What to do when at-home hair colour goes bad – a colourist is your new best friend.

Let’s be honest, sometimes I would rather buy those amazing new shoes than go to the hairdressers. And then I feel really guilty and try to hide the fact that I’m overdue for a cut by experimenting with new hair styles. Needless to say it’s a vicious cycle that catches us all out from time to time.

Recently the gorgeous Alicia from Sea of Ghosts had a similar ‘moment’ and decided to try some at-home hair colour. A decision she should have thought better of – the hair colour packaging featured a picture of a doll on the front of the box.

“It was a Japanese brand I found in a store in Box Hill,” Alicia told us. “I chose it because I wanted to try for dark charcoal grey hair and obviously all this did was lighten my roots to a light ash brown due to my over-coloured ends.”

The result was less than pleasing with the foam hair colour exploding out of the bottle and then the hair colour stripped her roots of colour, leaving Alicia with grey roots.

And that’s when we asked Oscar Oscar to step in, with salons all over Australia they were able to set Alicia up with an appointment with Jess Peterson, Technical Director at Oscar Oscar Salons Doncaster.

“When I first saw Alicia I thought ‘Oh my! I’ve got some work to do!'” Jess told us. “To colour correct Alicia’s hair I began by cleansing the dark colour build-up on the ends of her hair at the basin. Once I had removed the colour build-up I took Alicia back to the chair to apply some Redken professional colour. To correct the colour I needed to apply a few different variations of colour over what she already had, as her colour had lifted in various shades of red and orange. The result was a beautiful and even violet colour which I am very happy with, so I hope Alicia is too!”

Gallery: Alicia at Oscar Oscar Doncaster

After Jess gave Alicia’s hair a new lease on life, we asked her a few questions about at home hair colour vs salon colour.

How can at home hair colour go bad?

Home colour can be a real disaster with results such as yellow blondes, greenish ash browns and brassy tones, plus you can really damage the condition of your hair! When hair colour is purchased over the counter you are not considering what colours have already been used on the hair, the condition of the hair or even how some colour ingredients may react. A professional colourist is trained to understand the chemistry of colouring hair. One common mistake is to use the same all over colour at home, so you get bands of colour that don’t blend, however a professional colourist will use a different colour on the roots, midlengths and ends, depending on what you need.

What should you do when at home hair colour goes bad?

When home colour goes bad you really must see a professional colourist to fix your colour. You may need numerous visits to get the result you want, so don’t think your colourist can fix your bad colour work in one appointment, it may be costly and time consuming process!

Why is seeing a colourist is a good idea?

A good professional colourist is trained in the art of consultation! They should be asking you questions such as; Do you want a low maintenance colour? Do you like to wear makeup? Can you afford regular salon visits? So not only will a professional colourist think about what colour will suit your skin and eye tones, they will also be able to tailor a look to suit your lifestyle.

Any tips on how to maintain your hair colour when you’re on a budget?

Colour trends such as balayage are great when you are on a budget because your colour is blended rather than an all-over block colour, which means less regrowth so you can go without major colour work for months and just focus on glosses and treatments between colour work. Keeping your hair colour within 2 -3 shades of your natural colour is also another great tip, as your regrowth will be less obvious.

You can also purchase great at-home products to keep your colour fresh! A shampoo and conditioner which is designed to lock-in colour is a must, we love the Kerastase Chroma Captive colour range for at home use. Aveda also sells great shampoos and conditioners which contain colour pigment to brighten your colour between salon appointments.

We’d like to thank Jess and Oscar Oscar for helping Alicia with her hair, and thanks to Alicia for letting us document her trials and tribulations with at home hair colour. Photos by Megan Harding.