Blondes have more fun?
August 16, 2013 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Is there a trick to maintaining blonde hair when your natural hair is a medium to dark brown?

On a whim, last month I dyed my hair blonde. I ended up dying it twice over (with the same bottle) because the first time I did it, it wasn't light enough. It turned out really nice, and actually, IMO, looks better on me than my natural colour, which is a medium to dark golden brown.

Tonight I tried to touch up the roots (my hair grows VERY quickly) and there is a such a stark difference between my previously dyed hair and my now-dyed roots -- there's a visible line. I dyed over it again, like I did the first time, but my roots are still several shades lighter than the rest of my hair. It's bad enough that I'm going to have to back to the shop tomorrow and buy a slightly darker colour to cover all over.

This is the first time since I've done anything like this. Is there something I'm missing when it comes to touching up your roots? Or is trying to maintain blonde hair without a salon impossible when your natural colour is much darker? I'm very disappointed how this turned out given that I look so good with blonde hair.
posted by toerinishuman to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Number one, your hair is too dark for the 20 volume peroxide in box at home color kits. You can buy a large bottle of 40 volume for cheap at a beauty supply and swap that in at the same amount you get with the box kit.

You can fix this yourself by re-dying your roots using 40 vol peroxide + the same toner, pulling the color through to the ends for the last 2 min. But just this once, you should go to a salon and let them fix this.

I don't do my roots any more because I always miss spots and those half-dyed bands throughout your hair look trashy and sloppy as they grow out.
posted by jbenben at 3:07 PM on August 16, 2013

Hair color takes faster at the roots due to the heat of your head. So when you bleach your roots you have to leave it on for much less time than you might've needed with the rest of your hair.
posted by ch1x0r at 3:07 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

My hair is a brown to dark brown, and I've been dyeing it blonde for 30 years or so. At home or in a salon, 40 volume peroxide for at least 45 minutes is necessary to get proper lift.

In fact, I've never had it take less than 45 minutes for the color to lift when getting my roots done.

I have had stylists apply caps and/or put me under a dryer to boost the heat, and therefore, the bleaching power of the peroxide.

Don't leave the dye on your roots for a shorter amount of time then specified in the direction unless you want even more half-dyed spots in your hair!

Do be careful to keep the dye on your roots and not too far up on the already colored hair. You can spot check periodically until you get the desired lift in color.

But really, just this once, get this fixed at a salon.

Good luck!
posted by jbenben at 3:17 PM on August 16, 2013

I've never tried to maintain my unnatural blonde hair anywhere but at a salon. My real color is medium-to-dark brown (or was, I think I am mostly gray now) and it's really hard to lighten dark hair yourself and get a good result.

I make it easier on my hair by having highlights: my base color is "caramel brown with butterscotch highlights" so that the light color is streaked throughout. It makes my roots less obvious and it looks more natural. My hairdresser uses a process that doesn't fry my hair - blonde has come a long way from the 80's.

If you are going to do any kind of drastic color change, especially going much lighter or darker, I think it's best done at a salon if at all possible.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:33 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I agree with the above poster. I have naturally medium brown hair but fair skin, and I get highlights every 10-12 weeks. This allows me not only to not have to worry about roots, but also allows me to go blonder or less blonde depending on how I'm feeling each salon visit. It's a great way to mix it up or experiment with different shades. Highlights also tend to look better on most people as they are more natural looking and can incorporate several shades.
posted by emily37 at 5:00 PM on August 16, 2013

My stylist does a sort of stagger of highlights rather than all over color. This means there is not a solid "grow out" line. Believe me, having been a bottle blonde before, getting a professional to do my hair with Aveda blonde stuff is WAAAAYYYY worth the money. My hair is no longer brittle and looks awesome.

I only get it done maybe every 6-8 weeks. It is about $100 each time, but money well spent. Plus they give me wine at my salon ;-)
posted by sio42 at 8:02 PM on August 16, 2013

My natural color is the darkest brown you can be, before you have black hair.

I found that the summer I went blonde that the easiest way to do it was to dye my hair a butterscotch color, then frost the hell out of it. Then a root touch up, then all I've butterscotch and frosting again.

After a while I gave up. It wa too hard to maintain.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:58 AM on August 17, 2013

Thanks for everyone's help! I finally managed to get my hair an even colour by first dying over it with a red semi-permanent dye and then a light brown permanent one. It's not a colour I like but it'll be fine for 6 weeks or so, and at least the band's gone! I think the general upkeep and the risk of sloppiness is too great for me to try blonde again, but maybe next time I'll try a brown a shade or two lighter.
posted by toerinishuman at 5:43 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

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