Tag Archives: going back to gray

Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part IV)

Hello once again.  I wish I could say that I was more scientific about this . . . but I’ll try my best.  What is unscientific about some of what I share below is that I expected to post sooner and didn’t take notes, so I’ve forgotten some details.  It’s been some time, the reason being that I just really damaged my hair with what I did after my last post.  The first photo is from my previous post, followed by photos from what came next; you can see the difference in the shine and then the lack thereof!  I had bleached my hair, then dyed it Frosty Ash 12A/1210 as I had planned.  I believe I put toner in it too, after it was too yellowish–but then it was too grey with the remaining orange tones.  Talk about puky!

I remember being quite upset with the result, as my hair was super dry and frizzy, besides looking really puky.  It looked worse than the photos, and I even went and bought some different hair dye at Target, thinking I’d dye it again soon to even the colors out.  But . . . I waited.  I didn’t really want to dye my hair again, only to make it a yellowish-brown color, and have to resort to bleach again later.

Orange hair after Nordic Blonde dye
Early June 2015.  See Part III in my series for details.


Frosty Ash with Toner
My hair after bleaching again, dying it Frosty Ash, and using T14 toner. It may not look too puky in the photo (the photo’s color tone is too warm), but it was. It’s obviously very, very dry. Mid-late June, 2015
Frosty Ash with Toner; not frosty
My hair after bleaching again, dying it Frosty Ash, and using T14 toner. It may not look too puky in the photo, but it was. Mid-late June, 2015.

While I waited I used some products that I can share about.  I bought some Manic Panic Virgin Snow, which is a natural “semi-permanent white toner.”  I didn’t follow the directions, purposefully, since the stuff is expensive and I didn’t think it was necessary for what I wanted to do.  I didn’t think it would eliminate the orange even if I used a whole tub of it full strength, anyway.  What I did was put about a tablespoon of it together with about a tablespoon of basic white conditioner.  I mixed it up well, massaged it all into my hair, and let it sit for 30 minutes.  It indeed made my hair lighter (the orange too)–even my son noticed.  So I was happy about that.

I also had purchased, for the sake of comparing brands, L’Oreal EverPure Blonde Brass Banisher Shampoo, along with L’Oreal EverSleek Reparative Smoothing Conditioner.  I guess these are OK, but I think the cheaper Jhirmack Silver Plus shampoo works just as well.  The conditioner didn’t seem worth the extra price, either.  Because the Dessange California Blonde CC (Brass Color Correcting Creme) had gotten such rave reviews, I’ve used that as well.  It seems to work pretty well, but I’d rather go with doing the Manic Panic with conditioner treatment once every two weeks along with using the Jhirmack and a good conditioner inbetween.  I’ve been using Aveeno leave-in treatment, which is getting low, so I purchased ion youth restore solutions leave-in conditioner to try next.

Back to my hair color issues.  I’m glad I waited.  As my roots grew out, I was really surprised, as was everyone else, at how much dark hair I still had.  When my hair was dyed nearly black, the white hair really stood out – or course – and the light hair I have now makes the blackish hair stand out.  So, while getting my hair a grey-white was a good plan, it seems now that that would be too light.  But how does one get a darkish grey color, one that’s sort-of inbetween white and black?  I wanted that, but I don’t think I can attain it, not perfectly, anyway.

Black and white roots
This is a lousy photo, but you can at least get an idea of how the black and white roots look with my yellowish hair. July 22, 2015.

So, I decided to go darker than the Frosty Ash (which is basically white), using one of Wella’s blue based colors, instead of one that is violet- or violet-blue-based (as Nordic Blonde is).  Wella has an educational booklet online that includes hair color images, but the color samples at Sally’s for the Wella colors look different than the graphic images.  Based on the information from the book and checking the in-store color samples, I decided to go with Light Ash Blonde 8A/740.5, with one capful of cooling additive (and using level 10 developer only, due to the condition of my hair).   Better to err on the light side rather than the dark.

Bleached hair with roots
How may hair looks now, just before my next dye job! The photo seems pretty accurate. You can see that my ends still have orange in them.  They are a light blonde orange, kind-of pretty if all the hair was that color.  July 22, 2015.
Wella Color Charm Ash colors
My hair was quite light when I dyed it, but it doesn’t look like the picture in Wella’s educational booklet. It does, however, look more like the hair sample at Sally’s for that hair color.

Ok, so I did as I said I would:  used Wella Color Charm Light Ash Blonde 8A/740.5, with one capful of cooling additive, using a level 10 developer.  The results are “meh.”  My hair is quite dry and damaged, so that’s part of it.  But, I am disappointed at how dark it is.  I really don’t understand the hair color companies calling that color “light,” especially with “blonde.”  In fairness, the hair sample at Sally’s was pretty dark (much darker than the color as printed in Wella’s educational booklet), and I did want something a bit darker to accommodate my darker roots, but I thought it might come out lighter with the 10 developer.  That color has a blue base, and I added that small amount of cooling additive (violet base, I believe).  The cooling additive I think made a difference, and perhaps was too much?  I don’t know.  I DO want a greyer look to the hair color.

Light Ash Blonde over bleached hair
Light Ash Blonde over my bleached hair. There are some lighter spots that are roots I didn’t get well – I wasn’t trying hard to cover them since I want them to grow out!

There is another similar color called “Medium Smokey Ash Blonde” that looks greyish in their booklet.  I wonder if I used that (with no additive) with the 10 developer, and for a shorter period of time, if it would be more like what I’m striving for.  My experimenting should stop, for my hair’s health sake, but it’s not without its fun side!  If I do change it again with the hope that it’ll match my roots better, I’ll make an update.

What I’ve learned is that it’s notoriously hard to lighten hair that is dyed dark, and try to go back to your natural grey after coloring a long time.  The best thing probably is to spend a lot at a good hair dresser.  To avoid the horror stories I’ve read, just make sure about the person doing the hair makeover for you.  In the meantime, you might find this article helpful:  Do’s and Don’ts of DIY Hair Coloring.  I didn’t know of this article when I started all this, but I wish I did.  Thanks for reading!

Other Parts in this Series

Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (I) Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (II) Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (III)

Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part III)

Hello!  To sum up from my previous two posts on my orange hair misadventures, I had wanted to stop coloring my hair and let my natural grey (salt and pepper, with more salt) grow out, so I started investigating how to do this–online.  This was basically a mistake (go to your local Sally’s instead).  There is very little floating around out there regarding older folks wanting to get dark color out of their hair in order to go natural; it’s mostly about teens trying to go silver.

So, I’ve been chronicling my progress.  No doubt a cosmetologist would laugh, but I’m hoping my experience might help some folks out there in the net world.  Here are links to the earlier episodes:  Orange hair, Part I and Orange hair, Part II.  After this third post, I plan on making a concise summary article.

Hair result using Nutrisse LB3 and violet additive
Root color along with the darkest orange color hair from ends (held up with hair clip). The tone of this photo is warm, making my hair a bit oranger looking than in reality, especially the roots.

Where I left off last time, my hair–after two bleachings and doing some coloring to even things out, looked somewhat like what’s in the photo to the right.  The roots were actually lighter and less orange-tinged.

My hair was obviously quite resistant to change after being dyed dark brown for many years.  Note, too, that the ends you see are that dark of an orange even though I had cut off the bottom three inches of my hair before I started all this.   I had been of the mind not to bleach my hair again, but then realized that it was probably the only way of getting my hair to a dyable state–it needed to be lighter than this to hold a grey or silver-white color.

Continue reading Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part III)

Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part II)

Trying to go to your natural grey after coloring your hair a long time?  I was–well, am–and learned the hard way that it’s not only not easy, but that there’s a lot of misinformation online.  All the background information about that is at Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part I)

Here, I do a hair update.  Not because I want to display my hair for all the world to see, but so that you might get an idea of what to expect when making the transition from colored grey hair (in my case, it was very dark brown) to natural grey hair.  My goal is to get my hair to a silvery color in order for my own grey hair to look somewhat natural growing out.

Color removed & bleached hair, from dark brown
My left side hair, as close as I could get it, after three applications of color remover and one bleach application. Wow, so bleached . . . 😉

Previously, I had tried to remove the dark brown dye.  That only left my hair shades of orange to auburn.  Then I bleached my hair, which left my hair bright white at the roots, with the rest of it cascading from bright orange to a lighter auburn, or dark orange, at the bottom.  Not wanting to bleach my hair anymore and not wanting to go to a salon, I needed to dye my hair a cool mid-tone in order to even things out and more slowly color lighter and lighter until my desired goal.  To the right is what my hair color was like when I left off Part I.

Orange hair dyed with medium ash blonde plus violet additive
My orange hair after coloring with medium ash blonde plus violet additive. Color is darker, much more even, and very frizzy.

Left is what my hair looked like after coloring it medium ash blonde using Color Silk and having added 2 capfuls of Wella Color Charm Cooling Violet 050.  I don’t think Color Silk is the best, but as I wasn’t intending to keep my hair that color for long, I didn’t care much.  I wanted to get the cooling violet in my hair ASAP!

While the dye and the violet additive did very happily even out my hair color to a degree (the photo looks better, to me, than my hair really looked), after I shampooed it the next day it looked like some of the dye washed out!  It was quite orange again, but less severe than before I dyed it.   In Part I I said that I was going to buy Dessange Paris California Blonde Brass Color Correcting Crème and use it to show its effect, but it was sold out at Target (Target is the only general store where I know it’s available).  So, I bought L’Oreal’s EverPure Blonde Brass Banisher shampoo, along with their EverSleek conditioner to help with the frizz.  This is what I shampooed my hair with that, oddly, made it look brighter orange again . . . and, the frizz got worse, too . . . !  Very strange.

Continue reading Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part II)

Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part I)

Bleached hair often turns out orange, like this doll's.
I think I’m better looking than this doll, but right now her hair looks better than mine.

No, this site hasn’t been taken over by some cheap commercial interest.  I’m the usual author (Vicki), and as I’ve had such unexpected upheaval in my life over trying to go natural–that is, altering my hair from darkly dyed so as to eventually have my natural grey hair back–that I decided to write about it.  My experience has been that hair products do not have honest descriptions, and trying to figure it out yourself can be very difficult, time consuming, and stressful (or disastrous, more like).  If you thought you couldn’t afford a salon when making the transition from dyed hair to natural, you may want to think again.  But then again, I’ve read of salon-based horror stories too.   In any case, I wrote this to help anyone in my situation, in hopes of saving you some time and a great deal of stress.

My Hair History

My hair greyed early, just like my mom’s; my son is only 17 and has a grey hair or two, even.  So, I found myself dying my naturally brown hair starting in my late 20s.  My hair was naturally almost black underneath and easily faded to brown with golden highlights from sunlight.  My mom’s hair was black, my dad’s a light brown.  After my first dye job, which instead of coming out brown was very very orangish, I knew I had to use cool or ash tone dyes.  I’m sure many of you have had this experience.

Continue reading Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part I)