At Plan B we get a lot of calls from frantic clients who have taken a chance with a box-dye colour job that didn’t quite turn out the way they had hoped. We know how traumatic it can be to have what you thought would be a honey blonde turn into some kind of muddy mess, or maybe you thought going a few shades darker would be nice, but after the fact realize that you look like the washed out walking dead. The truth is there is a whole lot of science behind hair colour and it’s not always fool proof, even a trained stylist can make mistakes if they lack experience.
Our Plan B stylists are experts in colour correction, as in we specialize in fixing f@&%-ups. The best place to start is with a consultation, we need to see what we’re working with and develop a plan to get you a result that you’ll be happy with. We can’t give you a quote on price without seeing you in person because we need to see what our starting point is, we will work within your budget as best we can and this could include breaking up the appointment or coming up with different options for what we can do. Trust us, we’d love to restore your platinum blonde from the boggy black mess you currently have, but we also have to be realistic about what’s possible considering all factors including budget and maintaining the integrity of your hair. Sometimes it’s not possible to achieve what you want in one appointment, but it can be done in stages. Your hair is going to be much drier than usual since it has just been chemically treated, so it’s our job to try and correct the colour but keep your hair on your head, which means minimizing damage and breakage.
Hair colour is a combination of chemistry and art, it can sometimes be difficult but we love a challenge. If you’re a real science nerd and you want the details about hair colour chemistry, you can read this article on How Hair Colouring works. We thought we’d cover some of the most common colour corrections we see coming through the salon to give you an overview of some of the processes.
From Dark to Light
This can be one of the trickiest colour corrections to do because we are dealing with removing and changing unnatural pigments. Removing a dark colour requires the application of a lightener (yes, bleach), which can really dry out your hair. You can only leave the lightener on for so long without causing major damage, so once the colour has been lightened as much as possible the lightener is removed revealing left over pigment in the hair which is usually quite reddish, or brassy. To correct this we apply a toner (which acts like a mild colour) to counter the unwanted pigments. There is no miracle cure, your stylist may recommend multiple appointments or different application techniques (e.g. foil highlights versus a full bleach & tone) to achieve the desired look.
Red is hot right now. The process for getting just the right shade you want really depends on your starting point. If you’re going from dark to red, how bright do you want the red to be? Are we talking auburn or fire engine? As mentioned, lightening tends to pull red tones out of the hair, so it can be fairly easy to get a nice red tone. The challenge is that hair rarely lifts evenly from root to tip. The hair at the scalp is often natural and untouched by previous colour applications, while the mid shaft (middle of the hair strand) often has several deposits of colour (especially if you colour your hair regularly). So, getting an overall even colour root to tip may take a combination of lightening and colour applications.
Light to Dark
This can almost be equally as tricky as lightening, depending on your starting point and how dark you want to go. If you have been lightening your hair for some time, that means the strands have been stripped of natural pigment which opens the cuticle and leaves the hair strand porous and dry. The strands may be more porous in some areas than in others causing the colour to deposit unevenly, leaving it “blotchy” looking. Another problem that happens when hair is too dry is that it doesn’t hold on to the colour very well, this can leave it flat and “dull” looking without much shine. Now you probably get why your beautiful blonde turned into the swamp thing after applying that box dye brunette shade.
Our final note about hair colour: obviously the ideal starting point is to work with virgin hair (hair that has never been touched by chemical processes) because it makes it much easier to predict what underlying tones there will be and what colour formulas will be the most effective in getting you the right shade. The reality is most of us lost our hair virginity long ago… That being said, even if you haven’t coloured your hair in a really long time chances are some of those colour deposits will still be present.
All the problems mentioned here are preventable and can be addressed by an experienced stylist using a quality colour line (we use Redken Professional colour), so what we’re saying is you should leave it to the professionals. But of course, we all know $h!# happens so if you’ve had a hair colour catastrophe give us a call, book a consultation and we’ll get it sorted out.