Maffew is a hairdresser, marketer, and dabbler in many things who enjoys sharing knowledge about the science of hair coloring and hair care.
How to Get Red Out of Hair
If you've dyed your hair red and don't like the color, you don't have to put up with it. Contrary to popular belief that red is the most difficult color to remove, it can actually be a relatively easy and quick process.
You don't have to strip your hair over and over or dye over it with dark colors either. Here are three methods that can be used to remove red hair dye and achieve any new hair color with ease!
Choosing a New Color
The process required to remove red hair dye from your hair depends completely on the color you want to change to. This is a lot like changing to any new hair color because there are factors like whether you are going lighter or darker that determine the types of products that can and will be used.
No matter which color you choose, however, the new shade will fall into one of these three categories:
- Lighter hair color
- Darker hair color
- Same level
In the case of a lighter hair color, you can't just dye over the color to remove the red hair dye and lighten your hair. The lightening needs to be performed as a separate step prior to dyeing with the new shade.
This is partly because you may need to use color remover or bleach in the process and partly because the shade of dye you use will need to be selected based on how much red remains after this process to properly neutralize it to the new shade you want.
To achieve a darker hair color, however, requires nothing more than the application of a new dye, but the chosen shade needs to be able to effectively darken the hair and neutralize the red tones. If it is selected improperly, you'll be left with a red hue in the new shade because these tones won't have been counteracted.
This can result in overly warm shades of brown that look more auburn than intended because covering the old color isn't enough to deal with this. Your hair color is a combination of different tones, and adding more overall pigment doesn't change that a portion of the existing pigment is red.
Unwanted tones need to be neutralized to prevent them from continuing to show through into a new color.
What if you don't want to go lighter or darker, though? As luck would have it, if you don't want to go lighter or darker and just want to remove the red tone from your hair, this is also achievable.
Once you've decided on the color result you'd like to achieve, you can proceed to eliminate the red and transform the look of your hair while keeping it close to its current depth.
Achieving a Lighter Hair Color
If you have red hair and you want to go lighter, you need to tone out the red as well. You can't simply apply a new shade of hair dye over the red and hope it will work because most of the time, it won't. Hair that has been dyed can't be lightened effectively with more hair dye, and the hair dye itself won't neutralize the red tone either if it's the wrong shade.
This means that two steps are required to correct your hair to the new shade you want:
- Strip and/or lighten your hair
- Dye to the new color with corrective toning
Red Dye Stripping
The first step towards dyeing red hair lighter is to apply hair dye remover like Vanish to strip out as much of the artificial color as possible. Hair dye remover breaks the artificial color molecules down into a form that can be washed out of the hair, rinsing out permanent hair color. This process can't always remove all of the hair dye, but it will save you the hassle as it doesn't damage the hair and will make it easier to bleach and redye.
How to Use
To use this product, all you need to do is mix the two bottles together into a tinting bowl up to the quantity that you'll need and apply that to your hair, massaging it through evenly. Leave this for 15–25 minutes depending on the brand and how quickly it reacts in your hair, then shampoo your hair at least twice to ensure all of the dye molecules that have been released are thoroughly rinsed out of your hair.
The effectiveness of this process depends greatly on how many times you've applied the dye in the past. A big buildup of pigment is likely to be a lot more stubborn, but it's a good step to do, even if you have a significant buildup. Even a small improvement in the pigment density will reduce the amount of bleaching that you need to do subsequently to get rid of red dye from your hair.
For more information on how to use hair dye remover or a bleach wash, see my related article.
Bleaching Your Hair
If the hair dye remover was able to remove a lot of red dye from your hair and you're close to how light you'd like it to be, stripping out the last of the dye is as simple as applying a quick and gentle bleach wash.
If your hair is still too dark for your desired color, the next step is to use a regular full application of bleach instead though. Whether there's too much natural pigment underneath the dye still, or too much dye itself, you can choose to apply dye remover a second time, but it will generally have rapidly diminishing returns compared to the first application.
If the problem is your natural pigment, the remover won't work on that either. As this article is aimed at addressing how you can select any new color rather than just remove red and that you might want a shade lighter than you've ever been in the past, your natural pigment itself needs to be lightened during the process to achieve this.
When applying the bleach, you can leave the product for the full development time that the brand recommends or remove it sooner. In most cases, unless you want to go quite a lot lighter, the process will be complete before it reaches the maximum time so check it often.
A single bleach process on dyed hair will lift around three levels minimum if there is a lot of dye buildup. This is enough to take dark brown to dark blonde or light brown to light blonde. If you want to lighten your hair more than that, the ability to do so will depend on how much dye is present and the product used, make sure to use a good quality brand with lift boosters if you need additional lightening.
However, you should only bleach your hair if your hair is in good condition and hasn't been damaged by other chemicals like perms or excessive dyeing. If your hair is damaged, think twice about going lighter. It's not impossible, and it won't ruin your hair in most cases, but it certainly won't do it any favors in terms of how it looks and feels. Hair that is already severely damaged should be toned or dyed darker using semi-permanent dye to get rid of the red tones as it won't handle being lightened.
If you need to use bleach to remove red hair dye, check out my related article on how to prepare, mix, apply, and remove bleach for detailed steps to use it in an adept and safe manner.
The last step between your old red hair color and your new color is to apply a new hair dye to your hair.
You need to use an ash shade of dye to counteract any remaining red, and you can mix this ash with another shade to change the results depending on the exact shade that you want to achieve. Alternatively, an easy way to tone your hair is to use ash dye by itself and remove it to the point that it has toned to your liking.
The shade you use should also be at least one level lighter than your current level to avoid over-toning. Hair that has been through color removal tends to be porous and will absorb more dye than expected if you don't use a lighter shade. Take a look at the table below for a few dye mixes to suit the most desired results.
To apply the new dye, section out your hair and apply as with any other hair dye. Working quickly is of the utmost importance here in order to achieve an even result as the toner will take to your hair rapidly.
Once it's in the hair, this dye needs to be watched constantly because toning can be even quicker on porous hair, and you may not need to leave it for the full development time. You can rinse the dye out at any point but be aware that it does need a small window to achieve reliable permanency.
This is somewhere around the 15–20 minute mark, but the closer you can get to the maximum development time, the longer-lasting the shade will be, making it important to not choose a shade that is too dark or strong as this will require rinsing sooner to avoid over-toning or excessive darkening.
|Desired shade||Dye to use|
1:1 Natural and ash mix
2:1 Natural and ash mix
Achieving a Darker Hair Color
If you'd like to get rid of red hair and the new hair color you want happens to be darker than your current color, this is the easiest way to eliminate the red. In this process, all you will need to do is apply a darker color.
You can't just apply the shade you want, though, as the red will often still show through even if you go a lot darker. The darker the dye is, the better it will cover, but that red tone will never completely be removed, and this is why people with natural red hair still have a red tint to their hair even if they dye over it with brown.
This is often the case even when the black dye is applied. In sunlight or bright artificial light, a red hue continues to show through even an intensely dark hair color if it isn't neutralized properly.
If you can live with a little warmth in your new color as opposed to your previous red color, this won't matter and you can simply use the exact shade you want or at least a shade that is slightly cooler. If you don't want even a hint of red left in your brown hair, you just need to add some ash to your new color.
To do this, all you need to do is mix your desired shade with the corresponding ash shade. If you wanted to go from a light red blonde to a medium natural brown, you wouldn't use the medium natural brown shade by itself, as the excess red in your hair will result in your color looking warmer than intended.
If you mix 1/4 medium ash brown into the shade, though, you will neutralize any red tone that would have otherwise shown through, but there won't be enough ash brown added to make your hair look that color. You get the color you want without the red tinge.
In most cases, mixing your desired shade with 1/4 of the same ash shade will be enough to take away any excess red. The darker you are transitioning from your starting color, the less you will need to add. If your new color is only slightly darker than you started, you may need to add more ash to counteract the red.
If you don't want to go lighter or darker and just want to remove red hair dye from your hair, you might think this is impossible. The popular conception is that red dye can only be removed by bleaching your hair extensively or covering over it with a darker color.
A quick look at a color wheel is all it takes to show otherwise, however. Tones opposite to each other on the color wheel neutralize each other, and you can see this process at work in the toning of blonde hair with violet shampoo. The violet tone counteracts a gold tone in blonde hair because the colors themselves can be said to neutralize each other to a neutral color.
Red dye can be removed by using the right neutralizing color too, and by looking at a color wheel, you can see that the color directly opposite to red is green. In order to remove red hair dye, you need to add a green tone to your hair to correct the red tone. You can do this by using green-based ash hair dye.
Toning Red Hair
Hair color is based around a level system where the first number used to identify the dye allows you to decipher how dark the shade is. These levels range from a level one, which is black, to a level 10, which is the lightest blonde. Red hair fits into one of these levels, depending on how dark it is.
If your hair is a bright red color, for example, it may be a level 7 in the system, characterizing it as a medium red blonde. For all intents and purposes, this color isn't blonde as most people would choose to understand it. What makes it a medium blonde color is only how dark the actual shade is, not how the shade looks to your eyes.
In this sense, even though the example shade looks like a cherry red color, it sits on one of the blonde levels. If you were to neutralize the red tone in your hair to a natural tone, you would actually be left with a blonde color. This is useful to know for two reasons:
- It tells you what color you get if you tone your hair
- It allows you to decide what toner to use
The process of toning red out of your hair is easiest when your hair is in the brown range of levels. Shades from a level 5 to a level 3 correspond to light brown through to dark brown, and the ash dyes available in this level range all contain a green pigment that will counteract the red in your hair very effectively and give a flawless result.
All that is required in this case to visually remove red hair dye is to apply an ash dye one shade lighter than your current level to neutralize the red tone and take you back to a natural brown. Don't worry if your hair is lighter and you want to keep it that way, though; this requires a little more ingenuity, but it's perfectly doable too.
Removing Bright Red Hair Dye
If your hair is a brighter red color in the blonde range of levels, you'll find that ash dyes in this level range no longer contain green pigment.
This is because hair lightened to these levels doesn't naturally contain any more red pigment, but rather orange and then yellow as it gets progressively lighter. This means that most dye brands transition their formula to become blue-based and then primarily violet-based the lighter a shade gets in order to produce the best result.
Some brands, like Wella Koleston, produce a separate ash blonde line containing green tone, however, which is actually designed to neutralize red tones in blonde hair when color correction is needed. These dyes shouldn't be used on most blonde hair, but for eliminating intense red and toning your hair back to a natural blonde color, they are perfect and exactly what you want.
If you don't know what dyes to look for to tone out the red from your hair, you can use the table below for some examples of brands and shades that will work. To use this table, simply choose one of the hair dyes listed that can be used to tone the red out of your hair at the corresponding level your hair is.
For the best results, use a shade that is one level lighter than your current level to avoid over-toning your hair. These ash dyes are intense in pigment, and you don't need to use the same level as your hair to tone with them.
Choosing a Toner
|Red color||Redken dye||Wella dye||Iso I.Color dye|
6 Dark red blonde
7ag Medium blonde
7/2 Medium blonde
7AA Medium blonde
7 Medium red blonde
8ag Light blonde
8/2 Light blonde
8AA Light blonde
8 Light red blonde
9ag Very light blonde
9/2 Very light blonde
9AA Very light blonde
Removing Red Hair Dye
Once you've eliminated your red hair, it's important to look after your new color. All hair dyes fade, including permanent colors, and your new color will look best when it's properly maintained.
If your color fades a lot over time, you're likely to see some return of the red but this can be avoided by applying toner again if the need arises. Color refresher shampoos can also be a great way to keep any warmth from returning.
Do you have a question about removing red hair dye? Need help eliminating the red from your hair? Leave a comment for tailored advice and share your insight with other readers.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Maffew James
Anne dawson on August 04, 2020:
I have white hair.n iv been dyeing my.hair.it.has been a.few months now .not using.hair dye.could please tell me.what to use for taking.out.of hair i.have very thin hair.with white hair.something that is not harsh..thank.you.so much...
Hannah on April 24, 2020:
I currently have auburn colored hair and I’m looking to achieve a dark brown/soft black hair color. Photo references I look to are Madonna in the 1990’s and Bella Hadid currently I’m looking to color my hair from home What products to do I need to purchase to do so? Is ION Creme developer a good choice?
Jordan on February 02, 2020:
It's more of a ? Then comment, but I have dark red hair with build up red dye and I want to get rid of the red completely to start over. So can u please tell me what I'll need exactly product wise and the process of doing this step by step? (Cheaper the better) thank you.
Irenelove on January 24, 2020:
I have used dark blonde tint 6.0 on my grandson hair to take away patchy red & gingery tone which he applied his self trying to achieve highlight s which went wrong he is is a natural dark blonde , but it hasn’t removed the red tones what is best to remove the red , I’ve done hairdressing for 40 yrs I know ash will take the red out can you advise me what number & tint to use I don’t want the hair going any darker
Sally on January 03, 2020:
Hi great insights for everyone wanting a good breakdown of how and why certain things will or won’t work, great job!
Knew I shouldn’t have said it on May 14, 2019:
I went to get my hair dyed special treat plus cut asked it to just have a touch of red .. from then on when style director said leave it to me well it’s bright red and I hate it!
Can I complain or how can I get rid of it from my normal light brown.
Last time I did it myself Nice and Easy 76 light brown.
fpbrat on April 25, 2019:
I use AGE beautiful antiaging haircolor 6RR. I want to change color to a chestnut brown shade. What do I use to get this color
Marsha on April 23, 2019:
I had my hair colored red with blonde highlights about 3 years ago, now i want it back natural blonde but I'm afraid it will turn green... what do i do! Please help!!
Nilsa Skrine on April 16, 2019:
My hair was dyed professionally a day ago, I wanted an ash blonde and it came out a bright red which I did not ask for. What can be done to completely get rid of the red and when can I have this done again. I hate it. Please advise. Thank you.
Chinamoon on April 13, 2019:
I noticed every question is unanswered why do ppl keep asking questions with no response. I dyed my hair R68 rich auburn true red...Ruby rush by l'oreal Paris its w ed my roots didn't take & now i look like a clown. But after reading this article im even more confused then before. Why cant you just write it in lament terms. People are looking for help because they don't understand the hairstylists terminology. I want to get rid of my hair color so bad i would do just about anything.
Vanessa manitta on April 01, 2019:
How do u get dark red hair to light red
Erika Graham on March 30, 2019:
Hi I'm at a 7IR decided I no longer want the red bc it's staining everything, been maintaining this color for over a year now. My natural is a dark mousy blonde. I kind of just want to pull the red out so curious as to what level I should use of the ash, should I use an 8a?
Kez on March 16, 2019:
Hi I've had about 5 red wanted to be a mid brown but put a 5 brown on and it's dark and it still has red thru it. Now what do I do pls. Do I go try get this brown off first...head and shoulders etc or do I put on a 5a brown dye which will hopefully pull out the red. Thanks
Jaleel Saeed on March 06, 2019:
To achieve same level toñing green compliments to get rid of red ...then why u suggested to use ash in the other two methods ( to go lighter or to go darker ) to get rid of red tone ..really a bit confusing
weebrie on February 23, 2019:
I had been using black semi-permanent dye on my hair for a couple years, and bleached it here and there to get a streaky bright red look. I applied Special Effects Blood Red Hair Dye and it worked like a charm. I'd like to change the streaks to a dark green - any advice on how I would go about doing this?
Robin Evans on July 22, 2018:
I'm pretty sure my stylist used a 7C red on my dark blonde hair. If I use Ion 6NN will it make brown or dark blonde?
Anne on June 19, 2018:
I was at a level 5 red for a little over a year and had my professional colorist color my hair with a level 5 brown plus green for the first session, and then a level 5 ash with blue and green tones plus a green toner on the second session. The result? Red highlights throughout the new medium ash brown. within a week red and gold tones powered through the medium ash brown, and it’s really a shame it’s not lasting. This article is WAY too simplistic! Not everyone can get the red kicked out as easily as described here; even with a professional service. I’m starting to think that on the 5th service, the red may finally be kicked out for good. It’s not easy!
Sharon Stewart Stein on May 23, 2018:
hi I’ve been trying to go blond, and I always end up with my hair very brassy. I have medium brown hair with Red orange undertones. I just want to get my hair to medium brown with some bond highlights. How can I accomplish this?
Jacqueline on April 24, 2018:
Hi i need help please. I have been trying to go a lighter brown all over but my ends keep staying darker. I decided to put a auburn henna all over for a change i have a few red tones through hair but ends still quite dark. But my problem is my roots have gone ginger/Orange please help what can I do. And if I put a brown on where to i start to dye first roots or ends please please help.
JoyGill on April 02, 2018:
Or how about just going to a professional because your playing with fire.
Nidajamil on March 30, 2018:
I have dyed my hair with garier natural creme 6.66 after cutting down my natural. I dont like it as it looks like a faded hinna colour at the front. How can I repair it. What colour should I use to make it darker with copperish or brown touch?
Zanibanani on February 22, 2018:
Great article very helpful
Torihinson on February 14, 2018:
Please help!I have been a bleached blonde for over 2 years and about a week ago I dyed my hair red. Cherry crush was the name of the color from the L’Oreal Féria power red line. I only had about an 1/8 of regrowth of my natural color which is medium brown and about 2 inches of a light red and the rest was blonde. Well it didn’t turn out well at all! My roots and the 2 inches are more of a red but the rest is turning dark pink with patches of lighter pink. I hate it!! I want to either go back light ash blonde or rose gold. My hair is dry and was before I ever started bleaching it. So should I try a bleach bath and then apply a light ash blonde color or what?
Jaime Fout on February 11, 2018:
I had bleached blonde hair and dyed it with Feria r68 rich auburn true red. It came out cherry red and I hate it. It's been almost 6 weeks now and it's faded a lot and I have a lot of my natural brown roots showing. I want to go to a natural auburn red hair color but I'm concerned about it not covering the red that's left now and I'm also worried about my roots coming out a totally different color than the rest of my head.
Claire on January 23, 2018:
I was blonde to dark cheŕry then tried dyeing it back blonde all hair fell out was like chewing gum I'm red now an want to go back to my natural colour dirty blonde but needs stripping any advice on which strip to buy ????
Lynsey on January 03, 2018:
I’m red with black in it want to go ash brown light will itwork
Darla on December 08, 2017:
I dyed my hair using an auburn brown color and it is really red. What color can I use to dye it brown?
Ashton on December 05, 2017:
For years I have had my hair some form of red. Now I want to go purple. I used ColorOops (strips color) and now now my hair went from dark red with brown roots to an orange with lighter red tones and lightened my roots to a lighter ash brown. The color I have chosen is a dark violet. Would I still need to dye my hair a light ash brown to fully get rid of the orange and lighter reds so there would be no worries about them coming through the purple, or would I be good to go ahead and dye it the dark violet?
Mary on December 03, 2017:
Hi I changed my natural dark brown hair into a nice light copper brown two months ago. While renewing the color at the salon this week, it turned into a cherry red color. How can i get back to light copper brown?
Vickie on December 01, 2017:
hi I got my hair done at a salon and was looking. for a natural reddish brown colo.it came out way to dark n looks burgundy almost what color highlights can i put in it to be less red .and should i use brown or blonde
JEANNE BUCKLEY on November 20, 2017:
What do I use to get the light red out of my hair?
Amy on November 14, 2017:
I've been trying to remove red tones to get from a light copper blonde to a more natural brown and my hair dresser suggested using a few drops of green hair colour in with Head and Shoulders for 20mins to neutralise the red. Also if you don't want to bleach the colour, but need to lift it, vitamin C powder mixed with head and shoulders and left on for an hour works a dream!
Patty on October 24, 2017:
I just colored my hair a medium red I think. That is my dilemma I don't know if it was a light red, or a medium red. I previously had died light ash blonde. I hate this red color. Didn't know it would come up this.. what do I do? If I can't remember the color red I used? I read to use one color lighter to get out the red. I don't mind having red tones but want to get rid of this completely red hair. And it is dark red. HELP!!
Tania hussey on October 18, 2017:
I am a plum cherry red but want to be a strawberry blonde ginger . You have a pic of what I want above . Help
Olivia on October 16, 2017:
Hi! I'm looking to go from a redish orange to a rose gold! I have the rose gold colour I want...do I just throw it overtop and see what happens? What kind of colour would I get??? Thanks!
Latonya on September 24, 2017:
I have a red ash rinse on my hair.... I'm trying to go blonde what do I need to do
Olivia on September 05, 2017:
I had bleached my hair then put on an intense red blonde dye. As my natural hair grows out, I continue to use the same color dye. Obviously, as the red fades, the bleached portion of hair fades much faster than the parts that are brown hair dyed red. My plan is to go a deep red brown but I'm concerned that the bleached parts won't hold onto the brown dye. What would you suggest I do when I go about dying it? Aside from chopping off the bleached part since that's still 80% of my hair!
Gina on September 02, 2017:
Use a colour corrector. I use colour b4 and its always worked. It's worth trying this before bleach . It won't work as well if your hair is pre bleached. Bleach after if you need to, it will be a light ginger after.
Terri on August 17, 2017:
I have lightened my hair from dark brown to ginger / copper / honey blonde. The hair on top is a darker copper than the hair underneath. Is there a way to tone down the copper tones without turning my hair a light dirty shade of green ? I want to use as few chemicals as possible to improve the condition of my hair.
Jerri Allen on August 17, 2017:
How do I get red tint out of to of my root. Please help! Thanks,
Jordan on August 11, 2017:
I naturally have dirty blonde/ brown hair and want to get rid of my red! I read the article and the comments below but still don't know how to get rid of my red and i don't want to bleach it
Kirstinn Edmond on August 06, 2017:
Hi i put a vilolet vixan colour over my blonde and i want to go back to my ash blonde how do i do this easy what blonde can i pt straight on
Lynnie on August 04, 2017:
A friend retouched her hair up and a little to much RV, to dark. She wants it lighter. What would she do to lighten?
She's in the level 7 reds
Charley on July 26, 2017:
Hi my hair is really damaged coz I have bin bleaching it for many years I dyed it red a few days ago an i hate it is there any way i can change the colour without my hair fallen out
Noella Kucheran on July 25, 2017:
My hair turned out to be apple red and I wanted a nice warm cinnamon brown. Help. It was a kind of washed out looking copper brown and I put a medium auburn dye on it and yikes candy apple red. Help
Monique on July 04, 2017:
I filled with colorful protein in warm brown over bleached hair that had dyed butmeg but didn't take on ends. Thenput medium copper brown o and it's now really red!!?? Help she wants medium brown with some copper highlights, but this is just crazy red!!!
Tara on June 25, 2017:
I used to have dark brown hair but I bleached it and colored it a deep red. Now I want to color it back to the dark brown without having any red tones afterwards. What do I do?
Nidal zeitouni on June 04, 2017:
I have medium red hair ,I want it to be light brown , I did highlight but it turned orange , so I end up having red hair with orange highlights, and after three days I dyed it dark blonde but the result was worse ,how can I turn my hair to light brown or brownies .
Angela on May 24, 2017:
VANISH color corrector is the ONLY one that seems to work for most people. I have used it 2 times (5 boxes the first time 3 years ago) I have just purchased 4 boxes this week. IT WORKS....but it may take several boxes to get it all out. I Love it!! Amazon sells it and also HairCrazy.com.
Crystal on May 17, 2017:
I put a temporary red in my hair and I don't like it I want my hair brown maybe a little red
Carmen on May 06, 2017:
Can you please help me I was a Red before but putting a black cherry in my hair toned it down lastnight I dye my whole hair my roots are black cherry but the bottom of hair is like a brown what color can I dye my roots? Please help event at 6 thank you
Monica on May 05, 2017:
hello, I need some advice on how to change colored red hair to a golden brown without bleach. Is it possible ?
Marry frank on April 26, 2017:
Hi, this article is very helpful!!!!
I dyed my hair burgandy 2 months ago, I want to make it lighter, thinking of dying it ash blonde now, or may be goldenish blonde but im scared as to which color will I achieve after this....would it work???
My natural color is dark brown, I've dyed my hair color 3 times or so...please help!!!
Kay on April 20, 2017:
Hi! I used garnier plus 6.66 to dye my hair 'garnet red'. To get back to a natural light brown colour would I be right in thinking I could use the garnier olia dark blonde 7?
Keristan on April 10, 2017:
I have red hair and want to go back to my dark brown. How do I need to go about it without spending a ton of money an ruining my hair?
lebeast on April 08, 2017:
Hey! For someone with bright red and orange hair that are semi permanent colors, would a color stripper be my best bet? I'm trying to go lavender, my natural hair color is dark brown but have been bleaching it for like 4 years. Any tips would be Mega helpful! Thx!
lebeast on April 08, 2017:
hey! Thx for this article!! Just wanted your expertise on my hair. My hair is naturally dark brown, but I've been bleaching and using semi permanent dyes on it for like 4 years. Currently it's bright red, and I wanna change it to a lavender violet color, will a color stripper work? Or do I have to bleach?
Bianca on March 28, 2017:
Used ion color brilliance on blonde hair turned like a reddish want to remove without bleach what to do
Michelle on March 19, 2017:
I'm naturally red but as I've got older it's got darker I've put an intense red on and its far to bright what colour can i put on to make it more like my own
alex on March 05, 2017:
Hey i had a very vibrant red colour in my hair that has faded to a orange/fairy floss colour, would dying my hair a darker colour with cool tones still work?
Kiek on February 21, 2017:
I dyed my hair using Loreal Feria R57 POWER REDS - INTENSE MEDIUM AUBURN / CHERRY CRUSH. I rushed and half assed it and missed some roots at the top of my forehead. I tried to fix it about week later (Probably shouldn't have waited so long.) and the color still didn't take to the roots at my forehead and now I have bright cherry red on the top of my hair and it fades to a dull auburn an inch or two from the roots. The color at my forehead is a light auburn.
My hair is currently 3 different shades of red. How do I even this out?
Lisa on February 08, 2017:
Hi, I've got bright red hair can I dye it with a black / blue LIVE colour.
Sandy on February 05, 2017:
I am a hairdresser . I did a client who I've been doing for years. This time I added a drop of cherry cola (shades) to my formula of 6.0 and 6.68 (schwartzkoff) the color came out red. I tried straight moss on her hair. It didn't budge what can I do.
ally on January 30, 2017:
hi, i recently dyed my hair dark brown burgundy its by the ion brand, & i like it a lot my hair is just getting damaged so i was wondering if theres a way for me to just go back to my natural color without causing more damage?
Christy on January 30, 2017:
Hey I have some dark Red parts and other parts brown. I want to dye the parts that are dark red a light copper mahogany brown and the brown parts a dark intense red. Can I dye the dark red parts over or will I have to use a color remover?
Kate on January 25, 2017:
Hi, I have been reading the threads and you are so knowledgeable!
I am a natural dirty blonde but have been been coloring my hair a Miss Clairol high lift ultra cool blonde with a 30 volume developer for the last 15 years (at home). I recently went a copperish red and I just dont care for it. I had it professionally done and she did a redken color with a gloss on the roots. I am interested in going back to my light blonde hair. Is it possible to do this without bleaching as I have only ever used developer and color on my hair and not bleach?
If I use a color remover and then the 30 volume developer and my usual hair color, will it lift to that color or will it be a weird red/orangey color. My hair is really really healthy and would prefer to avoid bleach, but will do whatever necessary to get back to my light blonde and feel like myself again.
Thank you in advance!
Carolina G. on December 19, 2016:
I found a green corrective additive for hair dye since i dont have access to any of the other dyes on your list. What would you recommend I add it to if I have a level 7 "blond copper golden" and I want to go for a level 7/8 golden blond? Should I add it to a level 8 ash or natural?
Alexandra on December 05, 2016:
I have ashy golden brown hair. I also have keratin tip extensions in my hair the same color as mine to match. I decided I wanted to have my hair a little redder so I dyed it an auburn red. The color was way darker on the tips then my roots so I then used oops to just get it out. Oops made my hair orange!!! I already dyed my hair 2 times in 2 days but the orange was so gross I didn't want to go out the house. I did research online and then decided the next day to use a medium ash brown to get orange out and just be brown. Well it only worked on my ends again!!! My real hair on the top is still orange! What should I do now? I hate my color. This is very frustrating and tiring.
Tina on December 02, 2016:
Help, my daughter is a natural brunette and she decided to dye her hair red and then figured out is was not for her and wanted to try and go back to her natural color as close as possible or remove the red somehow. We went and bought brown color garnier dye and put it on and it may have toned it down a bit but the red is definitely still there and she is not happy. do you suggest she gets it fixed professionally, though we do not wanted to pay the money or just go to a beauty supply store and they will be able to suggest to us what we can do? if we do it on our own how to you suggest we go about it and what colors should be used.
Melissa on November 04, 2016:
Hi, my natural color is light to medium brown and highlighted most of my life. A few years ago started to box dye it and at one point used an auburn, since then been trying to get it back to my natural color. I was told to use the wella toner dye (nuetral one) but I'm so confused that the wella toner dyes only come in blondes, I did do it once but was told that I had to keep doing it until the red completely is out of my hair than dye it to the closest color to my natural. I used the toner blonde dye once or twice & then kept mistakenly choosing the regular wella browns that were closer to my natural color, only to keep see the red coming thru. What should I do to get the red dye completely out of my hair to go back to my light to medium brown natural color? I just dyed it again tonight & used wella light brown (turned out dark brown, close to auburn b/c of the red).
sally on November 03, 2016:
I am a level 8 copper gold and 7 cooper red. I want to go light brown and put some blonde highlights. what should i do to get it to light brown
Crystal on October 22, 2016:
Hi Maffew ! I am naturally about 75 % grey with the rest a level 5. My hair is short and is currently a 4RV all over . Previous to that i was an ombre ( dark roots - 3N with light beige blonde ends -level 10).
Because the red/ violet kept fading I have colored it over and over the same tone in about a 1 month span. Once using a semi permanent and the other times using permanent. I want to go back to the ombre ( dark to light) the easiest/gentliest way.
What would you suggest ?
Helena on September 26, 2016:
Hi Maffew! I've been dyeing my hair red (revlonissimo 55.60) for 5 years now. I now want to dye it to a red violet tone (koleston wella 55/65). Is it possible?? Can I just dye over my current color? I don't really want to go through the process of hair dye remover or even bleach it... :/ Don't know if it's necessary, but my natural hair is dark brown.
Rhi on September 15, 2016:
I'm naturally a 5/6 dark blonde/light brown, for the past year I've been using an 8RG/7G combination with a 20v developer to dye my hair strawberry blonde.
I love the colour but I'm ready to switch to a lower maintenance style. I'd like to reverse baylayage in a natural coloured root & have the rest of it be a neutral blonde shade - any recommendation for what to cover the red & gold tones with? :)
Pauline on September 05, 2016:
HELP! I'm a brunette, naturally with over half turned silver. I colored my hair yesterday with 5G Medium Golden Brown and its just too red for me. How do I get the red toned down and bring out more brown? My nephews wedding is in 5 days! Thanks for your time & help!
Cheryl on August 24, 2016:
Hello. I have a nightmare for hair! It has been dyed and bleached too many times. So I've been trying to stay away from permanent dyes. So right now I have it dyed with manic panic red and then I put a perminant red on top of that... I know. So bad! Anyway what I'm wondering is if I made a brown using manic panic red and green do you think it would work? Or is there a better way to get rid of the red and achieve a nice brown colour with minimal damage? If I just put a brown dye on top would it work? I'm not sure what level my hair is at. The top is a lot lighter than the ends. So it's a few different levels. Like I said. A nightmare! Help!
Daniella on August 09, 2016:
I originally had darkish chestnut hair, I died a dark red over it and I understand exactly what your saying with nutrulizing the color but I'm a bit nervous what exact hair dye would you recommend that wI'll compleatly eliminate the red in my hair ?
JiveBunny73 on July 25, 2016:
Hey Maffew! Hope you're still reading this.
I have been dying my hair a bold red for years. At the moment, I'm using semi-permanent dye so I can grow out enough virgin hair (eventually) to have a good chance of bleaching it so I can add a bright fashion colour. I will have some permanent red dye in the mid-lengths or at least the ends left - after using colour remover, will bleaching it take care of this?
Should I just use the Directions violet toner all over afterward, as I'm going over it with a non-natural colour, rather than going for a natural blonde? Or do I need to dye it first as you suggest above? I'm wary of there being too much damage if I bleach twice or bleach then permanent dye. (If I can't easily get the last traces of red out I might just go pillarbox :)
Thalia13 on June 22, 2016:
Hiya! I was wondering if you could help me with changing my hair colour. My hair is dark blonde with some gray and now I dye it light copper with using half 9.0 and half 9.4 with 30% peroxide.
I want to go to light blonde and i was wondering how to do it. Any advice?
Deborah on June 21, 2016:
I am attempting to tone down my hair. My hair is light red and I want take some of the red out and even out my roots. The hair number is 8RN/71RG with 20 standard lift and I use both even volume. I am 75% gray.
Kat on June 02, 2016:
I used a box red on my light brown hair and it was really dark red. I then went to the salon because I didn't like the red and wanted to do an ombré with medium/light brown on top with blonde on bottom. When the girl tried doing this it turned a light brown all over with orange pieces and purple pieces... Didn't like that at all so she colored over everything with a dark chocolate brown. It still has a reddish/purplish warmth to it and is very dark. It's been about 2 months since then and its faded a little bit not much. I still want to achieve the ombré I was talking about but don't know how I should go about doing it.
Mandy on May 28, 2016:
Hi Maffew. These tips are amazing! I have been all over the red/copper spectrum for the past decade. I'm currently wanting a change and hoping to get to a dark blonde with subtle ombre highlights. I've been combining Feria c74 (bright copper) with Feria 82 (medium ash blonde). It's a pretty color, but still has lots of gold/orange. My natural color is an ashy dark blonde/light brown. What would be the best plan of action to get towards a dark blonde with ombre highlights? Would I put in the bleach highlights first and then tone the whole thing with blue/violet? Or would the highlighted hair need a different toner. I don't think I need a lot of lift overall, maybe one level if anything. I asked my hairdresser and she was inclined to bleach the red out, which I don't think is necessary reading your comments. I would love any suggestions you can offer!!
Annie on May 21, 2016:
Hi, thanks so much for your article! I am naturally on the darker side of light brown or maybe a lighter med brown. About a week ago, I dyed my hair "Medium Reddish Brown". It turned out a little darker and way redder than I was expecting. Doesn't look great. I'd like to get back to a more natural brown and do bayalage ie. Jessie James Decker. I'm wondering if I need to do a color remover or can I just correct it with a light ash brown? Thank you!!
Tasha on May 19, 2016:
HELP... I tried Splat ombre fire.. my hair turned hot pink. The next day I tried a very dark red color. Now I look like ariel...they won't let me return to work til it's a natural color. But my hair isn't absorbing any color. And I can't rebleach it (had to bleach it with bleach from splat kit for first hair try) What do I do.........
Helen on May 18, 2016:
Hiya. Lots of fantastic comments. Thank you. My story is for the last god knows how many yeats ive died my hair red. Lots of colour build up. I need to move away from red now as i want to lessen dying my hair. Whats the best way to get to medium dark brown. I was thinking if using a stripper and from what ive read using an ash brown dye. Do you think this will get rid of the red. Thanks in advance.
Janeh1 on May 17, 2016:
Hi i have had my hair lightened to go from black to brown at a salon they bleach washed it which left it a brassy red tone then applied ash dyes 6.1 & 7.1 mixed. I have alot brassiness showing through & even more wen in light & sun. what could i use to get rid of the brassiness & for my hair to look more cool natural brown.
Nicole on May 09, 2016:
Ive had a bright red ombre for 2 years now and wanting to go more copper tone throughout the roots and ends without losing all the colour.
Is their a way i can achieve this?
Fabi on May 08, 2016:
Thank you so much for all of your advice. I actually had virgin hair and got a biolage that turned out very brassy. My hair was bleached 3 times trying to correct this by my stylest only making it worse as far what I wanted initially. My hair looked horrible. I went and bought wella hair dye very dark brown color and my hair turned out black. I hated it , so I did a wash bleach 2 times to get ride of it.My hair turned out a pink color. I went to a different s salon , hoping they fix it and my stylest assured me that ash green and expresso would get rid of the pink and bring me back to my natural brown color. I actually didn't. My hair is a dark , chestnut color with red highlights. All this was done within 1 month. Thank god I have strong hair and it wasn't as damaged. My question is that I truly want my golden blond highlights and a I was wondering how scan I get rid of this red brown color and how soon can I try highlights again.
Stefanie on May 06, 2016:
Oh could send via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stefanie on May 06, 2016:
Hey Maffew. Firstly I want to thank you so much for your very useful tips, advice, warnings etc! Wow I'm studying to become the next big name in hairstylists lol! Well as u know, when starting in the hair industry we do experiment with different styles and colors and u know. I'm naturally a level 7-8( the dull blonde) I've been dark and all! But my hair currently a 5.2 mix 6.66 and as reds fade quickly I also used red color mask on my hair! Mut now it's partly fluffy due to the tinting. I would love to go to a light blonde +-10 with not having no hair left, nor fried beyond. Have you any idea of how I could achieve this goal in one day at our salon? Plz do help!
PS thanks for inspiring me!
Stacey on April 10, 2016:
hi..I have medium red hair..angled bob..I'm hoping to dye it dark purple..do you have any tips for me? please email me at email@example.com..
thanks, I love your articles btw..
reefrex on April 08, 2016:
I need major help! For about a year I was dying my hair a bright ish red (schwartz one) originally my hair was strawberry blonde. I used colour b4 to get rid of some of the red which worked on my roots but not the rest of my hair. So I have my horrible rainbow colours! My roots growing in a light blondey colour, then a strip of orangey Orange then a darkish red but my ends are much lighter. My hair wasn't in the best condition before I used colour b4 and it didn't damage it but I'm frightened that the bleach will literally snap my hair off! Any suggestions how I can go lighter? Not sure if I should get it cut shorter and then just try and leave it to grow about or attempt a bleach ? Thanks!
soso on April 05, 2016:
All of the information u have provided is very helpful. I wanted to ask what color I should dye my hair? Last year I dyed it burgundy and then I used henna to make my hair healthy after the dye. Last week I decided to go for a light brown look so I used 8.1 after dying it I got light brown on my roots and copper riddish on my tips. So I got two different color. Brown on top and copper from Half down. My natural color is dark brown. I want a light brown color so what do I do? Thank you so much
Maffew James (author) on March 30, 2016:
The most important thing initially will be to address the damage and reverse this as much as possible to keep your hair in better shape. Protein treatments are the best product for this and should decrease the breakage and hair loss after usage for at least 2 weeks. If you'd like a product recommendation or more information about protein treatments, let me know and I'll discuss them further.
As for the colour, you can correct this back to black, but you won't be able to use anything permanent until your hair is healthy enough to handle it. Whilst the use of permanent dye to go darker only causes very mild damage in most cases, hair that is already breaking off shouldn't be stressed further with this. Until your hair is stronger, I'd recommend using a semi-permanent black dye to get it black. This will gradually rinse out over a few shampoos and will need to be repeated as needed to maintain the colour until you can dye it permanently. There's no issue with using the dye too often because semi-permanent is non-damaging.
With time and treatment, your hair will become stronger and it is at this point that you can dye it properly using a permanent black dye. In hair that has been heavily damaged like yours you may seen a lot of fading occurring over time, and this should be addressed by using the semi-permanent dye every few weeks to rejuvenate the colour as needed. When your hair gets longer and the damaged areas are eventually trimmed off, there won't be any further fading or need to colour to keep it looking black.
Cinthia on March 30, 2016:
My hair was bleached and extremely damage, I had black hair and got dyed bright red. I have to cut all of my hair because it was falling off. I can't stand the red color it looks horrible and no matter how much it was cut, the hair looks dry and brittle! I want to go back black please help
Shereece on March 29, 2016:
Hi There, My hair is dark red, but what is the easiest process of changing my dark red hair to bright red? any suggestions will be great, as I haven't got a clue.
Maffew James (author) on March 24, 2016:
You can definitely achieve a dark even red shade from this, but it does depend on how dark the darkest sections of hair are currently. The dye you use will need to be at least 1 level darker than this hair to even it out properly and get a more natural red. Once you know how dark you want the new colour to be, and how dark your hair is currently, you can plan to reach the new shade.
If the new shade is at least 1 level darker than the current colour, it's fine to use this, and I'd recommend mixing in 25% to 50% natural shade so that it darkens properly. This means, if you're using 4R (medium red brown) as the dark red dye, you should mix one quarter to one half 4N into this. The addition of the natural shade helps even it out and take it all to the same darker level, but it will dilute down the red tone. If the red tone isn't intense enough after colouring, you can go ahead and add more red using a semi-permanent like Fudge or Manic Panic again, or depending on the brand of dye being used, you can add red concentrate to the mix during dyeing.
If the new colour you want it close to the current level of the darkest section of hair, you can still use the same technique, but you may see more difference in level and tone across your head where the lighter and darker sections of orange and red were present. You can avoid this by bleach bathing the darker areas (if your hair is in good condition), and then dyeing as above. The bleach bath will lighten the darker areas just enough that it is able to cover properly.
hillary on March 24, 2016:
hey! I went to a salon and they gave me pink/orange/blonde hair. it looked fine in the salon but when I went home I was slightly horrified that it was more orange looking. so I put (I know I know I shouldn't have done anything other than go back and ask for a redo) some wildfire manic panic on it and now it's an intense red/orange! bad mistake. is there anyway I can make it look a dark pretty red from this point? how do I achieve that? hoping to do it myself seeing how I've spent a lot at the salon already
Allison on March 20, 2016:
Hi, hope you can help me....my 16 yo daughter has natural medium dark brown hair, and had an ombre. She then chose to dye her hair with a dark red color. She did this with semi-permanent dye at a salon, over the winter it was done three times. She has now decided that she wants to go back to her brown color and add hi lites. She has gone to the salon twice now and has had permanent brown dye done to try and cover up this red color. Both times the red color keeps coming back through. We don't know what else we can do at this point. Any suggestions, would be helpful or ideas ....Thank you
Kim on March 18, 2016:
My natural hair is dark brown on sides with blonde (hi lift color) in the front. I dyed my hair intense red with permanent color and did not like the color so I used a color remover and the sides (originally dark brown) turned a coppery color and the blonde is now pink. Not sure what to do now. Ideally I would like everything back to it's original state prior to dyeing red or create the blonde (hi lift color) all over; whichever is easiest and less damaging. I've never dyed my hair prior to the blonde (hi lift) in the front so there's no issue with layers of color.