Oops! I got My Hair Color too Dark! Now What?

Hair Color Too Dark

Hair Color Too DarkHair color too dark? Here’s how to fix it.

Any time hair coloring goes wrong – it’s devastating! And it’s not unusual to end up with a hair color much darker than you expected. But when it happens to you, you need help fast! If you’ve got your hair color too dark and need some quick do-it-yourself fixes, one or more of these tips should do the trick.


If you used a semi or demi-permanent hair color, your first course of action should be to use a strong shampoo, one with a higher PH level than normal cleansers. Try a clarifying shampoo, any shampoo that contains sulfates, or any strong detergent shampoo like Prell or Pert. Lather up your strands twice and on the second round, let it sit in your hair for 10-15 minutes before rinsing. These shampoos are more aggressive than the average shampoo, so always follow it up with a conditioner. Repeat once if needed, but for healthier results, let your hair rest a day or two between washings.

Tide detergent can also be used as a shampoo. Mix a small amount with water to make a paste, add a bit of regular shampoo and work into hair. Let it sit in your hair for 10 minutes or so, rinse and condition.

Oxidative Hair Color Removers

These revolutionary products are formulated to remove artificial pigments without the use of bleach. That means they are gentle to the hair and they won’t remove the natural pigment from your hair. By a process of what they call “reverse oxidation,” large color pigments, which were deposited in the hair when it was dyed, are shrunk small enough to be washed out of the hair.

These products are more effective at removing permanent hair color than semi-permanent color. They are formulated to target oxidative dyes which permanent hair color consists of, whereas semi-permanent hair color has a combination of oxidative and direct dyes. Everyone’s hair dilemma is different, so read customer reviews on sites like Amazon.com; to get a clearer picture on what you can expect.

Hair color too darkColor Oops

Hair color too dark

Vanish Color Corrector

Hair color too dark

One n’ Only Colorfix


Consumer hotlines

Take a look at the back of the box of color for an 800-help line. Be prepared to tell the hair color specialist any artificial pigments that may be still present on your hair. Your hair grows approximately ½ inch per month so include any colors you’ve used for the possible age of your hair. Here are a few of the main hair care lines:

Clairol — 800-223-5800

L’Oreal — 800-631-7358

Revlon — 800-4Revlon


Soap-bleach shampoo cocktail

This process includes the use of bleach, but in a much gentler form, and it is an effective way of lifting color out of hair.

Combine one packet of bleach powder with 2 oz. of shampoo. (Add a bit of water if needed for longer hair.) Work through the ends or where hair is the darkest being careful not to cover new growth or virgin hair. It will lift pigment from your natural hair color too. Watch for hair turning lighter as the old pigment is removed and rinse when it appears light enough. It’s better to wash it out early. You can repeat the process as needed.

It can be tricky getting an even tone throughout your hair and knowing the right color to apply in order to get it to the color you desired in the first place. You may or may not need to color it after the shampoo cocktail. If you have doubts, it’s best to consult with a colorist so not to do any further damage.

How to prevent getting hair color too dark in the future

Learning to read a chart of hair colors is a good place to start. Don’t use a permanent hair color when a semi or demi-permanent color will do. These types of dyes are gentler and more forgiving. Additionally, stay within 1 or 2 levels of your natural hair color when coloring your own hair, and leave all else to the professionals.