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Asian Hair and Brown Color

Q: I am desperate for some help with my hair and hoping you can help. I have naturally dark brown/black Asian hair and badly want a cool matte brown color without gingery/red tones. I have seen so many Asian girls with it and have no idea how they get it! I have dyed my hair in a light brown hair color which turned my hair reddish. As it was growing out, I added a medium ash brown color to try and get a non-red brown, but my hair just went very, very ginger red and incredibly light which did not look right with my skin tone!
 
      I was forced to add a medium brown to cover this but now the top part of my head is very red and light and the rest of my hair is blackish brown which is awfully dark. It just doesn't look right and I am really upset. Is there any way of me getting my natural color back soon, or a way in which I can get the nice natural looking brown without a ginger look? Please help. It would be much appreciated.

 
A: Well, when you intend to apply color to your own hair, the first thing you must do is learn a little about color theory as it applies to haircolor. There are also certain dramatic levels of haircolor change that you should never attempt on your own, both because they can be very harsh on the hair and because you need to be knowledgeable enough to be able to adjust your process as you go. For changes in haircolor of more than 4 color levels you should see a professional.
 
      In your case it sounds as though you have a reddish base color to your natural hair color. Add to this the likelihood that the light brown hair dye you used probably contained a red or red-orange base color and “poof” you get reddish hair. Trying to lighten naturally dark hair to a specific color is always harder using “boxed haircolor kits” specifically since these kits rarely list the base color of the pigments used. If you look closely, most boxed kits show the “natural color” upon which they are intended to be used if you want the desired results.
 
      I would like to see you go to a salon professional to allow them to assess any damage you may have done to your hair rather than my suggesting you perform any more “in-home” haircolor services. However, if you won’t see a professional for an assessment and color correction, here is what I can suggest:
 
      You need to get a 30-volume hydrogen peroxide developer from your local beauty supply store. You also need to get a10-volume peroxide developer and a level 8 or higher haircolor with a green or drab base color. Combine the 30-volume peroxide in equal parts with your favorite hair conditioner (usually one ounce of each is sufficient). Apply this mixture only to the overly dark portions of your hair. Cover the hair with a plastic cap, and warm the hair with a hair dryer (or clothes-dryer-warmed towels) for 20 minutes. When the time has elapsed, shampoo the hair carefully and rinse the hair with warm water then dry the hair.
 
      This should serve to lighten some of the overly dark sections. Now, to remove the reddish hair tones, you want to use the haircolor and 10-volume peroxide. Mix the haircolor and peroxide developer in equal parts (the color comes in a 2-ounce bottle and should be mixed with 2 ounces of developer). Apply the mix to your dry hair and cover it with a plastic cap. Allow the color to process on the hair, covered, for 20 minutes, then remove the cap and rinse the color mixture from the hair fully. Condition the hair carefully using your favorite rinse through conditioner, and use a detangler/leave-in conditioner as well on the hair before drying it.
 
      Once dry, you should find that the hair has had the reddish color neutralized to a more-natural looking brown, which, if not what you desired initially, will at least be something you can live with while your natural color grows back out.
 
      Before you attempt any more color services on yourself, please review our articles on hair color.
 
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Related post: Hair color and skin tone
 
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