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How to Correct Brown Hair Colour Mistakes at Home

Fix brown hair colour mishaps in a flash and look your best whether your day involves a client meeting, a sweaty lunchtime spin class or post-work drinks.

Your hair is your signature: perfectly coloured, perfectly coiffed. But what happens when that dye job just doesn’t go according to plan? Whether your brown hair colour is uneven, brassy, too dark or simply unflattering, learn how to colour-correct hair mistakes with this easy step-by-step guide.

How do I fix brown hair colour that’s too dark?

Wash, wash and wash it again—ideally with a clarifying shampoo or anti-dandruff shampoo that specifically says it shouldn’t be used with coloured hair. Wash your mane every day for several days in a row to bleed the colour and then apply a nourishing hair mask to rejuvenate and soften dry locks. Though you may want to hop on the hair correction train immediately, it’s actually best to wait for a few weeks so you don’t do further damage. Once that time is up, decide if you need to choose a lighter brown hair colour dye or if you simply left your original choice on your locks for too long. Either way, do a strand test at the nape of your neck (or other easily hidden area) to check your results before colouring your entire head of hair.

My roots are lighter than my ends. Help!

To temporarily minimize the appearance of mismatched roots and ends (especially if you have to head out to an important presentation!), try a root touch-up spray like L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up, which comes in four shades to suit brown hair colour (plus black and two blondes). Next, try to figure out what went wrong. Are your hair damaged and absorbing dye more quickly than your healthy roots? If that’s the case, the dye likely needs more time to set on your roots and less time on your ends. If you’re confident in your abilities, you can try another application and leave the hair dye on your roots exclusively for a few minutes and then rinse. Otherwise, you might want to hit the salon for a professional root touch-up so you’ll be starting from an even colour base next time you colour hair at home.

What can I do if I chose unflattering reflects?

First things first: Do you know what reflects are? They’re the undertones or subtle highlights in hair dye that appear when the sun hits your mane. Some examples are ash, gold, mahogany, blue and copper, and each reflect flatters certain skin tones better than others. If you have a cool skin undertone (pink or red), then you’ll want to choose a brown hair colour with warm reflects like gold or copper. Warm skin (yellow or gold) looks best with cool reflects like ash, mahogany or blue. If the reflects in the hair dye you’re currently using aren’t cutting it, it’s time to change up your shade or brand.

What’s my brassy brown hair fix?

Brassiness is typically considered a problem of the faux blondes of the world, but orange and red undertones can plague brunettes too—especially when lifting dark hair to a lighter hair shade.

Before worrying about correcting brassy hair, the first thing you’ll want to do is try to prevent it. Use shampoos specifically formulated for colour-treated manes, and avoid situations that can affect the quality of your colour—like UV rays, hot-tool use and chlorine. Wear a hat when you’re out in the sun, and, when you have to use a blow-dryer, straightener or curling iron, spritz a heat-protecting spray on your strands first and keep your tools on the lowest possible setting.

If you still find that your hair dye has skewed brassy and you’re wondering how to remove brassy tones from brown hair, try a blue shampoo or toner for brown hair to get rid of red or even opt for a different shade of dye with cooler reflects—i.e., more ash and less gold.

Which type of brown hair colour dye do you recommend?

Go with L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Permanent Hair Colour and you’ll have a wide variety of rich brown hair colour shades and reflects—think light golden brown to deep mahogany brown—at your fingertips. This permanent hair colour line has major fade-defying power, so it will last for up to eight weeks and won’t ever look dull or brassy. Plus, the Care Supreme Conditioner for Coloured Hair with Shine Serum included in each kit maintains vibrancy and silky softness. If you love luminous, vibrant hair colour with major shine, Superior Preference is your perfect fit and will provide you with plenty of brown hair colour ideas for your next dye job.

Now you can make every day a good hair day—even if it doesn’t look promising at the outset!

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