Dye over Black Hair

Trendy haircut for black hair
Photo: Denys Kurbatov/Shutterstock
Q: I colored my hair black a couple of weeks ago and it makes me look much older. It used to be brown. I want to go back to my original hair color. Can you dye over jet black hair?
A: If you’re to color over the black now, you’ll only cement the dark pigments of the black color’s base even more permanently. You basically have three options in your current situation.
The first, and safest one would be to wait three or four months for the color to wash out as much as it can, and then see if it washed out light enough for you to apply a dark or medium brown over the previously done black. If you opt for this route; make sure to wash your hair every day to accelerate the lightening of the black color.
If your hair was a lighter color such as light brown or dark blonde previous to coloring it black, or if you had any peroxide-processed procedures done previously on your hair, such as highlights etc., you may find that the black will wash out quite easily and quickly. This is because the cuticles of lighter hair tend to be more open, meaning that the artificial color pigments of the black color have a greater opening to escape the hair structure while being washed.
If you’re still unsure after a few months whether the black washed out light enough for you to apply a brown color over it, go to a stylist for her professional opinion. Just walk into the salon and ask the receptionist for the opinion of a stylist. They obviously won’t charge you anything, and you’ll walk away with a professional opinion and some great advice.
Secondly, you can add some highlights to your hair to break the black and give it time to wash out further on its own. You can do the highlights at home or at a salon. If you opt for the do it yourself choice, buy a highlight-pack at any cosmetic store. Pull your hair through every second or third hole in the highlight-cap, and apply the peroxide. Cover the hair with a plastic cap to keep the peroxide from drying out, and sit in the sun for about 20-30 minutes to accelerate the process.
When your hair has reached a yellow stage, you can rinse off the peroxide and give it two washes with shampoo. Don’t use conditioner yet and don’t take off the cap. Apply some heat-protection treatment and gently b low-dry the lightened hair until it is 100% dry. The hair under the cap will still be wet, but that’s fine.
Pull the cap tight again so that the lightened hair is exposed all the way to the roots; and then apply a light brown color to the lightened hair strands. Keep the color on for 30-45 minutes, rinse, shampoo and condition the hair as usual. You’ll find that the hair is a much lighter brown color, and the black will wash out eventually on its own.
The third is the most risky option, and is best left to the professionals. It’s called a bleach bath and the hair is literally bathed in peroxide products until it is light enough to be colored with a medium or lighter brown color.
See also:
How To Color Hair
Hair Coloring Problems
What Can Go Wrong with Hair Color Services