How to 'Grow Out' Your Hair Color & Go Back to Your Natural Shade

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Whether you're attempting to undo a beauty makeover gone wrong or simply want to go back to your natural color, the process can be daunting. Fortunately, we have the secrets to growing out dyed hair. Follow these tips to achieve the clean slate you've been craving.

For Lightened Hair

We all know that coloring hair can be addictive, and if you've used highlights or have dyed the entirety of your locks a lighter shade, you may be aware of the struggle it takes to go back to your darker tone without the usage of heavy dyes.

For Highlights

The first thing you should do is to stop the upkeep of colored hair; let your roots grow out!

“You can grow it out and embrace an ombré look until regular haircuts even the shade, or replace those highlights with lowlight in a shade close to your natural color every 6 to 12 weeks until the highlights have disappeared,” writes Iowa-based hair expert Kendra Aarhus in an About.com post.

For Fully Lightened Hair

Do not lose hope—it is possible to regain your natural hue! “The first step is to let your hair grow out for at least two to three months. This will give your stylist a good sample of your natural color,” says Aarhus. “Next, you'll need to do a ‘tint back’ to a shade that is as close to your natural color as possible.”

Depending on the state of your hair (as in, how healthy or damaged it is) and how much dye was used to lighten it, the time it takes for hair to fade back to its natural state may vary. Either way, a filler, or a protein used to equalize the porosity of the hair shaft and cuticle, will most likely be required to successfully tint your hair back to its proper shade. “Proper hair filling will ensure that your hair tone is even and will prevent your hair from turning green or muddy,” says Aarhus.

We all can appreciate some great hair products, right? Additional healing products like hair treatments such as Biosilk Silk Therapy and L'Oréal® Paris Hair Expertise Oleo Therapy Perfecting Oil Essenceas as well as frequent visits with your hair stylist are recommended to help ensure that your locks stay healthy through the pigment-replacing process. It is also advised to always be honest and up-front with your stylist about the history of your dye jobs so that he or she can help you find the quickest results in restoring natural colors!

For Darkened Hair

For a sleek and elegant look, many opt to dye their hair a darker color to contrast their skin tone or stay in style for the winter season. To return to a lighter natural shade, a tint-back is also required, but in a bit of a different process.

“Your stylist will remove the darker color by lightening via a soap cap application or a color remover application. After the darker color has been lifted to the desired natural level, a color or color toner will then be applied in the natural shade that you desire,” says Aarhus. She also warns that a lighter color of dye cannot be successfully used to lighten hair that has already been colored darker, and may end up in a huge disaster (seriously) if attempted!

Patience is another factor that contributes to gorgeous, natural hair. After allowing your natural hair to grow back for two to three months, frequent appointments with a stylist are also highly recommended when ridding your hair of its dark pigments and lead you to ultimately uncovering your natural beauty.

Good luck in your (un)coloring ventures, collegiettes! 

About The Author

Chelsea is a freshman at Bowling Green State University with a love for telling stories and a passion for inspiring others through words. She majors in creative writing and journalism and hopes to one day create best-selling novels, as well as write for established magazines. She is a National Featured Writer for Her Campus, the Odyssey Online, Key Magazine, and contributes to multiple more publications. Chelsea loves romance stories, traveling to new places, spontaneous dancing, cats, occasional modeling, coffee, and can almost always be found reading a book or fashion magazine. She will stop at nothing to achieve her goals and plans to embrace all the breathtaking opportunities life throws her way. Be sure to follow her on Twitter @chelseaschroe and Instagram @chelsea.schroeder.