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Lowlights

Q: Four weeks ago I had my naturally light-brown long hair dyed a color that was maybe one or two shades lighter - like a dark blonde - and had about 6 inches cut off. It turned a light orange color. I went back the next day to have her correct it. I didn't really trust her to make it a blonde that I would like after that problem, so I asked if she could make it a dark red with brown in it. I had this color put on my hair before as a semi-permanent color (it washed out after about two weeks) just for something fun and it really looked nice with my skin coloring. So, she gave me this same color in permanent color. It looked really nice, so I was happy although it was darker than my natural color and friends thought it was too dark for me and I was disappointed with the whole thing because this was not my original intent.
 
      Anyway, after 2 weeks, this red color faded so much that it looked brown/dark orange depending on the light. Daylight was the worst. So, yesterday I went to a different hair salon to a recommended stylist to see if I could dye my hair back to something resembling my natural color. There was 1/2" of roots by now. The stylist told me that she could not dye my hair back, only go darker which I definitely did not want to do. She suggested highlights to lighten up the red (orange). She put in quite a bit of highlights and left the 1/2" of natural color because she said that would dye differently. Now I look like a blonde which is better than the dark orange (which is still in there) but I have blonde hair, orange streaks, and my natural light brown roots. I want to grow those 6 inches of hair back and look like a normal person while I'm doing it.
 
      Can I get lowlights next time to bring some of my natural color in now that I have this blonde? Can I get an all over color of my natural color to make all the blonde go back to my natural color now? The highlights kind of made my hair like straw too. What is my best bet to live with this problem so I don't look bad for the next 3 years growing this out? And how long should I wait to do what ever it is that you suggest (or should I leave it all alone and just live with the ugliness)? P.S. my advice to girls with long hair, don't color your hair with permanent color.

 
A: First let me say that I fully understand your frustration with the situation you are in. I am surprised that none of the stylists offered to do a corrective color service to simply remove the orange tone from your hair. This could be done without further darkening the hair, simply by using a hair color that is lighter in shade than you currently have containing a blue base color. The blue base color will neutralize the orange tones and leave a more natural-looking result.
 
      But to answer your questions: Yes, you can get lowlights added to try and bring back some of your natural hair color. This might give you a means to gradually reclaim your desired color.
 
      As for getting an all-over color to get back to your natural color now, it will depend largely on whether or not your natural color is darker than what you have now. You will also want to have a stylist who can – and will be prepared to – perform a color adjustment in case of color conflicts caused by the multi-tonal color you currently have.
 
      You do want to address the dryness of the highlighted hair before you have anything else done. Give your hair deep conditioning treatments using a moisture-rich conditioning cream at least twice a week, and always use conditioner every day whether or not you shampoo. You’ll soon find your hair’s condition being restored. As for waiting to do anything more to your hair color, I suggest you give yourself at least a week of the conditioning routine before having more color services.
 
      My best suggestion would be to speak to a color specialist about getting back to your natural color (or at least a close approximation). I think you will be much happier if you can normalize your color in one step. Just be sure to explain to the colorist exactly what you want, and what has already been done to your hair. Communication is the key to successful salon services.
 
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