How To Fix A Hair Color DISASTER


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This may sound a little dramatic but anyone who has experienced a botched dye job will tell you there’s nothing worse. Trust me, as someone whose hair was once dyed orange instead of Serena Van Der Woodsen blonde, it’s pretty damn heartbreaking. Not only because dying your hair in a salon can be extremely expensive but you’re also putting your hair through intense damage, and often, when it goes wrong it’s a long road to recovery.

To prevent your hair from going through the same hair coloring disaster, we spoke to one of London’s top hair colorists, Tommy Drury from Chelsea salon Williams & Rice, who specializes in hair color correction. Tommy ran us through the most common hair color disasters, how to fix them, and how to avoid them entirely. So, no matter what hair color mishap you’re experiencing, you’ll know what to do.

Problem 1: Botched Highlights

One of the most common corrections I see across London is botchy highlights,” Tommy tells us. “It’s a very general term, but if you’ve seen them then you know exactly what falls into this category.” It can be a whole array of things from uneven color to color that looks stripey rather than blended, with brassy or worse, green shades coming through. “This is especially common with blond highlights. Being blonde is addictive, and it’s very easy to get carried away with booking appointments too soon and requesting the wrong service,” Tommy adds.

“Working with highlights is all about finding the perfect balance, considering the natural hair color and creating the right amount of contrast.” Tommy says.

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The Solution

Firstly, to prevent botchy highlights Tommy recommends that you should “Avoid using more than two different colors in a set of foils as too many will eventually fade-up brassy and uneven.” So don’t be afraid to consult your stylist and make this request… Trust us, it’ll make all the difference.

“A temporary solution may be to tone the highlights right down at the root, this can take the edge off, if the hair is too streaky or if there are too many highlights, to begin with. If the final result is overall too blonde then, similarly, toning would be the best quick fix but I would consider toning through the mid-lengths and ends too. It also may be necessary to add a few darker pieces.” Tommy explains.

To ensure you’re never in the same predicament Tommy recommends, “The long-term solution to this is finding a colorist capable of picking the same highlights up each time and sticking to them.” Remember, with color, consistency is key.

Problem 2: Botched Color

According to Tommy “Botchy, uneven, colors are the common plight of brunettes and I have seen all sorts over the years.” (eek) “They’re often seen when clients with tinted hair are hastily trying to go lighter, and the solutions are usually quite simple. Although, simple does not always mean easy and certainly does not mean low maintenance. The techniques used are simple but they may need doing several times during a service as your new colorist learns your hair and discovers what has led to the problem in the first place.”


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The Solution

As with most hair color corrections, the color solution is different depending on the color you’re trying to achieve. Tommy begins “If areas of the hair are too ashen (grey/blue/green) they’ll need to be gently cleaned or sometimes just neutralized (using a warmer tone on top).” Whereas, “If areas are too warm (or brassy), then they can be neutralized using a cooler tone.” However, “The reality is that uneven color usually means an uneven condition. The first session should be about unifying the hair color and then making a plan for the next,” states Tommy.

Problem 3: Faded Color

“Almost every color fades, but the degree of fade comes down to the formula (and application) used and how the hair is treated outside of the salon,” explains Tommy.

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The Solution

Surprisingly, he adds “Unless you’re a bright red, you’ve used pastel hues, or you’ve just gone from blonde to dark, you shouldn’t need to rely on color-protecting products. Some colors do require more maintenance, which may involve professional toning in the salon between your usual appointments. This should be explained to you during the service.” For example, if you’ve gone platinum blonde, you may need to go for an in-salon tonal treatment to keep the color fresh and icy.

Problem 4: Brittle, Damaged Hair

“Everyone’s hair is different but if you suffer from chemically damaged hair or you use a lot of heat during styling, then a combination of Olaplex and the right home care products will work wonders.”

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The Solution 

Like many hairstylists and colorists, Tommy says “Olaplex, in my opinion, has been the biggest game-changer in my career so far. Essentially, it artificially recreates missing bonds in the hair, which then allow your moisturizing and strengthening treatments to work. If the hair has no bonds, is it really hair?”

“Of course, regular haircuts are always recommended as it gets rid of any split ends and leaves your hair looking fuller and healthier.” However, Tommy adds that “If you want to forego a haircut every now and then, you should have an Olaplex service and invest in good shampoos/conditioners. My favorite haircare brands are Redken, Pureology, and Shu Uemura.”

For more hair color tips, read our ultimate guide to dying your hair.