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Darker Hair Ends

Q: I have unsuccessfully tried dying my hair all one color. No matter what technique I use, the ends are always so much darker than the rest of my hair. I have tried not putting any dye at all on the ends and they still end up to be a lot darker than the rest. My hair is very thick and very coarse, a little longer than my shoulders. This last time I thought I would go with a warmer, lighter color and it worked really well for the top part of my hair, I am very pleased. However, once I get to about four inches from the ends it is just about black. The only way I can get my hair to be one tone is to dye it a very dark brown. My natural hair color is medium brown and I'd love to get that back (I have just a little bit of gray to cover). Right now I have had no choice in the past five or so years but to wear my hair tied back in a braid to cover the color difference. I haven't been able to let it down in a long time. I even went to a stylist about two years ago to get them to "even out" the shades, but they couldn't do it either. I thought I would try something a little different this time and put the dye (since I was going a little lighter) on the ends first and give them a little longer time to change color - this did not work either. How can I get my hair to be one color again? This may work and be the style for the younger generation, but I am 43 years old and it doesn't look so good on me. It's actually embarrassing to let my hair down. Any advice would be appreciated.
 
A: My initial concern is that that repeated attempts to give you an even hair color result (aside from being unsuccessful) have caused damage to your hair which can make further attempts to resolve the issue problematic. If, however, you have managed to keep your hair in reasonably good condition, through these processes, here are a couple of options I can suggest:
 
      Use a bleaching formula to lighten the hair on the ends where the hair is darker first, bringing the hair up to the desired lightness (at least one or two shades above the lighter tones). You will need to carefully monitor the hair during this process as the hair at the ends may be faster to process than expected. Once the hair is as light as desired rinse the bleaching formula from the hair, with cool water, and shampoo then condition the hair thoroughly.
 
      Dry the hair carefully using the low heat/cool setting of your dryer. Once dried, use a haircolor that is one shade lighter than your hairís new darker color. And apply the color all over the head. You can not use haircolor kits for this purpose. You need to visit your beauty supply store and select haircolors with separate developers. Use a developer that is 10-volume peroxide for this purpose. This should give you a more even color result.
 
      If you donít feel this is the right option, you can consider using a haircolor removal product. But be aware that these products generally leave the hair a flat, beige color, and will require that you re-color the hair in order to have any normal looking results. Be sure to read the instructions on the packaging for the color remover and follow them carefully. The products of this kind are generally harsher to the hair than most color treatments, but in extreme cases it may be the only option that works.
 
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