Fading and Brassy Hair Color

Fading hair color
Q: My hair is naturally a dark, dark brown. I had it lightened to a medium brown with caramel highlights (in a salon). I decided to go back to my original color due to maintenance. It has only been two weeks since having this done in a salon.
The colorist used a stain. It was very dark and almost matched perfectly (I could only see difference when I got right up in the mirror) but now it has faded and is starting to turn red and orange. HELP. Do you have any suggestions? I have contacted the salon and talked with the colorist who wants to blame the fading on the fact that it is summer time and tanning beds.

A: What's more likely than "summertime and tanning beds" affecting your hair color results is that the process of lightening the hair from dark, dark brown to medium brown, then adding highlights has left your hair porous, which in turn, allowed the hair color to be leeched away with subsequent shampooing.
Spending large amounts of time in a tanning bed, in chlorinated swimming pool water, and in the sunshine will all add to the problem, but if the hair is already porous, the fading will be more pronounced.
This doesn't mean that the colorist did anything "wrong", but he/she should have explained the proper hair care and maintenance "dos and don'ts" for you. For example, when you lighten the hair in a color process, it is going to make the hair more porous. Period.
The hair is going to require more conditioning and protection during styling and exposure to the elements. There are specific conditioners and treatments designed for newly lightened and colored hair to prevent fading. Check with your local beauty supply store for them.
As for treating the fading and brassy color results you currently have, you have a few options. One is to get a blueing shampoo (designed for use with gray hair and blondes to remove yellowing and brassiness) and use it. It should tone down the brassiness and give you a more natural looking color in milder cases.
The other option is to see your salon about having a toner applied to counter the undesired color results of the fading. This can often be combined with a glaze that will help to seal the hair and prevent fading as it adjusts the red and orange color results. The glaze will also leave the hair looking very shiny.
If you go for the salon-applied toner, the stylist is going to need to select a suitably high-level (level 8 or higher) color to use so that you don't darken the hair too much, and the color will need a blue or green/drab base color to counter the orange/red color result. (If the result is more red use a drab/green based color and if it is more orange use a blue based color.)
Photo: Vladimir Gjorgiev/Shutterstock
See also:
Hair porosity
Hair and sun exposure
Does the tanning bed hurt your hair in any way?