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Tidbits: What’s Your Worst Colored Hair Experience?

I’ve received several reader queries about my worst hair color experience. So I thought I’d start a new series called Tidbits. It’s where you email me and I’ll post the question and answer to my blog.

I’ve had a few bad hair experiences… My worst hair color experience wasn’t actually a color job I did. When I lived in California I went to a salon called Five Color Cowboy. The stylists were awesome. I always did some sort of red. My stylist suggested I try a more natural coppery red to see if I’d like it. My gut said no, but I decided to give it a try anyways. I mean, it’s only hair right? I can color over it or grow it back out.

Well, the moment I saw my lovely cut with the color, I burst into tears. I hated it. I cried for three days. My stylist had me come back in and then she fixed the color to a different type of red. I truly hadn’t expected that to be such a traumatic experience for me. I don’t even have a picture of it.

This is my red hair having faded down to have orange tones. The photo was taken by a friend of mine.
I love this photo.

Some other bad color experiences were when I decided to dye my hair with a permanent black, without the help of my stylist, and then wanted to go back to red a month later. That was not fun. My stylist ended up removing as much as the color as possible, and then bleaching. She said she wished there was a hotline for people who were thinking of using a box color to go black. I actually wish that we’d taken pictures of my hair during the process because Ray said it looked like a fire… red at the bottom, orange in the middle, yellow-blonde on the new growth.

Or when I went to a new salon in Tampa, The Bostonian, paid a ridiculous amount of money for a woman to color my hair, and had the color wash out the first time. When I called to complain, she said she’d recolor it but she’d charge me for it, which I told her was ridiculous and they lost my business. Since I’ve been using sulfate free products for a very long time, it wasn’t a problem with my shampoo or conditioner.

Now it’s your turn! What’s your worst colored hair experience?

Also, have a question for Tidbits? Send me an email! You can email me at fresco [dot] phyrra [at] gmail [dot] com.

  • From our partners
    • http://theamazingworldofj.blogspot.com Janine

      Hahaha, i actually had the same experience. Going (or trying) from black to a brighter colour and end up with redish/orange hair. Once i ended up with green hair trying to dye my blonde hair back to black (yes i like going back and forth). I dye my hair myself since i was thirteen, and i like to change my colour like every 6 months. I don’t trust no Hairstylist nomore after they messed up my loooong hair and charged me a lot of money for it!

      • Phyrra

        I trust some hairstylists, it just takes me a while. I end up preferring to do my own color because of cost and the frequency of which I change my hair.

    • http://fiercenerditude.blogspot.com Vijaya

      I’m lucky enough that I don’t have any horrid coloring experiences, though when I bleach I can never get things exactly even. Dye’s going over the top, though so whatever.

      That picture of you is lovely!

      • Phyrra

        Thanks! It was taken in 2007, I think.

    • http://witch-words.blogspot.com Jadelyn

      Lol, I had that same experience with black box color! It took my stylist two five-hour appointments to get it light enough to go back to my favorite red after that, and she told me I had better never do that again unless I was willing to shave it off when I wanted a different color instead of trying to lighten it again. I tipped very, very, very well for that service. And I have not tried to go black again.

      • Phyrra

        I typically only do semi-permanent black now.

    • http://beautifullyindecisive.blogspot.com EmmyJean

      Trying to add highlights at home…with the holey cap thingy ya know? Does not work for long hair. I ended up looking like Rogue (XMen).

      • Phyrra

        Oh no! I can imagine. Actually, Kandee had a wonderful tutorial for long hair and adding highlights that is pretty easy to do.

        • http://beautifullyindecisive.blogspot.com EmmyJean

          I’ve been wanting to dye my hair red-ish dark brown, but I’m also trying to stay away from chemicals. I’m leaning towards using henna; have you used henna for hair dye before?

    • Ace

      I’ve only looked terrible with “normal person” colors. Like a caramely brown with blonde highlights. I think I looked so dead. With crazy colors I’ve never really minded how things came out.

      What I really want to know what a salon is supposed to do any better than a box in terms of black. I’ve gone to black with box dye and with salon dye and in my experience, there is no point paying for a salon for something like black. It’s a pain to change from no matter how expensively or professionally you do it. I am black again now and just resigned myself to not changing it.

      • Phyrra

        Yes, the quality of products is different from what I understand. Worst quality is the box dye in a store. The next step up is what you can get from Sally’s. Then there’s what you can get from a closed to the public beauty supply store or online. Usually salons have access to newer / better stuff that you can sometimes get through a closed to the public beauty supply store.

        • http://vulcanbutterfly.blogspot.com Vulcan_Butterfly

          I agree, I used to dye my hair black from a box and it did not remove well, but it also faded horribly. I have been getting my hair professionally dyed black and they mixed up a tone of black specifically for me and it does not fade but they can remove it much better than they can the dye from a drugstore. It looks much better and my hair is much healthier. In my experience, anyway, getting it done professionally has nicer results but there were times in my life where I could not afford to get this done so the black box it was.

    • Cindi

      Ha, I had the black box dye experience too. But, that wasn’t my worst. The worst was when I decided to go blonde (from red), and the girl turned my hair green. And not a cool green, a moldy green. And then she tried to hide it from me while she went and asked another stylist how to fix it. My poor hair ended up so fried that day. On the bright side, I did get a few free cut and colors as an apology. From a better stylist, of course.

      • Phyrra

        Oh no! That’s awful! Definitely getting a few free cuts was nice :)

    • http://www.outinapout.com Jessica Allison

      Another “black box” experience here. Actually, it was dark brown, but on me, that’s black. I had to color it for a play I was doing, and when it was over I decided to go back to my usual bright red. While my lighter roots weren’t terribly visible with up against the dark brown, they sure were visible after I colored my hair- I ended up with about 2 inches of flame red root and the rest was still coal black! Now that I think of it, I bet it would be quite fashionable today :)

      • Phyrra

        It would probably be pretty if you did it intentionally :)

    • http://vulcanbutterfly.blogspot.com Vulcan_Butterfly

      I used to dye my hair black out of a box myself and I know what you mean about it being hard to get out. I had gone to a couple of different places to ask if they could get the colour out to add some bright chunks in my hair and most places said they would probably not be able to lighten my hair much without damaging it or without getting very uneven results as I had been dying my own hair and I had very long hair at the time so there were probably many different layers of colour going on. These people knew what they were talking about. I went to a salon recommended by a friend for a cut and I asked the stylist what he thought about removing the black dye.He was all like, “Oh, it will be so easy, I don’t know why everyone else told you that!” So he went to work on my hair and when he was done I had these horrible brown-ish uneven chunks of hair everywhere and he said, “Oh, it didn’t work. I was trying out a new product that I’d never used before that is a lightener and colouring product all in one and we kind of needed to try it out on somebody.” Needless to say, I was not pleased to have been his guinea pig without him asking me. He didn’t make me pay for the foils but wanted me to pay for a colour to cover it up! I refused. He was a total a**hole to me while he finished covering it up. I ended up not seeing a stylist for two years after that until I cut my hair short because of the experience. The funny thing about it was that a really good friend of mine swore by this stylist and wouldn’t go to anyone else so it’s not like I just randomly picked someone. ARGH!

      • Phyrra

        What I recommend when you need black but can’t afford a stylist (or if you don’t want permanent black) is to use Manic Panic Raven. It won’t ruin your hair.

        Additionally, One n’ Only color fix is pretty good at getting out permanent dyes and sometimes semi-permanent ones. I’ve used it to take out black so I could go red.

        The first time I showed it to a stylist, he didn’t know it had existed but said the ingredients made it look like it ‘could work.’

        Ug I would have been mad about being a guinea pig without consent, too! I’m so sorry you went through that!

    • http://www.polishwonderland-byshella.com/ chell

      oh this is just happens to me! i’ve been obsess to color my hair into ashy light color, maybe most people called it ashy blonde. so i decided to re color it with L’oreal majilift for about a week, but turns out it made my hair OMBRE, i got very light brown color on the roots and dark almost black on the end of my hair, and it was horible! then i re dye it again with another majilift and this time was fine. then i decided to color it with Majiblonde and now i got a super dry hair :( and i don’t know what to do with my hair .. it’s total 2 weeks for me try to make my hair into ashy blonde and im totally failed. and my hair color look good but you really can see the dead hair all over it

    • http://cultoftaupe.blogspot.com/ Crystal S

      My worst handsdown was in my twenties I was bleaching and bleaching and bleaching my hair, sometimes twice a week and I went to dye it red and it turned lavender. My sister in law said I stripped the cuticle so i literally could not absorb color any more. I was in a semi professional position too so my Dame Edna hair was not accomplishment. I don’t know what I was thinking.

    • Deb K.

      My worst was also a box black hair experience. Just before high school graduation I decided I wanted black hair, mine was dishwater blonde, and had only been sunbleached. But, my dad had black hair, what could go wrong? I picked blue-black, and it came out so black it looked like negative space atop my head, with a green tinge. I cried & cried, my stylist bleached as much as he dared, it wouldn’t budge. He balanced the green & we waited for it to grow enough to cut off. Longest 3 months I experienced to that point.

    • Michelle

      I dyed my hair blue. Not any shade of blue but manic panic smurf blue. To match my Doc Martens. Then when it faded it was green and it looked like a bush on my head. I tried to dye over it but it made it worse. I have to go to a salon and get it corrected. Eventually I ended up with a pixie. Which was cute on me. But yeah.. smurf blue. Then smurf berry bush. Not that cute.

      • Michelle

        and side tidbit.. I was in Art College in the mid 90′s (enter Poison Ivy 2 scene here snark snark) and the funniest thing that I just remember was that there was about 20 girls in my class and they all had platinum pixie cuts just like Dolores O’Riordan from the cranberries. They all wore baby doll dresses and they all had doc martens. It was an epic sea of grunged kewpie dolls.

    • TrippyPixie

      I’ve never had a bad experience (I don’t color my hair), but my godmother sure did. She took her daughter (my cousin) to get her hair cut by beauty school students, and it turned out well. However, they somehow persuaded my godmother to get her hair colored and cut by one of the students.

      My godmother has dirty blonde hair that’s starting to go gray, and the student wanted to do a blonde ombre-type thing, to my understanding of it. However, it ended up being some sort of horrifyingly unnatural shade. I’m pretty sure that my cousin said that my godmother looked like a “ginger baby”. On top of that, the student had given her a bowl cut that would’ve had The Beatles running for cover.

      Thankfully, when her husband saw her, he just went into another room without saying a word. A few days later, my godmother went to a salon and had a professional fix it, but some of her hair had to be hacked off. That all cost a good $100 or more.

      The moral of the story is, never let a beauty school student color your hair. Yes, they need the practice, but don’t sacrifice YOUR head for it. I’m just sad that I never got to see my godmother’s hair, since I live in Chicago and she lives in Minnesota. Of course, she wouldn’t let anybody take a photo of her during that time.

    • http://xifeng.livejournal.com Lee

      Thankfully, it wasn’t with permanent color, but, uh, remember back in the day when hair mascara was a thankfully brief trend? I was in my first year or two of college, and the Target had a bunch of them on clearance (which should have been a clue but was not), so of course I loaded up.

      OMG blue glitter!

      Naturally, I decided to do silver streaks to match my awesome grey tank top with silver beads (as you do). At the time, my natural hair was still fit to be seen by human eyes. My natural hair is either black or almost black (my color sense is considerably less than awesome).

      Somewhere around lunchtime, I caught sight of myself in a mirror, along with my inexplicably greying hair.

      The silver hair mascara went straight to the bottom of the drawer and we never spoke of it again. It was subsequently and mercifully a casualty of a cosmetics-and-toiletries purge.

    • Pingback: Roundup of this Week’s Post, Saturday, May 12, 2012 | Phyrra | Beauty for the Bold

    • nekosan

      Blue. I didn’t bleach my hair first, so it turned a sickly green. I also now strongly believe that anyone under five feet tall should not dye their hair blue, in order to avoid any “smurf” comments.

    • http://www.beautyismyduty.com Reena

      Last year I had my hair colored for the first time. I really want to try on a new look so I decided to change from black to medium brown. When I got to see the results it turned out to be redish brown and worst of all the color was only at the root part of my hair. i felt horrible and rush to the salon for them to fix it. They did bleaching and coloring at the same time. After that it got worst, I got tricolors on my hair black brown and green! Eeew i looked like a mermaid. I told my friend about it and she asked me, do you apply henna on your hair at times? well I did and I don’t know about it. That’s the reason why the chemicals on my hair color can’t work on me because of the henna. It was like months of suffering and I couldn’t let my hair down. It was a lesson to learn , ask first from the experts before doing anything .

    • Sarah

      My worst experience was when I went to the salon to go red/auburn. I told the stylist I had dye in my hair from having to dye it a natural color for my job, and she ignored me and started slapping the dye on without stripping the dye out or toning!! I was horrified at the results, which made my hair look like a rainbow of vomit. I went back ASAP and a different stylist had to strip it all out and start anew. It looked great afterwards, but it was a disaster in between!

    • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

       @VictoriaCasey Oh no! That’s so awful :( I’m so sorry.

    • gothchiq

      I used to dye black with ten volume developer, the weakest there is. The bleach actually will take it out then… but of course there is still damage and crispies. I have to get a hold of that one n only if I ever decide to take out the current dark brown. I use 20 vol for that because I am now covering grays.