If you’re living in hair bleach regret, don’t panic and don't be so hard on yourself. At-home box dye is a tricky business and there are many reasons it could have gone wrong - from not following the instructions to choosing the wrong colour or brand for your hair type.
But just as there are many risks en route to the perfect bleached hairstyle there are also many solutions when it goes wrong. Here’s our guide on how to fix badly bleached hair.
Why the Hair is Badly Bleached
Before we can get into solving the problem, it’s important to get to the root issues and figure out where things went wrong.
Salon Hair Bleaching
Firstly, are we dealing with an at-home dye job or did you visit a salon? When it comes to bleaching we would always recommend going to see a trusted expert in hair colour. Bleaching is an aggressive process that can not only leave you with an undesirable look if things go awry, but it can also seriously damage your hair if not done correctly.
Always go to a hairstylist who has proven experience (and great testimonials) for bleaching specifically and you can even find whole hair salons now that are dedicated to bleaching - so you know they know their stuff. Bleaching your hair at home may be cheaper, but at what cost? If you have to spend time and money correcting a DIY error, you might regret not going to the professionals in the first place!
Of course, if you’ve been done dirty by your stylist and your badly bleached hair is down to them - go back straight away and ask for it to be corrected. But, if you know the bleach is on your hands (literally and figuratively) then think about what could have gone wrong.
At Home Hair Bleaching
The golden rule of getting golden locks with an at-home bleaching kit is to read the instructions thoroughly - even the fine print. Many hair-bleaching disasters could be easily avoided with a quick double-check of the leaflet that comes in the kit! For example, if you don’t leave the bleach on long enough (it usually takes 45 minutes to an hour) or if you don’t use enough bleach, you could get a look you weren’t bargaining for.
Most kits also come with a colour guide that gives you an indication of the impact the bleach will have on your natural hair colour - and they are usually pretty honest (and accurate). If your hair is very dark, the bleach can make it go orange or red, so double-check before you die!
The other error is that you might not have mixed the bleach properly, which could have made it too strong or even lumpy, making it impossible to get an even application. An uneven application of bleach might also be down to how you sectioned your hair. The vast majority of at-home bleach kits will recommend you apply the bleach to small sections of your hair. If your hair is looking uneven or streaky it might be because your sections were too large!
However your hair bleaching disaster - there is a way out! Time for some solutions…
Read the Instructions and Try Again
Now, this is one of the most simple solutions but it won’t work in all cases! If you’re dealing with a full blown streaky, bleach nightmare - then skip to our next tip...
However, if the colour is just a bit off, or it’s a little bit patchy, it might be worth having another go at bleaching. Read the instructions very carefully and take your time following each step. A seemingly small and totally innocent mistake can completely alter the final look of your bleach.
Things to look out for second time around:
- Make sure you leave the bleach on for the correct time - nothing more and nothing less!
- Be careful when mixing your bleach. If your kit involves peroxide, make sure you have the correct the ratio else the bleach could be too intense or not strong enough
- As we mentioned earlier - don’t rush the sectioning of your hair! Use small sections that you can ensure are coated evenly and take your time!
If after this you’re still not happy, it might be time to try a different hair colour brand. Different at-home bleaches have different levels of peroxide in them, so this could be why you’re not seeing the results you’re after. Once you’ve found a brand that works for you - stay loyal!
Re-Dye the Hair a Darker Colour
Now, we understand you might be a bit nervous to put more dye on your hair after your bleaching disaster. However, dyeing your hair a darker colour is the fastest way to resolve badly bleached hair. This is an especially good option if your hair was dark to begin with and the bleach has turned it orange, yellow or green! You may have to give up your blonde dreams for now, but going back closer to your natural dark hair colour is surely a much better option than hiding your hair under a hat for weeks?
We would highly recommend going to a salon to get this done, as they will understand the complexities of dyeing bleached hair. When you bleach your hair you strip it of its natural pigments, which means it won’t react to dye in the same way. Dye can come out darker than you would assume and you may need to use a protein filler. Speak to your stylist and be sure you’re choosing the right colour and products for you.
If you do need to use an at-home kit - take all of the above advice into consideration. Triple check you’re happy with the colour and read instructions carefully.
Once you're back to an even, darker base colour, there’s no reason you can’t keep evolving your look with a new colour from there. However, your hair health is probably not going to be at its best after two rounds of intense colouring. We’d recommend giving it a bit of a break and lots of TLC (think moisturising hair masks and limited exposure to heat styling) so it can recover.
Opt for a Toning Shampoo
A toning shampoo can be a surprisingly simple way to address a less than desirable bleach job. They are designed to neutralise any unwanted orange, yellow or green tints that have been left by the bleach, so if that’s what you’re struggling with, it’s definitely worth a try. You can even use it if you have redyed your hair a darker colour and still aren't 100% happy.
Toning shampoos may be more expensive than your regular product, but if it can save you from another trip to the salon (or that horrible lack of confidence that comes with a bad hair day) we think it's worth the investment.
Also, make sure you don’t get mixed up between a toning shampoo and a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoos are great for removing build up and giving your hair and scalp a really good cleanse, but that won’t save your badly bleached hair. Toning shampoos have a specific colour correcting pigment in them that will take your hair back closer to its original shade - just the thing you need.
So, hopefully we’ve brought your panic about going platinum down a notch. We would always recommend getting your hair coloured at a salon if bleaching is the way you want to go - and especially if you need a post bleach correction - but if you’re intent on doing it yourself be careful out there. Read the instructions carefully, find the right brand for you and have a toning shampoo on hand in case things turn a little orange!