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9 Ways To Fix A Bad Dye Job

Here's what to do if you hate your new hair color.
PHOTO: istockphoto

If you've made it this far in life without any major hair dye disasters, you're luckier than most of us mere mortals. Yup, the majority of us have struggled through many hair color fails, and when that shit strikes, the first thing we do is turn to the internet for help.

But fear not, I hit up Hershesons' hair color expert, Mitra Mir, to get some pro advice on how to deal with the most common hair color disasters. Here's everything you need to know:

  1. The blonde looks yellow

    A common concern for all the blondies out there, hair can quickly become yellow and barbie-like, especially if you're using the wrong products.

    Quick fix:
    Purple sits opposite yellow on the color wheel, so that's the shade to opt for if you want to neutralize warm tones ASAP.

    Long-term solution:
    Next time you visit the salon be sure to ask your stylist for a cool-toned blonde. "Be very specific about what you don't want (i.e. no yellow or warm tones). Ask for ashy, cool colors and avoid shades like caramel and honey, as they tend to run a little warmer," says Mitra. Once a week use a toning mask to keep any warmth from returning.

  2. Your hair has turned orange

    Brassiness can happen to the best of us. Orange tones can be particularly stubborn and difficult to deal with, but it's not an impossible task to do!

    Quick fix:
    There are a ton of purple toning treatments out there, but dark blue/indigo purples work best for canceling out orange undertones. 

    Long-term solution:
    "Let your colorist know that you've been struggling with the brassier or orange tones in your current hair color. Make it very clear what you wantif you prefer an ashier shade, they need to know this," says Mitra.

    "Sometimes your stylist will need to lighten your hair to a blonder color to lift out the orange tones, but then they'll drop it back down to the desired hue and tone it. For example, if your hair is naturally dark, but you want an ashy blonde you will need to lighten the hair more and then tone it darker, adding the ash into it."

  3. The blonde is too ashy

    You wanted an ashy blonde but it's gone waaaay too ashy, like gray-meets-green!

    Quick fix:
    "If it's a toner that's gone too ashy, use a clarifying shampoo to help strip out the color quicker. If that doesn't work, use a warm, at-home hair color. Mix it with a bit of conditioner, leave on for five to 10 minutes, then wash it out. You'll notice your hair is instantly warmer and those ashy undertones will be neutralized," says Mitra.

    Long-term solution:
    "Ask your stylist for golds, coppers, and peaches—these are all warmer tones. Take a picture of the shade you want. But if you're not sure, a good colorist should be able to advise you on which hair colors will suit you and which won't."

  4. The roots are a different color from the ends

    The hair dye hasn't taken as well to the roots and now they're a totally different shade to the rest of your hair.

    Quick fix:
    "As a short-term fix, try color blending at the roots. Use something like a root blur concealer to help disguise the shade difference. If that fails, sometimes the best option is the simplest: a tinted dry shampoo spritzed into the roots," explains Mitra.

    Long-term solution:
    "A good colorist should be able to match your roots to the rest of your hair. They should spend time sectioning your hair and applying dye to the roots first, then blending down the rest of the lengths, if needed," says Mitra.

  5. One-dimensional hair color

    It's the week before payday and your hair's looking a little tragic, so you grab a box dye from the drugstore and go to town with your tresses. The only problem? Now your color looks super flat and one-dimensional. Ugh.

    Quick fix: 
    Dig out your best curling iron and add a few waves to create the illusion of movement. "Style with a clear gloss to add shine and bounce through the hair. This will help reflect the light naturally, and offset the otherwise flat, one-dimensional color," says Mitra.

    Long-term solution: 
    Mitra recommends asking for a "subtle balayage or strobing." "This is where the stylist adds lighter tones through the mid-lengths and ends of the hair using a freehand technique. The flat color will act as your base shade, while the lighter balayage highlights will give hair that multi-tonal look."

  6. Super stripy highlights

    You wanted a few subtle babylights, instead, you got super stripy, chunky highlights painted across your parting.

    Quick fix:
    Mitra says "a super quick trick is to use a colored dry shampoo. Simply spray it over the stripes to help blend them." 

    Long-term solution:
    "If you hate the stripy look, why not try balayage instead of highlights? It looks more natural," explains Mitra. "Your colorist will first need to cover the stripy situation with the same hue as your base or roots, but then you can give balayage a go."

  7. Dip dye gone wrong

    You wanted a gradual ombre, but ended up with a telltale line of color running across your locks.

    Quick fix: 
    "Sometimes the only thing to do is simply tie your hair up until you can go to the salon and have the color corrected," says Mitra. Hope is not lost though, "sections of your hair will naturally grow at different speeds, so this should help to break up any harsh color lines."

    Long-term solution: 
    "It goes without saying, but explain that you want a more natural-looking ombre," says Mitra. "Your stylist will need to work with your hair to blend out and diffuse the line of color."

  8. The hair color is patchy

    You wanted one color all over, but the dye has taken to some spots better than others, now it looks patchy and uneven.

    Quick fix: 
    "The easiest way to hide patchy hair is a little clever styling. Wear your lengths in one or two French or Dutch braids and it'll help to disguise the mess."

    Long-term solution: 
    When it comes to a patchy hair color, there isn't a one-size-fits-all fix. According to Mitra, "giving your stylist pictures as a reference is so important. A good colorist will know what to do when they see your patchy hair, and the color you're actually trying to achieve." Whatever happens, do not reach for that box dye. It'll only make matters worse.

  9. The color is too dark

    We've all been there, right? You wanted rich, chocolatey-brown hair, but have ended up with jet black locks that'd make your inner 14-year-old goth-wannabe self very smug. The 27-year-old you that has a 9 a.m. meeting with her boss tomorrow morning, though, not so much.

    Quick fix: 
    First, try not to panic. Second, wash, wash, and then wash your hair again. Yes, your hair is going to feel hella dry, so after you've washed it grab a rich, nourishing hair mask and leave it on your locks overnight.

    Long-term solution: 
    "Let your stylist know that you want the color to fade ASAP and ask what they can do to help it on its way. Whether it's adding highlights, balayage, or just a gloss, they should be able to lighten up those strands" explains Mitra. 

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.