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How to Dye Blonde Hair Brown

Updated on March 1, 2016
Light brown hair
Light brown hair | Source

You might believe that to dye blonde hair brown, all you need to do is apply a brown hair dye and wait for it to develop. It's actually a little more complicated than this though.

Depending on how light your hair is, and what shade of blonde hair you have, you could end up with your blonde hair turning green or another unexpected color if you simply put a darker shade on top of it.

Dyeing your hair from blonde to brown

When you have dyed or natural blonde hair, there is a yellow base tone hiding underneath the color you actually see. It is the cool tones in your hair that neutralize some of this yellow and give you anything from a golden blonde to an ash blonde color. These cool tones are important even in a golden blonde shade, and without them your blonde hair would simply be a fluorescent yellow color from the underlying base pigment.

The problem with simply applying a shade of hair dye to blonde hair, is that a dark dye doesn't take into account that your hair has a yellow base when brown hair is meant to have an orange or red base. Ash brown hair dyes contain significant amounts of blue and green pigment to counteract red tones. This is why they can be used to tone your hair to a nice brown after you've bleached black hair dye out, or they can be used to tone out red brown hair colors like mahogany or bright red to a more natural shade.

When applied to hair that has no red or orange tones however, an ash brown hair dye is extremely overpowering and instead of turning resulting in an ash brown hair color, you'll end up with either dark gray or even a murky and horrifying shade of green. When you have blonde hair, you don't have any red tone present, and the use of this ash dye can be a significant mistake. This is an example of why you need to be careful and dye your hair properly if you want to go from blonde to brown hair, and it is not just ash brown dyes that will lead to an unexpected color if applied to your blonde hair.

Warm brown hair
Warm brown hair | Source

Avoiding hair color mistakes

If you want to dye your hair brown, you have to be very careful in regards to what dye you use or you will end up with a completely unintended color and a trip to the salon for an expensive color correction service. There are two easy ways to avoid this:

  • Filling your blonde hair
  • Using a warmer shade

When you fill your blonde hair, this means that you pre-pigment it and fill it with a tone like gold or red to prepare it before you apply the final color. This introduces the necessary tone to your hair that the brown hair dye is meant to be built upon.

You can also sometimes use a warmer brown hair dye instead. The only problem with this method is that for whatever shade of dye you use, the outcome will be cooler and contain less red and copper pigment than the actual shade of dye you use. This can make it a little complicated to get an exact shade and you can still end up with an unintended result.

Golden brown hair
Golden brown hair | Source

Filling blonde hair

If you have blonde hair, depending on what shade of blonde you have and how light your blonde hair is, you may need to fill it with gold or red tones for the best result before you dye it brown. This can easily be achieved by applying a warmer shade prior to using the desired brown shade.

You can fill your hair with a colored protein filler or a demi-permanent dye. Colored protein fillers are especially great for porous hair because the protein helps normalize the porosity of your hair and prevent hair dye from coloring unevenly. If you bleached your hair when you dyed it blonde, it is likely porous, and a protein filler is the preferable way to fill it. If your hair is naturally blonde, it doesn't matter too much which option you choose.

If you decide to use a demi-permanent dye to fill your hair, use a shade that's at least one level lighter than your desired brown hair. You can dye your hair a neutral or warm brown after filling it with a copper or red shade. If you want an ash brown hair color however, use a demi-permanent dye that is two levels lighter than your desired brown shade, and use either a copper or red shade.

The reason for this is that you need some red tone in your hair so that your ash dye doesn't turn out green, but you don't want so much red that it turns out too warm even after applying an ash brown dye.

If you're having trouble working out which color to use to fill your hair, you can use the table below to quickly identify the shade you need. The number that precedes the shade is the hair level, which tells you how dark the shade is. The name of the shade corresponds to this level and also tells you the primary tone. For example, if you wanted a dark neutral brown color, this is a level 3, and you need to apply a level 4 medium red brown to fill it first so that the color turns out exact.

Desired brown color
Demi to use
5 - Light ash brown
7 - Medium red blonde
4 - Medium ash brown
6 - Dark red blonde
5 - Light natural brown
6 - Dark red blonde
4 - Medium natural brown
5 - Light red brown
3 - Dark natural brown
4 - Medium red brown
5 - Light golden brown
6 - Dark red blonde
4 - Medium golden brown
5 - Light red brown
5 - Light auburn
6 - Dark red blonde
4 - Medium auburn
5 - Light red brown
5 - Light mahogany
6 - Dark red blonde
4 - Medium mahogany
5 - Light red brown
5 - Light burgundy
6 - Dark red blonde
4 - Medium burgundy
5 - Light red brown
 
 
Light brown hair
Light brown hair | Source

What are demi-permanent dyes?

Demi-permanent dyes differ from permanent hair dyes in that part of the color in the tube is oxidative like a permanent dye, but part of it is also direct. Oxidation is the reason why if you open a tube of permanent hair dye, the color of the hair dye product is usually white or a beige color before it is mixed; it needs to oxidize first. When exposed to air or developer, it begins to darken and take on the actual shade.

A demi-permanent dye will be colored right from the moment you squeeze it out of the tube, but will oxidize further when mixed with developer. In this way, it doesn't last as long before it fades. The low volume of developer used, which is usually between 5 - 7 vol, also contributes to this quicker fading and means it isn't very damaging and can be used to fill hair if necessary, or to tone hair that has already been dyed.

You won't likely find a demi-permanent hair dye in supermarkets or pharmacies, and will need to know exactly what you're looking for in order to buy them, because the fact that they are a demi-permanent dye isn't usually labelled on the tube. A few great demi-permanent dyes include Igora Viviance, I.Color I.luminate, and Matrix Color Sync.

Dyeing with a warmer shade

Instead of filling blonde hair with red prior to dyeing it brown, you are also able to dye it with a warmer brown shade than your desired color. In this case, a natural brown would turn out more like an ash brown, while a golden brown would turn out closer to a natural brown. The extra red tones in your warm dye compensate for the missing tone in your hair.

For cooler shades of brown, you'll notice that shades that are one tone warmer than your desired shade will give you the color you want. This rule slows down and stops working when you get to caramel brown, where you should use a caramel brown shade for an almost exact color. You can use the table below to decide what dye to use when dyeing your blonde hair brown.

The main exception to this rule is with mahogany and burgundy hair colors. These shades contain red and violet tones to give more of a purple color. In this case, the yellow tones present in your blonde hair can counteract the violet tones in these colors leading to shades that are redder than they should be. If this is a problem for you, add violet intensifier to your mahogany or burgundy shades to boost the purple color.

Desired brown shade
Dye to use
Ash brown
Natural brown
Natural brown
Golden brown
Golden brown
Caramel brown
Caramel brown
Caramel brown
Red brown
Red brown
Mahogany
Mahogany
Burgundy
Burgundy
Streaked brown hair
Streaked brown hair | Source

If you dye blonde hair brown and take these rules into account, you'll end up with the brown shade you actually want instead of making a mistake that would require a color correction. Hair color is all about the interaction of tones, and as you start to grasp how these different tones interact with each other, you'll be able to dye your hair any color without ending up with unexpected results.

Do you have a question about dyeing blonde hair brown, or want to know more about how the different tones in your hair contribute to its color? Leave a comment for tailored advice and share your insight with other readers.

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    • profile image

      Tracey Olivier 10 days ago

      My daughter has blonde hair but it is very yellow & very oily - how does she colour her hair to remove the yellow & help get rid of the oilyness?

    • profile image

      Sharon 2 weeks ago

      I have colored blonde hair that a bit porous. I want a warm caramel color. What do you suggest?

    • profile image

      Cindy kimball 3 weeks ago

      I have bleach blonde hair on top but want to go back to medium brown,what do I need to get,im scared to do it but cant affford salon prices

    • profile image

      Nikki 5 weeks ago

      I have bleached my hair and hate it! What can I do to go a reddish brown colour please? Can I just use a normal dye as it has red in it or is there more to it?

      Thanks in advance x

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      Carla 6 weeks ago

      I have partial highlights. The bottom part is like a warm medium brown. Im aiming for an ash brown color. Should I use a Natural brown all over my hair? Please help!

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      Amanda 2 months ago

      I used the frost and tip. I hadn't done my roots in a year. I had 6-12 inches of brown roots. I pulled every hole. (Too much). I used two boxes. The Sides and back didn't get enough die and stayed an orangush color. I've always had just highlights. Now Im an almost all over blondish- orange. With a few dark roots here and there. How do i get brown highlights back in

    • profile image

      Debbie 2 months ago

      I have the top part of my hair bleached blond and need to get it back to my natural color med. brown I have purchased ion hair color 4N-40 med. brown with a bottle of natural protein filler to use as well will this work ??

    • profile image

      jennifer cervantes 2 months ago

      My hair was bleached..but they didnt lift my roots...went back to have it corrected and they put a toner with brown low lights. Hated it. Dyed it with a 4n and ended up with ash hair and brown roots eith red undertones

      .how do I get my hair all one color?!?!

    • profile image

      lease 2 months ago

      Great article thanks!

    • profile image

      Amanda 3 months ago

      I have platinum blonde died hair. My natural color is medium brunette. What is my safest way to go back natural??

    • profile image

      pauline gibson 3 months ago

      still confused ! ive been dying my hair cool dark blonde for a while now , its far to light as I have a dark tanned looking skin , a nice medium brown would look better but darent dye it again .

    • profile image

      Dominika 3 months ago

      Heey! I ve had platinum blonde/grey hair and I wanted them to be brown again so my hairdresser told me to use mahagony brown. Now I cant get rid of mahagony and I look really bad with this hair colour. I would like to get rid of it,but I dont want to bleach them because they will be so damaged After that. Is there any possibility how to fix it ? Maybe using an ash hair colour with green or blue pigments? Thanks for reply

    • profile image

      Helenmcd2022 3 months ago

      Fab help here! Just bleached hair, now mainly yellow with some orange

      I'd like to be a natural darker blonde, how would I achieve this plllleeeaaassseeee xxxx

    • profile image

      Emily 3 months ago

      My hair is a ashy dark blonde almost brownish color. I am cool toned with pink undertones, but i am wanting a medium natural brown color. This chart says if i want natural to dye it with a golden, but i don't want it to actually turn out golden because it won't flatter my skin tone. What should i do? I feel i do the gold and it come out gold toned, can i dye a natural on top to make it more cool?

    • profile image

      Shannon 3 months ago

      My daughter just added ash blond colour to her resent dyed light yellow blond hair. The pharmacy girl told her it works like a toner? Now her hair is grey/ green everywhere! Help anyone! She needs to go back to light brown how? Her hair has been bleached and. coloured multiple times!

    • profile image

      Nitu 4 months ago

      Hello. Just wanted to say this is a great article. Now I need help ASAP. I going to a wedding in 2 days & coloured my hair with high Color & 40 developer blond. Some of the roots were light brown & gray to begin with rest was dark brown. Now my roots are really really light yelliw & dsomevdarl yellow about 3 inches the rest of the hair is golden light brown cooperish I am ok with the golden brown but the yellow roots make me look like a skunk. How do I get the top to match the bottom. Can this be achieved with semi permanent hair son or to dry it with permanent. I had to wear a hat today to hide my yellow hair on top. Can't Effie's to go to a salon for correction.

      Please Help.

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      Pui 4 months ago

      Hi Maffew,

      I bleached my hair to white and on the end its white and light yellow ( since i got hilighted it before).

      The salon put violet toner then add revlon nutri color creme 411 (brown) and 812 ( light pearly beige blonde ) on my hair. It turn out to be a grey color with violet tinted. After shampoo, the violet tinted vanished and my hair become light grey color.

      Its too bright for me so I mixed Revlon nutri color creme 411 (brown) 50 ml and 713 (havana) 25 ml and applied on my hair. It turn out to be very dark grey from root to middle of my hair and dark grey with dark brown hilight from middle to the end of my hair.

      ( revlon nutri color creme can be wash out around 8 shampoo)

      I would love to ask for some advice for coloring my hair into brown color. If I want my hair to be caramel brown or ash brown which color should I choose?

      Thank you so much !

    • profile image

      Plume 4 months ago

      Hi,

      I've bleached my black hair into a dark blonde and want to go for a chocolate brown after a month.

      Bought a red filler but I don't know the exact brown shade of dye I should buy to achieve the color I want,

      Need help!

    • profile image

      Tracey porter 4 months ago

      Help just had my hair stripped and a blonde colour put on its far too light like a strawberry blonde, my family hate it I just want a really light cool brown. Can I fix this at home I have spent a fortune so far getting it the wrong colour.

    • profile image

      Tina 4 months ago

      Hi there,i have heavy blonde highlights. And i bought loreal feroa light brown with shimmers. I understand the lights part will still be lighter after dying it,and im ok with that. But is it ok to use by itselfs? The dye? Ty

    • profile image

      helppls 4 months ago

      so I have done a lot to my hair, it was burgundy, then i got it professionally bleached, and then it was purple, then back to blonde/rose gold, after all this i was tired of paying, and dealing with the upkeep to go back to my natural brown, so i did about 2 stains which weren't permanent so when they washed out my hair was a pale greenish/gray, i figured getting a medium ash gray would take me back or at least close to my natural color, but the permanent dye didn't even do anything. is there a color that would be recommended so it turns brown, even dark brown would be better than this greenish.

    • profile image

      Angie 4 months ago

      I stripped my hair then tried to dye it light brown and it turned out like an ash blonde. What color can I use to achieve a light to medium golden brown. Help

    • profile image

      julie Stothars 4 months ago

      Hi, I've been having my brown/grey hair professionally coloured an ash type blonde to blend in my grey. I got bored and decided to dye it myself back to brown. I used the Vidal Sassoon medium intense red number 5/452 as a filler, then the dark neutral brown 4/0. Unfortunately its resulted in a colour that's too dark, warm and red

    • profile image

      Karen dogu 4 months ago

      my hair is currently highlighted, when I use the filler shade of semi-permanent hair coloring do I just apply that on the blonde parts of my hair or do I apply that to my roots too?

    • profile image

      Isabel 5 months ago

      I bleached my hair twice, toned and added ash blonde. The color is an ashy blonde that I'm trying to dye a light brown. I bought the john Frieda lightest cool almond brown 6.5 pbn. My question is which protein filler color should I use before dying it the above color?

    • profile image

      Stephanie 5 months ago

      I dyed my hair and it's a yellowish blonde, now I want to go back to a Carmel brown, would I need to use a filler to do that

    • profile image

      Reese 5 months ago

      Hi, i currently have dark blonde hair but really want to change it to light brown. Im just wondering, do i need to put conditioner in a bowl with the hair dye, or can i straight away put the hair dye in?

      Thanks :)

    • profile image

      Karla 5 months ago

      Hi. I have been putting ultra light blonde hair due on my hair for quite awhile. And it is pretty dried out.the last time I used a light blonde but I want to go to a medium reddish brown. However I have about 1/4" regrowth that is most brown with gray and the very ends of my hair are very ashy and in the middle I have a pretty blonde with some gold or red tint any help?

    • profile image

      Tamara 5 months ago

      When I used six in on my hair it turned a swampy green then I used level out twice the green came out and my hair is a blondish color I died it twice with mocha and the results were still a blondish color I just bought a medium chestnut brown will that turn My hair green again

    • profile image

      Sharon 5 months ago

      Hi, I have very light ash blonde bordering on grey in places I would like to go back to my natural colour which I think was light brown (it has been about 15 years since I had a natural head of hair) do I need a red filler or could you tell me which demi colour would work best

      Thanks

      Sharon

    • profile image

      Ashlyn 5 months ago

      I have light bleached blonde hair beginning around the middle of my hair and going down to the ends. I want to dye the blonde back to my original color like the rest of my hair, which is a dark blonde/light brown color. What should I do to get this done?

    • profile image

      Susan 5 months ago

      Hi, Ive just bleached my hair and my hair is breaking off! I want to dye it to a Chesnut colour but not sure which colour to buy? Please can you help?

    • profile image

      Heidi 6 months ago

      I got my hair professionally dyed mocha blonde and my roots are showing up and my hair is naturally dark brown how do I dye my hair back to my natural color at home?

    • profile image

      xdanielleanne 6 months ago

      Okay, so I have died my hair ombré around 4 times over the past 2 years. The first time I did it at home and It wasn't pigmented at all, however the other times were done at a salon.

      My hair is now half brown, and half golden blonde. I can't afford to pay to get it done in the salon again so I was hoping for a way to do it at home.

      What would be the safest method for getting all my hair to a dark brown colour. My natural colour is chocolate brown

    • profile image

      hib 6 months ago

      hi.i need some advice plz,actualy i want to add some light brown clr in my medium blond hair its too light for me and it doesnt suit me i think i looked tooo washed in this clr plz suggest me some good solutions for this prb,i want to add some bownish clr in this wht should i do to get the some mix and blended shade of meduim blond and brown plzzz help....

    • profile image

      Tasneem 6 months ago

      hello i had done golden blonde hair with bleach but i didint like it now i want to chamge CLr im brown shade hpw can i do it plz tell me

    • profile image

      Delilah 6 months ago

      Hi I just got my hair done with some blonde highlights and I don't like it at all. I want to dye over the blonde but I don't want it to come out to dark like a light or medium brown. I want something suttle more natural looking like caramel highlights or dark blonde highlights but I'm scared it will turn out to orangy or red. Can you give me some advice?

    • profile image

      DIane 6 months ago

      I have bleached blonde highlights and a dark blonde base color. I want to dye your hair a light brown back to my natural color. I need a filler but what kind and after I use a filler, should I use a light golden brown or neutral. Thank you for your help.

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      Angel 7 months ago

      So back in January, I went and had my hair taken from brown to a light golden blonde, but now I want to go back to my dark brown hair. So would what i have to do be dye it with demi-permanent hair dye in a shade "Medium Red Brown" and then dye it with the dark brown dye?

    • profile image

      NaNa 8 months ago

      Can I put a semi jet black permanent to my light blone natural hairt to get a darker brown shade

    • profile image

      steph 8 months ago

      Hi. I have been colouring my hair black for about a year now and wanted to go back to my natural brown colour. I have bleached my hair once, some of it has went into an orange, and some a red...should i bleach one more time to try and get all of my hair the same colour, before applying the brown hair dye ?

    • profile image

      Nicola 8 months ago

      Hi this is fantastic advice

      I've got someone's hair to do which has loads of highlights blonde she is very light like a 10 she wants to go dark so I'm thinking like a 5,3 colour do u think that would be ok

    • profile image

      BuBBles827 8 months ago

      Sadly it looks like this article has been abandoned. I asked for guidance a few days ago but I haven't received a response. Oh well bummmmer.

    • profile image

      Karla 8 months ago

      Damaged bleached blonde hair, won't hold color! How do I color it darker? Maybe a dark red blonde!

    • profile image

      Carla 8 months ago

      Bleached blonde hair, won't go brown again, what do I do? I tried Demi permanent, nothing changed....I'd like a light red brown or dark red blonde result

    • profile image

      BuBBles 8 months ago

      First I want to congratulate you on a very informative article. I gained a lot of understanding about hair and coloring from your great info. After reading your article I decided to go from very light blonde to a dark blonde & then adding some highlights. Can you please help?

      My natural color is medium brown with a slightly coarse texture. I have about 5 weeks medium brown root growth on approx a level 9-10 blonde. I was thinking of applying a dark golden blonde to the light blonde I have now. And using a natural dark blonde on the medium brown roots.

      Would this be the correct approach to achieving a uniform dark blonde? Also what strength developers should I use? How long would I leave the dye on?

      For the highlights- I like to use the cap system. Would I go 2 levels up from dark golden blonde and what strength developer would I need then?

      Thanks in advance I appreciate your help.

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      brandy 9 months ago

      hi i have blonde hair with a bright yellow tint i tried slowly dying it brown going two shades at a time starting with natural blonde ending so far with light brown it still has the yellow tint and looks horrid how do i get the yellow out and get it to a carmel or med brown thank you

    • profile image

      Sasha 9 months ago

      Hi , I have platinum blonde hair with a bit of a natural light ash brown root . I wanted to go ombré so I can start growing the blonde out . The hairdresser decided to put a natural 6 with a bit of warmth . However now my ombré is a golden brown which blends into my platinum blonde . The two colours don't go together at all and the golden brown doesn't suit my skin tone . Now not only platinum hair went golden but also my natural roots . I specifically said to the Haidresser that it's important for me to have cool grey brown . How is this possible ? Now I cannot get rid of the warmth and it's too dark to dye it over

    • profile image

      Nicholas 9 months ago

      Hi there, I had a natural brown hair and then I bleached it and dyed it 'cosmic blue' then I used a colour remover to get rid of the cosmic blue and I then bleached it about three times after that to finally go to a blonde colour, I finally added in a dye named "silver blonde." My current hair colour is closer to silver blonde but has a very subtle green tint in certain parts.

      I want to dye my hair black now but I don't know what colours should I dye it to fill it out. Is it ok to use permanent colours and what colours should I use? From reading the comments and article, I am taking that I could dye it a warmer brown and then black but I am unsure.

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      Sarah 9 months ago

      My current hair color is a nice platinum/gold mix. I am getting tired of paying the hefty touchup bill every 6 weeks though, and considering dyeing my hair dark brown. If I go dark, I want it super dark though because it brings out my green eyes. What do you recommend for fillers, etc for this process?

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      Rachel 10 months ago

      Hi I'm wanting to go to a chocolate brown hair that has some red to it. I'm looking to the ion color brilliance products. My hair is like a ombre, dark on top and light on bottom. I'm just confused to which color I should fill my hair first to get the chocolate brown color? Thank you!

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      Melanie Ackels 10 months ago

      I got an ombre today. The top is medium brown and the the bottom is suppose to be blonde. It's orange. It's awful. I just want to color it all over light brown. How do I do this without it turning more orange

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      Chrissy 10 months ago

      Hello, i recently had my hair bleached highlighted from dark brown and my roots dyed with a 7.1 using 10 vol however it has not come out how i wanted & now i have a mixture of dark brown hair with yellow & brassy highlights. Which does not suit me. All i wanted was to lift my hair from dark brown to a matt ash light brown as i do not like warmth. I prefer cool tones.

      i need to fix this asap and can not afford the hairdressers again. I was thinking i should do a colour remover then apply a colour all over to get the light ash matt brown.

      Could you please advise me on what to do and which number colour i should use with peroxide

    • profile image

      Meemee 10 months ago

      Naturally dark brown hair bleached a few days ago. It went patchy orange and bright yellow in places. All different colours Advised to put a toner on either ash blonde or medium ash blond. As couldn't put brown on. Since it was patchy used medium ashblond. Turned a light brown. Used a semi which lasts 24 washes. As this starts fading what are my options. As all the multicoloured brass will come back. Would like go back to chestnut brown golden brown. Can I use a different colour on toned hair on top of bleach.

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      ayjah 10 months ago

      Hi, I dyed my medium brown hair a light ash blonde about 4 months ago. I am interested in only using a semi permanent (as dark as I can go) brown to darken the blonde and cover my roots. I was looking at the brand Adore and they have so many brown choices i.e., medium, mocha, chocolate, dark brown, brown black etc. I'm not sure which brown to use. I'm not interested in any red or gold browns. I also want to cover the grey hairs and cover the ash blonde currently in my hair. Could you please advise which color brown I should go with? I don't want to end up with green hair. I also don't want to use a color remover or bleach or anything like that. I would like to give my hair a break which is why I'm interested in a semi permanent brown. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Tisha 10 months ago

      I'm dyeing my hair from Light Blonde to Medium Dark Brown for the winter and your information has been very helpful in helping me to decide what I need to do. Thanks for your help!

    • profile image

      Carley 10 months ago

      My daughter colored her blonde(bleached from light brown) hair with a light cool brown which turned it greenish mud color. Ew! I know from reading the article that she should have filled with a Demi permanent warm color first. She wants a more permanent color so can she repair with a warm permanent color rather than a demi permanent?

    • profile image

      Wadad 10 months ago

      i had the green hair colour when applied ashy blonde on bleached hair

      How can i fix it ?my roots level 7

      And my ends dark green

    • profile image

      mady 10 months ago

      hi i just dyed my hair "lightest ash blonde" and my roots have an orangy tone to it but the rest of my hair is okay im not sure what to do if i should dye it brown now but if i do im not sure what shade i should use i need to have it done by tomorrow afternoon i need all the help i could get i cant get ahold of any toner either ive also tried purple shampoo

    • profile image

      Tessa 11 months ago

      I don't understand why you would dye hair light brown when dirty blonde is not just brown, its between brown and blonde and dyeing it brown won't go dirty blonde it will go much darker then a dirty blonde

    • profile image

      Melissa 11 months ago

      I. Want to color my hair brown it blond but my roots are brown

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      Christine 11 months ago

      I am natural dirty blonde, I died my hair to a light ash blonde. It has since grown out and I made the mistake of using a sun kissed light blonde to color my hair. It turned my roots orange. So, to correct it I used a ash blonde which in turn turned my hair a strawberry blonde with blue green highlights. Can I still color my hair with a natural dark golden blonde, and how will it affect the blue green highlights and orange roots.

    • profile image

      Carmen 11 months ago

      Hi Maffew, I wanted to match my platinum hair extensions to my new hair color that is like a 9 something like a light golden blonde but they turned out grey/green. What would I need to do to achive that color? Thank you in advance.

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      Tracy 11 months ago

      Maffew, you are an absolute gent, thank-you so much for taking time to read all that and reply! :) So yes - I agree that I'd be within my rights to get a fix, but am not sure if it'd just be simpler to try it myself - I think I'll email outlining what my understanding of a fix would be (based on your helpful info) and ask if they're prepared to do that to repair the first attempt. If they say no, I'll go ahead myself.

      As to end result - at this stage, I'd settle for all over colour - I did want some highlights to make the brown more interesting (particularly a few blonde strands near my face), but hair health is the most important thing really, after all this processing. I'd shown the hairdresser the picture that's third from the left on this Pinterest board: https://es.pinterest.com/tracy_dempsey/cuando-en-e... You can see the bleached hair in my profile pic there, and how pale I am - which leads me to one additional question; after I posted originally I read in your other comments that you like the Wella Koleston brand, and I believe the hairdresser used Wella. I also read that you recommend going a shade lighter than desired for at-home dye, so I also bought the Koleston 7.0 (called "medium blonde" in the Spanish version), so have a choice between it and the Garnier 6.0. My natural roots can be seen in this pic, just before I went to the salon - I'm on the right: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1015476879... - which do you think would be better? I'm going back to the UK late December so can maybe find a demi-permanent filler more easily there - I was hoping that the all-over red brown he put on my hair would also mean the ends wouldn't need a red filler, but maybe not!

      Do you have any kind of 'donate' page for this advice, by the way? One of those 'buy me a cup of coffee buttons' somewhere? Or would an Amazon voucher be any use? I really, really appreciate your help on this!

      Tracy

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      Maffew James 11 months ago

      Hi Tracy,

      Glad to know you've found my articles helpful!

      Ideally, given that the result you receive is so far from what you actually asked for and the hairdresser ignored your feedback during the process, as well as afterwards, I believe you're entitled to have it fixed and leave the salon satisfied. Whether they would be willing to do this, or even whether they would be capable of it, given the apparent quality of service, is another thing entirely. Whilst your hairdresser should always offer recommendations to help guide you, this should be in regards to your individual features, and never pushed at the expense of what you actually want.

      If correcting it yourself, the 6.0 will be best in terms of getting it to be all the one shade and avoiding intensifying the ash too much. However, it is a colour correction process you're now dealing with, and having two different tones present, as well as varying highlights does mean that this alone won't get it even. There would still be areas of dissimilar tone and slightly different level. On the warmer roots, the 6.0 may darken very slightly depending on porosity but will likely leave most of the red that is present. On the lighter ends that are currently greenish-grey, the result will probably still be a fairly intense ash because the warm base tone that would be present in natural brown hair was never reintegrated into your bleached sections as it should have been. Without that underlying pigment, it's difficult to form a natural looking shade of brown without it looking very greyish and 'flat' as it darkens.

      I'm thinking, with the highlights present and the varying tones, the best way to get it even and all the one colour quickly would be to fill all the highlights to the same red tone as the roots and then dye over that with a mix of natural brown and ash brown to even it all out and neutralise the red as it darkens. Of course, this is dependent on whether you want to get it to one colour, or would rather try to keep the highlights and just deal with the different unwanted tones. You could always go ahead and do the former and then add new highlights later from a fresh start if this is easier for you and you want it to look presentable as soon as possible for your projects.

      Alternatively, to correct it without removing the highlights, a way to do this would be to foil over sections you wish to remain highlighted and fill the rest of the ends to red, then do as above with the natural and ash brown mix to correct all this to one colour. The foiled areas you isolate will remain light and the heavy ash may not look so bad without the warmth and patchiness in the base. This ash will fade after a few washes, or you may choose to either tone them to warm them up, or give them a weak bleach wash for a few minutes to take out the excess ash, provided the hair is not in bad condition and weakened.

      Let me know if you'd prefer to get it all to one brown colour and how dark you consider acceptable if so, or whether you want to keep some of the highlights and I'd be happy to give a more precise method to do this, or also if you simply have any other questions about it.

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      Tracy 12 months ago

      Hi Maffew,

      I bleached my hair with Bleach London platinum last year after a bad salon dye job, and found your pages incredibly helpful, so firstly, thank-you! Now another bad salon dye job has me back to square one and I'm hoping you can help advise me. Sorry in advance for the long post!

      I'd been growing out the bleach for 7 months - moved from Finland to the south of Spain and it was really dried out. I went to the hairdresser's last week with a picture of a girl with brown hair and some bleachy blonde highlights, and asked if it was possible to go from the virgin roots (ash brown/dark ash blonde, maybe 6.1/2 or 7.1/2?) and the bleached mid-lengths to a brown very close to my natural colour + some highlights. I explained I wanted to go close to my natural colour so I didn't have to dye the roots so often, and showed him the picture; he said yes he could do it.

      I knew from your post above that the bleached sections would need red tones deposited before brown could be added (I'd forgotten about blonde tones too, since it was platinum) - I expected that it would be one treatment for the roots and one for the bleached ends. I said it was very important to put a cool colour and not a warm colour on my natural hair as it grabs red very strongly and gets warmer in the weeks after a colour treatment. (I'm Irish, and was told by my previous hairdresser that I've got diffused pigmentation.) When I saw what he was putting on I asked 'is this not too red?' but he insisted no; he then put a load of highlights through as opposed to the few 'beachy' highlights in the picture. So the roots came out copper and the bleached lengths are an all-over muddy dark blonde (maybe slightly greenish)! I nearly cried in the place, I was so disappointed after the long growing-out!

      I told him I wasn't happy with the reddish brown roots and asked for a toner, and he said he couldn't put that on as it would make the bleached bits green and might break the hair off. He also said he preferred warmer colours as they were more vibrant - but I'm 39 and know warm colours clash with my pink skin tone! (Most locals here in Andalucía have warm skin and hair tones and wear warm colours, but they just do not suit me.)

      So I don't know whether to go back and see if they can fix it, or to go with a box dye job? I picked up a 'natural brown' dye today - a 6.0 Garnier Color Sensation permanent colour (brush application). I'm thinking that with the reddish brown he put on, that might prevent it going too ash on the lengths, but I'm more concerned about the roots anyway 'cos in a ponytail, that's what you see more than the lengths. I've to film a load of videos for my website and for a music project and I just hate the colour now. Is it a bad idea to try a box dye as a fix/should I wait for a few more weeks and let him try again? I'm in a really rural place with very different hair from the locals and don't know how to get any other recommendations. Thanks for any advice!

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      Maffew James 12 months ago

      Hi Anjsstuff,

      You won't be able to lighten it with the demi-permanent as this type of dye uses very little peroxide and ammonia, which is also incidentally why it's less permanent and good for toning or going darker with minimal damage. It'd be best to bleach or bleach wash your hair down to just slightly lighter than a 5, then tone that with 6A (dark ash blonde) in demi-permanent, to neutralise all the warmth that appears. The toning will add pigment and darken the hair slightly, hence why you want to use the 6 instead of a 5. However, the level can be highly dependent on your hair's porosity, so just keep an eye on it and rinse as soon as you're happy with the shade if it starts to grab too quickly.

      As for the brand of dye you use, it's best to just use whatever you're most comfortable using. If you're more familiar with a particular brand, you will have more of an idea of how dark their levels tend to show up. Feel free to go as light as 7A for the toner if your hair is very porous or the brand you're using seems to have darker shades. Anything lighter won't be as effective though because the primary tone in an ash dye becomes more blue and then violet as the levels get lighter.

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      Anjsstuff 12 months ago

      Hi, so I have been dying my hair 3nn by zotos ageless permanent color for years..I believe my natural color is a 5nish.. I feel the darker color ages me.. I am trying to go back down to lightest brown at this time in a demi permanent color. Can you walk me through steps? I heard 5a deposits to dark, would I do a dark blonde ash? AND do u Like COMPLEMENTS GEL #6A DK ASH BLONDE? Zotos? Ion? ANOTHER brand?? Thank u!!!

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      Amanda 12 months ago

      I got tired of the cost and damage that was coming from the upkeep of my blonde hair. I did a reverse balayage technique and it came out great at first. I was just going to let my natural darker color grow in and do some periodic highlights. Unfortuantly when I toned my blonde weeks later the toner was too strong and also lightened and toned my darker roots. My hair ended up varying shades of greenish gray. I did a light bleach wash and my ends came out fine. However, my roots turned a brassy medium blonde. I then recolored my roots with the new wella color charm brass free brown in level 7(same thing I had used the first time). My roots are a very golden (slight, slight green tinge) level 7 now. My hair does pull massive amounts of brass when coloring. How do I get to a light brown? Actually I would be happy with any of the following shades:light brown or med brown, ashy or natural. I'm thinking of trying a level 7 medium blonde mixed with a level 8 ash blonde using a demi, would that work?

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      carter 12 months ago

      over the holidays, i decided that i wanted to dye my hair blonde, so i bought a box dye from superdrug and dyed it. It turned out as a brassy yellow colour and i didn't like it so i thought the solution would be to get highlights. Soon i got highlights and i liked it for a while but all i wanted was to go back to my natural hair colour which was a dark blonde/ light brown. I went to a salon to get it dyed because i didn't want to risk messing it up myself and i thought they'd done a good job because i liked it for that day. Ever since i got it dyed brown i have hated it because when it hits the light it looks ginger all over and i don't know how to get rid of that orange tinge that it has. What should I do?

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      Nicola 12 months ago

      Hey!!

      I haven't dyed my hair in over a year, I have my natural brown on top and a bit of blonde on the bottom (basically its an out grown ombre' ) just want it all one colour, chocolate brown or red ish brown, are these colours safe to put straight on my hair without it being a disaster

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      just972miles 13 months ago

      Thank you so much. I truly appreciate this. It was the best advice after countless and frustrating hours of trying to figure out what to do with the mess I created on my hair .

      I tried to dye my hair platinum. It was platinum on the tips and yellow at the roots and the color did not look good on me. So I decided I wanted it brown again. Instead of using a red filler. I used a demi color in medium golden brown with a 10 developer and it turned out dark brown with hints of gold.

      If you've ruined your hair like I did go to the "Dyeing with a warmer shade" section in this article and do exactly what it says. It saved me from this horrible mess and turned it into a color I can live with. I actually like it.

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      Sarah 13 months ago

      So I was wondering if my hair would turn green or have greenish tents to it if I go to a golden chestnut brown , I recently went the salon maybe almost two weeks ago and she put a pretty dark brown and blonde but I wanted the blonde pieces and also the brown to have more ashy tones in my hair cause the blonde was looking brassy so she toned it with a ash toner , but ive washed my hair and the brown has lightened and there is slightly a bit if warmth but not much , so would it be okay to go golden chestnut brown considering I had a ash toner put on my hair like say a week or 2 ago and I won't have any green tents to my hair afyerwsrds ? :,) help please

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      Fiona 13 months ago

      Hi Mr. James!

      I just stumbled across this thread and it's VERY thorough, so thank you. I was hoping you could recommend a professional brand of hair dye in which the color runs true to the description?

      A couple I've tried, Wella Color Touch, Schwarzkopf Essensity, run a bit darker than the swatches (on me). The porosity of my hair is good so I'm not sure what else could be the culprit. My goal is either a light or medium brown and I know what fillers are needed, now the only hurdle left is buying the colors. If you could recommend one or two that would be great and appreciated. Thanks!

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      Nathaly 13 months ago

      Hi,

      I have naturally dark brown hair but i bleached my hair once and apply an ash blond toner twice at the salon. is it ok if i apply caramel brown on top?

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      Tessa 14 months ago

      If the starting blonde is already more orange or dark yellow do I still need to fill to achive a medium or dark brown?

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      Tanya 14 months ago

      I'm in desire need, my daughter has a big dance coming up this weekend. Her hair is natural medium brown, she had purple added to some of the lower part of the hair. I used color fix remover on it but turned it a little gray and lighter purple. I need to get rid of the purple and have a golden brown all over. What should I do. Thanks!

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      Jessica 14 months ago

      Hi! I'm hoping you can help me lol. I currently have very light ashy blonde hair. I want to go a medium/dark ashy brown. I do not like any sort of warmth in my hair at all and am very picky about that lol I know I need to use a filler but what shade of dye or what color protein filler would you recommend? Also, I have about an inch of regrowth and my natural color is also ashy and a light to medium brown. I want to avoid "hot roots" or red showing on my roots so should I avoid putting the filler and or dye directly in my natural hair color or should that not matter? Thank you!! For reference the top link is close to my current hair color and the bottom is what I'm striving for!!

      1) http://pin.it/piAswCJ

      2) http://pin.it/Ty791k8

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      LORI 14 months ago

      I AM A BOX LIGHT BLONDE....MY HAIR IS A NATURAL MEDIUM BROWN AND I WANT TO GO A LITTLE DARKER BLONDE LIGHT BROWN FOR FALL. WILL IT WORK USING A BOX LIGHT BROWN?

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      Lorigirl 14 months ago

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      Lorigirl 14 months ago

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      Lorigirl 14 months ago

      https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B0VJtdOXm0eUFX...

      This is the ugly color of my hair now! What can I do?

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      Lorigirl 14 months ago

      this is the color I was trying to achieve

      https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/4d/92/95...

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      Sara Beers 14 months ago

      I have natural level 8 hair. I have heavy platinum highlights which I love. But wanted to break it up a little with some lowlights. They turned out great except the color. It isn't terrible. Just too coppery/warm for my liking. I prefer very ashy. It seems to only be around the top of my head...like temples up. How can I get those lowlights to be ashier? I have been considering dying it all over a darker blonde. Level 6 or 7 or so. Then starting over with the highlights. Just for some contrast. Do I need to fill it first? Or can I just add a level 6 or 7 neutral blonde? Or ash blonde all over? Band will that cover/get rid of the coppery color? I love the look of an ash brown (like level 5) with lots of highlights. But would this look strange when my lighter roots start showing? If I do go the darker route...level 5 with highlights...do I need to add the filler to my hair? Level 7 Demi red then level 5 ash? I'm confused. Lol.

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      Renee 14 months ago

      Hi, thanks for the article. I have naturally dark brown hair that now has a caramel/blonde balayage. I want to dye over the highlights and make them burgundy red. I bought a box dye of red made for dark hair (garnier nutrisse cream) and I was just going to separare the highlights out and dye over it with the one colour. This should work since it's a red colour not brown, right? Based on the article I think my only problem could but it turning redder than intended? Any advice would be appreciated. There's a lot of info online about going blonde to brown but not blonde to red!

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      Tiff-y 14 months ago

      I have ash blond hair with a few lighter shades of blonde highlights that I added about a year ago. I want to color my hair a natural dark brown. Do I need a filler or can I just go a head and color it?

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      Brittany 14 months ago

      Hi Maffew!

      I sought out your advice for my hair crisis about 2 years ago, and had been following it up until sometime early this year. I went to a salon in attempts to go back to my natural hair color, which is platinum blonde (level 10 with ashy undertones). At the time, I was a level level 5 medium brown + a level 7 chocolate brown over it.

      The first 2 times, they did highlights with a 40v developer, the 3rd time, they bleached my whole head with a 40v developer, and the 4th time, she bleached my hair with a 10v. and then toned it to make it look like a reverse ombre.

      I loved it! However, after my first at-home shampooing, the toner completely went away and I was left with a horrible yellow once again. At this point, they refused to correct it without charging me, so I toned it myself in a very non traditional way. I used a semi-permanent violet dye, and put it in my conditioner, then just did a quick rinse in the shower. It worked pretty well, but I'm still not happy with being blonde.

      I've come to the harsh realization that I cannot deal with the upkeep or pull off my own natural hair color, and just want to go back to being a brunette. However, I do NOT want to end up having my hair turn a really ashy OR really red color. I just don't think a neutral base will do the trick.

      I have attached a few photos- the first one was my hair the first day she did the reverse ombre.

      The photos of my hair in the collage are of the horrid yellow it turned after I washed it the first time.

      The second collage photo is of what my hair looked like after I "toned" it myself.

      What do you recommend I do if I want my hair similar to the photos I attached of Megan Fox? Do you think I will have a problem with my hair holding onto the color since the toner washed out right away?

      I really don't want to go back to the salon. I ended up paying over $500 with all of these processes and am kind of mad at them/don't want to return there.

      After the reverse ombre: http://tinyurl.com/zu4b2y9

      After first shampooing vs at-home toning: http://tinyurl.com/j98spzx

      Megan: http://tinyurl.com/gt3hsew

      Thank you in advance,

      Brittany

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      deisy 15 months ago

      Hello,

      I'm trying to get a MEDIUM ASH BROWN, I currently have a ombre look with the ends looking a bit orangey....I previously used Loreal paris ombre kit..

      What products should i buy preferably from Sally's to achieve getting a Medium Ash Brown hair. My hair length is long. I need help, Thank you for any help you can provide.

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      Kylie 15 months ago

      I have naturally blonde hair and quite a while ago I dyed my hair light brown with red highlights. The red is mostly faded but I'm worried how my hair would turn out now if I dyed it medium golden brown. Can you help me?

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      Cole 15 months ago

      Hi Maffew,

      I have read all of your advice to people and I think it's awesome how many people you've helped out. Very impressed with how knowledgeable you are. So I hope you can help me as well.

      I'm in a bit different situation then the usual people you've helped from what I can tell. So you have all the info. Im undergoing chemotherapy (50 times thus far)so my hair has thinned out and is easy to pull out. Another of the side effects my eye brows have darkened in color. As of now my hair is heavily high lighted blonde with over three inches of grow out. With the change of my brows it looks odd and it bothers me. So I want to go back to more of my natural brown. If I could I'd have a professional handle it but can't afford it anymore. I purchase color silk in dark mahogany brown. I thought it would be easier to my hair since chemo has caused it to be brittle. I'm hoping to achieve color close to what's on the box but if it's a bit lighter I'd be ok with it. Is there anything else I need to do to achieve this color? Mies as well have some fun with what I have, just hoping to avoid a big regret/mess up with what I still have. Not sure how much fixing it can handle. But that's why I'm going to you first I'd appreciate any help you can offer.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my post.

      Nicole

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      Ana 15 months ago

      Hello! Thank you for this great article! However I don't really fit into the 'blondes' category, so I would like to ask you for a personal advice. I've had bleach blonde hair which my hairdresser dyed silver, but now it started to fade and I have areas where it is a greener silver and areas where it is a very toned level 8 blonde. I don't really like it anymore, but unfortunately at the moment I don't have the money for a trip to the salon. I really want to dye my hair a darker color, say a golden brown or so for now. But I don't know what steps to take given that my hair is not a usual color. Could you help me, please?

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      mimi 15 months ago

      Hi Maffew,

      My hair was bleached to a pale yellow and i just filled it with a dark red blonde semi-permanent dye. Then i put a medium natural brown permanent dye over it. It worked but its about two shades darker a little too reddish than i'd like. How would i lighten it just a shade and add some golden hues? If you could suggests products from Sally's that'd be great.

      Thanks!

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      Kaylan 15 months ago

      Hi Maffew,

      Firstly, I would like to say that the information you provided was very informative. I tried to read through the comments to see if you have already answered my question, but there were just so many so I thought it would be simpler to just go ahead and ask.

      Right now my hair is a mess. I tend to do my hair myself, but typically it is blonde that I deal with. So, I made the mistake of putting red dye on blonde highlights without using a filler. Now, the problem is that the red on the majority of my hair has washed out to a very light orange/red/gold color and my roots are finally fading to a dark orange/red. My natural hair color is a light/medium ash brown. I want to go back to this color so I don't have to worry about the roots when they grow out.

      I have picked up a #2 warm brown protein filler (for the front of my hair that is platinum blonde), Color Brilliance ion intense ash (5AG-5.7), and 20 or 6% developer. Before I proceed, I just felt as though I should ask for your opinion regarding whether these products will get me to that light/medium ash brown that I'm looking for or if I need to get something else.

      Thank you again!

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      caz 15 months ago

      my hair colour is light auburn colour i am trying to get it to light brown whats the best way and what hair dye thanks

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      Kiara 16 months ago

      I didn't know you had to use specific colors to dye your hair if it was bleached yellowish blonde. So I dyed it thinking it was going to be alright. I believe I used a light brown but it was a little ashy. Fastforward 2 days my hair has a greenish tint to it. What should I do? Can I just dye it a dark color? For example a dark brown-black.

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      Janet 16 months ago

      My hair is a medium warm blonde. I added some box highlights (frosting kit) which turned out too gold. I've been using purple shampoo/conditioner and it's been working well, but it's not toned down enough. I want to try to go to a light ash brown to eliminate these red/gold tones so I can finally do a proper balayage which I can't achieve now because of my present color. Any suggestions? BTW, my hair pulls red and gold quickly. Thank you.

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      Uknowwhatitis 16 months ago

      Hi Maffee! You're so great for sharing this advice with all of us. I had my hair bleached and toned about four months ago (at a salon) and have been maintaining that at home by using a Kenra creme lightener and 20 volume on the roots and toning with shades eq 9t, 9v, clear and process solution. I always end up with roots that are too yellow though and this light brown band (even though I have saturated my re growth and a tad past regrow th so everything is saturated). I'm tired of doing my roots so often, especially because of these lines that will not go away. I may need to change brands of lightener, but in the mean time I was hoping I could just tone my length to blend with my regrowth for a sort of "sombre" effect. I'm a natural level 7-8 blonde and it's ashy yet has some warmth around hairline. My length is currently very yellow as the pool has faded the shades. Should I fill my length before I tone it with a darker shades eq color? Or can I mix it all together at out it in at once (ex 9rb, 9nb, processing solution)? Also if you look at the shades eq color chart what would you recommend for a level 10 yellow bleach blonde trying to blend with a 7 root. Level 8, or 9? I don't want to go too dark as it is summer, and I do want to use shades eq so it will fade in case I change my mind. Also, what do you think about these lines or bands I'm getting every time I lighten my roots? I don't think it's hot roots as my roots that have been touched up are fine, it's just directly below the area I just touched up. Thank you so much for taking the time to read all of this!

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      lauren killick 16 months ago

      i have bleached my hair for over a year now, usually every month, but have decided to go back natural due to undamaged hair. my hair is a platinum white colour and i want to go to a dark brown but I'm not sure what products i should be using as i have never used any other hair dyes other than bleach. please could you tell me what i should use to get an even dark hair colour from my damaged white hair. i was going to just dye my hair red and then a dark brown over that but i don't know if this will help me get healthy brown hair. help!!

    • Maffew James profile image
      Author

      Maffew James 17 months ago

      Hi Mariam,

      The tonal result is a matter of balance. In the case of applying ash brown dye on top of blonde hair, the tonal balance is pushed towards ash and all that blue tone in the dye turns the hair grey or green. This happens because there is no copper pigment present in the hair; orange being the tone that balances with the blue of ash dye. In either situation where your hair looks greenish from the ash, or orange from un-toned warmth, it is because the visible tone is dominant, and this can be neutralised by adding the complementary tone. If you add too much of this tone, however, the new tone becomes dominant.

      For example, if you tone yellow hair with violet shampoo, the yellow softens to beige, and then to neutral blonde. Left in longer, the neutral blonde starts to look closer to pearl blonde or silver, and eventually starts to turn violet. The same process in reverse shows that when adding yellow to light violet hair, the hair will follow this same path in reverse.

      Basically, your hair can only turn grey or green if it is devoid of warmth, and that orange tone that is present right now will help prevent this. To ensure this doesn't happen though, either fill using dark copper blonde first, and then use the ash dye, or, use light natural brown instead of the ash. The natural is balanced in terms of warmth and ash, but it will produce more of an ash shade in your situation because it is being applied on lighter hair. In terms of the tonal result, this works because the neutral tone of this dye is only truly neutral when applying on hair that is close to the level of the dye.

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      Mariam Lombard 17 months ago

      Actually change of mind, I have yellow brassy hair maybe a few orange tones, I want to dye all of it dark ash blonde and to avoid being grey or green is it okay if I mix like just a tiny bit of red dye into my mixture? Sound good?