If You Messed Your Hair Up With Boxed Dye, Here’s How To Fix It

Celeb stylists share their tips.

Originally Published: 
if your blonde hair is ashy from box dye, here's how to fix it

Sometimes despite your greatest attempt to make it through an impulse to dye your hair without touching a single drop of at-home dye, you do it anyway. You dyed your hair in your bathroom and the result is nowhere near what you were hoping for. Before you have a meltdown, take a deep breath. If you're wondering how to fix your at-home hair dye job, rest assured, all you need are the right products.

Read more: How To Fix Cakey Makeup In 9 Easy Steps

If you’re feeling sudden inspiration and want to try your hand at a DIY fix, or just don’t want to spend the big bucks and call up your hairdresser to ask for their next available appointment, get creative at home. And if you want to preserve the color until the experts can work their magic, consider ordering a few products. "Use shampoos, treatments, and glosses to help maintain your color for now," Rita Hazan, celebrity hair colorist for Beyoncé and Jessica Simpson and owner of Rita Hazan salon in New York, tells TZR.

But if you're in desperate need to fix what you've done ASAP, below, find seven tips that will help you resolve common at-home hair dying mistakes.

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How To Fix Blonde Hair

"Yellow happens when blonde dye is washed out before it's ready and not finished developing," Laura Polko, a celebrity hairstylist who works with Gigi Hadid, Emma Chamberlain, and Charli D’Amelio, tells TZR. "Hair has to live through orange, yellow, then to a pale yellow or platinum, but a toner can help and so can purple shampoo."

Polko suggests using Sunbum's Blonde Tone Enhancer and leaving it on your hair. "This product is great because it's staying on your hair to keep working post-shower and through styling,” she says. “Purple is opposite yellow on the color wheel, so it neutralizes it."

How To Fix Ashy Hair

Another potential outcome from at-home blonde hair dye is that your blonde is too ashy — if ash blonde wasn’t your intention, that is. "If the blonde gets too ashy, it's usually the result of the toner being left on too long, or the underlying hair color being lifted very light, and the toner not having enough yellow to balance it out," George Papanikolas, a celebrity colorist whose clients include Laverne Cox and Penelope Cruz, tells TZR. "A clarifying shampoo like Biolage Clean Reset Shampoo should do the trick to gently remove some of the ashy tone without stripping the natural oils. If this gentle approach doesn't work, then a warmer salon gloss or correction will be needed at the salon."

How To Fix Your Hair If Your Roots Don't Match

Papanikolas says the reason your roots might not match the rest of your hair is because you picked a color lighter than what you had been previously coloring. "A universal rule of hair color is that hair color doesn't lighten hair that has been previously colored," he explains. "It can only take your hair the same level or darker. So if you put a lighter color on your virgin roots, the roots will take the lighter color, but the rest of the hair will not lighten. It would need to be stripped out to a lighter shade first."

The best way to fix this is to make the roots darker to balance with the rest of the hair. If you want an overall lighter color, Papanikolas says you'll need a salon appointment and advises not to attempt it at home.

How To Fix Your Hair If It's Too Dark

This might seems too easy, but if your hair came out super dark, don't touch it. "That’s going into a corrective color situation," Hazan explains. "Better to just leave it alone instead of trying to lighten it, it'll fade in a few weeks. If you try to lighten it, it will turn orange or red."

Remember, color can never lift color, so trying to dye it a lighter shade won’t work, as Papanikolas explains. However, if you feel you must do something right away, Polko suggests using a clarifying or detox shampoo to help get the color where you want it to be. Just be careful not to get heavy-handed.

How To Fix Your Hair If The Color Is Too Dull

Sometimes when you used at-home dying products, the end result is just lackluster. It’s a little faded and definitely not shiny. To add some vibrancy and to enhance the color, all you need is one product, according to Hazan. "Use a gloss to add color to make it vibrant — it's an easy fix in the shower," she says.

That being said, if you want to add even more shine in addition the to extra color the gloss will deposit, aftercare products can bring your newly dyed hair back from the brink of dullness. "Aftercare is so important when it comes to preserving color work," Jaxcee, a colorist in New York and founder of The Coily Collective, previously told TZR. “Just like your skin care regimen, follow-through and consistency are key." Using color-safe or color-depositing shampoo and conditioner, for example, will help keep your hair looking vibrant long after the dye.

How To Fix Red Hair

Perhaps TikTok told you now is the perfect opportunity to branch out and go for something bold, like a foxy red — but now you're left with bright tomato-red hair. It's not as easy to fix as other dyes, but there's hope for you. "Red is hard because it's the hardest to neutralize, Polko explains. "Tone, tone, and tone more, and using color protecting products is key. Orange is just the lifting level between red and yellow, so blue is good to help with that." She suggests using IGK's Mixed Feelings Brunette blue drops to help neutralize the color.

“Colors in the red family are the hardest to keep,” shares Mazzei. “A good color depositing shampoo [...] will keep your strawberry blonde vibrant and beautiful between [salon] visits.”

How To Fix Orange Hair

Another issue you may face while dying your hair at home is accidental orange tones and brassiness — and not an intentional dreamy copper. "When brunettes lighten their base color, the undertones are either red or orange, so your colorist should neutralize that with an ash or blue-based color to balance out the shade," Papanikolas explains. "If it gets really orange, then they should adjust your color one shade darker." But while you're dying at home, you can maintain the color with a blue based shampoo or mask that will cancel out the orange. The colorist suggests Matrix's Total Results Brass Off.

Another way orange brassiness might take over your at-home color is if you expose your brunette tone to the sun too much. According to Olivia Casanova, a colorist at IGK Salons, being in the sun will make color fade and lighten faster. "For blondes, you may not mind this," she previously told TZR. "But for us brunettes, it just makes us turn brassy quicker." If you know you’re going to be in the sun for a while, wear a hat for protection or use a protective hair barrier product.

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