How to Get Back to Your Natural Hair Color

Hair coloring
Let’s face it, for most women who start coloring their hair, it’s a long-term proposition. Once a woman gets a color she’s happy with, she usually wants to keep it. And many women have had the same haircolor for years, even decades.
In my line of work I meet lots of women who have been coloring their hair for a long time before they decide that they want to go back to their natural color. The trouble is, these women usually have no clue how to go about getting their natural color back.
And it’s not quite as simple a process as you might think. I can remember clearly back when I was a kid, my mom’s sister had been coloring her hair (lightening and coloring) to a light golden blonde for as long as I had memories of her. I would often see her retouching her new growth every couple of months to bring it to the pale yellow-blonde of the rest of the length. Yet, in my early teens, she decided that she wanted her hair to be healthier and she wanted to stop bleaching it and return to her natural color.
She knew that her hair “used to be” the same color as my mom’s, so she went to her hairdresser with a photo of my mom and set out to have her hair returned to the medium brown that it used to be. Well, the stylist got the brown color matched apparently, and my aunt sat in the salon chair looking into the mirror at the haircolor she had worn when she was in junior high school. It looked good – shiny, soft, smooth – and she was thrilled.
She was less thrilled when she got outside to her car in the bright afternoon sunlight and saw her hair in the car mirror as it was lit by the sun through the sunroof. As the sun shone on her medium brown hair, it glowed. Yes, it glowed a sickly shade of green. She burst into tears and ran back inside the salon and dragged her hairdresser out onto the street to see what had resulted.
Well, to make the long story short (which took two more visits to the salon over the next five days) her hair finally got a natural, non-green, coloration and she stopped bleaching her hair and only used a demi-permanent color from then on to cover the inevitable gray from having two teenaged daughters.
But the point of the story is that there’s a lot to consider when you plan to try and recapture your “natural color”. There’s not only the natural color to achieve, but the color you’ve been using all the time since you’ve been coloring the hair, the condition of the hair as a result of whatever color process you’ve been using, and whether or not the “natural color” will suit you now.
Beyond that, there’s the added consideration of exactly what procedure to follow: color-matching; mask and regrow, cut and start fresh, or some combination of these.
Factors to Consider
When you decide to try to reclaim your natural color the first thing to determine is what, precisely, is your natural color. Old photos will help, as long as they’ve been well-kept and still show true color representations. Other sources are siblings who have the same color you once had, and even your children can give examples of your original color.
And, finally, an excellent way to determine your natural color is to let the hair grow out a little longer than usual between retouches and see what color the new growth turns out to be. Whatever you have as the sample for the color, you then have to determine which of the colors of a particular maker most-closely match that color.
That leads us to the second important factor, which is the color you’ve been using since leaving behind your natural color. If you have been wearing your hair as a golden blonde all these years and want to go back to your medium brown, you have to make sure that the color you intend to use to achieve that medium brown is compatible with the base pigments of the color you’ve been using.
For instance if the color you’ve been wearing has a base gold or yellow pigment to get the blonde tones, then applying a medium brown that uses a blue, or drab base pigment is going to give you a lovely (NOT) shade of green. So, make sure you know where you’re starting, where you want to get to, and the RIGHT path to get you there.
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