Removing Hair Colour

Removing hair colour

For those of us that colour our own hair, there may well have been a time when we regret the choice of colour that we applied, or the shade is more intense than we anticipated. It is comforting to know that the colour will generally fade, and the hair will usually always grow back so we can revert to our natural shade once the coloured hair has been cut off.  Other options include covering the hair with a hat or beanie, or brazening it out by pretending that the colour was intentional.

Most hair colour calamities occur because we don’t follow the instructions on the packaging that advises us to carry out a strand test first so you can test the colour on our hair. Knowing that it is our own fault is little comfort when the colour is more intense than we thought it would be.

If you have bleached your hair and the resulting shade is too light, then you can apply a toner on top of the bleached hair which will adjust the colour. This is particularly useful when you have bleached very dark hair and it has turned a disconcerting shade of orange. A blue or purple toner or hair colour with these tones will help to adjust the shade to a more usual colour.

Similarly if you have coloured naturally fair hair with a dark brown or black colour, it may result in a green shade. This may be resolved by using another dark hair colour with gold or red tones. Chlorine in swimming pools may also turn fair hair a green shade, especially if the hair has been bleached or lightened by the sun.

For hair that is darker than anticipated, shampoo it several times with regular or anti-dandruff shampoo. This works best if the colour is very recent, so the dye has not yet attached itself permanently to the hair shaft, or if a semi-permanent hair colour was used. If more than two days have passed since the colour was applied, or if the hair has been heat treated – for example by using hair straighteners, after colouring the hair - then a hair colour removal preparation should be used. These are available from pharmacies or hairdressers. 

If colouring your hair for a second time with a permanent hair colour, or using a colour removal preparation, then read the instructions carefully, and follow the instructions exactly. Undertake a strand test. This means that you cut off a small strand of hair where it won’t be noticed, and apply the preparation to that. Wash and dry it normally and check that the hair is not damaged and the colour is what you anticipated. Then you know it is safe to apply the preparation to the entire head of hair.

If your hair was coloured professionally, and your hair is not the colour you were expecting, then the hairdresser should fix the problem for you.

Most pharmacies have experienced staff that can help you to resolve hair dye disasters. They can also direct you to assistance from the manufacturers of the product you have used or are considering using. They also know which hairdressers are experienced hair colourists, who are skilled in sorting out hair colours that are too light, dark or intense.

Your community pharmacy can help you with all your health and beauty needs. They can give you advice about products that are likely to produce the results you are looking for when you wish to change or maintain the look of your hair.