Hair dyes come not only in the entire color spectrum, but in custom mixes like unicorn or mermaid colors. Choosing something from that candy store of colors involves some research, though, like matching the color to your skin's undertone, for example. Fortunately, when results don't please, some tweaking with a bit of color corrector can save you from starting over. Much like color-correcting makeup, colors that are opposites on the color wheel tone down the applied dye. For example, green adjusts red hues and peach calms blues and purples. Still, while there are natural and home solutions, sometimes an expert's touch is needed.
Color Correct at Home
Depending on the extent to which hair color needs to be corrected, there are a couple of options for at-home solutions. L'Oréal Paris and other brands offer two types of shampoos that can help achieve the desired hue and tone. If a semi-permanent hair color was applied, try a fading shampoo. This will accelerate the fading process of the color with each shampoo, so don't be afraid to lather, rinse and repeat.
Permanent hair color may take more time to remove and rectify. Products like hair color removers strip hair of the permanent hair color applied either at home or in a salon, but your locks will not return to the natural color. Hair will need to be colored again immediately after washing with a color remover, so purchase a new color simultaneously at the store. To preserve the new color, don't forget to use a shampoo and conditioner for color-treated hair along with a hair mask to lock in moisture and color.
Color Correct Naturally
Hair can take on orange and yellow tones due to shampooing or to exposure to the minerals in water or sunlight. There is, however, a simple, natural solution to minor color issues such as needing to offset an imbalance: food coloring. Select the gel that is opposite on the color wheel to neutralize the overtones. For example, blue food coloring will balance out orange. Kyle White of New York's Oscar Blandi Salon advises mixing a pea-size dollop of the gel into shampoo as well as following up with a second shampoo.
Visit a Professional
For serious problems, don't attempt to fix the color at home. The right products to correct the color can be difficult to come by, and an expert eye can better judge the best approach to the beauty issue. A hairstylist can assess the texture and color of hair to determine if the desired hair color is possible.
An added benefit of removing color at the salon apart from getting an expert opinion is having access to products that will remove color more gently than bleach or ammonia, such as a mineral remover. Stylists can neutralize the hair and plan a path to the desired look through in-home treatments between salon visits. For the best results, take photos to show the colorist how hair has changed over time as well as photos of the desired outcome.
- L'Oreal Paris USA: The Best Hair Color Correction Tips
- Glamour: A Celeb Hair Guru's Secret to Erasing Unwanted Tones From Your Hair Color: Food Coloring!
- Redken: What Is a Color Correction Hair Service and How Do You Know If You Need One?
- Refinery29: The Pro-Approved Guide To Fixing A New Hair Color You Hate
Molly is a freelance journalist and social media consultant. In addition to Leaf.tv, Molly has written for Teen Vogue and Paste magazine. She is the former assistant editor of the Design and Style section of Paste magazine. View her work at www.mmollyharris.com.