What to do When You Hate Your Freshly Applied Hair Color

Those of us that have been there know that hating on new hair color is seriously the worst.

Sometimes you realize you (or your colorist) has made a mistake while you’re still in the chair, other times that sinking feeling hits when you’re at home, in less curated lighting.

The bright side of this, however, is unlike a haircut, hating on freshly applied hair color doesn’t have to mean months of regrowth to correct the problem. We consulted with Shelley Gregory, one of our fave color experts, known for her ethereal barely-there pastel hues that never miss a beat for advice on exactly what to do when you regret your color.

Tell Your Colorist ASAP

You don’t want to play the waiting game if you’re not thrilled with your color. “Let your stylist know as soon as possible, ideally before you leave their chair,” says Shelley, noting that your stylist wouldn’t want you going out in the world with hair you don’t like.

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The 48 Hour Rule

She then advises giving some time for your hair color time to settle in – or not. “As a rule of thumb, I tell my color clients to not wash their hair for 48 hours, this gives the hair less chance to fade,” she explains.

If you’re confident you don’t like the color you can reverse that process, washing the color you don’t love within 48 hours in order to start the fading. “All things that have color eventually fade, from paint on a wall, to the dye on your clothing, so the color on your hair will fade as well,” Shelley continues. “Colored hair also oxidizes so it can take about three days for the cuticle to lay back down and for you to see the true reflect of colors you have in your hair, so let its breathe before making any quick judgments.”

Light v. Dark

Whenever you lighten your hair, it usually goes through a more in depth process that will cause some drying out. If you’ve ever bleached you know this. To prevent unnecessary damage, give your hair “a couple weeks and a few home mask treatments before going back into the salon for more foils,” says Shelley.

“On darkened hair you are in better shape as far as dryness, but you also have to remember when you darken your hair you are in a way staining it, so if you want to change that ‘stain’ it can be harder for the stylist to pull it out. Think hard before making a big change, especially if you are going from super light to super dark,” says Shelley.

You should also keep in mind that even if you dye blonde hair darker, the hair under the dark dye is still a delicate blonde hair—and has to always be treated that way until it is cut off. “You and your stylist should weigh out all these factors before any big change,” she continues.

When In Doubt – Bleach Wash

Shelley’s top hack to remove dye is the French Fluff  or bleach wash. “This is where you mix your lightener with your favorite clarifying shampoo and do a scrub at the shampoo bowl to remove some unwanted tones or lighten up the hair slightly all over. I like to add an Olaplex treatment to the mix, so I am still protecting the hair while removing color. Another great product instead of powder bleach is the L’Oreal Professional sun kissed lightening oil, it’s a lightener in an oil form that you add processing solution to,” she explains.

Plan Pre-Color

You can’t completely blame your stylist if you haven’t prepped them on what you want.
My number one advice is to sit down with your colorist or get on a call with them before you start your appointment, consultation is key to making sure you will not hate your color,” Shelley confirms.

To make sure you’re both on the same page, come with a plethora of photos and be ready to discuss what’s possible. Shelley advises not only bringing your ultimate goal dream hair photos, but also photos of what you do not like, what you have had in the past, and even bring photos of the in-between. “I like to think of photos as our way of the best full communication, our own hair language –my honey blonde caramel may be a completely different interpretation of yours, so we have to show that through pics!”

The pastel queen spills the tea on lightening up, HERE.

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