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Why Did My Hair Dye Turn Out Darker? What To Do NOW?

by Madison Reed July 07, 2021

Why Is My Hair Color Coming Out Darker Than Usual?

Image by Madison Reed

Dear Color Crew is a recurring blog post where we answer hair-related questions—no matter how hairy they may be—from readers like you. Got a question? Email our team of professional colorists at

Dear Color Crew,

Why is my color darker than it was the first time my color was applied? My hair is feeling dull and lifeless but I’m not changing anything! What’s happening to my hair color?

Hair dye came out too dark - what to do?

The main cause of hair color appearing progressively darker over repeated applications is in the application of the dye itself. That is, many people make the mistake of coloring their entire head of hair each time they color. Not only do you not need to do this, you don’t want to do this, either. Whether you have blonde hair or dark hair, the mid-lengths and ends are typically more porous than your roots and new growth, particularly if they have been previously colored. This is why the mid-lengths and ends tend to soak up the color faster and deeper than the dyed hair at the roots. Over time, this leads to hair color that is darker than you may want, and possibly dull or faded.

The good news is that the solution is simple. You should only color your entire head of hair if coloring for the first time, changing your hair color, or every few months. This goes for any shade—from black hair, to blonde, to anything in between. That’s right—only color your roots and new growth with permanent color. Your DIY hair will look salon quality in no time.

If you need to touch up your roots but also want to refresh your color and add vibrancy and shine, we recommend what we like to call “The Perfect Pair”—the combination of permanent color at your roots and a semi-permanent gloss to refresh the color on your mid-lengths and ends. This is actually what most colorists do in salons when you get your color done. Want to see how you can do it yourself and become an at-home hair care expert? Here’s a video tutorialto show you how it’s done.

woman getting hair color applied in Madison Reed Hair Color Bar

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If your hair color is already too dark, too dull, too brassy, or too anything, you can always use a hair color primer. That’s right—primers aren’t just for makeup. Prime for Perfection® penetrates the hair cuticle to remove excess color build up, giving you an optimal base for your color. Formulated without ammonia, bleach, peroxide, parabens, phthalates and gluten, the gentle hair-loving formula will help your hair receive new color, feel healthier, and look downright fabulous. We recommend this product for those with dark brown hair, blonde hair, gray hair, and black hair.

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Hair too dark after dying - Conclusions

With these simple adjustments to application, and adding a few salon-secret products to your coloring regimen, we're confident you will love your hair from the first time you color to the 1000th. No more hair color mistakes around here! And, as always, never neglect using the correct shampoo and conditioner when you wash and rinse to maintain your dye job for weeks to come for an all-over glossy look that's here to stay.


Originally Published: 5/22/2019
Updated: 10/26/2023