More than Skin Deep: Corrective color is worth the investment

Dear Scott: My hair color is a mess. I want to come to a salon and have it corrected, but I have heard that corrective color is very expensive. I have been doing it at home and the ends of my hair have gotten darker and darker over time. I try to put the color only on my roots and try not to get it on the rest of the hair so I don’t understand why the ends of it keep getting darker.


When it starts to grow out, it is grey, with a band of gold, and then a band of brown and the rest looks almost black. My girlfriend does her own color too and it looks brassy, orange and white. It’s supposed to be blonde. She has the same bands of color going around her head as I do. What are we doing wrong?

Scott says: Coloring hair is much like making yourself a sandwich. It’s always better when someone else does it for you.

When I make myself a sandwich, I take a bunch of meat, put some mustard on it, and cheese and throw it all together. Then I wonder why it’s not any good. Apparently, there is an art to sandwich making. The mustard goes on a predetermined piece of bread first, and the cheese is supposed to only touch either the meat, or possibly the lettuce or tomato. There are ingredients that should not come in contact with others. Type of mustard, cheese, and bread must be in harmony. Only a good sandwich maker is capable of knowing the order.

If you don’t know the order of events that must happen for the success of any venture, a positive outcome is unattainable. It can make your goal more expensive, too. The cost of an unsuccessful sandwich can be absorbed in the garbage can. The cost of fixing your hair is worth the money, rather than throwing it away.

When doing your own color, applying the color to “just the roots” is impossible. I’ve tried to do it to myself and it can’t be done. No matter how hard you try, you are going to get it on the other hair.

If money is a problem for you, have your girlfriend try to do it for you. Section off the hair and be careful not to squirt too much out of the bottle. Also, do not pull the color through the ends of the hair during the last five minutes to freshen the color as the box suggests.

I am guessing that you have brunette hair, or at least that is the desired result. Correcting the color issue you’ve described is relatively easy for a professional colorist. A darkening process can be done to the odd bands of colors. Then a simple lightening process for the ends of the hair should even things out. The maintenance is simple and relatively inexpensive. No more mess in your house, either.

Your friend’s hair is another story. Correcting blondes can run into a little more money. Experience is necessary to remove brassy, orange undertones and add color to the white ends. The good news is, it can be done. And once it’s fixed, maintenance is usually affordable.