After being left with some very dark lowlights, where do I go from here?

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Dear Hair Doctor,

I have naturally 'dishwater' blonde hair and I always have a half head of highlights in a nice light ash blonde. However, about a month ago, I went to have the same thing done but the top part came out with a yellowy orange tinge to it. I put up with it for a week or so and then went back to another salon to ask for help.

The hairdresser there said she would brighten up the yellow strands and also put some of my natural colour in between to break it up and make it look lighter. Two hours later, I left the salon with the darkest lowlights I have ever seen. They are nowhere near as light as my natural colour - they look very dark brown and my overall hair looks dull and muddy... not the light, bright blonde that I wanted.

Please can you advise me on what I can do? I assume that the lowlights are a permanent colour, which I have tried washing repeatedly with Head and Shoulders, and I have also tried Vitamin C and baking soda, but nothing is shifting it.

I am very worried about doing further damage to my hair, as it has been through a lot. Would a salon be able to help me, or should I just grit my teeth and wait for it grow/fade out? I even thought about one of the DIY colour strippers, but I don't want to be left with orange hair.

Thank you so much for your help.

Lesley, Scotland

Hi Lesley,

I never heard of ‘dishwater’ blonde? I have no idea what dishwater blonde looks like, but then dishwater could also be orange or other colours depending on what you wash up? It is a term I would not use, as it could mislead in its type of colour. Maybe it is a Scottish word used to describe a hair colour? Overall, I do think I kind of know what you’re trying to say.

The reason the highlights were still yellow is because the lightening colour used was not left on long enough, or the peroxide strength used was too low.

I think you should have gone back to the original salon, and not to another one. You build a relationship with a salon over several appointments, so they should have records of what they used on your hair before.

In what you write, your hair seems to have suffered from a variety of products used to strip/colour the hair. The first thing you need to consider is investing in some really good hair repair treatments, such as Philip Kingsley’s ‘Elastiziser’ - you can buy it online:

It is a professional product we use at our salon to help repair damaged hair, and will help restore the quality of your hair. Once your hair is in a better condition, you should see a top colourist at a top salon. If you can, consider visiting a top salon in Glasgow or Edinburgh. Scottish hairdressers are usually really good, and there are some top salons in the two main cities.  

Under no circumstances should you use home hair stripper, it could break your hair and damage it even more. It is well worth spending the money at a salon, as doing it at home may not cost you more money, but it will almost certainly cost you in tears and many bad hair days.

Be patient and wait for the hair to repair, ‘Elasticizer’ may even help to balance your present hair colour. You never know, what with Christmas coming up, someone who loves you may buy you some Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer.

Pierre Alexandre of Pierre Alexandre, Manchester

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