Salon Color over Boxed Color

Mixing hair color
Photo: Anna Berdnik/Shutterstock
Q: Hi, I'm looking to put salon color over boxed color. The box color on the hair is a level 8 over 100% gray and I'm looking to put level 9 with a 30 volume developer.
I tried it, but nothing happened even on the gray. Do you have any ideas on how to cover boxed hair color with salon color? Does it have to be bleached out white?

A: You can't lift permanent hair color with color. The only way to get the results you want is to use a bleaching agent and lift the color level to the one you want and add the appropriate color tint to get the finished results.
It's a common mistake that a lot of stylists make. Many have only had experience doing first time color processing or applying permanent color to demi- or semi-permanent color. In these cases, you can lift the color since their formulation allows for easier dispersal of the color molecules that have been deposited.
But the formulation of permanent color doesn't allow the color to be lifted by another color process. You can add to the color and darken it, but not lighten it.
As a special note, you CAN remove color stains on the skin by using a dab of the color formula you are applying to the hair. Just don't leave the extra formula on long enough to make new stains.
See also:
How to color hair
The different types of hair color
Dye over previous hair color with a supermarket box dye
What do the numbers on hair dye boxes mean?