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How to Correct Too-Dark Hair Color

5 Tips For When Temporary Box Color Goes Too Dark

As a dark, natural blonde, I'm a big fan of semipermanent box color. It lets you brighten up a shade and look truly "blond" without requiring you to bleach. Usually, I'm a Clairol Natural Instincts kind of girl, but this time around I decided to give Garnier HerbaShine in Medium Ash Blonde ($8) a try. The results? Pretty, but way darker than previous experience (or the box) would have had me believe. So what's a girl to do? Find out how to lighten up when you keep reading.

  • The strip: If it's just way too dark and you can't handle it, use a color stripper like Color Oops ($10). Be warned, though. It probably won't take your hair back to its natural shade, and you'll most likely have to redye it. It's also pretty drying, so be sure to use a deep conditioner afterward.
  • Clarification: If you'd rather just fade it fast, wash your hair with clarifying shampoo immediately. Some people even wash their hair with Dawn or detergent, but that can damage your scalp and wreck your hair, so we say avoid.
  • That's hot: Hot oil treatments are cheap, good for your hair, and open up the hair shaft, which can actually help to fade color further.
  • Hit up the kitchen: Another natural and relatively gentle fader? Vinegar. Rinse with it and then leave it on for about 30 minutes, and it should take care of some of the color.
  • This may be the only time we say this, but . . . : Heat styling and hair products like hairspray are another easy way to fade out color you don't like quickly and subtly without incurring the kind of damage you'd get from bleaching.
Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
^ I'm going to try that, Anon 7! I recently tried to go lighter and hated the way it looked on me, so I tried to go back to my medium-darkish ash brown. This is almost impossible to achieve through box dye (so I kind of already knew this would happen) and my hair is pretty much black. I've tried the Dawn thing before (a few years ago) and it dried the hell out of my hands and cuticles. Dried my hair out and weighed it down, as well. Didn't do anything to the color. The clarifying shampoo thing does work quite well, although the results are not immediate. But it definitely speeds up the fading process in a gentle way! It's usually what I use when I end up a little too dark.
sldc sldc 6 years
*I meant dark golden blonde is auburn and dark blonde are generally seen as a brunette by most people not into the lingo!
sldc sldc 6 years
From experience, dark blonde is almost dark brown, medium ash blonde is dark blonde, dark golden brown is auburn, medium golden blonde is a golden red. This seems to apply whether my hair is natural (dark golden blonde/brown) or bleached. That said, I used semi-permanent color yesterday (Loreal's) and I used a dark blonde and it is a lovely warm chestnut (from a previously highlighted medium blonde.) It always shows up darker, so choose a box that is lighter than you want!
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