What To Do If Hair Dye Is Too Dark | 6 Easy Methods To Tone Down Dark Hair Color

What To Do If Hair Dye Is Too Dark | 6 Easy Methods To Tone Down Dark Hair Color

Here's what to do if hair dye is too dark! Follow these easy natural methods that help tone down hair color without using chemical hair color remover or bleach.

It's happened to everyone with a penchant for DIY beauty projects; I've also gone and accidentally dyed my hair too dark. It's a major source of frustration, having envisioned a new vibrant hue but ending up a few shades (or more) darker. 

Not to worry, there are some steps you can take to correct your hair color and make it look the way you'd intended! 




What To Do If Hair Dye Is Too Dark

We asked our medical reviewer Dr Bhavika, what are the effects of using hair dye and removing hair dye as it's too dark. Here's what she had to say.

  • According to Dr Bhavika, "Hair dye can come out too dark if you use the wrong shade or use too much dye on small amount of hair."
  • "This can be prevented by choosing a hair shade that won't oxidize too much after application and by adding the right ratio of dye and developer."
  • She also adds, "For hair dye that is too dark, you can use natural remedies like baking soda hair mask, washing hair with apple cider vinegar, using lemon juice on hair, etc. to lighten it."
  • Dr Bhavika also said, "Washing hair with sulfate-based shampoos can also remove hair dye leaving it lighter. But this might leave hair dye too."
  • She finishes off by warning that "For stubborn permanent hair dyes you can try a bleach bath which is basically rinsing hair with water with diluted bleach in it."

Read on to discover the best methods to rectify dark-dyed hair – highlighting the things to do, and more importantly, the things to avoid. So use these tips to learn how to lighten hair that is too dark!



Use A Paste Of Lemon and Baking Soda To Remove Hair Color

lemon to lighten hair dye  and What To Do If Hair Dye Is Too Dark

Mix baking soda with a few drops of lemon juice to make a paste. Apply the paste to the hair, focusing on the dyed parts. 

Let the paste sit for 20-30 minutes and then rinse it off with a deep conditioner and warm water. 

The acidic nature of lemon combined with the abrasive properties of baking soda will remove excess dye pigments in a jiffy. 

Rinse Hair With Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can also be used to lighten hair. Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a bowl. 

Apply the mixture to the dyed parts and leave it on for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Just like with lemon apple cider vinegar is also very acidic and can help lighten some hair color. 

Use A Purple Shampoo or Toning Treatment

Try a deep conditioning treatment with a purple or blue shampoo. These contain violet and blue pigments, which will counteract the orange tones of the too-dark dye. 

Let the toning and lightening shampoo sit for five to ten minutes and then rinse it out with warm water.

Lighten Hair With a Bleach Bath

If your hair is still too dark, opt for a professional lightening service. A stylist can use a lightener or bleach that is designed for hair color correction and will help remove the dark dye safely and effectively. 

Yes, you can bleach your hair or do a bleach bath at home, however, if it’s for lightening hair dye and not just lightening hair for dye applications, I suggest going to a professional. 

can bleach bath lighten hair color

Wash Hair With Clarifying Shampoo

Shampoo your hair several times to help fade the color a little bit. Try using a color-safe shampoo specifically designed for your hair type and color. 

But if you’re in a hurry washing hair with a strong, clarifying shampoo (yes, one with sulfates in it!) can help remove most of hair dye in on wash. 

I have washed hair with Head and Shoulders shampoo during times of a hair dye crisis like this and it has worked like a charm! Just don't overdo it or forget to use conditioner. Your hair might end up very dry if you do. 

Post-Dye Treatments

Products such as shampoos, conditioners, and masks specifically designed to help lighten hair are also a great option. If using any products containing bleach or lightener, follow the instructions carefully and keep an eye on the results.

How do I stop my hair dye from becoming too dark

Nobody wants to end up with hair dye that's been applied too darkly and gives an unfortunate result. 

To avoid this beauty blunder and achieve that salon-perfect colour, it’s important to take extra care before you apply. 

Firstly, always do a patch test 48 hours in advance to ensure you’re not allergic to the product and that it won’t cause irritation. 

This will also give you an idea of the output colour of the hair dye. If the patch test is darker than you’d like, maybe opt for a shade lighter next time. 

Adding an extra step to your hair dyeing routine can also help. Diluting the mixture with a couple of tablespoons of a clarifying shampoo can help to lighten the shade and provide better control of the output colour. 

You could also choose an ammonia-free and toxin-free product that’s formulated to deposit more colour than it lifts, to provide more subtle, gradual results. 

And if you have naturally dark hair and are aiming for an ashy blonde, getting a professional colourist to apply a balayage lightener may be a better route to prevent drastic results.

Lastly, colourists agreed that it’s better to apply a colour that’s slightly lighter since re-dyeing for a darker colour is always possible. 

As always, proceed with caution; don’t take risks and perform that patch test to prepare yourself for perfect results.

how to prevent hair dye from getting too dark

Does hair dye lighten after a few days

Once you've dyed your hair, it can be an agonizing wait to see how the new color looks after it's fully settled in. 

You may be worried that your hair dye is too dark and you'll have to live with a color you don't like for a while. So the question many people have is, does hair dye lighten after a few days?

Unfortunately, generally speaking the answer is not a simple yes or no. Whether or not your hair dye will lighten after a few days largely depends on the type of product you've used and your base hair color. 

If you used a semi-permanent dye, the results will likely appear even less harsh over time, as the product's pigment molecules are smaller than those in a permanent dye, and therefore penetrate the hair shaft more lightly. 

On the other hand, permanent dyes contain larger and more intense molecules which will not fade much after the initial application. 

Also, depending on the color you started with, it’s possible that lightening can occur. You see, lighter hair colors will naturally allow more light to pass through, while darker shades require longer processing time to allow the color to penetrate deeper. 

If you had a relatively light or bleached base to start with and dyed your hair with a permanent dye, your results may naturally lighten as time passes.

The bottom line is that it is hard to predict if your hair dye will lighten after a few days. Ultimately, it depends on what type of dye you used as well as your base hair color. 

If you don’t want to wait it out and want to lighten up the color faster, consider consulting with a professional stylist on the best way to do this, so you can end up with a color you love rather than a disaster.


How do I make my dark brown hair dye an ash brown color

If you've ever made the mistake of going a few shades darker than you intended, you know it can be extremely difficult to get it back to the color you wanted. Fear not though, as there are a few things you can do to make the dark brown hair dye an ash brown color.

The first step you should take is to get a clarifying shampoo. This will help to strip the extra dark dye from your hair and bring it back towards your desired shade.

 Make sure to use it sparingly though, as using too much can leave your hair dry and brittle. For best results, try to use this shampoo twice a week.

The next step is to apply a semi-permanent ash brown hair dye to your hair. This type of dye works great for fixing any mistakes made in your original shade selection, as well as adding depth to your look. 

When applying, focus mostly on the roots of your hair, and make sure to keep the thickness of the color even.

Finally, leave the dye in for the recommended amount of time and then rinse it out with cold water. 

How To Lighten Permanent Hair Color That Is Too Dark

I have discussed in my article above some natural methods that can help tone down hair dye that is too dark. But not all of them can work on permanent hair color. So what do you do to lighten permanent hair dye, well read on.

Lightening permanent hair color that has turned out darker than desired can be a bit challenging, but it's possible with the right approach. Here are several methods you can use to lighten dark hair color:

  1. Clarifying Shampoo: Start by washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo. These shampoos are designed to remove product buildup and some color. While it may not dramatically lighten your hair, it can help fade the color slightly over time.
  2. Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with Baking Soda: Mix an anti-dandruff shampoo with baking soda to form a paste. Apply this mixture to your hair, focusing on the areas with the dark color. Leave it on for about 15-20 minutes before rinsing. Baking soda can help strip some color, but it can be drying, so use a deep conditioner afterward.
  3. Vitamin C Treatment: Crush vitamin C tablets (about 10-15) into a fine powder and mix it with a small amount of clarifying or anti-dandruff shampoo to form a paste. Apply it to your hair, leave it on for 30-60 minutes, and then rinse. The acidity of vitamin C can help remove color molecules.
  4. Color Remover: Consider using a color remover product designed to remove artificial color. Follow the instructions carefully, as these products can be harsh on the hair. They work by shrinking the color molecules, making it easier to wash them out.
  5. Bleach Bath: If you're comfortable using bleach, you can try a bleach bath. Mix a mild bleach with a developer and shampoo, creating a diluted mixture. Apply it to the areas with the dark color and monitor it closely. This method can be effective, but it's also the riskiest, so be cautious and don't leave it on for too long.
  6. Consult a Professional: If your hair color is extremely dark or if you're unsure about trying these methods at home, it's best to consult a professional colorist. They can assess your hair and provide a safe and effective solution, which may include color correction or highlights to blend the color.

Remember that the final result depends on your hair's current condition, the color you're trying to remove, and the products you use. It's important to be patient and gentle with your hair during this process, as over-processing can lead to damage. Always follow up with a deep conditioning treatment to restore moisture and maintain the health of your hair.

How to lighten hair dyed too dark with lemon juice?

Using lemon juice to lighten dyed hair that is too dark is a simple and natural method. All you need is freshly squeezed lemon juice, a comb and an applicator bottle or spray bottle. 
Before applying the lemon juice, it's important to brush out your hair and remove any tangles. 
After your hair is tangle-free, apply the lemon juice to the area of hair you want to lighten and comb it through to ensure even distribution. Leave the lemon juice in your hair for 15 - 20 minutes and rinse thoroughly with cold water. 
Repeat the treatment until you achieve the desired color. For more serious cases, you may need to repeat the treatment multiple times to get the desired results, but this method is nowhere near as harsh as the harsh chemical treatments that can damage your hair.
Follow up with a deep conditioning treatment to keep your strands looking hydrated and glossy. Be aware that the dying process can take several applications to fully achieve the desired color, so don't be disheartened if it takes a few tries.

In conclusion, when it comes to a hair dye that has gone wrong, the best thing to do is to remain calm and act quickly. 

Your ideal color can be reached by using one of the many solutions discussed in this article.

 With a little perseverance and patience, you can restore your hair to a light and luscious shade that you can be proud of. Don't let a hair-dye disaster put a damper on your desired look.


Back to blog