How to Fix a Bad Dye Job at Home, According to the Pros

According to Nielsen, a marketing research firm, at-home hair color sales have spiked 23 percent in the first three months of 2020 over the same time last year. This is perhaps, unsurprising, as many of us have taken our usual upkeep (manicures, haircuts and hair color) into our own hands since stay at home orders were put in place.

So if you recently attempted a DIY dye job and were left with less than ideal results, assistance is here. We enlisted the help of top hair colorists and stylists to troubleshoot some of the most common hair dye mistakes that are made at home.

What To Do If Your Color Comes Out Darker Than You Wanted. 

“Clarifying shampoo will be your best friend. Use it on any areas that are darker, or you aren’t necessarily happy with by scrubbing it into your hair to reduce the pigment load and lessen the appearance of an uneven color application. Just know this can be a harsh process on the hair since you are roughing up the cuticle, so remember to do a deep conditioning treatment afterwards,” says hair colorist and #mydentity brand founder, Guy Tang.

Steven Picciano, Goldwell’s national artist, agrees, adding that you can also “Mix one tablespoon of baking soda into your clarifying shampoo for additional lifting. Combine the two together in a bowl and scrub it into darker areas of damp hair, leave for a few minutes, rise and follow with a moisturizing conditioner or mask.”

Your tool kit: TPH by Taraji Honey Fresh Clarifying Shampoo ($10); Ouai Detox Shampoo ($30); TGIN Honey Miracle Hair Mask ($18); Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask ($36)

What To Do If Your Color Comes Out Spotty Or Uneven.

Oiy, OK, so in this scenario all of the stylists we spoke to agree that you should hold off on any further at-home intervention until you can make it safely back to a salon.

In the meantime, they suggest using a tinted dry shampoo all over to help blend any uneven color or wearing your hair in clever styles (like a French braid or twist) to camouflage the patchy color.

And a note for the future: Always apply dye starting at the roots along any areas of new hair growth (i.e., down your part and on your temples) first. After you’ve applied the dye to your roots, take what’s left of it and dilute it with a few drops of shampoo before working it through the mid-lengths and ends to finish. The ends are more porous and tend to absorb more color quickly than the roots. Sully Ossa, a professional hairstylist for Schwarzkopf, also recommends using two boxes of dye to make sure the hair is fully saturated. 

What To Do If Your Roots Didn’t Cover. 

“There are a number of reasons why this happened, from what color dye you chose to the coarseness of your hair and how resistant it is to color,” explains Ivonne Del Valle, a professional hairstylist for Schwarzkopf.

As for the fix, Picciano recommends you check in with your stylist (many of them are offering virtual consultations for their clients) over attempting round two at home. “What I would do in the meantime is use a tinted powder on dry hair to temporarily conceal the most visible areas—like around the hairline and your part,” he says. 

Your tool kit: Everpro Gray Away Temporary Root Concealer ($10); dpHUE Color Touch-Up Spray ($28); Color Wow Root Cover Up ($35);

What To Do If Your Color Came Out Brassy.

“I would start by recommending a purple shampoo to help remove the warm tones from the hair,” says Del Valle. And if that still doesn’t do the trick, you can try an at-home gloss in a cool tone as well.

Your tool kit: SheaMoisture Purple Rice Water Shampoo ($12); Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss ($14); Joico Color Balance Purple Shampoo ($17)

How to Cover Up Grays At Home, According to a Hairstylist

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Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...