Demi-permanent color is deposit only hair color, which means it cannot lighten the hair. Because it contains no ammonia, it causes less damage than permanent color and is often used to color, add lowlights and tone the hair. Demi-permanent colors gradually fade from the hair and can last up to six weeks or more depending on hair porosity and environmental factors. Remove demi-permanent hair color if it is too dark by using hair-coloring correction techniques.
Things You'll Need
Use a clarifying shampoo to remove excessive color molecules or if you want to lighten the hair quickly. This is most effective if performed immediately following color application. Shampoo two to three times daily for the first several days to remove color and condition the hair following each shampoo to minimize damage.
Apply a color remover to remove deeper levels of color and lighten the hair further. Purchase a color remover and the corresponding recommended peroxide or developer from a beauty-supply store. For only one to two levels of lightening or lift, you may only need to mix the remover with water.
Section hair into four quadrants by parting down the center of the head from forehead to nape using a rat tail comb. Then part vertically from the center part to each ear. Twist hair sections and clip them out of the way using butterfly clips to secure.
Perform a strand test before applying color by sectioning a half-inch piece of hair from one quadrant at the nape of the hair. After applying gloves, mix a half-teaspoon of color remover with water for mild lift or peroxide for darker color removal. Apply using a color applicator brush and then use your fingers to press remover into the strand, saturating thoroughly.
Set a timer for the recommended time, according to package instructions, checking every five minutes. Remove when desired color removal has occurred.
Mix color remover in a bowl and the recommended level of water or peroxide with a color-applicator brush. Put gloves on and apply a protective cream on the skin around hairline, ears and nape.
Apply color remover to all the hair based on your strand test results. If the water additive did not work to remove the color, you will need to add peroxide. Section half-inch horizontal sections from each quadrant and work side to side, starting at the nape, until the whole head is completely covered in remover.
Use hands to scrunch remover into the hair further and saturate thoroughly. Check every five minutes until desired removal has occurred. The hair will likely only reach a orange or light-orange level of color if the beginning color is darker than a light brown.
Shampoo the hair to remove color-removal product. Use a shampoo especially for color treated hair to help minimize damage. Follow with a second shampoo and then rinse with lukewarm water. Apply a light conditioner for tangle removal if necessary, but rinse completely to allow for optimal toner deposit.
Apply a toner or lighter demi-permanent color to cover the orange or light-orange resulting shade, choosing a shade at least a level or two darker than your desired color, for best results. Mix according to package instructions, and apply using a bottle or bowl and color applicator brush. Process the hair color for up to 25 minutes, checking every five.
Remove color when the desired shade is achieved, remembering that color may deposit more quickly because the removal process will make the hair more porous. Rinse, shampoo and condition following directions above.
Longer hair may require several packets of remover product.
References and ResourcesHair Boutique: Hair Color Disasters: How To Recover
Peter Lamas: Professional Haircolor
Hairfinder: Demi-permanent Color, Highlights & Lowlights