Every week, I’m the excited recipient of tons of emails from curious women wanting to know more about their hair, how to handle a recent salon disaster or just general questions about what I’ve written on HelloGiggles.com or this site. I love being able to share with you all my best tips and expert advice on all things hair and I really value being in touch with all of you who write in! Because of the constraints on my time, I haven’t been very good at keeping up lately and because I regularly get repeat questions as well, I am going to start chronicling all the emailed questions I receive here for you all to see. I’ve made each question anonymous and edited some of them down so that you get the general idea of what’s going on. Thank you, thank you to all of you who trust me to give you detailed, professional advice and make sure to keep them coming in! Email Kate@HairWithKate.com to submit your questions for next month’s #AskKate and as always, thank you for being a loyal reader of this little corner of the interwebs where we try to make you look and feel your best everyday! Enjoy!
**Though I am a professional in the field, I know that every head of hair is different and takes differently to color or various processes due to anything from hormones to medications to climate. Please know that when reading through these answers, it’s always best to consult with a hairdresser who can see and feel your hair if you can before trying any at-home chemical processes!
“Hi Kate, I read your article about hair color and absolutely loved it, how true that is. My question is, why do hairdressers not rinse out the color well when they’re washing it? I always have stains all around my face and ears, even after she puts on jelly….and this is not just my hairdresser! It’s been all hairdressers I’ve gone to for 25 years. I go to good salons: I have no problem paying whatever it costs. I asked once and my hairdresser said “You should never have color still on your hair when you leave.” But it still continues… so, I’m asking you if it’s something they do so the color will keep taking?? Is it an inside thing with hairdressers?? I’m at a loss at this point and just hoped you could help me understand…. Thank you for your time!”
I actually learned all about this when I was in beauty school from a really knowledgeable educator. I had the dreaded scalp stains on a lot of clients (even after I tried using stain remover that the beauty supply sells) and I COULD NOT figure out how to fix the problem! I obviously knew I didn’t want clients walking out with stains, but I was trying all of the professional tools (like the jelly you mentioned) to try and guard from stains as well as take care of them after they took place and nothing worked. Especially for certain clients with darker hair color and porous skin. Then one day at the shampoo bowl, I was dealing with the same situation and my educator came up behind me before I put any water on my client’s head and started vigorously rubbing leftover hair color from my client’s hair onto her scalp’s stains. I was horrified because it looked like she was just rubbing more stains onto her hairline!!
But after just a couple seconds of rubbing out the color, the stains started pulling off her scalp. I had literally never seen anything like it and I could not believe it was working… what a ridiculous, simple solution. My educator just looked at me, smiled, said “color removes color, Kate” and walked away. From that day on I’ve done that on every single client and it’s worked on almost everyone. And even the clients it doesn’t work fully on, it takes out 90% of the stains and the rest scrubs off with the next shampoo. The only thing to remember when it comes to this is to do it before you put any water on the head because the water will help set the stain in deeper.
I would let your hairdresser know you read about this cool trick and suggest to her that maybe it would help take off your color stains? If she seems really reluctant to try it out and scared of the idea, put a glove on your hand and do it yourself before she takes you back to the shampoo bowl. I know it seems silly to do this yourself, but sometimes when a stylist is scared of something like this, it’s a liability thing. If she’s still reluctant, have her Google it. Plenty of hairstylists know this trick and I’m sure she could read that on some threads on professional, cosmetology sites.
From your question, it sounds like you might also be asking about whether the color is fully rinsed out of the hair when you leave. If that is also a problem as well as the staining effect you’re having around your ears and scalp, then it’s a big problem you should address in the salon. Especially if the girl you’re seeing has already done this in the past, after she finishes washing your hair at the shampoo bowl, sit up and literally feel around your nape to check if you feel color. I’ve gone through this when I’ve changed salons and had to adjust to new bowls that dip differently around the neck, but I always double check before we leave the shampoo area to make sure I’ve gotten all of the color rinsed out. If you still feel color, politely ask her to rinse you again until all the color is out. When I started at a new salon last year, I made the mistake of not getting all the color rinsed out on the neck and my client asked to double-check because she still felt some. I was embarrassed that I hadn’t caught it, but I can guarantee you that if I had when I went to comb her hair out and start our cut, I would have escorted her back to the shampoo bowl and we would have rinsed it out before continuing. It’s perfectly fine to ask for that and in fact, you should demand that kind of basic service.
Good luck with these tips and be sure to let me know how it works!!
Dear Kate, If I could make it to your salon I would. But I guess I can only hope to get your advice. My hair growing up had always straddled the line between blonde and brunette and was generally pretty cool toned for the most part. About a year and a half ago, I decided to go very light (almost platinum), cool toned blonde with all over highlighting. I was satisfied with the color for a while but about five months later I decided on going darker. I asked my hairstylist for a cool medium brown, specifying that I wanted no red tones whatsoever, and at the end of the appointment, my hair was full-on red. I panicked and went to Sally’s beauty supply and used color stripper packets to remove some of it. Over the next few months I tried a couple box dyes to get rid of the red-brown that I was left with, but to no avail. In July of this year, I went to a different salon and asked for a medium neutral brown and was pretty pleased with the results, but the red underneath seemed to take over, and when my hair is in the sun, it still look like a redhead. The first salon attempt at going darker was supposed to slowly fade over time, but the box dyes and the second salon attempt were both permanent, so I can’t figure out what to do! Right now I want to go a really dark brown (about a three or four according to your chart) and I want the undertone to be completely cool, with no red or orange whatsoever. Is there a certain process or set of processes that you think will get me to what I want without fading back to red? Thank you so much, your website has been such a help to me thus far.
Unfortunately, I get emails about this problem all the time! It’s such a bummer when you have so much red in your hair and all you want is a more natural, cool tone. I’ve certainly been there myself as well on the client side of things and I know how frustrating the process is!
It sounds to me that the problem of the red you are seeing hasn’t actually been taken care of yet and that’s why you keep seeing it shine through and pop back up when your color starts to fade. Red pigment has the largest molecules of any color and because of that, it takes a lot of neutralizing to work it out of the hair strand and replace your pigment with your desired color.
Now, there’s a difference between “neutralizing” your red and using a “neutral” color on your red-toned hair. Adding a neutral color to your hair is what you’ve done so far and you see how that has worked out. That’s because when you see a color bottle that says “Neutral Brown”, that color has a little bit of every pigment on the color spectrum. That’s what makes it a true “neutral”. That means it has some coolness and also some warmth. The coolness might work for a hot minute to make your hair look like it doesn’t have warmth, but as soon as that fades out (and because of it’s smaller molecules, it will be the first to fade out), the warm pigment is back and your hair looks more red again. This can also give you the false sense that the warmth has been taken care of, but really it’s just a temporary solution.
Neutralizing your red, however, means to use cool tones on the opposite side of the spectrum to make your red a cooler or neutral tone, depending on where you really want to be. In order to get back to either of these, you literally have to do an all over color of blue or green (depending on if your red is more “true red” or “orange-red”) to counteract the pigment you currently have. I know this can seem like a really scary prospect and that’s why you probably haven’t seen a stylist ballsy enough to do it. But I can guarantee you that unless you use that red’s opposite color to work it out over time, you will always had that red shining through.
Unfortunately, at this point, I’m not sure how much has built up on your hair with the box color that you did, so you might have to see a professional for a double process. This means because there is so much built up of that darker, red color, you might have to completely strip it out to start again. For that kind of opinion, I’d have to see and touch your hair to know what to do. But if you are a bit scared to potentially waste your money on another failed salon attempt, I would start by getting a demi-permanent green color and leave that on your hair for about 10-15 minutes. Watch that for 2-3 weeks and if that seems to be neutralizing your red, then keep doing that process every 5-6 weeks. With some luck, this will take care of your problem and you won’t have to strip out that color underneath again. I would also get a good clarifying shampoo, which can help open your hair strand and work out deep build up and I would wash your hair with that before each time you use your cool demi-permanent. And when you finishing rinsing out your color at the very end, run some cool water through your ends to seal up your cuticle and keep that color in longer.
Without seeing your hair and knowing what I’ve seen in the salon over the years and on my own hair, this is the best way that I think you should approach this dilemma. I hope this helps you out a lot and good luck, friend!!
Hi Kate, I’ve just read your blog on HelloGiggles and it was extremely helpful! I’ve been searching for answers on how to avoid pulling red/orange for years. I often use Ion Color Creme from Sally Beauty when I color my own hair and I’m looking to achieve a medium brown that won’t be brassy. My hair is naturally a light ash brown but it has a few layers of coloring from my hairdresser (mostly warm browns, once we did ombre). Last night, I tried a mixture of 4A and 5A from Sally’s, both ash browns, and my hair still seems to pull orangey undertones. I’m wondering if you know of any products I could get from a store like Sally Beauty that would incorporate green undertones? Thanks so much!
It sounds like you know your stuff when it comes to color theory, but I’m so glad I can help you further! While I don’t know the brands and colors available at Sally’s, I do know that if you are still pulling mostly orange, then the green undertones won’t do much for you besides create a muddier, flatter color. My guess is that the “Ash” colors you tried were more on the purple side than the blue side and that’s why they aren’t totally helping with the orange that’s left shining through.
Since I’m not familiar with the colors at Sally’s, I’m not sure what to recommend. But I know that if you are pulling more of a true orange, brassy color, you’ll need to use a blue toned demi-permanent color to counteract that and get you back to a neutral. Instead of looking for an “Ash” color that can possibly be any combination of green, blue or purple, look for a color that says “Blue”. Just like with the last answer, I know this can sound really scary to just put over your head, but leave it on for only 10-15 minutes, especially the first time. Or better yet, head to a salon and tell them you need a blue demi to counteract the orange you are still seeing in your hair and they will have plenty of strong options for that.
I hope this helps you out and thanks for writing in! Let me know what you decide to do and I can’t wait to hear about the results!
Hi Kate! I’m a HelloGiggles reader and I love your hair articles! I always have trouble with my hair because, well, there’s a lot of it and I can’t really do anything with it so I like seeking solutions.
I was wondering if you know Toni&Guy products? They recently started selling them at my local store and they’re a bit pricey for my range (I’m used to buying regular market brands), but I’m thinking of giving them a try because they’re sold as salon products, which I know you generally recommend. Are they worth it? I hate buying whole bottles of products I don’t know just to try them and see they’re not for me…
Thanks in advance!!
Thanks so much for the HG love, friend! I actually have never used a Toni&Guy product, which is so crazy, but the brand has a tremendous reputation in the salon world for being edgy yet professional and upscale. So I know that with this brand, you are most likely in great hands using their products. Even one of my fave hairdressers (Tabatha Coffey from Tabatha Takes Over) is a former educator with them and loved her time with the brand.
The one thing that I would advise you to do is pull up the Toni&Guy website and try to find one of their salons near you to get your product from them. There are a couple reasons why I would suggest that. The first is that usually in the grocery store, the products are a bit higher of a cost than you would get at a salon because you’re basically paying for convenience. And the second is that in a Toni&Guy specific salon, you can sit down for a complimentary consultation with a hairdresser who knows the line well, can look at and feel your hair and recommend the perfect shampoo and conditioner in the line for you. If you look at those pretty little bottles, they say on the back that they’re “only guaranteed when sold in a professional salon”. I still haven’t figured out how grocery store chains and department stores are able to sell these products outside of a salon (some manufacturers like Kevin Murphy take great pains to make sure their products only go through a salon), but I know that if you buy something through a salon and don’t love it, they can usually take it back without any kind of penalty and exchange it for something different. And they can do another consultation with you and help you find something perfect!
I hope this advice helps you out and good luck!
Good evening Ms. Kate. I have a one year old son who I’m still breastfeeding. I’ve read your post on hello giggles. I would like to ask if it’s okay for me to undergo hair re-bonding while still breastfeeding? I’m worried my son would ingest the chemicals used during the treatment. I’ve never tried this before and I’d appreciate your advice. All I’ve gone through previously was getting a hair relaxing treatment twice, 2005 and 2010, with an accidental mahogany shade/color during cellophane treatment on 2010. Also, my hair is dry and brittle and some strands fall whenever I brush it, especially while taking a bath.Thank you very much, more power and God bless you.
Hey, friend! Thank you so much for writing in with this question! It sounds like you are very proactive with making sure your son is taken care of and healthy and that is completely admirable! First things first, when it comes to what you can pass through to your child through breastfeeding, I would always check with a doctor before doing. I have done re-bonding treatments since I learned how to in beauty school and I’ve seen various results depending on any medication the client is on and the hair type on which I’m performing. From what I’ve seen, any serious change in the amount of hormones you are or aren’t producing can really change the outcome of the treatment. As a hairdresser, I’d be concerned about this treatment not taking fully or doing something unpredictable just because of your body acting a bit differently while you’re still breastfeeding. Because of that, I just wouldn’t want you to waste your time and money on a treatment that might not take and do what you have paid for it to do.
What I would suggest is to check with your doctor first and verify that this is something you can in fact do. You can even just call and speak with a medical assistant or nurse in the doctor’s office if you need a quicker answer. Then, if they agree it won’t be harmful, I would do a “strand test” with a certified hairdresser to make sure it will take as you’d like it to. This just means your hairdresser will take a small section in the back of your hair and apply the treatment, let it process and determine whether the outcome is suitable or not. This way, you know whether it will be worth it to go ahead and do the whole head. Because you’ve said your hair is already in a brittle state (and I’ve seen this kind of treatment break hair off if left on too long), that would definitely be the best way to go! Good luck with pursuing this treatment and congratulations on your little guy!!
Loved your article and was wondering if you could help me pick what shampoo & conditioner without chemicals is good for fine hair that’s been previously colored. I’d greatly appreciate your response!
Great question and definitely one that I get all the time! I would like to first make the point that very, very few shampoos are made without chemicals. I know some women choose to make their own concoctions and at home and you can find plenty of resources on HelloGiggles that can teach you how to do that if having a chemical-free shampoo is of utmost importance to you!
However, if you are more interested in finding a shampoo and conditioner that is as eco-friendly and harmless as possible, but still works wonders for your hair (which I find the organic options often don’t), then I would steer you to Kevin Murphy’s Angel Wash & Rinse. Kevin Murphy as a brand only creates products with ingredients that have been micro-cultivated through very sustainable practices. Their products are full of antioxidants and essential oils which help deliver nutrients and vitamins to your hair and scalp and they are also certified by PETA as a cruelty-free company. And of course, they are completely sulfate and paraben-free, so I think this line would really give you what you are looking for. Angel Wash & Rinse in particular is great for your hair type because it has hydrolyzed oat proteins that plump and thicken fine hair and green tea leaf extract that helps strengthen damaged or colored hair. This is actually the shampoo that I’ve been using at home in my shower for the past few months and I’m loving how soft and thick my hair is feeling. I think you’d love this one for your hair, too!
Hello! I saw your article on hair color on hello giggles. I have just one question and I really hope you can answer since I really don’t know what to do..
I had very dark brown hair (nearly black) my natural color, I went to the hair colorist and I wanted a light orange-blond. I was totally ok to dye it if necessary since I know my color is very dark, but the hairdresser didn’t think it was necessary. But now I have brown-red hair!! He acknowledged that he did it wrong and I will have another color free. Now I just want to have a light brown or dark blond.
question: I think I need to dye now but can I get rid of the red by dying?
Thank you so much for your attention. I wish you a good day!!!
Hey, what a great question! I’m so sorry you had to go through that unfortunate situation to get to what you are wanting, but I’m very glad you spoke your mind and were able to come to a solution with your hairstylist! I always say that a hairdresser needs to be held accountable if they mess up and it can be a learning opportunity for them and you!
For your hair color, you can read the previous answers I gave to get to the bottom of the chemistry of red in hair. I would advise you to take a look at those answers as well as this segment of 10 Commandments of Hair Color to really understand why red becomes so apparent in certain hair colors and why it’s so difficult to get rid of! And once you’ve gotten that and can move on to figure out the solution to your unique issue, catch up with me here!
In your case, since there was only one poor color job that exposed a harsh red you didn’t want, you have some good options. Now, here’s where the trickiness comes into play… since you started with “virgin” natural hair and got a result you didn’t want, you should just have your stylist perform a “soap cap” or a color remover to get that previous application out and start with your natural base again. I know it sounds taxing, but it’s an easy process that can make your future with color much smoother. If you don’t go this route and just neutralize it, you might end up with a few different applications over a few different appointments to neutralize and that sounds like much more work than you want.
This “soap cap” option is something your stylist does to either pull color out that has recently been placed or it can be used to bump your level of color up by a shade quickly and easily. It’s a mixture that your stylist makes of lightener, developer and shampoo and though it sounds a bit scary, it’s a gentle mixture with the shampoo buffering. Your stylist will put this on and leave it for a just a few minutes until that red has been pulled out as much as possible. Then, they can simply deposit the color you were looking to do: a dark blonde or light brown. And once that color is deposited, you should only really need touch ups to keep your new growth covered and maintained. I would recommend doing this rather than neutralizing out the red because it will save you time and maintenance, you have only one layer of red in your hair so it can be lifted out easily with minimal damage and because you have a chance for the stylist to do this right complimentary, you should go with the most effective option.
I really hope that answer helps you out and make sure to let me know if you need any further help!
Hi Kate, So I found your blog this morning while looking for ways to fix my hair! I would really appreciate your advice… I have naturally brown hair but have box dyed my hair a mix of colours for about 5 years. In the last year I have stuck to a strawberry blonde colour that has lightened my hair slightly more every time. I tried a different colour last night that has turned my hair horribley bright red and slightly patchy! What would you recommend to get it back to my strawberry blonde colour? Or is it a case of go back to my natural colour? I really need to try and fix it ASAP as I have a few work meetings coming up (including tomorrow) and am working until 9 tonight so unable to go to a stylist!Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you soon!
I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to get to your question in time for your meetings, but I hope this answer will still help you nonetheless! First, I just have a general rule of thumb that any crazy color your hair ends up being can be hidden best in a chic, smooth topknot until it can be changed. I know that isn’t a permanent solution, but I’ve had to do that on myself in between color treatments and I find that it helps me still look polished for meetings and such even when my color is a bit “out there”.
When it comes to your color, though, there are a few things going on. First, you have five years of build up under your current hair color, so you have to understand that every time you change your color, you are also working with every pigment that has been on your hair since you began coloring. Obviously some of it has grown out, but all of that permanent color is still underneath and needs to be taken into consideration when making a change. Second, doing that much box color over five years time (because it has much harsher chemicals than salon color) can really cause a drastic change in the porosity of your hair. Porosity is just your hair’s ability to hold water or moisture and your lack of porosity is what you’re seeing when you see those patches. My best guess as to why this happened (without knowing your hair or what exact color you used) is that you used a color that had some redness to it, but because your hair was already lighter than normal and very porous from the box colors, it took to the red very dramatically.
Unfortunately when your hair is in that state, it will do things like this without you knowing it will happen! For a temporary solution (if you are over dealing with the box colors and redness), I would just do an overall darker color that can cover up what you have going on and leave you presentable for future commitments you have going on. However, for a longer term fix, I would probably see a stylist. They can do a few things depending on what you want your overall outcome to be. I would recommend them doing some heavy balayage highlights to begin lifting out those box colors you’ve been using and doing a demi-permanent darker color in between the highlights. This will cover up the red in between re-touches and slowly begin to lift the hair up to your desired strawberry blonde color in the meantime. Then when that color is lifted out of your hair, you’ll be left with your lighter strawberry blonde and you can pretty much take your hair anywhere from that point. And the other major thing I would recommend longer term is getting onto a treatment regimen so that your hair is in optimal condition. This will make it shinier, healthier, bouncier and way less prone to dryness and breakage. Your stylist can recommend something for your specific hair type, but definitely make sure to get on some kind of deep conditioner or masque treatment to start bringing your hair back to a great place. I hope that helps you out and again, I hope those meetings weren’t too scary with your red hair! Confidence can go a long way in situations like that, my friend and I hope you ROCKED it!