So, You Hate Your Hair Color — Here’s What To Do

2FW_16_RebeccaMinkoff_SS13_090812_257_AmeliaAlpaughPhotographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Picture this: You're at the salon getting a new dye job, and you're in the final stretch. Your colorist starts blowing out your hair, preparing you to face the world, and you look in the mirror and realize that, schnikeys, your color is totally NOT what you had in mind. Whether it's too-pale (or too-brassy) blonde, stripe-y highlights, or too-intense single process, an oops in the permanent hair-color department can feel very...permanent. Even worse: The idea of talking to your colorist about it. Hashtag: terrifying.
But, worry not. There is a solution! We spoke to colorist Nikki Ferrara of Marie Robinson salon, who assured us that that almost every hair-color mishap under the sun has a (relatively simple) solution. First up: How to — nicely — tell your colorist that you're not digging the shade. Ferrara suggests speaking up as soon as possible. Instead of freaking out, "try to explain exactly what it is about the color that you don't like," says Ferrara. This is why it's so important to have a consultation before trying anything very new with your color — you can show your colorist pictures, explain what you definitely don't want, and your colorist can warn you about any risks or concerns.
Even if you and your colorist seem to be on the exact same page, hair color isn't an exact science. Sometimes, things can just go wonky, especially if, as Ferrara explains, you're applying bleach or hair color over already-colored strands, as the porosity of damaged hair means that it absorbs more color than healthy hair. The usual solution to any situation that involves too-dark or too-intense hair color, according to Ferrara, is usually patience. "I usually tell clients to go home and shampoo their hair a couple of times over the course of a few days," the colorist explains. "Most brunette or red shades will fade a bit immediately post-washing — and, if you still hate your color, your colorist can easily adjust it from there with a slightly lighter or ashier shade.
The same goes for shades of blonde, and highlights, explains Ferrara. "I always plan highlights according to where the client naturally parts her hair," she says. "If the hair is blown out by an assistant or simply falls differently after coloring, sometimes I'll notice that one section by the face is a bit too light or that there's some unevenness around the hairline. These are usually very quick fixes that can be adjusted with either a bit of darker dye, or more bleach to even it out." For more extreme cases of over-blonde-ing, says Ferrara, there is always the option of lowlights.
So, the question remains: Should you ever try to fix your hair color at home? Ferrara says that she wouldn't fault a client that attempted it — but, if your DIY attempt goes awry, you'll just end up back in that chair anyway. Maybe best to avoid the extra work (and damage), no?

Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page!

More from Hair

R29 Original Series