Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Haircolor Lightening

Q: I have read other coloring questions and answers on your website but have never tried correcting something myself.
My natural hair color is dark brown with 15% gray and I have olive skin and dark brown eyes. My skin responds well to red, fuchsia, dark orange/red and purple and silver jewelry. I just had my hair colored professionally yesterday to a dark, reddish-brown (like mahogany even) though that is not what I was aiming for. My colorist said after a few washings it would lighten up but I have already shampooed it twice with regular shampoo. I would like to go auburn to light auburn and do it myself but please tell me what to get and how to do it and if it is even possible.
Last time she colored my hair we did a brown all over color to cover my gray and caramel highlights but she had to do something to get out the brassiness and even after that my highlights still didn't stay caramel very long.

A: Well, depending on the porosity of the hair (and often the color used) the color you get in the salon may not last as long as you would like. This becomes especially true of high-lift colors or toned highlighting where the hair has a toning color added after being lightened. The main reason for this is that the hair that is lightened has its cuticle layer lifted (allowing for the deposit of the color) and often doesn't completely contract afterward, which means that moisture and color molecules pass back out of the hair more rapidly.
It is also common for very vibrant shades to fade more rapidly. Many brighter colors are formulated with smaller color molecules which can pass back out of the hair more quickly with shampooing. To combat both problems, a good conditioner is often used to help smooth the cuticle and seal the color into the hair.
To address your specific situation, if you want to speed up the lightening of the hair color> you have to see if you will be happy with it in a slightly lighter shade, try mixing equal parts of 20-volume peroxide with your favorite moisturizing shampoo. Use this when you shampoo and let the lather sit in the hair for 5 minutes before rinsing. YOU MUST condition thoroughly after this process though, since this mix will make the hair more porous and you need to use a good conditioner to help reseal the cuticle layer and restore moisture balance.
If you find you need to recolor to get the shade you desire, you will want to look for the shade you want specifically, and act accordingly. If the color is lighter than your current color, then you should use a lifting-formula peroxide to mix the color. Remember that the higher the volume of the peroxide the stronger it is and the more lift it will give. If the shade you want is only 2-3 levels lighter, I suggest mixing the color with a 30-volume peroxide in order to lighten the hair a little as you go. This will make things a little less harsh than trying to lighten the hair first and using a color after.
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