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What To Expect From Hair Color Correction

Women with long curly hair

I’ll admit, after almost two months at home and no salon appointment in my immediate future closed, I’ve had the serious urge to color my own hair. I typically see my colorist every six weeks or so to touch up my ash blonde hue and conceal my light brown roots. iIt’s been a little over two months since I've had a color refresh—so you can imagine my hue isn’t looking it’s best right now. While the waiting game is frustrating at times, I don’t want to risk any of the mishaps that can happen attempting to color my hair at home. That, and I know an at-home color disaster will only lead me to need a hair color correction down the line.

Whether you’re blonde ended up a bit too brassy, you went a shade or two darker than anticipated, or your final hue just isn’t exactly what you imagined it to be, you’ve likely heard of a color correction before. Wondering exactly how color correction works and if you need one? We tapped Matt Rez, Redken ambassador and celebrity stylist, to find out all there is to know about the salon service.

Photo Credit: @wavesofhairbyjayme.

What is a color correction on hair?

What do you do when the lighting in your photograph isn’t just right? You use photo apps to tweak the hue, the brightness, and the resolution of the image. When it comes to your salon color, hair color correction follows the same idea. On the most basic level, the salon service aims to “correct” the tone or color. Whether your hue is too light, dark, cool-toned, or warm-toned, your colorist will create a hair color correction plan specifically for your hair’s needs. Color correction may need to be done in many different scenarios including uneven color, brass, or banding.

If you’re dealing with ashy-turned-brassy strands, uneven color regrowth, or want to make a drastic change from dark to light hair, you will probably need to book a color correction appointment.

Color correction may also be necessary after a DIY color job gone wrong—particularly if you used a box dye formula.

“I wouldn't try coloring my own hair at home or even using box color—which is the first thing people are going to reach for,” Rez says. “Box color is universally formulated and harsh...So it's not for every situation, and I think that if it's a last resort, reach out to your colorist and see if they have any options of products and things you can use at home to hold your over between salon visits.”

Among the things that can go wrong with using box dye at home, Rez says hot roots, damage from bleaching over previously lightened hair, and patchiness as some of the most common. Once salons open back up, be honest with your colorist about whether you’ve used box dye. This way, they can understand your hair better and develop the proper plan to fix it.

Photo Credit:  @luxe_blond_stilist.

How much does hair color correction cost?

The price of your salon visit is never the same for everyone. This is because the prices of salon services vary depending on what city the salon is in, the skill level of your colorist, and what specifically you need done. That said, hair color correction is one of the most expensive services—particularly if your hue will take multiple appointments to fix. You can expect to spend at least $100 an hour for a color correction.

Photo Credit: @styledby_elenadiaz.

How long does the color correction process take?

According to Rez, the length of your appointment (or appointments) depends on a few different factors. 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.

“For somebody who just needs to fix their roots only and their ends are fine, that could be done with a single process color or a gloss. If it’s further than that and there’s patchiness and what not and things that need to be corrected and toned, then that definitely would be more hours in the salon...I've had clients there for six hours because they’ve needed major corrections,” Rez says.

The health of your hair also plays a major role in what result a colorist will be able to achieve. That’s why Rez always recommends booking a consultation appointment with your colorist before a color correction.

“Before you do anything else, book a consultation with your colorist or a new colorist, whoever you want to go to,” Rez says. “I would go for an in-person consultation. Let them see and feel the hair before they can come up with a game plan because I get those inquiries a lot, and I always say I have to see your hair and feel it to be able to decide what I can and cannot do.”

Photo Credit: @xcellenthairsquare.

How soon can I correct my hair color?

Your color correction can be done immediately or after a few weeks depending on your current hue. Every stylist uses different formulas and techniques, however, and only they would be able to know the best time to do a color correction. That’s why it’s essential to consult a salon professional before making any changes.

Can you lighten permanent hair color?

Salon professionals can expertly transform our manes from dark to light in just a few salon appointments, but things can get a bit tricky when trying to lighten hair that’s already been colored. If your color correction involves lightening previously colored hair, your colorist will need to use bleach to lift the current hue and create a blank slate before applying a new shade.

It’s important to note: Bleach will always leave your hair a bit damaged, but a professional colorist can help to improve the look and feel of your strands with salon-quality products.

Once your colorist lifts all of the color from your hair, it’s likely you’ll be left with a pale white or yellow hue—that’s where toner comes in. Whether you desire an ash, platinum, or honey look, your colorist will apply a toner to your strands to neutralize any unwanted brassy tones and personalize your color.

After your appointment, it’s essential to upgrade your hair routine with products formulated for bleach damaged hair.

Redken’s Extreme Bleach Recovery line is for anyone that has any kind of lightening done and specifically for correction clients,” Rez says.

For best results, use as a three-part system with the Redken Extreme Bleach Recovery Shampoo, Extreme Bleach Recovery Cica Cream Leave-In Treatment, and Extreme Bleach Recovery Lamellar Treatment to combat damage and dryness from bleach services and improve softness, manageability, and smoothness.

Photo Credit: @colorwithkelsey.

How do you prepare your hair for a color correction?

Rez suggests that prepping your strands before heading to your color correction appointment can make a big difference. For the best results, Rez says, head to the salon with a clean slate.

“I think coming in with fresh, clean hair is the most important thing because if you're coming in for me to evaluate what we're going to do, I need to be able to see what's happening...I need the hair to be oil-free, and the product build up can't be on there because it affects the way the color looks.”

Rezz recommends using a clarifying shampoo like Redken Detox Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo pre-appointment. This formula removes product build up, excess oil, pollution residue, and minerals from hard water to ensure hair is in the best possible condition to achieve optimal results.

Photo Credit: @avhair_.

How can you take care of your hair color at home?

So, your appointment was cancelled, and now you're patiently waiting for the day that you can finally sit in your colorist’s chair again. If you’re wondering what you can do at home to keep your color looking fresh, Rez says at-home toning products are the way to go.

“I have brunette and blondes that are looking for a way to kind of tone their hair at home without actually using color, and luckily, we have color toning systems that can help them both,” Rez says.

For brunettes, Rez recommends Redken’s Color Extend Brownlights Shampoo and Conditioner. This progressive blue toning system is ideal for preventing and neutralizing brass on both highlighted and naturally brown hair.

“Clients that are brunette, whether it's natural or colored, can use these once or twice a week and tone down all the orange undertones that brunettes pull overtime not being in the salon,” Rex explains.

If you’re a salon blonde dealing with brass, Rez suggests using Redken’s Color Extend Blondage Shampoo and Conditioner as well as the Color Extend Blondage Anti-Brass Purple Hair Mask.

“It’s wonderful for blondes because it brightens them up, and the violet tones cancel any yellow,” Rez says.

If you’re guilty of shampooing your hair one too many times per week, Rez also recommends limiting your wash days and relying on dry shampoo like Redken’s Deep Clean Dry Shampoo more often. This formula provides maximum oil absorption and eliminates excess oil to refresh your hair.

“I think we all have a tendency to over wash our hair and dry shampoo is just a savior right now because that eliminates over washing, and if you're using the toning shampoo, you want to prolong that as much as possible as well,” Rez says.

Now that you know all about hair color correction, you can decide for yourself if the salon service is right for you.


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