How To Fix Your Too-Dark At-Home Hair Dye Job

It's everyone's worst nightmare: you make an attempt to dye your hair at home instead of going to the salon, and you completely botch the task at hand. If you were trying to shift to a darker color, you might be in even more trouble, as hair lightening is typically associated with damage. However, not all hope is lost, even if you're cringing at the thought of seeing your stylist and admitting your mistake. In fact, it may be possible to revive your hair in your own home.

That being said, it helps to understand why the mistake occurred in the first place in order to avoid it in the future. The amount of moisture your hair naturally retains plays a large role in how it absorbs color. If you've bleached, routinely colored, or regularly applied heat to your locks, you might have more porous hair than others. However, your hair may also just naturally be porous. In any of these cases, dye will likely be absorbed and processed more quickly by your hair — going darker won't be a problem for you (until, of course, it is).

Color build-up can also contribute to at-home dye jobs with darker results than intended. This might especially be the case if you've had dye applied to your hair in layers over time. All of this being said, here are some suggestions for fixing your latest hair accident.

Lightening darkened hair with simple ingredients

One of the easiest ways you can fix your too-dark hair dye job is by washing your locks. Shampoo, specifically, can help bleed the color out of your hair — and the trick can be even more effective if you use a clarifying shampoo. This type of product is designed to deeply cleanse your hair and scalp, removing excess oil and dirt. However, it also doubles as the perfect solution for fixing a dark dye job, as it is known for color fading.

To take this tip one step further, you might even want to consider adding crushed vitamin C tablets to your clarifying shampoo before use — these are the same vitamin C tablets you can find in the nutritional supplement aisle. The acidity of vitamin C is what helps break down the dye in your hair (via Lange Hair). In combination with a cleansing shampoo, you can potentially lighten your locks dramatically in the comfort of your own home.

If you don't have vitamin C on hand, try turning to your kitchen cabinet and grabbing the baking soda. In combination with dandruff shampoo, you can lighten your dyed tresses. Simply mix equal parts of both ingredients together, and allow the solution to rest in your hair for about five minutes. Rinse it out afterward, and repeat the process daily until you see the results you desire.

Using color remover to lighten your hair

If you're skeptical about the potential of vitamin C, baking soda, or clarifying shampoo for lightening your hair, there's one more option to consider — color remover. Depending on who you ask, it might be the worst possible product you could use, or it could be a lifesaver. If you're willing to give it a try, there are a few things you should know before diving into the process.

Sometimes referred to as color eraser, color remover works similar to bleach, entering your hair shafts to break down dye. However, it is not designed to eliminate the natural color of your locks, meaning you don't have to worry about losing that hue. Many color removers can also be used more than once if your hair isn't as light as you want after the first run. However, it's worth noting that color removers typically have little or no effect on semi-permanent and direct dyes — if you used one of these to darken your hair, you'll need to check in with your stylist to go lighter.

Many people turn to hair bleach in an attempt to reverse a dark dye job gone wrong. While this can certainly lighten your locks, even if you've used semi-permanent or direct dye, hair bleach is notorious for the damage it can cause. Contact a professional stylist if you're unsure of how to lighten your hair in a safe way.