Dark locks don't have to last forever. If your dye job turned your tresses a few shades too dark, or if you're ready to transform your naturally brunette locks into blonder ones, several strategies can help you effectively lighten your tresses. While these strategies can gradually lift your hue about a half shade or whole shade and eliminate those too-dark undertones, a major color change will require another dye job.
Reversing Freshly Dyed Hair
If your at-home or salon dye job resulted in hair that's just too dark, act quickly. The color molecules in dye take about 24 hours to fully set into your hair, so working to soften them in this time frame can lighten your tresses.
Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo once you've realized those tresses are too dark. These shampoos are penetrating formulas packed full of surfacants that work to strip your color. Use a clarifying shampoo immediately following the dye job to strip as much color as you can.
Use a Deep Conditioner
Follow that clarifying shampoo treatment with a deep conditioner that can further target the dark dye covering your tresses. Use your favorite conditioner, but deposit a protein pack, which is available at beauty supply and drugstores, into the conditioner before applying it to your hair. A protein-rich conditioning treatment can help remove unwanted color from your strands.
Create a Hair Paste
Another lightening treatment blends lemon juice, baking soda and and shampoo. Work these ingredients into a creamy paste and massage it into damp locks. Let it sit for about 45 minutes before rinsing.
Lightening Your Existing Color
Perhaps you've rocked a dark hair color for long enough, and you're ready for a lighter look. While a trip to the salon is necessary for a major hair transformation, you can softly lighten your hue with some DIY solutions.
Lemon juice has long been touted as a natural lightening treatment -- and for good reason. Add some lemon juice to a spray bottle and evenly spritz your hair with it before some time spent in the sun. The sun's rays encourage the hair cuticle to open up, allowing the lemon juice, which is rich in citric acid, to remove some hair pigment and lighten the tresses.
Create a Conditioning Treatment
Trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide exist in honey, making it a natural way to lighten your locks. To avoid a seriously sticky 'do, combine honey with your favorite conditioner. Comb the mixture into your damp tresses and let it sit for a full eight hours before rinsing.
Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.