Surprise, surprise; you don't look like the girl on the box.
It was just you, plastic gloves, and a bottle of semipermanent pink dye.
What could possibly have gone wrong? Oh, right. A lot.
But we're going to take a wild guess and say your box dye job didn't work out as well as you hoped. Whether it's too-pale (or too-brassy) blonde, stripey highlights, or the colour took a little too well, an oops in the at-home-hair-colour department can feel very...permanent.
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Worry not. There is hope!
From a quick fix to disguise the mess until salons re-open to leave-in treatments to at least make your hair healthier, here's how to fix every possible at-home hair colour disaster...
the blonde is 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. Enter purple shampoo and conditioner. Purple sits opposite yellow on the colour wheel, so that’s the shade to opt for if you want to neutralise warm tones quickly.
Whatever you do, do not try to dye your hair at home again. Typically, hair can be processed again immediately, but hair health should always come first. Instead, wait it out. Next time you're in the salon chair, be honest with your stylist. Tell them what went wrong and ask for a cool-toned blonde to rectify the damage.
the roots don't match
This can happen when your roots simply don’t take to the colour formula as well as the rest of your strands—or perhaps just differently, which results in an overall mismatched look. For a quick fix, grab the L'Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up Spray that has earned the award of quarantine beauty hero amongst the Irish Tatler Whatsapp group. Or try using something like John Frieda's Root Blur Colour Blending Concealer to help disguise the shade difference. These handy root helpers aren’t just for grey hair coverage—they can work wonders on helping to blend your roots into the colour of your lengths and ends, at least until you can sort out a more permanent solution.
You Left the Color on Too Long
So you got sucked into Netflix and forgot to rinse the colour out after 30 minutes. Don't panic. If you were going lighter, chances are you'll have "hot roots" (orange with banding marks—hot). Wait a day or two for the colour to oxidize, then treat just the roots with a colour that's one shade darker. If you were going darker and now have deep-dark roots or ends, then either dye the rest of the hair to match or wait until the salons reopen.
Whatever you do, don't try to lighten your roots; this will be disastrous. And make sure to choose shades within the same hair-colour family. Mixing brands could mix chemicals and produce unpredictable results.
You Got Dye on the Sink or the bath
Box dyes are notoriously messy and spillage is inevitable. But you've already got worries about making rent payments so don't add further stress and panic about not getting your deposit back. Simply spray the sink or tiles with domestic bleach and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing.
Worse: You Got Dye on Your Neck, face and Ears
If you've yet to dye your hair at home and are simply reading this article as a precaution, we commend you. Before you colour your hair, apply a small amount of Vaseline around the hairline, on the forehead and the tips of your ears.
This will create a barrier so that colour doesn’t run and stain your skin. Just be sure to avoid getting it on the hair as it forms a shield to colour meaning the dye won’t take. However, if you're reading this with a stained face - don't fret, we have a solution for you too. If the colour does stain your skin gently massage the area with a facial toner to remove the colour.
YOUR HAIR HAS TURNED ORANGE
As alarming as it is to look into the mirror and see orange-looking locks staring back at you, there are a few ways to help backtrack this mistake. Brassiness can happen to anyone, after all. For cancelling out orange tones, you’ll want to use a purple, brass-busting shampoo on your strands right away.
Shampoos formulated with purple and violet undertones can help get rid of the look of brassiness, so it’s your best bet.
your colour is faded
After all of this work, nothing is more frustrating than coming to find out that your new hair colour looks anything but vibrant. Perhaps you didn’t leave it on long enough, or maybe your strands are just too dried out to absorb the dye sufficiently.
Whatever the cause, there’s one easy fix: a toning gloss or deep conditioner. Using a toning gloss or colour-reviving deep conditioner treatment can help add back some vibrancy to your colour.
Your ends are dried and fried
Typically the result of over-bleaching, dry, split-prone ends can be nourished back to health. Start by incorporating a hair masque into your weekly routine. Look for ingredients like silk proteins to strengthen; collagen, lilac extract and hyaluronic acid to repair; and argan and jojoba oils to deeply hydrate.
However, sometimes the damage can be irreversible meaning the most effective fix is a trim. Sure, you can attempt this at home but if you've learned anything from your at-home hair experience, leave it to the professionals.
the hair colour is patchy
You wanted one colour all over, but the dye has taken to some spots better than others, now it looks patchy and uneven. Stunning. The easiest way to hide patchy hair is with a little clever styling.
Wear your lengths in one or two French or Dutch braids and it’ll help to disguise the mess. For a long-term solution, you guessed it, wait it out. When it comes to patchy hair colour, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all fix. Whatever happens, do not, we repeat, do NOT, reach for that box dye. It’ll only make matters worse.
You wanted a few subtle babylights, instead, you got super-stripy, chunky highlights painted across your parting. Sadly, the only solution is here to wait it out and let a professional help. In the meantime, use a coloured dry shampoo.
Simply spray it over the stripes to help blend them into the rest of the hair. Or, we don't know, wear a bandana.
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READ MORE: The Hair Masque That's Been Keeping My Brassy Tones At Bay During Lockdown