We’ve all been there: lusting for louder locks à la Nicki Minaj and jumping in on the dip-dye or ombré hair color trend trend. However, in just the blink of an eye and a swipe of a colorful cream, a fun hair dye experiment can go horribly wrong. Maybe that rainbow hair looked great in the pictures, but the results from a full palette of Punky Color made you feel less “downtown” and more circus clown.
“It may seem like candy-colored shades would fade out faster than semi-permanent browns or blondes, but it’s actually quite the opposite.” says Bumble and Bumble’s color expert Zoe Wiepert who took time between clients to give us the lowdown on how to lose high-voltage hues without damaging your ‘do. Before you resort to making a trip to the local wig shop, read on and your hair will be back in tip top shape before you have a chance to Manic Panic.
The first thing many people reach for after a dye disaster is a bottle of bleach, but Zoe warns that’s the last thing you should grab. “Bleach will eat away at the underlying pigments in your hair,” says Zoe. “It will only remove some of the tones in your strands, often leaving you with a different crazy color than what you already had.” Bleaching away unwanted shades will also increase the damage, and girls with naturally thick hair are extra-prone to harmful effects from over-bleaching. “Red or pink shades, as well as darker colors,” she explains, “are typically harder to remove because the dye molecule is thicker than it would be in a natural vibrant color.” It’s a great reminder to choose wisely before going rainbow on a whim!
Zoe suggests starting with a clarifying shampoo, which will dry out the hair and fade the color. If that doesn’t work, try color remover kits found at beauty supply shops like Sally’s or Ricky’s. They are milder than bleach and will not affect the base color in the hair when used properly. If you choose to visit a salon, the stylist will typically apply what’s called a soap cap or bleach bath. Those with experience can whip one up at home with clarifying shampoo, a scoop of prepared bleach, and a little conditioner, leaving it on under a shower cap for five to fifteen minutes. ”Typically it’s best to try the simplest and safest method first before going more extreme,” warns Zoe. “You don’t want to start with bleach, when a soap cap would have been just as effective.”
The same way you would apply a conditioning shampoo to extend the life of your dye job, mixing a handful of dishwashing detergent with a little baking soda can remove unwanted color fast. Zoe has even resorted to a Windex rinse, but she says it’s not the healthiest option. “It’s ‘old school,’” she laughs, “but dish soap is basically the same thing as Head & Shoulders or Suave. It doesn’t really have any conditioning values in it, so it really strips the hair of its oils.”
After lifting the color, Zoe recommends a hot oil treatment or a hair mask to replenish moisture lost in the process. “I love Bumble and bumble’s The Color Minded Conditioner,” says Zoe, “It has UV protectant in it so it blocks against UVA and UVB rays as well as heat styling tools, creating a web of conditioners to restore hair back to its former glory.”