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Expert Answers for Tricky Hair Color Questions

BEYOND THE BASICS

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Q: HOW DO I LIGHTEN MY LOOK?

A: First things first. Take a look at your starting shade. Generally, we don’t recommend going any more than 2 shades lighter than your current color. So if you have medium brown hair, you could go light brown or dark blonde. If your final goal is light blonde, it may take a few colorings, but you’ll be happier with the result. Also, we typically recommend using a neutral or cool/ash shade to go lighter, since that will help control the most “brassiness.”

Q: HOW DO I GO DARKER?

A: The same rule of thumb applies whether you’re going lighter or darker: Stick within 2 shades of your starting color. For a golden brown, try a warm tone, or for a dark, ashy look, use a cool tone.

Q: I TRIED TO COLOR MY PREVIOUSLY HIGHLIGHTED HAIR AND THE PREVIOUSLY HIGHLIGHTED PORTION TURNED OUT WITH RED HUES. CAN YOU RECOMMEND A COLOR TO GO OVER IT AND TONE DOWN THE RED?

A: Both of these questions can be addressed with blonde coloring. Try demi-permanent hair color, which lasts up to 28 washes. These will have low peroxide and no ammonia. You can use cool shades to refresh highlights or to tone down highlights that seem too red or bright.

Q: I FORGOT THAT MY HAIR REALLY GRABS GOLD TONES. TO TONE DOWN THE GOLD, SHOULD I USE A NEUTRAL OR COOL LIGHT BROWN COLOR? I DON’T WANT TO LOOK TOO DARK OR DRAB—I WANT A MEDIUM TO LIGHT GOLDEN BROWN HAIR COLOR.

A: Since you do want to see some warm, golden tones, your best bet is to use a neutral brown color to tone down the extra golden tones. If you use a cool tone, you could take out your warm tones entirely.

Q: HOW DO I FIX MY HAIR IF I MESS IT UP WHEN COLORING AT HOME?

A: Refer to the neutralizing chart below to see how to fix any at-home coloring mistakes.

ToneDescriptorNeutralizes
1Blue/AshOrange
2Green/AshRed
3YellowViolet
4OrangeBlue
5RedGreen
6VioletYellow