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The 5 Most Common Hair Color Mistakes—And How to Fix Them

by {{"2018-05-23T19:27:00.000Z" | blogDate:'MMMM d, y'}}

Image by Madison Reed

You, your old favorite band tee with a hole in the armpit, and a box of permanent hair color...what could go wrong? Well, just like everything in life, hair color doesn’t always turn out how you were expecting. The good news is that hair coloring mistakes can be fixed—often from home, and often fairly easily.

So, what are some common hair coloring missteps? If you’ve been coloring your hair for as long as we have, our answers may not surprise you…

The 5 Most Common Hair Color Mistakes

  1. “My hair color came out darker than I wanted”

    Understandably, this is a little trickier to fix than if your color came out too light. But all is not lost—find a clarifying shampoo. Also known as purifying or detox shampoos, clarifying shampoos remove product buildup from your hair for an extra-deep cleanse. (Do not use a color-safe clarifying shampoo; the idea is to wash out as much color as possible.) Shampoo the too-dark areas a few times for maximum effectiveness. Then in a few weeks when you try a lighter shade, use our Prime for Perfection® treatment prior to coloring, to lift even more artificial pigment so your color turns out just right.

  2. “I’ve bleached my hair to the breaking point”

    Handle bleached hair gone wrong with the utmost care. First, consider getting a trim to remove the most damaged strands, so your hair will grow back healthier than before. Once the worst of it has been chopped away, swap out your usual conditioner for a hydrating hair mask to restore strength to your strands. Lastly, if you don’t already use Tame, start now—it conditions your ends, adds shine, and controls frizz.

  3. “Better off red? No thank you”

    If your hair color turned out too red for your taste, give it some time. Daily washes with an inexpensive shampoo or clarifying shampoo that is not color safe, using the hottest water you can stand, will go a long way toward washing out your color. When it is safe to color your hair again—we recommend waiting a few weeks—opt for a neutral brunette hair color that’s the same level as the previous shade you selected. Leave on for slightly less time than you would normally, so your hair doesn’t become over-processed. And in the meantime, you can use a cool-toned gloss to tide you over—Crema for blondes, Espresso for brunettes.

  4. “Send help, my ends have turned green”

    Green color staining typically occurs when blondes go brunette and choose a cool brown color with smoky undertones. If the brunette you’ve selected is too ashy, your mid-lengths and ends may turn greenish. To address this issue, simply look to the color wheel. What cancels out green? Red, so look for a warm brunette shade with reddish or golden undertones. Be sure this color is the same level as the cooler brunette shade. When it’s safe to color your hair again—remember, wait at least two weeks—apply the warm brunette color to your greenish strands only, allowing for a shorter processing time.

  5. “My roots are oh-so, oh-no, orange”

    Before your so-called hot roots send you into a fiery rage, let’s get to the root of the issue first. (Too soon?) “Hot roots” mean the hair closest to your scalp is too bright or warm. Typically, you get hot roots from choosing a shade that is lighter or redder than your existing color, so the shade effectively lifts and changes your uncolored natural hair...but has little to no effect on previously colored areas. Use cool violet Color Reviving Gloss in Crema on your roots to neutralize brassiness, and opt for a shade that’s either the same level as your current shade (or even one with cooler or more neutral tones) when it’s safe to color your hair again.

Hair Color Corrections

We searched the internet for the most popular questions about hair color corrections, and here’s the good news: while there are many ways that hair color can go wrong, there are even more ways for hair color to be corrected. From clarifying shampoos to a hair color remover like Prime for Perfection®, to glosses that counteract unwanted tones and shampoos that neutralize unwanted brassiness, our Master Colorist, Chelsea Smith and VP of Technical Design + Education, David Stanko, are here with expert advice on hair color corrections to fix any hair color flubs you might have.


The most important advice we can give you? Stay calm, breathe deeply, and remember that, with a little time and a lot of TLC, you’ll have the hair you want in the not-so-distant future. And you’re going through a lot right now, so this is not the time to make a major life decision...like cutting bangs.

Need some inspiration? Check out our stunning hair color ideas.

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