Everything you need to know about color corrections


Guest Column: Amanda Lynn Bellinder 

Ever thought of coloring your own hair? I’ve done it. When I was a teen my mom would let me buy Clairol Natural Instincts 24 shampoo color in strawberry blonde. My natural hair is very light, and honestly, I don’t think it changed my hair color that much but I was SO happy every time we did it. It lasted a few shampoos and luckily washed out every time.

Until the one time, I decided to buy the color “Egyptian plum.” It was much darker than the strawberry blonde, so we decided to use it as a lowlight. I borrowed a USED hair highlight cap that my mom had lying around the house and had my best friend April apply the color. After we pulled the cap off, there were spots of color all over my head from the holes where we didn’t pull hair through. In a panic, we decided to just fix it by putting the rest of the color on the remaining hair and call it a day. Fast forward 24 shampoos later, 36 shampoos later, 99 shampoos later and my hair is still PINK. This color is not coming out and I have senior pictures to take the following week.

Angrily my mother rushed me to the hair salon for a “color correction.” Lots of bleach, tears as I looked at my orange hair after bleaching it, conditioning treatments, a toner, and $200 later I left the salon with a wet head and with hair that sort of looked like my natural color. I was happy-ish. Glad I no longer had pink hair but so sad that my hair had to go under such stress all because I decided to use a color that was not designed for my light hair, especially if I wanted it to wash out.

While it’s sometimes fun to do your hair at home, even the most well-intended, heavily researched DIYs can go wrong. Often, this is as the result of the chemistry of *your* hair that a box or DIY video will not cover. We are trained in color chemistry and can guide you toward your long term hair-goals. For instance, if your hair is blonde, and you feel like going brown for a couple of months but want something that washes out gradually, we can formulate the perfect shade for you and use the correct product for the desired result.

Blonde hair needs to be “filled” before it can turn a nice shade of brown. And you never need to use “permanent” color when going darker on previously lightened hair even if you want a permanent result.

It’s chemistry! Let me explain. Many box colors have metallic dyes in them and if you try to remove that metallic dye with powder lightener (aka bleach) it could potentially break off the hair. So an at-home dye job that you want to fix in a professional environment could potentially cost you your hair. Because of this, it’s always important, to be honest about your hair color history during a color correction consultation. 

Blonde hair has yellow underlying pigment, brown hair has orange underlying pigment. When you lift natural hair (with bleach or permanent color) underlying pigment is always exposed and you need the correct tone to achieve desired results. If you have blonde hair but wish to have warm brown hair and you pick level 5 Ash box color off the Target shelf, you most certainly will not be left with warm brown hair. It will likely be a bluish-green hideous shade of brown because you chose the wrong tone. 

Color correction generally means you are fixing a poorly done color job. That’s not the only definition because several stylists consider going from blonde to brown a color correction. 

Color corrections can take several hours depending on the desired results and can cost anywhere from $200, upwards of $500 and up depending on how long it takes and where you’re located. A huge factor for increased cost would be an issue we call “banding.” It’s prior hair color that doesn’t lift out evenly during a color correction and would require multiple applications to remove the said banding, or extra toning may be necessary. 

I guess the bottom line here is don’t do your hair at home, and if you do, be prepared to pay hundreds of dollars to fix your $15 box of hair color.

Amanda Lynn Bellinder

Amanda Lynn & Co. Salon Owner, Florida Licensed Cosmetologist


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