Everyone's doing it. Lena Dunham. Zosia Mamet. Dianna Agron. Even Dascha Polanco, kinda. All the cool girls are going platinum blonde, and it's getting really, really hard to resist the urge to bleach your brunette/red/darker blonde strands this fall. So, let's say you gave in, demanding your stylist take you super short and nearly-white. It was so awesome for like, the first week and a half — until your roots started to come in. And you realized the icy strands were really washing out your skintone. Now you're already itching to go from blonde back to brunette/red/darker blonde. Good news, everyone! You totally can, and without turning your hair into a dry, damaged nest of awful regret.
In anticipation of this trend-driven backpedaling, I chatted with Edward Lampley, an editorial hair stylist with a serious resume (he's worked for Vogue, GQ, and CR Fashion Book, just to drop a few big names), about what it takes to get your newly bleached strands back to their original state. It's not going to be a quick and easy process, but it is relatively painless. With a little extra care, you'll have no problem undoing that big blonde mistake.
1. No Immediate Take-Backs
If you absolutely CAN. NOT. STAND your new blonde 'do, I have some bad news. Lampley recommends waiting at least a month after you go platinum to revert back. "Your hair has just gone through an extreme process," he says. "It is completely stripped of nutrients [when you bleach] so you really need time to allow it to mend." In the meantime, just wear a bunch of hats.
2. It Won't Be A Quick Fix
Going back to brunette isn't as easy as dumping some brown dye on top of your strands — it usually takes 2-3 separate sessions to achieve the color you want. "The first appointment is the base," Lampley says. "At this stage your hair is so damaged it doesn't have the strength to hold any color.You have to keep applying the color for it to darken completely. When you darken your color, you are applying a gloss (moisturizing) rather than bleach (damaging) So you need to color it numerous times in order to reach your desired darker tone.
3. But You Definitely Need A Professional
If you're panicking about your platinum hair, box dye is not the way to a quick fix. "I see a lot of women deciding to go platinum, then freaking out and hating it," Lampley says. "instead of telling the colorist that they made a mistake they figure that can run and grab something cheap and cover it up." But it's tricky to find the perfect box dye, since they can't be customized to match your natural hair undertones like a colorist can do. "Salon colorists manipulate formulas to work WITH your undertone and level of damage," Lampley says. "That way you don't end up with that weird greenish or orange tint." It might take longer to fix, but it'll be worth it.
Lampley's number one tip for loving your dye job from the start? "Find a good colorist, and stick with them." If you're in the NYC area, he recommends Lena Ott at Suite Caroline, Mai at Bumble and Bumble Downtown, and Larry Raspanti at Whittemore House Salon.
4. And Your Hair Won't Be Exactly The Same Afterwards
You know this: Dyeing can mess with your strands. "After the whole process your hair will still be brittle, dry, and have split ends and breakag," Lampley explains. To get your locks back to their luscious selves, you have to take proper care of them. The first step?
5. Don't Shampoo Right Away
"Honestly, you really shouldn't wash your hair any sooner three days after you dye," Lampley says. His personal favorite for color treated hair is the Purely Perfect Cleansing Cream and Condition it with Hair Building Pack from Davines. "The Momo Conditioner is incredible," he says. Don't wash your hair more than two to three times a week either — otherwise, you'll dry it out and the brown dye will start to wash out.
6. Then Get Serious About Hair Masks
Going from brunette to platinum and back again can leave your strands seriously stressed. Lampley has a few natural recipes that'll add some life back into your locks after the whole process. Shampoo your hair before trying any of these masks out, not after.
Crack it open 1-2 eggs in a bowl and remove the yoke. It's important to use natural egg whites, not the boxed stuff, for this! Dip your fingers in and smother the whites all over your strands. Wrap your hair in a bun on your head and cover with a shower cap for 10 minutes, then rinse out. DON'T ADD HEAT, unless you want scrambled eggs on your head.
Make a solution of two parts water to one part vinegar. Leave it in for about 10 minutes to help balance the pH balance of your hair, which restores enzymes and overall health.
This one's an excellent hydrator; it softens the hair cuticles and makes it silky and soft. Leave it in damp hair for 10-15 minutes. For an added boost, you can heat your hair with a low setting on the hair dryer to really open up and penetrate the hair cuticles.
This is amazing in restoring that natural shine. In damp hair, leave in for 15 minutes with no heat. For the added boost add heat on a low setting for 10 minutes
7. And Take Your Vitamins
You've heard of the wonders of Biotin, right? Well, it's all true. You can snag a bottle at pretty much any store that sells vitamins and, according to Lampley, the stuff's "life changing."