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So you ended up with a color that's totally not what was on the box or in your mind's eye. Color mistakes happen to the best of us. The good news is that in most cases, you can have a "take two" the next day and adjust your current hair color. There are some steps to take before you dive in, but if you do it right you can get it right the second time around.
Recoloring the Day After
If you missed the mark the first time around you can try for a redo, provided you go about it correctly. Typically it's easier to go darker the second time around, because you can simply apply a slightly darker color over top of the first color and get the color you desire. If you want to go lighter it gets a bit trickier. You'll need to first bleach the hair to the level you want, then tone out any unwanted underlying pigments to get the final color you want.
It's important to prep your hair properly if you're going to be doing back-to-back colors. First you'll want to do an elasticity test to make sure your hair isn't too dry or damaged to color again. Wet a small section of hair and grab one strand. Hold the strand at the tip and root area, between the index fingers and thumbs of both hands, and gently stretch the hair. It should be able to stretch up to 50 percent of its length without breaking, then go back to its original length and shape without any damage.
Another precautionary measure to take before you dive into your second round with hair color is to perform a strand test. A strand test involves singling out a small section of hair, in an inconspicuous area, and coloring it first to see how this second color will react with the first. You'll apply the color to this small section of hair and then continue to watch it closely. Keep track of the time it takes you to get the results you want, or, if you didn't get the results you want, note what went wrong and take your concerns to your local beauty supply store where the consultants can help.
When Not to Do it
There are times when coloring your hair back-to-back is just not a good idea. If your hair is severely dry, damaged or breaking off you need to wait until it's in much healthier condition before you attempt any recoloring. Deep-conditioning treatments once a week, or a protein pack to help with the breakage, will go a long way to restoring your hair's health. Also, if your hair turned green, orange or blue -- and it wasn't supposed to -- you might want to consult a professional. Color correction can be tricky, so tread lightly.