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Reddish-orange Hair Color

Q: I have brown hair, and yesterday I tried dying it blonde using Wella pure blonde lightener which is supposed to lighten your hair by 3-4 shades. It came out a reddish-orange color. What went wrong? Can I use the same dye and re-dye my hair to get the desired blonde color or will it just get worse?
 
A: OK. Nothing really went ‘wrong’. You simply had different expectations for the results and didn’t realize the specifics of your hair’s natural color. This is what we mean when we talk about the base pigment of a person’s hair color causing potential problems when attempting a hair color service. The product you used is literally just a bleaching agent meant to lighten the hair’s level. You could do another application and further lighten the hair to remove more of the red-orange pigment, but you may end up lightening the hair beyond the lightness level you intended.
 
      What generally has to happen in cases like yours is that you need to use a two process color service – step one is lightening, and step two is toning – or a high-lift color service using a complementary color base to get the results you desire. I presume you want a natural-looking blonde, without an excessive amount of red or orange tone to the color.
 
      What this means is that will want to use the lightener until the hair is a “light” as you want, then use a toning color (selecting a haircolor that is the shade you want) which uses a blue-green to green (drab) base color which will help neutralize the red-orange of your hair.
 
      Do be cautious of over-lightening your hair. With darker hair shades, there is a lot of pigment to disperse in order to lighten the hair, and the chemical process that dissipates the pigment molecules in the hair shaft, also take a toll on the structure of the hair. The hair becomes more porous, and less able to hold moisture. This causes the hair to be dry and brittle, and can – if you aren’t careful – damage the hair beyond any hope of coping with it.
 
      I would recommend that you consult a professional stylist to help you adjust the color results you’ve gotten, so that you can be assured of being as safe as possible regarding your hair. If that is not an option, be sure to use a color formula (of the appropriate shade and base pigment as specified above) and mix it with equal parts of 10-volume peroxide and one ounce of your favorite conditioner. This should tone down the red-orange color in your hair.
 
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Related posts:
 
Hair coloring
 
Hair bleaching
 
The hair lightness levels
 
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