Q: My hair is naturally a dirty/ash blonde. I usually just get partial highlights, but my hairdresser recommended doing the
underneath portion of my hair a little darker, it ended up a chestnut brown, which I do not like, she told me to try using Palmolive
dish soap to lighten it up, does this actually work, or do you have any advice. I would even be willing to use a box color to lighten it if it wouldn’t turn my hair orange.
A: The principle your hairdresser is using in advising this is sound, but with some hair color formulas may be less effective than with
others. Most dish soaps (and other cleaning soaps for that matter) are highly alkaline and can swell the cuticle of the hair when the
hair is exposed to them. Since hair colors typically deposit color into the hair by raising the cuticle layer, using cleanser to raise
the cuticle and allow some of the color to wash out is a reasonable theory.
It works along the same principle as the “color additive shampoos” designed to be used to keep your
hair color fresher longer after a color service. They deposit small amounts of color with each shampoo to help prevent your permanent
hair color from fading. In the case of using an alkaline cleanser on color-treated hair, you are trying to remove small amounts of the
color from the hair without having to resort to bleaching or another high-lift color process.
Be sure to use a good conditioner after shampooing with any dish soap. The alkalinity will cause
the soap to act as a hyper-clarifying shampoo and can easily strip the hair of all its protective oils, etc. It may also be a good idea
to follow up any rinse-through conditioner with a leave-in conditioner spray as well as a smoothing serum to help keep the cuticle layer flattened.