Remove Hair Colour and Dye + HighlightQ: I had highlights done on my hair exactly a year ago, after 7 months I put a dark red colour on. I now want to remove the colour and put a light ash brown base and highlight my hair to very light ash blonde. My hair is approximately 60% white. Is it safe to remove the colour and dye it ash brown and highlight it or try and put a colour on and then highlight?
A: The safety factor is going to depend largely on whether or not your hair is in good condition after the colour treatments you have had. If your hair shows signs of damage (dryness, frizz, breakage and split ends, etc) I do not recommend any further chemical processes without professional assistance.
Even if your hair is in good condition, you will want to make sure to perform a strand test to make sure the hair will respond well. Take a lock of hair from an inconspicuous location and process it with any chemical procedure you intend - decolourize it, recolour, and highlight it. If the hair in the test responds well, you should be safe to proceed.
Provided your hair is healthy and you perform the strand test before doing anything to the hair on your head, I would suggest using a permanent colour remover product to remove the old hair colour, then applying the ash brown colour and follow up with the highlighting. If at all possible, give your hair a break between the processes and use a deep conditioning treatment between them to keep the hair's moisture balance and condition.
You may need to perform the decoloring and the recolouring on the same day, particularly as the colour remover product often leaves the hair a flat beige color. If after decolouring your hair, you feel you need to apply a new colour immediately, do so (remembering that you should have done the strand test already). If you can live with the neutral colour results for a few days, let your hair rest and condition it well.
Also note the base colour of the hair after decoloring. If the hair looks yellowish, be cautious of possible greenish results in the new colour application results.
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