Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Cover Up Blonde Highlights

Q: I have about a level 5 brown hair with blonde highlights and want to cover up the highlights and have a reddish brown overall color instead. What color do you think I should use to achieve this? Can I use a natural brown or auburn brown? The main thing is that I don't want the highlights to turn orange. Please get back to me ASAP. Thanks.
A: The color change you are suggesting sounds as though it should be pretty simple, although your concerns about your highlights are very valid. The key to the color you choose for the overall cover-up is the base color used for your highlights. If you used a color from the beauty supply store that you had to buy developer for, the base color should have been listed on the bottle. Also, if you just used a bleaching agent to lighten the highlights to blonde, you can go by the base color of the starting color before the hair was lightened.
However, if you used a “highlighting kit” or blonde haircolor kit for your highlights you may not have the base color readily available. Most prepackaged color “kits” don’t list the base colors on them. I suggest that for the “re-coloring” you use color from your local beauty supply store that you mix with a separate developer. This will allow you to choose a color that you know should work with your existing base color, as well as picking up a color that you can use to “adjust” the results if you end up with an unwanted color in the highlighted hair.
For the situation you describe, I suggest you use a haircolor that is a level 5 or 6 with a red or red-orange base color. If your highlights aren’t extremely pale, there shouldn’t be a problem with them. If they are very pale, and you think there’s a likelihood for a color problem in the highlighted hair, pick up a second bottle of haircolor that is around level 2 or 3 and has a blue (if you used red-orange base color) or green/drab (if you used the red base color) base color. I’ll explain how to do the color correction in just a moment. For the developer, select a 10-volume cream developer. This offers no “lift” of the existing color, and simply deposits color into the hair.
Use the main color you chose to re-color your hair. Once you’ve done this and you’ve dried your hair. Look to see if there’s the “off” color you were concerned about. If the highlights are looking too orange or too red, mix 1 ounce of the correcting color you chose with one ounce of the developer. Mix this with two ounces of your favorite conditioner. Apply this to the hair and let it sit for 10 minutes then rinse it away and dry the hair again. The color should be more natural-looking now. I hope this helps, and feel free to let me know if you have any more questions.
Related posts:
Hair coloring
Bleaching hair
Haircolor levels
How can I remove my highlights? Can I use a de-toner?