color?
- A: Try applying a color remover or use a dye that’s a shade lighter than the splotchy color.
- Q: How long do I need to wait before applying a new dye?
- A: Wait at least 48 hours before using new dye to avoid further damage to your hair.