I like to change up my hair color. It is naturally a dark brown but it pulls to a deep red easily. Awhile ago I tried out the L’oreal Excellence HiColor hair color in some bright red shades. It was wonderful. I did not have to pre-lighten my hair, there was not a lot of fading, I did not have to wash my hair in cold water and I never had stains on my clothing. Then I tried to use it again last fall. It was disastrous: every time I showered I got red dye everywhere, my towels were severely stained red/pink, and worst of all the color bled onto my shirts. I have ceased all use of bright red hair dye.
Unless my intention is to go full-on red I do not want to add red/brassiness to my color. Stubbornly, after cutting off 1 1/2 inches of hair, I decided I needed to place highlights in my hair. I KNEW what this meant: bright orange/red highlights. I was well prepared for the clowntastic hairdo I achieved after highlighting my hair. To kick it up a notch I even pre-lightened my full head. 🙂
It sounds terrible but I had a plan to combat the orange mess I would create: ashy, neutral hair color. Ion Color Brilliance makes a line of intense neutrals that are double pigmented and I picked some up in 8nn (Only bleach will lift your hair several levels; hair color does not lift hair color.) So after bleaching & lightening, I deposited ash color on top. At first it was too ashy. I knew it would lighten up but I got impatient–so I washed my hair with a mixture of baking soda and Dawn dish soap. I let it sit on my hair for 10 minutes before rinsing (and then conditioning!) This brought my hair to a nice medium brown with ashy blonde highlights. Coloring your hair yourself can be a lot of work–mostly in the color correction department. Luckily I love my hair color and if it gets too brassy I will simply use a toner on it to cool down the orange-y color. I highly recommend the Ion Intense Neutrals line!
**If you are thinking of lifting your hair more than a couple of levels (be honest–are you going for blonde??) you should definitely go to a professional. They have the proper training & expertise to lighten, tone, and correct. Major changes typically have to be done in steps and unless you don’t care about losing length, I would beg you to consult a hair stylist! I was trying to achieve a medium ashy brown with cool highlights & I used a level 8 hair color to tone my pre-lightened hair. That level 8 (blonde) hair dye did not lift my hair to a level 8 color–that would have required multiple bleaching sessions. A hair stylist will be better prepared to lift hair to a blonde color with less damage than just stripping your hair repeatedly.
**** Ion Color Brilliance is available at Sally Beauty for $5.49. I used a 20 volume developer to apply it.