What Can Go Wrong with Haircolor Services

Young lady coloring her hair
Anyone who’s worked with haircolor (or tried your own color services at home) knows that it can sometimes have “unexpected” results. Sometimes, that’s putting it mildly. There are a number of problems that can occur when coloring the hair, each of which leaves you with less than spectacular results.
Let’s take a look at some of the common “problematic results” in coloring the hair, and the most likely causes for the problems. The following situations assume that you have followed the instructions for mixing, applying and processing the haircolor formulas correctly, and that the problems are not caused by user mistake.
“The color doesn’t take.”
Problem: Okay, you’ve just finished shampooing out the haircolor and are blow-drying your hair to check the color results. You may notice something wrong as soon as you start rinsing the color. As your hair dries the problem is clear: the color didn’t take.
Possible Causes: The hair is obviously resistant to the chemical. If your hair is gray or naturally pigmented, your hair may have low-porosity making it less likely to absorb moisture and therefore making the haircolor less likely to penetrate into the hair shaft to deposit color.
If your hair has been color-treated (particularly with products like henna) or if you have been given any other shine-boosting treatments (such as clear-gloss enhancers), your hair may have a coating which seals it against penetration by other chemical products. Henna is a common culprit. It is an oil-based haircolor that coats the hair shaft and can create a lot of trouble for you or your stylist in the future when you want a haircolor or perm service.
Solutions: For low-porosity, resistant hair, the best solution is pre-softening. Look for ready-made presoftening agents at your beauty supply store, or use 10-volume developer applied to the hair for 10-20 minutes prior to re-trying your color service. Rinse the developer from the hair and dry it sufficiently to allow you to accurately reapply the color. This should allow the color to better penetrate the hair shaft and give you better results.
In the case of henna or other treatments sealing out the color, you need to take steps to remove the offending sealant. If it’s henna, you can use alcohol and mineral oil to lift and remove the henna enough to improve your results. If it is due to another sealant product, consult that product’s packaging or the manufacturer’s instructions about solutions to the problem.
Hair coloring tools
“My color is uneven – splotchy.”
Problem: You’ve completed your haircolor application and all through each step things are looking good. As you finish drying your hair, however, you notice that your hair’s new color is uneven and looks patchy in certain areas.
Possible Causes: The most likely candidate is product build-up in the hair. Too much styling product used daily and repeatedly can leave a build-up on the hair that won’t come away with a single shampooing, especially when you use a mild shampoo. This build-up causes the color mixture to be unable to penetrate the hair at certain points along the shaft and can lead to uneven color results.
Solutions: If you are the type of person who uses a lot of different styling products, or who uses styling products every day in combination with heat styling (and touches up the hair with additional product throughout the day) you should always use a clarifying shampoo to strip away all the product build-up and residue before you perform a color service on your hair. This will ensure that your hair will absorb the color evenly and that the color results you get are uniform and look the way you want them too.
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