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Here's How to Fade a Too-Strong Dye Job

Extra salon visits not always necessary
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When you're trying to achieve your hair color dreams, it's not just about the perfect shade: It's also about nailing the right tone and intensity. Now "intensity" might not be something you've thought about before... unless you were striving for cotton candy pink hair and ended up with an electric flamingo pink mane (fun times). Or, maybe you were going for a natural redhead look and got Flamin' Hot Cheeto red instead. It can happen to anyone, whether you're dyeing your hair at home or you left your hair to the hands of a professional colorist.

So, what's a girl to do with a too-intense shade? Sometimes, waiting out the natural fading process just isn't an option — so is there anything you can do to remedy the situation? Going to the salon for an emergency appointment seems like a logical choice. But, you may be concerned about the potential cost and causing further damage to your freshly dyed locks. Luckily, there are other ways to fade that hair color into something that's (hopefully) closer to your original vision.

Click through the gallery to see the tips to help your hair dye without causing a lot of damage.

Image via Imaxtree

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How to Achieve the Perfect Hair Color
Let's back things up. In an ideal world, we could prevent hair color mishaps from happening at all. Of course, mistakes happen, but we can reduce the likelihood of them with a few simple hacks.

First off, when you go to the salon, don't just describe what you want: Bring in photos. Carolyn Aronson, stylist and founder/CEO of It's a 10 Haircare, says that pictures "say a million words." They also make it clear exactly what you mean when you say "dirty lavender." Cofounders of Manic Panic Tish and Snooky also encourage clients to ask their hairstylists for input about their desired color. The pros will be able to say what's realistic and discuss what shades might be more flattering for your skin tone.

If you're dying your hair at home, L'Oreal Paris Canada Hair Artist & Expert Brennen Demelo says to always double check the hair color guidelines on the box regarding what the finished color is expected to look like. And always, always do a patch test: First, it will confirm you're not allergic. Second, it gives you a better indication of what your hair will turn out like. It's better to see the results on a small strand than your entire head.

Image via Imaxtree

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Fade Your Dye With Shampoo
Tish and Snooky say that the easiest way to fade too-bright hair color is with shampoo, particularly a clarifying shampoo (or something equally strong). If you go that route, both Demelo and Aronson suggest lathering up with a sulfate-free shampoo.

In terms of the application, forget all the rules about what you shouldn't do after coloring hair — and break them. It's typically recommended to rinse freshly colored hair with cool water to maintain it. In the case of too-intense hair color, hot water can actually be used to help fade it.

Image via Imaxtree

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Use Woolite to Fade Color
Yes, you read that right: Aronson says that using Woolite to fade locks is a behind-the-chair secret. She instructs applying water to fully saturate the head then use a half-cap of the laundry detergent to cleanse. "[Woolite is] a powerful cleanser that will aid in lifting build-up and color from hair," says Aronson. Who knew? Be sure to follow with conditioner to keep hair silky and moisturized.

Image via Imaxtree

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Try Hair Color Removers and Strippers
Color strippers are one of the most effective ways to fade hair, according to Aronson. And there are at-home versions that won't destroy hair: Demelo says that the L'Oreal Paris Colorista Haircolor Remover, $6.48, will not cause damage to skin or hair, but it's effective enough to eliminate excess tone.

Other options include Punky Colour Colour Off Hair Color Remover, $15.99, the ammonia-free Ion Color Brilliance Hair Color Remover, $5.79, and ammonia- and bleach-free Color Oops Hair Color Remover, $11.99.

Image via Imaxtree

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