What Can Go Wrong with Hair Color Services (2)

Girl with hair color that went wrong
Photo: Istockphoto
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“Oh my god! It’s GREEN!”
Problem: You have begun drying your hair after a color application and you notice that the color is not what you anticipated. In fact, there are tones of an entirely unpleasant color shining through as your hair becomes drier.
Possible Causes: Sometimes, even with the best of efforts, we choose a color that is not compatible with our current color. Either there is too much of the same contributing pigment, or the contributing pigments combine to create an unpleasant result (such as a naturally gold-based [yellow] color combined with a blue-based [ash tone] color resulting in a greenish hue).
Unfortunately, subtle changes in hair color often result in undesirable color results. If you don’t know the base color of a previous used color, you can often select a new color with an uncomplimentary color base.
Solutions: The good news is that all but the most drastic hair color mistakes can be resolved with a simple color correction. This is the point at which most people who are "do-it-yourself" types run to their hairdresser. The stylist will simply sit them down, look at the color results, and select a hair color that will neutralize the offending tones.
Generally, the corrective color mix will include a low-strength developer with a conditioner to prevent stressing the hair any more than is necessary. The actual color used will depend on the offending color tones present: for green tones, use a red-based color; for orange tones, use a blue-based color; for overly yellow/brassy tones, use a violet-based color; and vice versa.
Hair color correction
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“But it wasn’t this dark on the box!”
Problem: You start to notice something wrong about halfway through the processing of the color. It looks awfully dark. Sure enough, after processing, rinsing, and drying, the hair color is good, but it is a lot darker than you expected.
Possible Causes: This generally occurs with deposit-only hair color. A person uses hair color intending to deepen their natural color by a shade or two, unaware that adding hair color has a cumulative effect. The process is similar to mixing instant coffee; the more coffee you add, the darker it becomes.
Solution: You can either get a lifting-color formula to lighten the color, or the next time use a lighter shade of deposit-only color to avoid making the hair too dark. Most hair color kits have photos on the packaging showing the recommended starting colors for the various available shades. These show the starting color and the resulting color from using the product. Always remember that if your color is darker than that shown on the package, you will end up with a darker color result using deposit-only color.
So there you have the most common hair coloring problems, the probable causes for each, and solutions to correct and prevent them. Coloring your hair doesn’t have to be a daunting task, but you have to be aware of what can go wrong and how other products and styling habits can affect the results you get. Once you understand these simple basics, getting the hair color you want becomes much easier, or at least you will know why it is not possible.
See also:
Hair coloring problems Q&A
Potential hair coloring problems in a salon setting