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What To Expect From Hair Color Correction

woman receiving purple color corrector at salon
Trying out a new hair color only to have it go south is something every woman goes through at least once in their life. Whether your ash blonde strands take a brassy turn for the worst or your neon hair color isn’t quite what you imagined it would be, color correction is a colorist’s Holy Grail technique for a mane transformation gone wrong.

Wondering how exactly hair color correction works? We tapped Kelli Hovey, L'Oréal Professionnel artist, to fill you in on all there is to know about the popular salon service.

What is hair color correction?

Salon lingo can be complicated to master, but a hair color correction is exactly what it sounds like. On the most basic level, the salon service aims to “correct” the tone or color of your hair.

A hair color correction is when a stylist addresses any uneven pigment in the client’s hair...It can also mean fixing a client’s hair color that is too dark, too light, too warm, or too cool.

If you’re dealing with ashy-turned-brassy strands, uneven color regrowth, or want to make a drastic change from dark to light hair, Hovey says it might be time to book a color correction appointment.

“The client will get a precise color application done by a professional to ensure not only the overall corrected tone, but also maintain the health of the hair,” Hovey explains.

Are there different types of color correctors?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution in the world of hair color, especially not when it comes to color correction.

“When you think of a color correction, think of it in the way we use makeup for skin tones,” Hovey explains. “We use different shades and tones to neutralize, cancel out, and/or enhance the overall tone to create balance or a whole new look.”

To neutralize discoloration, your colorist will apply a product that contains a pigment on the opposite end of the color spectrum to the hair. Purple color corrector is the most popular shade for eliminating unwanted yellow and orange tones in blondes and other lightened hair colors.

However, toning isn’t the only reason people opt for color correction.

“Some color corrections require a colorist to remove multiple layers of previous colors on the client’s hair, and a client wanting to go back to their natural color from their previously color-treated hair is also a common color correction request,” Hovey says.

How long does the color correction process take?

According to Hovey, the length of a color correction process depends on several factors.

“The integrity of the hair, what previous services were done to the hair, and the end goal will be the overall factors in how long or if it is even possible to achieve the desired look,” Hovey explains.

Some color corrections can be as simple as applying a toner to brassy highlights, while other processes like lifting a dark hair color can be more time-consuming and sometimes take more than one appointment to achieve.

“As a hair colorist, it is extremely important that I have this discussion with my guests about their hair’s integrity when I’m about to proceed in a hair color correction...The overall porosity and elasticity of their hair will be the answer to how long their color will last as well if they can even begin the color correction process,” Hovey says.

Unsure if a hair color correction is right for you? Booking a consultation with your colorist is the best way to determine if your strands are ready for the service.

Can at-home products mimic the effects of a salon hair color correction?

If your hue turns out less desirable than expected, your first instinct might be to take matters into your own hands at home. Though, Hovey insists on reaching out to a salon pro for all of your color correcting needs.

“To try and correct the hair color at home with a store-bought color or product will not be the same as seeking out a professional,” Hovey says, “Not only will the client no longer have someone who specializes in the science of hair, but the ingredients in non-professional products are much different and can oftentimes cause even more issues.”

A DIY color fix might be off the table, but there are salon-quality products that can help you maintain your hue once you leave the salon. The L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Silver Shampoo is formulated with an anti-yellowing agent to neutralize yellow tones, leave hair feeling soft, and looking shiny.

If you’re thinking hair color correction might be for you, don’t be afraid to give your colorist a ring!

Interested in a professional hair color correction? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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