How to lighten hair dye if it’s gone a bit too dark for your liking

Gone too dark with the old box colour or had unexpected results at the salon? Don't sweat it

I’d say I’ve been colouring my hair since I was about 16; you name it, my hair’s been that colour. My natural hair is greyish mousy brown (pretty colourless to be honest) and so for years now I’ve been a much darker, richer brunette.

But over time, where I’d repeatedly coloured my hair to banish my roots, the dye had built up so much that the majority was a very dark brown, almost black.

I’d begun to notice just how dark my hair had got in photographs – and that it really didn’t suit me any more – but when one day I was told I looked a lot like Wednesday Addams, I decided it was time to fix it. And not with one of those box ‘dye removers’, which I’d tried previously and had left my hair an unsightly bright orange.

how to remove hair dye

Obviously, the easiest solution to my problem would be to get regular cuts until the darkest colours had grown out, and phase in a lighter colour as my natural hair colour grew in. But this wasn’t the quickest of fixes.

And so, in the chair at Daniel Galvin, I explained my predicament and asked for some expert insight. Was there anything that could be done to lift the colour now?

Fortunately, there was a treatment that wouldn’t leave me looking like a long-lost Weasley kid: Galvin’s Miracle Solution Detox. The regimen adds vibrancy to hair, revives highlights and, as my colourist Terry advised, can actually lift particularly dark dye for a lighter and warmer appearance.

The key ingredient that worked wonders on my over-dyed hair is a vitamin C complex that’s naturally acidic. This enters your hair’s cuticle, removes anything it sees as not being part of your hair’s natural make-up (product build-up, pollution, etc) and closes the cuticle for a shiny finish.

All this leaves your hair super clean and healthy and, in the case of my once black tresses, the warm dark brown I was after.

how to remove hair dye

Of course, the ideal scenario is not to go too dark in the first place. Below Adam Reed, UK Editorial Ambassador for L’Oreal Professionnel, shares his top tips for arranging a successful colour change at the salon. (And when you’re done here, be sure to swot up on how to dye your hair at home like a pro.)

How to avoid a dye disaster

Have a consultation with your colourist beforehand

‘For me, consultation is always key, firstly to make sure you and your colourist are on the same page when it comes to the end result. But also to have a really transparent conversation about the journey you will need to take to get the end result – images always help!’

Set an aftercare regime

‘Colour correction is so specific to the individual and so the at-home care should also be bespoke to the individual too. Setting a regime with your colourist and ensuring a journey of booking in for toners, treatment etc is very important to help maintain hair health and colour. L’Oréal Professionnel Smartbond is key and I use it with every colour change in my salons, as it protects and strengthens the hair bonds while colouring.’

Communication is key

‘If you are worried that your hair colour is not the shade you were hoping for it is paramount to speak to your colourist; communication is vital to ensure a great relationship and ultimately that you are both working towards the same end result. Always have a thorough consultation before every colour appointment to discuss your hair’s condition and evolution of colour.

Reading now

Popular beauty stories