Dying your hair at home seems to be the quickest, easiest, and cheapest option. There are so many at-home hair dye kits you can buy these days, whether you want an all-over tint, an ombre look or just to touch up your roots. But what happens when your home dye efforts go wrong?
If you’ve chosen to add color to your hair at home, it’s highly likely that you’re not a salon professional. That means it can be difficult to know what to do when things go wrong. One of the most common problems that people face is their roots not matching the rest of their hair color.
When your roots don’t match your hair, it can give you a look that you didn’t intend. You might feel embarrassed or self-conscious about your mistake – and you might be wary about applying more dye over the top to try and correct the problem. What can do you in this situation?
Well, we’re going to look at what you can do when your hair roots are a different color from the rest of your hair. We’ll also look at other common home dye problems, including blonde hair coming out orange, or the color looking patchy.
The answers to all your at-home dye kit issues can be found right here.
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Before we start to look at specific hair dyeing issues, let’s look at the science behind dying your hair. This should give us an idea of what goes wrong when we end up with orange hair or strange-colored roots.
Dying your hair involves a series of chemical reactions. These take place between the molecules in your hair, as well as chemicals like peroxide and ammonia which are usually found in the dye itself.
Most of the dyes you can buy from the store are temporary, or semi-permanent hair coloring kits. This means they deposit acidic dyes onto the outside of the hair shaft, or they use a small amount of peroxide to help the dye get inside the hair shaft.
It’s important to remember that the hair shaft isn’t ‘opened’ during this process – it’s more accurate to say that the color is layered over the top. That’s why the dye fades after multiple washes.
When you use a permanent hair color, the hair shaft must be opened with ammonia so that the dye can be deposited into the hair, rather than sitting on top. The permanent hair dye process involves stripping the hair of its existing color, then depositing a new one. Peroxide is used to break down the chemicals bonds in the hair, removing the pigment from the melanin and allowing the new color to be bonded to the hair.
‘Hot roots’ is the name given to roots that appear lighter and brighter than the rest of your hair after dye application. It’s most common in redheads, but it can happen to anyone, with any hair color. There are many reasons why it occurs, including:
It’s also important to understand how hair growth affects the results of your dye. Hair grows out of the follicles on your head, which means the newest hair is closest to the scalp. The older hair is down at the tips of your hair. This is hair that’s been exposed to damage over time – from UV rays, pollution, heat styling, combing, wind, and so on.
Ironically, damaged hair is easier to color than fresh, new hair. We know that permanent hair color involves opening the outer layer of the hair so the dye can penetrate. It’s easier to penetrate damaged hair than the new hair found at your roots. This can mean that your roots end up a slightly different color from the rest of your locks.
There are different ways you can prevent your roots from turning a different color. Here are just a few of them, recommended by salon stylists and industry experts alike.
If the damage is done and you need a quick fix, take a look at some hot root cover up products. They will cover roots instantly, and they don’t contain peroxide. Simply apply on your hair, and it will take care of the issue until your next hair wash.
Grey hair is hair which has lost its pigment entirely. This means it soaks up dye in a different way to hair which retains its regular color. For example, if you’re a redhead with gray roots and you use the same box of dye all over your head, you might end up with bright pink roots.
If you have gray streaks running through your hair, or if your roots are starting to grow through gray, you’ll need to take a different approach to dying your hair.
You can also use a deeper color on your gray roots, to better blend them in with your natural hair. This will prevent the roots from looking a lot lighter than the rest of your locks and will create a natural, subtle looking variation that covers the grays up.
Experimenting with semi-permanent dye is also a great way to cover up the grays. Or you could use a dye that has been specially formulated to cover them up, with a brush to help you apply the dye at the roots only.
If you’re trying to dye your hair blonde, or if you’re using bleach to lighten your hair, there’s a chance it can turn a vibrant shade of orange. Orange hair can look stylish – but if it’s not the look you intended, you probably want to know how to get rid of it without ruining your hair!
The main reason why your hair might turn orange during the dye process is that your hair wasn’t sufficiently lightened. When you’re dying your hair blonde, you need to strip out all the red pigment – otherwise, it mixes with the yellow in the dye and causes that unwanted orange tinge.
If you’re trying to go blonde from a much darker color, it’s recommended that you take it in steps over a number of weeks. Use bleach and other lightening treatments to reach lighter colors gradually. Eventually, you will be able to use a blonde dye and achieve the look you want.
What should you do when your hair goes orange after dying?
If you’ve fallen into the trap of trying to go blonde too quickly and ended up with orange locks, you have three options:
All of these three options should help you get rid of the orange hair and return to a more natural look. If you’re in any doubt about what to do, speak to a professional stylist for their verdict.
At-home hair dye kits are never up to the same standard as a professional salon color. They’re a quick solution and a great way for those who can’t afford regular salon treatments to achieve the look they want. But they don’t always produce authentic, natural-looking color. Often the result of home dyes can appear flat, one-dimensional, and almost like a wig.
Out-of-the-box dyes that you can use at home often contain just one color. When you go to a salon, the colorist will use a variety of very closely matched colors to create a look with more body and depth. If you think about it, no one has hair that’s just one color all over their head. It’s a complex blend of hundreds of different shades that combine to create a look that appears natural.
So what can you do if you’ve ended up with hair that looks one-dimensional?
In the short-term, the best way to cover up the fact that your hair color has no depth is to add depth in other places – like the texture. Rather than wearing your hair straight, grab the curling tongs and add some body and movement that way. Make sure you add a shine serum to reflect the light and draw attention away from the fact that your hair color is flat and unnatural.
If you’re just about to dye your hair and want to avoid a one-dimensional disaster, you should change the way you apply the dye. Most people start at the front of their head when they apply the dye. After all, it’s the easiest place to reach. But the darkest part of your hair is supposed to be at the back. The sun often lightens the hair around your face, which leaves the hair at the crown and underneath a little darker.
Instead of starting at the front and letting that hair get overexposed to the dye, start at the back. Do your hairline last – this will create a more natural look, and you will avoid the dreaded ‘shoe polish’ look where the hair framing your face is a little too dark.
You could also head to a colorist and ask them to add some subtle highlights over the top of your at-home dye. Ask for some subtle balayage (hand-painted highlights) or some more traditional highlights throughout your hair. This will give it a little more body and depth and will look more natural than your at-home attempt.
You’re always taking a slight risk when you dye your hair at home. You probably don’t have the expertise of a salon professional, and the dye itself is not as high quality. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect great results! If the instructions are followed properly, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t come out with the hair color you wanted.
In some cases, you might end up with roots that are a different color or the chemicals can make the scalp overly dry. This can happen for a multitude of reasons – it might be because your roots are gray, or the warmth of your scalp caused the dye to develop at a different rate. Whatever the reason, there are ways you can rectify the problem.
The same goes when you aim for blonde and end up with orange locks. It can feel disastrous at the time, but there are three options to restore your hair to a natural color and get rid of the vibrant orange look.
If you’re ever unsure about how to take care of your hair, or if you’re not sure about the dying process, it’s always worth going to a professional. It may cost a little more, but you can rest assured you won’t end up with hot roots, orange hair or one-dimensional color.
Last update on 2021-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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