One lovely writes:


My name is Laura, and I dyed my hair dark red but my natural color is a medium brunette. I have short hair and was wondering how I could go back to brunette with low maintenance as it is only red in parts.

Any help would be much appreciated.

As summertime approaches, many of us ladies are ready to get back to our roots, so to speak; back to a low-maintenance color so we can concentrate on the great weather and relaxation. The main issue here is that you have red only in some places, so I've laid out a couple of routes.

First things first: If you want to get your hair back to natural, you want to start by using a cleansing cream daily. That's a shampoo that's designed to pull the extra pigment out of your hair in preparation for color. It's used often for people wanting to go blonde from another color, and it's much gentler than just slapping bleach on it and waiting for it to power through the old color. The cleansing cream will help your hair shed the red — deep (bluish) red is usually pretty quick to wash out, while its orangey undertone will stick around for a long time — and likely put it back to your original level or even lighter than your natural color. You heard right: Even though the red was technically darker than your natural hair color, the chemicals used to get red to really stick in your hair are pretty strong and will often lift the base tone quite a bit before depositing the red pigment into it. Therefore, wash away the red, you're left with a light orange, perfectly receptive for dyeing brown. Make sure you follow up with a really good conditioner after the cleansing cream, and if you notice it's getting kind of dry, maybe skip a day.

The next step depends on how much red there really is and how it's distributed:

A) If the red is in big sections, sections big enough to isolate one at a time and color individually, then do that. Or better yet, have your hairdresser do that. Since the sections are all washed out and orangey, she'll just put a natural brown color onto them. They'll probably come very close to matching your natural color — nothing is perfect, but it should blend — and you'll be free to go.


B) If the red is kind of all over, like in tiny highlights diffused into all of your color, your best bet is a demipermanent no-lift color, all over. What that will do is to deposit color onto your whole head — it might darken your natural-colored hair, but only temporarily — and it'll stick to the old red pieces. It tends to grab the hair that's more porous because it's such a gentle type of color, and either not take at all on your natural hair or wash off back to normal, within a few weeks at worst. Just make sure your hairdresser isn't putting permanent color on your hair or you'll end up with roots worse than you had before. The demipermanent is also great because it'll preserve your natural dimension, and it'll make your hair really shiny.

To give you realistic expectations, those colored pieces are always going to be a tiny bit different from the rest of your hair. It's just the nature of hair color. Those pieces have seen more stress than the rest so they're going to react to whatever you do to your hair differently than the parts that weren't colored. But it sounds to me like you're not so much looking to undo what was done, but just to get it back to where you feel like you won't have to worry with it for a while.

The main thing is that cleansing cream. That'll pull the artificial pigments out without damaging your hair (like bleach would) and equalize your color levels so that the hair can receive that medium brown again.

I hope this helps! Lovelies, if you've got any hair quandaries you need some advice on, we're always happy to help. So don't hesitate to ask!

Have you ever dealt with a similar hair issue? What route did you end up taking to remedy it?