How to Fix My Permanent Hair Color When it's Too Dark

Over-dyed hair can be fixed with a few simple steps.
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Sometimes hairstylists disappoint, and other times the dark-haired beauty on the hair-color box lets you down -- even after a careful application, a thorough rinsing and a healthy dose of post-treatment conditioner, you still feel more like a washed-out zombie than a raven-haired knockout. Before you reach for the bleach or, worse yet, the razor, remember that there's hope for the over-dyed. A little more effort -- and a few key tools -- can still save the day and your brutally brunette tresses.

Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo. Rinse and repeat as many times as needed to achieve your desired hair color. For best results, begin your multiple washing sessions while hair is still wet from your initial coloring.

Pour lemon juice liberally over your hair and sit in the sun -- or apply heat -- to achieve a lighter hair shade. According to hairstylist Barb Quinn, writing for, the more heat you apply, the lighter your shade will be. Be careful not to get lemon juice in your eyes.

Mix equal parts baking soda and shampoo. Work it through your wet hair. Use the hottest water you can stand -- without scalding yourself. You will have to repeat the process quite a few times before you see results.

  • Do not use bleach on your hair. It is unhealthy for the hair and color results are unpredictable.
  • To avoid an "at home" hair-dye disaster, always perform a hair-strand test first, following the directions provided with your hair dye.
  • Add dimension to your strands with at-home highlights, or schedule a highlighting session with your stylist. The lighter strands will break up the solid darkness of your hair and brighten your look.
  • When you don't trust yourself or wish to consult with a professional, call your hairstylist or the telephone number listed on your hair-color packaging. Many hair-color manufacturers have experts standing by waiting to answer your call and advise you.

Zoe Maletta writes on a variety of topics with special focus on leadership, careers and small business management. Professionally writing since 2007, her many publishers include "The Houston Chronicle", "Global Post Careers" and "The Nest." When she's not writing, Maletta enjoys making memories with family and participating in church ministry. Maletta holds both a B.S.and an M.A. in counseling.