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California Blonde

Q: Hello, My hair is naturally dark brown and I went to my local beauty school to get it colored blonde but it never gets to the blonde that I really want. I would like it to be - I guess you would say - a California blonde. Anyway, that was about a month and a half ago when I got it colored there and then about two days ago I colored it myself to make it more blonde and fix the touch up on my roots and it turned yellow and a little gray where I had to touch it up, so I went back to the store and got a darker color hair color because it was so embarrassing having yellow and a little gray hair and now it looks horrible dark with gray strips. Please HELP. What do I use to make it California blonde? Thank you so much for your time!
 
A: I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but it sounds as though you are in serious danger of completely destroying your hair. For starters, the kind of color lift you are talking about is very stressful on the hair. I generally tell my clients that they should never try to lift their hair color more than 3-4 levels without professional assistance, and frankly, that they should never consider lifting their natural color more than 5 levels, period. There are salons and stylists who will, but I have always felt that the damage it does to the hair outweighs the esthetic effect of being blonde.
 
      Lightening the hair is accomplished through chemical reactions inside the hair that disperse color molecules in the hair shaft. This process also destroys some of the structural integrity of the hair in the process. The more color you remove the more damage you do to the hair. Eventually, the hair can be sufficiently damaged that it will no longer take color properly. The “gray” color result you ended up with, is usually a sign that the hair is badly damaged, particularly in the fact that you ended up with the gray strips in your hair after attempting to use the darker color to hide your mistake.
 
      You really need to go and see a salon professional – or at the very least return to the beauty school - and get some conditioning and protein treatments as well as a professional evaluation of the condition of your hair at this point.
 
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