And this time on myself! The main purpose of this post is to really document and highlight how much work really goes into color corrections, even ones that seem “simple,” and to stress how important it is to make sure you’re informed and prepared for what’s going to go into a correction.
The first thing you might wonder is what exactly makes something a color correction? At first thought, you may imagine someone who tried to lighten their hair at home by themselves and ended up with a tragedy. That’s absolutely one type of color correction, and one I’ve fixed more than once. Something you may not realize is definitely a color correction (even when the first color was done properly) is going from dark to light.
The journey from dark hair to light hair is one that must be undertaken with patience. I wrote about the basics of that journey here and also documented another major transformation I got to do late last year. Realistically any major color change needs to be approached as a correction, particularly once you get vibrant colors involved.
Let me tell you what we have going on today.
Starting a few months after having my daughter in 2019, I switched to a heavy highlight from an all over root touchup for my vivid colors for a softer line as it grew out and took me way longer than it should have to get back in. I maintained that for quite a while, and then got an urge to go back to being lighter all over.
The first thing I tried doing was removing my previous color. Thanks to an experiment I ran earlier this year testing out different reds, in addition to waiting too long like always between highlights, I had quite a challenge. The goal, for me, is always to get to an even canvas for fashion colors. That also tends to be a really nice silvery blonde. Stage 1, which I unfortunately don’t have any photos of, left me with a lot of banding. Serves me right for trying something new (looking at you, highlift color). Side, note, highlift color is actually a really great tool, but my starting level was too dark to get the results I needed, so really that was my fault. I left that session with one section on the top lifted a second time and covered with a bright orange, and a darker steely glaze on everything else.
I waited a while longer so it would fade out some, and tried to tone my problem areas myself. This was sort of a mixed bag. The toner did neutralize some of the brassy banding, buuuuuuuuut it also ended up way dark in some spots, so I caved and for simplicity’s sake (and my hair’s health) I glazed all of it with that darker blue color and called it a day. A few weeks later I put a green on everything just to keep some intentional looking color in there.
At the beginning of October, my suitemate was kind enough to apply lightener at my roots and DDL (Direct Dye Lifter) on my previous color so I could start seriously on this journey again.
As you can see, some progress was made. Had I been thinking about fully documenting from the beginning, I’d have had better pictures than showing fit and placement of my new hair clips. Two weeks later, I did another round of DDL on the ends, hoping to lift the color more. It’s really hard to tell, but there is some difference between that first application and the second, pictured below.
Giving it a few more days to rest and do some treatments, I went back in with lightener from about an inch away from my scalp through the ends, let it sit about 5 minutes, applied to my scalp, waited another 15-20 minutes before washing it out and applying a toner to my somewhat damp hair. Was this the best thing to have done to my hair? Probably not, I definitely had some breakage because I forgot the Olaplex at the salon and did this myself at home. But I was also able to cut off a lot of the damage myself, and I’m a lot closer to my original goal, which means I probably have to make up my mind on a color soon.
The other big piece of this is the time commitment involved. That first session of root lift and DDL took just under 2 hours from start to finish, and that was without a true toner. The second application of DDL on just my ends was another hour. That last session with a targeted lightener application and a full toner? Another almost 3 hours. To have gone from the first picture to the last picture in a salon would have been easily a 6-8 hour process, assuming my hair could handle all of that work in one visit (spoiler, it couldn’t), and this wasn’t an overly complicated process in the grand scheme of color corrections.
This is why any major color change needs to start with a consultation. It’s important to me that we’re both on the same page as far as the results you can expect based on your budget, and also based on your starting point and the amount of maintenance you feel like you can handle.
Don’t forget to subscribe for more articles delivered right to your inbox, and follow along on social media!