ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hair Disaster! How frequently should I colour my hair?

Updated on July 28, 2012
Oh dear, look what happens with too much bleach/peroxide!
Oh dear, look what happens with too much bleach/peroxide! | Source

The answer to this question will depend entirely upon what type of hair dye you are using. Lets look at the variables:

  1. Bleach/peroxide highlights
  2. All over bleach/peroxide
  3. Colour stripper
  4. Permanent hair dye
  5. Semi permanent hair dye
  6. Temporary colour/tint
  7. Henna
  8. Semi-permanent intense pigments (pinks, blues, all the crazy colours!)

The fact is that all these different colouring methods have wide ranging effects on the condition of the hair shaft, from conditioning, shining and generally improving the hair, to actually damaging it so badly that it snaps off! Yes it DOES happen and its really distressing when it does....

Before... | Source
After! | Source

Hair can break off with too much colouring

This happened at a salon, so you really have to be careful about what the hairdresser is willing to do. I had approached hairdressers before about getting my dark (dyed) hair stripped out and lightened, but they would not do it. The most I could get a hairdresser to do was a few highlights, but as I had a lot of hair, a few little strands didn't make much of an over all impression on the colour.

So I went to my regular salon, and a young stylist highlighted my hair with chunky lights, the strongest volume of peroxide used by that salon which was 40%. I went home, the hair dried and I realised I wasn't wasn't blonde enough. There were too many dark streaks left in the hair, and too much of the highlighted areas were still orangy, despite the application of a purple toner to lessen the orange effect. I rang her up for advice; I think I was considering going light brown, but she said come in at lunchtime, when the boss would be out, and we would 'have another go'. Oh dear, the warning bells were going off, but I wasn't listening...

HELP!!! My hair's gone ORANGE!

Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Conditioner 16 oz.
Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Conditioner 16 oz.

Bleached/peroxided hair is very porous, and quite often doesn't hold a toner for more than one wash, so using a purple toned shampoo just ensures that you have a bit of purple tone in the hair at all times and it really makes a huge difference to the look. It will eliminate brassy tones. Don't panic at the deep purple colour of the product, the effect on your hair will be subtle.

Directions Hair Colour - White Toner 88ml Pot
Directions Hair Colour - White Toner 88ml Pot

So if you really like to use your own conditioner, or you have severely damaged the hair and need to use a reconstructing conditioner or a treatment, but you still want the toner effect, use a toner dye like this one. Simply add it to your conditioner. Again, don't be alarmed by the fact that the dye appears really quite lilacy-purple; on your hair it will simply eradicate the brassy, orange tones

Thank goodness for purple toners!
Thank goodness for purple toners! | Source

How to cope if you over-bleach your hair

First of all, don't panic, it's only hair. I know I'm saying that 10 months down the line from my hair disaster, but seriously, just remind yourself that things could be an awful lot worse.

Keep these things in mind:

  1. Purchase a good reconstructing conditioner, preferably from a salon, something well-known like Aveda or Redken. They are expensive, but so are mistakes and you need a name you can trust.
  2. Use a gentle shampoo, and be gentle with your hair when you use it.
  3. Lather your shampoo at the scalp, not the lengths, and just let the shampoo wash over the ends without rubbing or lathering them.
  4. DON'T comb or brush wet hair
  5. Always condition
  6. DON'T wash the hair everyday. In fact, leave it as long as possible between washes to allow the natural scalp oils to travel down the hair shaft and protect and soften it.
  7. Try to leave it alone as much as possible, for as long as you can. Time can help repair a little of the damage, as you condition and build up natural oils again.

How to use a reconstructing conditioner

The conditioners shown above differ from your usual regular conditioner and need to be used only once a week. I use mine still, as I haven't visited the salon for nearly a year ( I wonder why!) I enjoy my Wednesday night ritual; wash, condition, cover in a plastic hood and sleep with the conditioner on. Wash off on Thursday morning, and feel the difference!

Back to the question, how often should I highlight/peroxide?

Answer: ONCE! By which I mean make sure that hair is only exposed to peroxide once in its lifetime. As the roots grow through, you may peroxide again, but take note, roots lift very fast as they are young and fine and close to the heat of the scalp. Be really careful not to get any peroxide on the already-peroxided hair. Maybe try a high-lift tint to treat your roots, either in the salon or at home, which will do less damage than peroxiding. You can alternate these treatments, but try to leave at least 6 weeks between colourings. It gives the natural oils of the hair a chance to re-coat the hair-shaft and protect it.

How often should I colour with a permanent colour?

Hair roots can grow through after a colouring in as little as ten days. Try to keep in mind though, you see a lot more roots peering in the mirror than everyone else notices when they see you, so try not to sweat it and give your hair some time to rest between colourings. When it comes to colouring time, colour the roots ONLY. Protect the rest of the hair with a conditioner, after you have put the root colour on. This will stop colour build-up with the frequent exposure to colour on the hair shaft. Leave it at least 6 weeks, longer if you can. You can get coloured dry-shampoos that you can use to disguise roots in the mean time, or use a temporary colour instead, in between colourings. If you're doing a DIY job at home, you will be following the instructions on the box which will tell you the recommended frequency of use.

What about the other colourants?

Some semi-permanents contain ammonia, and peroxide and should be treated with the same caution as a permanent. The trick is, if you have to mix two substances together, treat with caution. A temporary colour or tint can be used as often as you won't damage your hair, but you may get a dull colour-build up depending on the porosity and base colour of your hair. Some temporary colours make fantastic condition-improvers and give a lovely shiny finish. The salon is especially good at those.

How often do you colour your hair?

See results

The psychological effects of a hair disaster

For lots of women, and some men, the appearance of their hair can be a factor affecting confidence and esteem. I took my very long, very thick curly hair for granted, and even got a little fed up with being Jil-with-all-the-hair. I was of the opinion that to care too much about your hair showed weakness, vanity and shallowness, hence I was a little too careless in leaving it in the hands of an inexperienced hairdresser, and a little too cavalier when it came to trying new cuts and colours. Well, it took a couple of hours to ruin it, but it will be more than a year before I can enjoy what I had again.

I felt vulnerable and 'not me' without my hair, and suddenly my tomboyish style became too masculine without my locks. Nothing looked right, and I suffered a little depression over the months following my dyeing and cuttng spree. It has made me feel very compassionately towards those who lose their hair to chemotherapy or alopecia, as they had it far worse than I did in all ways. I hope this hub helps anyone who is thinking of doing something radical with their hair, to think very carefully about it first, especially something chemical and damaging. If its too late and the deed is already done...stay strong, it will grow back.

Have you had a hair disaster? How did you cope?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hmmm...I think I am a conservative when it comes to hairstyle..I hardly experiment. Okay I've tried perming and colouring..but somehow always drawn back to long hair and my natural color. LOL Your experience will help those who are thinking of colouring their hair... :)

      Congrats on your Hubnuggets nomination. Style your hair and head over this way to read and vote for the Hubnuggets

    • Rebecca2904 profile image

      Rebecca 4 years ago

      Interesting Hub! In my opinion, people look a lot better when they stick to the colour they were born with, maybe just dying it a shade or too lighter or darker. I've never used peroxide on my hair, I normally just dye it a couple of shades darker than my natural hair colour, but my best friend has and what a mistake that was! She was aiming for a natural dark blonde, but because her hair had been bright ketchup red and then black, after she stripped all the colour out and used peroxide it just went a kind of ginger colour that she didn't want - and the texture was horrible! Kind of like straw :/

      Congratulations for being nominated for a Hubnugget award, by the way!

    • Mrs Jil Manning profile image

      Mrs Jil Manning 4 years ago from Sussex, England

      thank you ripplemaker I am so encouraged by your comment and the nomination :-D ! Thanks Rebecca! I can empathise with your friend, the texture of my hair was awful afterwards, and I think it's true to say that Mother Nature knows the colour that suits us best.

    • dingyskipper profile image

      Carolyn 4 years ago from Northamptonshire

      Someone I knew went green by accident once, I am just going greyer by the day

    • Mrs Jil Manning profile image

      Mrs Jil Manning 4 years ago from Sussex, England

      oh yes green...but that's another hub. I am mostly white/grey myself but that's just between us!

    • profile image

      Stephanie 4 years ago

      I once bleached my hair at a stylists and they bleach all of it at least 3 times. When I left the windows of the car were rolled down and I just watched AT&T my strands break off as we drove home. It did get better though. I due my hair at least once a month now and it's been 3 years and my hair is perfectly healthy. Only the first fees months with the hair were horrible. But the bleach blonde look was worth it(:

    • Mrs Jil Manning profile image

      Mrs Jil Manning 4 years ago from Sussex, England

      Luckily it does grow through undamaged Stephanie, thank you for taking time to comment!

    • profile image

      ray 4 years ago

      I NEED HELP! so i got a root touch up well it was more of a new hilglights because my hair had grown halfway already nd so i didn't rly like the color so i kept it for 2 weeks nd did it again yesterday but she made my hair WHITE BLONDE! *.* ive never been blonde nor do i like it on me! nd i wana change my hair color to all brown...could i do that next week or will it make my hair fall off since i dyed it twice??? PLEASE HELP!

    • Mrs Jil Manning profile image

      Mrs Jil Manning 4 years ago from Sussex, England

      Sorry to hear of your hair troubles ray, first I just want to say...don't panic, and don't do anything in a hurry. Let your hair settle down first before doing anything at all. I understand its awful having a colour you're really not happy with but try to live with it for a bit whilst the hair recovers. Use a restructuring conditioner, and be careful with the hair. Over a week or so the scalp's natural oils will coat and protect the hair. During that week, find a really good quality experienced colour specialist who can get you back to a colour you're happy with. going from blonde to brown is complicated by the fact that red pigments will have to be re-added or you will end up with a horrible greeny-brown mess. Get some qualified help, ray, good luck!

    • profile image

      AMK 4 years ago

      i fried my hair with too many dyes job and i just found out i have a medical condition that weakens my hair. i bought the "shielo restoration oil" and applied it 3 voila' my hair are back beautiful and silky like when i was a teenager and Im 47!

      While others like the smell, I do not ever like any smells - but its worth the results!

    • Mrs Jil Manning profile image

      Mrs Jil Manning 4 years ago from Sussex, England

      I like the sound of that AMK, I am still struggling with poor condition so I will search that oil out, thank you!

    Click to Rate This Article