I have been growing out red henna dye for 2 1/2 years, and would like to share some advice, that really helped me growing out.
1. there is just as many types of dye as there is types of people that want to get rid of it
Much of my advice is directed towards the long haired, wanting to be even more long haired and natural crowd, but of course it is also somewhat relevant to anyone that does not want to take drastic measures to get rid of color (cut, bleach). I will try to include some ideas for everyone.
How hard it will be to grow out/ get rid of your dye depends on a) your natural hair color, b) the type of dye you used. To a degree some dye can be faded, or you can adjust the lengths somewhat if you are willing to dye your hair once more. However, that is not always an option. Some color simply won't fade, no matter what you do and another dye job or even lightening can be harmful to your hair (especially when long).
Here are some scenarios:
2. You want to fade the dye
Many have used color oops with great success, but a great deal have also reported damage from it. Some had no problems whatsoever. I would only recommend it if you have very strong hair AND would be okay with some possible extra damage. It is unlikely your hair will be breaking off, but it is a harsh product that removes dye by lifting your hairs cuticle.
3. You want to dye to adjust
If you want to adjust with chemical dye, this is actually best done at a salon. Simply because they can mix and match the color better than any box dye you will purchase.
Keep in mind that if you dyed your hair darker, bleaching it would be the only way to go lighter again. Keep in mind that bleaching is very harsh and you may want to think about it twice before you bleach long hair.
If you want to use plant dye or henna you can test the dye on balls of shed hair to make sure it comes out the way you want it. Henna, Indigo and Cassia can be mixed to achieve any blondish, brownish, blackish, reddish shade IF it is NOT lighter than your hair color. Henna never goes lighter, just remember that. To have a mix look more ashy you can add Amla . So if your hair is medium brown and you dyed it reddish you can use 50% henna + 50 % indigo to go back to brown. The red can still peak through a bit, but it can look much more even that an actual two toned look. For mixes see here - Mixes by hennaforhair.com
4. You want to actually grow it out
There is many reasons to bear it and grow out the dye. You might not want to damage your hair in any way, nor shorten it, and even adjusting with henna is not an option for everyone. In my case it seemed impossible to match the color, even though I never actually dyed my hair lighter or darker, just redder.
It would not have looked any less obvious for me. Since growing out happens on its own and you don't need "how to..: advice, let me just throw a few tips out there.
* Be positive
Don't dread what is ahead of you. Look forward to seeing your very own, very custom, unique natural hair color. Nowadays, where most women dye their hair, this can really make you stand out. Appreciate every new inch of virgin healthy, natural hair. Don't think of years ahead of you, take it step by step...reaching ear length, fitting your dyed hair into a bun, growing it past your shoulders...once past your shoulders you may actually not even care anymore ;).
* Be patient
Easier said than done, I know. But patience is better than any radical solutions you might regret later. If you feel like cutting or dyeing, don't act on it right away. Wait at least two weeks to see if you are still dead set on doing something drastic. Most likely it was just an impulse. It can help having a "hair color idol" to look up to. This can be another person with long hair, a celebrity, model...whatever inspires you.
Don't try to judge your roots. When your hair color first comes in it will most likely look grey and lifeless in comparison to the dye. But that is not the true result. You need to wait much longer to be able to really see your natural color. Best is face framing or even longer. Even with virgin hair at shoulder length it will look different again.
* Love your natural color
A nature given fact is that your hair color will harmonize with your skin tone, eye color, your overall look. Hair dye can be too intense (it contains a LOT of pigment) for your face. Especially when not wearing make up. I personally don't want to look good after leaving the house, I want to wake up and look good. Not worry about having to change anything. So if your hair dye was not quite the right color and overpowered your face, be sure that your natural color will give your eyes the chance to shine. Are you going gray and people are urging you to dye? Keep in mind gray hair can be so flattering and soft looking on a mature face, unlike some harsh dye. Constant root touch ups are also needed with dyed hair.
You can also think about it as classic chic. There is many models that don't dye their hair, and they send the message "I don't need that, I am naturally gorgeous". You can do that too, there is much more to looking good than your hair color. Reinvent your style if you feel bored.
* Ignore the haters
I know, they are freaking EVERYWHERE! But learn to ignore them, not give a shit, or even question their views. Germany is a good example, the majority of people has dark blonde hair here...or "dishwater blonde". I wonder who ever came up with that term, but it must have been an idiot, or maybe a jealous brunette...who knows lol. However, there is not many dark blondes seen anymore, because they usually lighten or darken their hair, sad but true. Dark blonde, like any color, is a great color, ashier tones included. If you are a dark blonde you are not light, you are not dark, you are right in between the two, and so are your features. Another term would be "mousy brown", to refer to cool brown shades, completely ignoring the fact that some skin tones go best with cooler shades...I could go on an on. But just know that haters are very influenced by commercial beauty ideals, that were born from selling products to "improve" women, even the ones that don't want a change.
I have dyed my hair a lot in the past. Out of boredom with my own hair color. That is nothing wrong, many will get to this point and want to experiment before they know what they like best.
My biggest love has been red hair dye, and so I have experimented with semi permanent reddish brown dye or lightening my hair a bit to a coppery shade as a young teenager. Then there was my gothy/ metal phase (which is actually not a phase since that is still me today ^^), where I felt I wanted to wear my hair black, even midnight blue once.
However that was the first time I was also not happy with my dye, but because I was afraid to grow it out I had my hair stylist apply a slightly lighter shade with every visit and ended up with a brownish black. I kept it this way until I decided to grow my already waist length hair even longer. I started seeing some damage due to the dye and I kept asking myself if a "prettier" hair color is really worth damaging my hair.
Yes, at that time I was already not liking my natural hair color anymore, because judging from my roots, it looked like a grayish dark brown (but I'm actually warm!).
For one year,I did not dye my hair, then I gave in and used some henndigo on my hair to even it out a bit, which I immediately regret, because it turned out too dark. I let it grow out again and decided to try red henna, hoping I will look less two toned. I loved the result (henna red is soooo pretty), my hair looked burgundy,and I stuck with it until some henna frustration hit. I was not sure anymore if henna is really the best color for my complexion, I am certainly not a natural red head type, I am a brunette, with brunette brows, I have light yellowish skin with some pink, that does not harmonize with red as well as it does with my natural color. And I am not 18 anymore, it is not unusual for women in their twenties to get some grays. I was thinking I can always dye, but my natural color won't always be there. And so I gave up the henna, and never looked back.
For me it did not look obvious at first, because my natural color is just as dark/light as my dye. But once a few inches were grown out the shade was much different. I was expecting my natural hair color to be a neutral dark brown to black brown, but I was wrong. It was colorful...golden...with orange...dark brown with golden shimmer and orange reflexes...what the heck??
I am quite happy with it now though, it really DOES always harmonize and I can't wait for all of my hair to be natural. I might never dye again. Of course I can not know it for sure, but I do like the thought of gradually going gray eventually.
If you want some inspiration, take a look at these natural *looking heads of hair:
Naturhaarfarbe est en vogue
Last but not least, some things to know when growing out:
*with many colors you will notice a demarcation line. That is where your dye ends, and natural color starts (or the other way around haha). With chemical color it can be a lighter part (orangey on brunette hair for example) with henna it can look yellowish.
The reason for that is that your scalp absorbs much more of the dye than you think, and the first few bits to inches of regrowth can still have some of the dye in their system. However, the color is weird since only part of the dye stuck around, in chemical dye it is hydrogen peroxide or ammonia, which can lighten hair in henna and henna based natural dyes the lawsone molecule (which is yellow) can give you a yellowish demarcation line (which I have big time btw.)
*your top layer will take visually longer to be dye free. That is because face framing hair grows at a slower rate and the top layer has a longer way down the hair at the nape of your neck. Take a look at my pictures, on the first own on top you can see the bottom layer peek out and it looks like I have very little dye left, whereas in other photos it looks like a good amount is still covered with dye. There is not much you can do about it, but it is good to know ;)
*your virgin hair may be a different texture. It can be healthier and silkier if you have suffered damage from the dye or dryness from henna. But it may also be less shiny or slippery because dye can give that illusion, chemical dyes contain silicones which are not good for your hair but can cover your hair in a thin layer of silicone. Henna 'can' increase shine for some because of how it deposits in hair and reflects light.
Natural hair color galery:
My hair in different light, with its natural color looking like a warm dark brown to amber to golden to more neutral...one thing that is unique to natural hair is the many different facettes it comes in. My henna faded to a lighter red and my henndigo faded to what my henna once looked like..how funny. (pictures are large just click)
- above you see actress Helen Mirren and model Chanel Celaya with beautiful natural heads of hair.
- all pictures are clickable
Happy growing! :D