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Put a Stain on Hair

Q: I have been highlighting my light brown hair for years. My stylist has always used color on my hair as opposed to bleach because my hair lightens very easily and because I choose to have subtle highlights. For some reason known only to her, she used bleach on my hair this time. The shampooer put something my stylist called a “stain” on my hair immediately. Quite honestly, I never saw my hair before she added the “stain” and it looked great when I walked out of the salon. Within a week I was looking at highlights that are much too blonde. How often can you “stain” or tone your hair without creating a problem? My hair is already starting to feel dry. I would like to just control the color of these highlights until it grows out (my hair is a little longer than shoulder length).
 
A: Most likely, the “stain” the stylist and shampooer referred to is what most other stylists call a toner. These are basically a subtle tint used to adjust the color of the hair. These are generally deposit only colors, and are primarily used on hi-lift bleaching processes to create the various shades of pale blonde.
 
      It sounds as though the bleaching that was done to the hair has done some damage, given the dryness you are feeling in the hair. You should be sure to deep condition your hair weekly along with your normal hair care routine. This will help to keep from further damage to the hair.
 
      As to the frequency with which you can add a ‘stain’ to the hair, you have to consider the condition of your hair and the type of color being used. If the hair is in good condition and you use a semi or demi-permanent haircolor, you can add a stain as often as it is needed to maintain your desired color. If you use a permanent color that is deposit-only, you will likely need to apply the color much less frequently – unless there is rapid fading due to the hair’s being more porous after the bleaching.
 
      Personally, I suggest that you speak to your stylist about the fading of the ‘stain’ used on your hair. You should be able to expect to get the desired results in your hair and have them last more than a week. If the stylist acknowledged that she had erred in using the bleach on your hair, then she should be willing to arrange a deal with you to help you cope with your hair until the bleaching grows out. At the very least, she needs to make sure you get lasting results in your hair service – as much as you would from other chemical services, anyway.
 
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