Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Hair Colorists (2)

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A: First let me say how very saddened I am to hear that you have undergone these experiences. It does sound as though you have had some very tragic results in some of your more recent hair coloring services. I know that from time to time every colorist – even the very best – will make a mistake, although usually it is the kind of mistake that can be corrected easily.
However, in your case, when dealing with hair that is being lightened significantly from its natural color, the relationship between stylist and client is extremely important. The stylist learns the client’s preferences certainly, but he/she also learns the particularities of the client’s hair. He will be fully aware of how long the hair needs to be processed, and how it will respond to the color toner.
What possibly happened is a miscommunication with your new stylist after you moved; or rather, a lack of sufficient communication. She may have presumed that she could use a process that she had used before with remarkable results, but which your hair responded more sensitively to. Was there intentional negligence? Not likely. Although, it does seem that the stylist may have failed to do safety tests on the hair before each service.
The subsequent stylists - it seems - were dealing with some basic faults in the hair caused by the damaged hair. When the hair is damaged, color can process more intensely resulting in wildly variant color results. Usually, dark colors can be darker than anticipated, and will fade more rapidly because the hair is too porous to hold the color in properly.
Given what you have explained here, I can say the following concerning your questions:
#1 – You probably could go back to “a blonde” color once you have had enough time to repair some of the damage to the hair. My preference would be to see you stay a darker shade until you are able to grow out a sufficient measure of new growth to be able to cut away all the damaged hair.
However, since I know you truly despise this color, you should talk to the colorist about using a gentle formulation of peroxide and conditioner to lighten the color of your hair slowly. Using this process will help to soften the color, hopefully without doing more damage to the hair. If the orange-base color begins to show, you can simply add a blue-based toner to equal parts of 10-volume peroxide and combine that with an equal measure of conditioner and use that as a treatment to neutralize the orange tones in the hair. Just be sure to use a light color for the toner – such as a level 7 or 8 blue based blonde color.
#2 – I think the stylist who darkened your hair so much was simply trying to restore some substance to the hair. We all know that when you bleach color from the hair, you are dispersing molecules from the hair shaft, sometimes this also disperses more than just the color, and can leave the hair fragile and brittle. Many women love using deposit-only haircolor because it adds weight and substance to the hair, leaving it feeling healthier. The stylist is probably right in that your hair’s current color will likely fade a lot more quickly than you imagine given the level of damage you describe.
There is also the fact that she may have needed to add enough “color” to counter the violet-red that was previously used. In doing this it is possible that she would have had to make the color darker than previously anticipated. One thing to remember is that in dealing with damaged hair, you cannot always count on the hair behaving in an expected manner. This is why for many stylists, color-correction is difficult – it is based on principles and color rules, but in practice it is more an art than a science.
#3 – The length of recovery time is going to depend on how fast your hair can grow new hair fiber, and how well it responds to the various treatments out there. The truth is, the only way to get truly “healthy” hair is to wait for the new hair fiber to grow and to slowly trim off the damaged ends. However, there are treatments out there – such as the Kerastase you are currently using – which can make the hair look and feel better. I would at least give your hair several weeks to gain some new ‘balance’, before subjecting it to further chemical processing.
For now, though, you will have to be gentle to your hair. If you can give yourself a few months, you might look into getting some hair extensions (once the new growth has emerged sufficiently that there is enough length to which to attach extensions safely). Or you could look into getting a hairpiece in order to give your natural hair a break while it grows. The options that are best for you are going to depend on what you are willing to do maintenance-wise and your budget.
I hope this information has been helpful, and that at least it has offered you some peace of mind.