Permanent hair color atop temporary hair color: please discuss.
September 5, 2008 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Permanent hair color atop temporary hair color: please discuss.

I used a temporary hair color on Tuesday night, and it's not the right color. I'd like to do something about it this weekend, maybe.

I should start by saying that until a few years ago, I colored my hair (myself, out of the box) for years and years. I'm not terribly afraid of new colors, or having weird color hair days, or any of that. And my hair is very short and very healthy, since it's been natural for a few years. And I really, really don't want to spend salon prices right now, and anyway, I've had better luck achieving the colors I've wanted at home.

So I'm thinking my alternatives, to tame this undesired hair color, are:

1) Wait the "28 washes" that the box says this color will last (and it's red, which is notorious for fading quickly, so it might go faster than that)

2) Use another temporary color over this color, to "fix" it (for the next 28 days)

3) Because I'm still interested in coloring my hair, go ahead and choose a permanent color (perhaps one that I've used before and am familiar with) and go that route

(I should also say that I'm not sure why I chose the temp color. It was a moment of madness, I think. I wanted to color my hair but didn't want to take the time to think about the color I wanted, so I quickly decided on the temporary stuff. There is no other reason why I chose the temp.)

But I've never used a permanent color on top of a temporary color. (I've never used temporary color at all.) What would happen? Would the permanent color maybe not "bind" to my hair as well? I do imagine the results of the permanent color will be influenced by the presence of the temporary color, but for how long? Will the temp color be able to continue washing out? Is this just a Bad Idea?

I'm mostly interested in replies from people who have actually done this. There are a lot of OMG GO TO A SALON FOR HAIR COLOR people out there, and I'm not one of them, so that knee-jerk response won't work on me. (I've ALWAYS done my own color, and my stylists have always gushed over it. They'd have tried to sell me a salon coloring job if they felt they could.)

I've done permanent-over-permanent, but have never used temporary before, so this is new territory for me. I'm not TOTALLY freaked out by the color, but ... I had really hoped it would fade more by now. I'm tired of the whole "Did you change your hair color?" "Yes, but it's not right and I'm changing it" conversation, and I've only been out of the house for 3 hours since Tuesday night. :)
posted by iguanapolitico to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total)
I have layered temporary over permanent and vice versa. I've never noticed much difference from the same shade of permanent over "virgin" hair in the color of the permanent over temporary, but I've always gone darker with the permanent than the temporary. I also never noticed a difference in staying power. However, I've never paid any attention to the rules about when to use what sort of dye, and in the last fifteen years, I've used only shades of red, auburn, and bronzed brown on the natural end of the hair dye spectrum.

I was once able to strip most of a terrible shade of semi-permanent Garnier with about a dozen shampoos, alternating baby shampoo and dish soap, followed up by a VO5 hot oil treatment.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:47 AM on September 5, 2008

Best answer: The temporary is temporary because it didn't have ammonia in the developer, which a permanent color kit will have. So there's nothing about the temporary color that will prevent the permanent color from binding to your hair, although the developer from the second kit will also bind in the temp color that's left. (Even with ammonia though, red still rinses out quickly.)

IANAStylist, but I do color my hair myself, and I've made mistakes along the way. I think you're safe using one of your old trusted colors, as long as it's as dark or darker than the temporary red you used, and you're okay with having a bit of a reddish undertone (which will fade). If you're just adding more color, the only risk you run is ending up too dark. Trying to bleach or go blonde, however, could end in major disaster. I wouldn't try that without getting advice from professionals first. For free expert advice, call the hotline phone# (Clairol, L'Oreal, etc) on the box of one of your coloring kits, or go into a Sally's Beauty and talk to someone there.
posted by junkbox at 11:03 AM on September 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

IANAHairStylist but another one of those "have tried pretty much any experiment with my hair" people. Have definitely had perm over temp (I recently went from green to red and the green was temporary. It turned out fine).

[my answer was longer originally but junkbox pretty much said it all already]
posted by ClarissaWAM at 11:06 AM on September 5, 2008

junkbox nailed it, though I want to emphasize that, since the temporary color is a red, especially, you should go at least a shade darker (and probably stick to the warm side of the color palette). Reds wash out quicker, but they also stick around longer in hair, so anticipate a red cast, regardless, and you should be fine.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:15 AM on September 5, 2008

Response by poster: Firstly, thank you all for your "ain't no thang" replies. That's what I hoped to hear.

Unfortunately, the color I'm looking for is definitely lighter than both my natural color and the temporary red. (But still strawberry blond - not trying to eliminate red entirely.) If you're saying I really shouldn't try that, then I'm inclined to wait til this washes out. (Or, yes, I could call the hotline!)
posted by iguanapolitico at 11:48 AM on September 5, 2008

iguanapolitico, you might get something orangey. If you want to speed up the time to get the temporary dye washed out, try washing with something harsh like dish detergent of one of those Suave deep cleansing shampoos, then deep conditioning daily. It should cut down on the length of time you have to wait for a redye.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:07 PM on September 5, 2008

Hair color remover is readily available at most beauty-supply stores, though it might be hard to find at drugstores.

I like the L'Oreal Hair Color Remover kit more than the Clairol one--those are the only two I've tried.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:59 PM on September 5, 2008

I once screwed up my own hair with a permanent dye that turned out horribly orange and brassy. I freaked out for awhile about whether to cover it with a darker permanent dye, but had the same questions you do. Instead, a friend pointed me in the direction of Aveda, where I picked up a bottle of this stuff. They take a bottle of the base shampoo and add whatever color and scent you pick out. (It does deposit a tiny amount of color on your hair with every wash, but it's not enough to outright dye your hair, just accentuate or cancel out what's already there. Basically, it comes with the caveat that you just want to use it every second or third washing or so, not every time, so as not to affect how future dye jobs will take.)

I got blue shampoo with a bit of brown, to cancel out the orange in my naturally brown hair. Obviously, you'd want something else for your own situation, and if you don't know hair color theory (I sure don't), I'm sure they'll know what you should do to get things to even out toward what you wanted in the first place. The stuff seriously worked like a dream for me. I washed my hair with it exactly once and it went from freakout-brassy-orange to a really nice copper that hairstylists cooed over as something I ought to keep up. I've used a red version more recently, to keep my red-dyed hair from fading too quickly, and it helped a lot with that as well. If you're considering just washing your hair over and over anyway and if you have an Aveda salon/store near you, you might as well try a shampoo that color corrects at the same time, but without going to the lengths of another actual dye.
posted by adiabat at 3:34 PM on September 5, 2008

Been there. I used a dishwashing soap as shampoo and washed my hair 4-5 times in the shower. Like, wash it, rinse. Wash it, rinse. Etc and so on. Dishwashing soap is pretty harsh on your hair, and will get as much of the temp stuff out as possible.

All four times i've done this in the 16 years I've been dying my hair since age 12 have turned out a-okay. And if in doubt, call the hotline.
posted by damnjezebel at 7:58 PM on September 6, 2008

Response by poster: Hey! If anybody still cares (oh, I do hope somebody still cares, please please?):

Here's the complete story of What Ended Up Happening:

1) I used the temporary color that ended up being TOO RED

2) I posted this post

3) I did a lot of washing with things like dish soap, to little discernible avail.

4) So I picked up a "permanent" but ammonia-free brand of hair color that is billed as being very gentle and all that. The color was a warm brown -- it had a hint of auburn, but was basically "brunette", not "redhead". Even though I ultimately wanted a strawberry blond result (don't ask why I started out with a temp color ... I have no answer), I figured this might tame my manecolor, just so I could stop slicking my hair back in a wet-look headband every day. (Which helped, but was annoying.)

But anyway. I did that, and it barely changed the color, but barely changed it *just enough* that I could have lived with it.

5) Regardless, a couple days later I decided that, what the heck, I was going to just go ahead and try to achieve the light blond/red color that I wanted. So I picked up some warm blond. This was regular, permanent, ammonia-laden hair color, and it was BLOND. I don't think I've gone blond since high school.

The result is what you'll see in my profile pic. It really worked for my complexion and all that. ("All that" meaning my yearly Vegas trip, for which I was trying to look stunning.)

Then I got back to Chicago and the weather turned autumn-like, and I got out of my hot summer blond mood, and the color started fading to a more orangey thing that I don't remember well enough to describe, and worst of all, my roots started growing in and my natural roots looked HORRIBLE up against the orangey thing, and so:

6) I picked up a darker auburn, like the color I used to use years ago, and used it to go darker (near the "darkness" quality of my natural color) and so now I'm a darker-auburn-head, and I like it.

In the end, I ended up coloring my hair 4 times over about 5 weeks, and my previously-natural hair is not as soft as it used to be. On the upside, I have gobs and gobs of the deep conditioner that come with the hair coloring kits, so I deep condition it at least once or twice a week, and it's perfectly fine. Not like it used to be, but nobody would know if I hadn't just gone from 0 to 4 colors in a short time.

So that's that. Thanks!
posted by iguanapolitico at 4:38 PM on October 30, 2008

Response by poster: P.S. Thanks for the other suggestions, which I may refer to again in the future. This time I chose the just-color-it-some-more route, but next time I may not.
posted by iguanapolitico at 4:41 PM on October 30, 2008

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