Did you get a little ambitious the last time you booked your color appointment? It’s okay—we’ve all been there. Or maybe the color you left the salon with no longer resembles what’s on your head. Dark indigo morphed into a strange turquoise? Nope, no relation, I don’t know her. To get back on your best hair track, color removal is a definite option. The color correction process can be delicate, which is why you should see a stylist you trust or make sure to do your research. We checked in with Matt Rez, Celebrity Colorist at Meche Beverly Hills and CHI Ambassador Cynthia Diersen, for everything we need to know before going through with a color removal.
“Honestly, I am so not into using color removers,” Rez confesses—and for good reason. “They are extremely damaging unless they are the sulfur-based ones,” he says. The sulfur removers shrink permanent color molecules so that the majority can escape through the cuticle, though some is left behind. “No matter what, some is always left behind,” he says, noting that within a few washes, they come through again—unless hair is bleached post color removal.
If you’re going to DIY, Matt suggests a Malibu Treatment. “At home I would say use a Malibu treatment to remove buildup and harsh color, if it’s freshly done and appears too dark or the wrong tone,” says, adding it must be treated “within 48 hours of the mishap.”
Another option? Turn to your kitchen sink. “As bad as this other way may be for the post-condition of the hair, dish soap over a long period can strip color out,” notes Rez. However, make sure your using a hydration mask after every dish soap wash in order to replace oils.
In uncommon cases, Rez will use a sulfur-based remover that shrinks the color molecules, though it is most definitely a process. “I will typically do it three to four rounds to get the most pigment out,” he explains. “Then I do a soap cap at sink to help get any remaining permanent color out,” he says of incorporating this DIY remedy. “After, we will add a gloss to the new base and do rounds of anti breakage (Olaplex) and hydration treatments. I let the hair rest for a week and go over it with same gloss for a good grab. If client wants to go lighter, we will build highlights on over time,” he says.
Of course, if you are adding highlights, you want to make sure you have strong, relatively healthy strands. “Extremely dry, brittle textures with high porosity and over-processed hair should steer away from a lightening process until the hair is restored. Dry scalps and those with psoriasis or abrasions would be on the “No, no” list. Do a scalp analysis before you decide to move forward with the task,” explains Diersen.
This is why for any complicated process, it’s best to seek out an expert. According to Diersen, you should just suck it up and go to the salon before things turn from bad to worse. “If you have a color 911 because that over-the-counter light honey brown turned out more like a dark chocolate brown with pumpkin spiced roots, chances are, things will only get worse by trying to correct the problem at home,” she says.
“Chemical services in general, with an emphasis on color removals, should always be performed by a licensed professional who understands the chemistry behind the process, as well as the chemical reaction that occurs during this change,” adds Diersen, noting you can’t take chemistry for granted. “It’s important to know not just how to mix the product, but how to apply it to prevent overlapping on pre-existing lightening processes.” Make sure you hair stays healthy in between appointments while in the comforts of your own spa, a.k.a. the bathroom. “I do, however, always help my guests maintain the health and strength of their hair with a well-balanced at home care line,” she adds. Diersen suggests BioSilk Hydrating Therapy, which combines maracuja oil, quinoa, and silk to restore natural amino acids, proteins and moisture balance in the hair. And remember, says Diersen, “If you can access it without a license, it’s not the ‘good stuff’ and cheap gets expensive, so go to the pro’s!”
Want to plump up your locks while your correcting that color? Here are the best cuts for volume.
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