My daughter's dip-dye has gone wrong. How do we correct this?

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My daughter had her hair dip-dyed today at a hair salon; she had it dip-dyed about four months previously and had a little bit of the blonde bleach remaining in her hair. She asked for it to be a caramel colour but has ended up with really patchy hair, it seems she bleached over the original bleach and this has gone even lighter. They tried to correct it with a toner but it has made no difference, it also has been done too far up the head so it looks like one block of brown and the underneath all different shades of yellow.

Is there anything you can suggest, she now just wants her own brown colour back, would you suggest just putting a brown over on it? I would also mention the condition is now very porous!

Thank you,

Anon, UK


Thank you for your valued question.

It is very unfortunate that the service you wanted did not turn out as you had hoped. I understand if the option you wish to chose is to go back to brunette but there is also another way to resolve this problem.

You could opt for a full head of lowlights/highlights but they will have to be tailored to your specific needs. You will need lowlights the same colour as your roots and a shade lighter blending from the dark line through to the light, stopping where you would like to see the blonde. The highlights will need to be a couple of shades lighter than the brown, just to break up the block of colour at the roots and make it look more natural. With the lowlights you will have to use a warm colour to avoid a green/ash tinge. You will need a highlight trained technician to do this - with patience and love for the outcome and health of your hair.

Alternatively, to go back to the brunette colour at your roots you will need to first pre-pigment your hair using a gold tint. This will stop your hair from developing a green tinge or being too ash, and then you add your desired colour. You will need to have this done by a trained colourist to make sure you have the perfect outcome.

As the ends are porous, to prevent fading you should be using a brunette shampoo and conditioner. You can also buy serums and heat protectors that are specifically for brunette hair and help prevent colour fade. Also a good tip is to not wash your hair with hot water, keep it lukewarm.

Joseph Koniak, Artistic Director of Joseph Koniak and Eleven Hair, London   

Dear Anon,

Don't worry - help is here: you have two options.

Firstly, if you wanted to save the dip-dye (so to speak) we could work with blending the pre-lightened area into the natural colour by using a few tones so the difference becomes less noticeable. You'd get a more gradually blended, defused finish.

The second option is to take all the hair as close to the natural colour as possible; starting with pre-pigmenting the blonde to help with porosity and then putting a colour over the rest. Obviously speak to your stylist about aftercare to get the hair back to normal condition.

Max Backshell, Senior Stylist & Colourist, Simon Webster Hair, Brighton 

As more and more girls get fed-up with the dip-dye look this problem is going to become quite common throughout the land. Unfortunately her hair will be much more porous towards the ends and even after she dyes over it she will notice a slight difference in the colour.

Rather than attempt this seemingly simple task at home with a colour from the chemist, I would strongly recommend that you take her to have a consultation with a colourist. They would be able to suggest what the best plan of action is, with regard to whether the hair on the ends needs to filled with warm pigment or if the job is much simpler.

John Clark, Head of Colour at Brooks+Brooks, London 


Dip-dye or Ombre is the same thing. There is a fine line of applying the colour correctly so it does not look like slapped on paint. The colour choice and strength of peroxide, and especially the length the colour is left on, can make all the difference between a brilliant finish and a bad job. Yellow tones in hair happen because the colour applied has not been left on long enough, the peroxide has faded or the peroxide is not strong enough.

With a Dip-dye the lighter colour should fade gently towards the darker colour on the top, the lighter colour should not go further than a maximum of three inches below the crown. The application is very important so that the hair colour does not look like a colour accident.

Using semi-permanent colours to cover up, in your daughter’s case, is the worst thing possible. They are called semi-permanent because they wash out and fade - semi colours are used to help enhance a colour shade or refresh a colour, not to repair a bad job.

Obviously the hair has been damaged due to over bleaching into the previous bleached hair, this makes hair porous and prickle. I suggest your daughter visits a top salon that specialises in hair colouring. Her hair needs deep treatments to repair the hair before any colour will look good.

Without the hair being in good condition no colour will stay in her hair and look good for any length of time. The condition of the hair is essential for hair colours to stay and take evenly. Once your daughter’s hair is in better condition a colour can be applied; hair is like skin, misuse it and you suffer with all sorts of nightmare situations, it takes a long time to bring it back to a top condition. The only quick fix to get rid of bad conditioned hair is start all over again by cutting the hair shorter, which is dramatic and unnecessary if the hair is looked after well in the first place.

I suggest that your daughter gets her hair in better condition before adding more colours; any colour applied on porous hair will fade and wash out. By adding more colours your daughter is starting on a never ending cycle of bad hair days, she should stop colouring and sort her condition out first. Be patient and see an expert at a good salon, take their advice and soon she will be having beautiful shiny well conditioned hair.

I hope this helps,

Pierre Alexandre of Pierre Alexandre, Manchester

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