Dye my red (really red) hair brown
August 12, 2010 1:16 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to dye fire-engine red hair brown?

I got my naturally dark brown hair bleached, and then dyed with a Special Effects red that is slowly washing out. I need my hair to be brown again in about two weeks. I've read things about protein filler, or dying red, then brown. I'm not sure what effect my washing out hair dye will have. Do I need to go to a salon or can I do it myself? And what's the best way? (Or, if salon, can any salon do it, or just the ones that are used to dying extreme colors?)
posted by Margalo Epps to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total)
With SE Red in your hair, I'd be wary to do it myself, personally. Then again, I am very conservative when it comes to chemicals and my hair, and I don't even do my own Special Effects dying on my own, so YMMV. I'd go to a pro. Much easier than ending up with orange hair.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:30 PM on August 12, 2010

Do a test strand with a lock and the store-bought dye, to see if that's an option, if only because if it works you can save some dough that way. However I think most people working in even regular salons have some experience with experimental hair, so you could probably get away with going to a chain, if you like.
posted by lhall at 2:01 PM on August 12, 2010

Anecdata: I bleached out SE from this to this (that green is about six or eight months old at that point) in three consecutive bleachings, using Manic Panic-brand bleach and no toner. The third one hurt like hell and I was peeling off chunks of dead scalp for the next few days. However, my hair is preternaturally strong.
posted by griphus at 2:12 PM on August 12, 2010

I would recommend going to a salon. I have a long history of destroying my own hair, and I'm pleased to say that I have beautiful hair now. Definitely seek professional help. Your hair will thank you.
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:44 PM on August 12, 2010

I've had practically a lifetime history of dyeing my hair various colors, and for a long time forgot what my natural color looked like. And I've had to cut my hair off several times due to botched at-home dye jobs (or, once, getting a perm over bleach, which the hairdresser conveniently forgot to tell me was A Very Bad Idea). And I tried to dye my fire-engine red hair dark brown once and it came out a sort of burgundy-pinky-orange. Ugh! So...

I strongly suggest going to a pro - not just any hairdresser, but a GOOD one who won't just do what you tell him/her because you are paying. Get recommendations from friends or online or (seriously) from random women whose hair looks lovely. (IME most people are flattered to be approached and eagerly volunteer the name of their salon.) Professionals see botched/regretted hair color all the time and have salon-only tricks and techniques to correct hair color without turning your hair green or frying it to death.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:16 PM on August 12, 2010

Thanks, that was very helpful. I've booked an appointment at a salon downtown, that understands bright colors.
posted by Margalo Epps at 11:04 AM on August 13, 2010

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