I Highlighted My Hair And I Hate It (What To Do About It)

I highlighted my hair and I hate it. What should I do about it?

It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes you sit at a hairdresser’s and don’t look very happy at the end result. When you have placed highlights in your hair (or normally the hairdresser has), sometimes you may not be happy with the result. Maybe the color is just not what you would like, it is looking different that you wanted, or you think you have made the wrong choice of color.

That’s exactly why I made “I Highlighted My Hair And I Hate It”. It’s nice to know exactly what you should know if you’re not happy with the end result of your highlights. I understand that it can be difficult to talk to your hairdresser about this, but in the end, you both want the best! You want the best result, and he or she wants you to leave the chair with the best possible feeling! So don’t be afraid to use the tips below. They can only help you.

So, without further ado:

I highlighted my hair and I hate it… What to do about it?

Speak up while you’re still in the stylist’s chair

If you’re an old pro at getting your hair colored, you might spy your stylist doing something unfamiliar or incorrect while you’re getting your highlights done. Speak up if you feel like the formula is lightning your hair too quickly, if your stylist places the color in your hair in a way you don’t love, or if they mix the wrong color or tone into the formula. Keep your comment short and sweet: “Hey, that color looks a little more red than the one I usually get, are you guys using a different brand?” A professional stylist will go out of their way to make sure you’re getting the look you want.

If you’ve never had highlights before, you have the perfect excuse to ask lots of questions! Tell your stylist you’d love to know about color theory in hair dye. People love talking about their work, and a pro will be able to tell you exactly how they mix tones and colors to achieve that exact cool-toned balayage you’re looking for.

If you notice a mishap after it’s too late to prevent or you just aren’t loving your look as much as the pictures that inspired you, clear up the misunderstanding before you leave the salon. Tell your stylist and their manager that the look isn’t what you wanted. Be specific about how the style you were expecting is different from the one you got, but try to avoid getting angry or placing blame on your stylist. Confrontation is hard, but saying something immediately (and politely) is the quickest and cheapest way to get your style fixed – if your stylist has an opening that day or the next, they should be willing and able to fix your highlights free of charge. If you suck it up the day-of and pay for your dye job then decide to come back later, you risk having to pay more for a touch-up or a new service.

Go back to the salon

If you’re pioneering a trendy new style or making a huge change, you may be hoping that your new look just takes a couple of days to grow on you. If you wait a couple of days and decide your new look just isn’t for you, call the salon you visited and explain the situation. Make sure you’re clear about how you’d like your highlights changed, and ask the salon manager if they’ll discount the follow-up service. If you feel like your stylist made a technical mistake that resulted in your less-than-fabulous look, be sure to request another experienced stylist to rectify the situation.

Use a semi- or demi-permanent hair color or a toning shampoo for a quick, temporary fix

If you leave the salon with a look you don’t love and you can’t manage to set up a follow-up appointment promptly, you might have to live with your not-so-hot look for a few days or weeks. You can try wearing a hoodie every day, but that might be impossible if you’re required to dress business-casual or just don’t want to look like you’re leaving the gym every moment of your life. Fortunately, there are several types of products available in beauty supply stores that can change the tone or add color to your hair without making any permanent changes. For best results, it helps to know about color theory in hair dye (remember the color wheel from kindergarten?) so you choose the correct shade. 

Products to consider are:

  • Semi-permanent hair color: it doesn’t lift any color and it washes out in 4-12 shampoos. This is best for a quick fix if you have a follow-up appointment a week or two after your initial appointment.
  • Demi-permanent hair color: it doesn’t lift any color and it washes out in about 24 shampoos. This is best if you won’t make it back into the salon for a month or more.
  • Toning shampoo: like the purple stuff you’ve probably seen in hair dye tutorials, it doesn’t lift any color and it deposits small amounts of color on your hair over repeated washes. This is best if your highlights are placed well and the color is right, but it’s not quite neutral or cool enough for your liking.

Choosing a color: Color theory in hair dye is complicated, which is why hairstylists go through training and get licenses. In short, using a semi- or -semi-permanent dye will add color to the color you already have. When choosing a dye color, you need to consider the color you want for your highlights vs. the color you have for highlights AND the color you have in the rest of your hair. Say you have light golden brown hair and your new golden blonde highlights are the right tone but are a little too light for your liking. You can add a slightly darker semi- or demi-permanent golden blonde color to darken your highlights without making a drastic change to the darker parts of your hair.

Toning shampoo, on the other hand, corrects yellow tones by adding purple (because purple is opposite yellow on the color wheel, remember?). If your stylist went overboard on the yellow or orange when they mixed your dye, you might end up with a brighter, brassier color than you wanted. Adding purple will cool down coppery tones and mellow out the yellow in your hair. 

Change your part or hairstyle to minimize the visibility of your highlights

Maybe you have an appointment to get your highlights fixed, or you have plans to touch them up yourself, but you still need to hide them for a couple of days. Use this as an opportunity to try a new hairstyle! Try moving your part to one side or the other so your highlights are less visible. You can also try a strategically-placed braid that tucks your highlighted strands out of view. If your new highlights are just too garish to hide with a hairdo, don a cute scarf or headband that fits your personal style. If anyone asks, you can simply tell them you’re trying out a new look.

Learn about color theory and highlight placement

Remember what your grandmother always said: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Do a little research about how a stylist chooses the tone, color, and placement of highlights to achieve their client’s desired look. While spending a couple of hours on the internet won’t make you a professional, it will give you an idea about what goes into the formula your stylist will mix and how long they’ll leave it on. Highlight placement and application technique also determine how good they look, so watching a few videos of a professional will give you an idea of what techniques your stylist should be using.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, now you’ve learned enough about how to deal with the new highlights you don’t like. As you’ve been able to read, it’s not just about telling your hairdresser that you don’t like the new highlights. Wearing your hair slightly different can make a difference as can using a semi or demi-permanent hair dye. It can make that difference between being happy with what you have and not being happy with what you have.

I hope at least one of these tips has helped you get the best out of your hair!

Reading material

If you liked the article above, there are a lot of other articles you will like! Below I have made a selection of posts that you are likely to find very interesting. Click on the link to go to the article!

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What to do when you want to cut your hair, but you’re too scared?
How to get the vomit smell out of your hair?

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