how to fix a bad hair dye job, at home

when you're in the worst case scenario...

illustration by esra rosie

A few weeks ago, after sitting in a hair salon for a few hours, I came out with a fresh new cut and a new dye job. And, frankly, I was feeling pretty damn fly. Because although they hadn't dyed it an icy blonde like I requested (instead, they tinted my roots purple), the stylists kept pumping me up by saying, "It looks so cool," and repeating '70s surf phrases like "rad" and "stoked." A little background: I don't really care what my hair looks like most of the time, so I was cool with what I perceived to be their creative liberty.

Then, after a long Trader Joe's run, I got home and took a proper look in the mirror. Most of my roots were left an untoned, brassy, Tang-orange and rubber-duck-esque yellow. It seemed like all of those empty compliments were because they had royally messed up my hair. I no longer resembled the grandma emoji—I resembled a strung-out girl on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Which, to be honest, I kind of was.

After innumerable sighs and some meditative exercises, I decided to take action. Afraid my hair wouldn't be able to withstand another immediate intense bleaching, I did a bit of research and found what I now know to be miracle products. After one shower, I looked somewhat presentable—and to me, that meant I was good to go for another few weeks. I started with two rinsings of V76 by Vaughn's Brightening Shampoo ($26). Originally intended to illuminate blonde, white, and grey hair, the purple shampoo contains Hawaiian-grown coconut to smooth and hydrate hair. And, yes, V76 by Vaughn is technically a men's brand, but as you all should know by now, androgyny is in (and always has been), so just go with it.

I followed up with the appropriately named Rita Hazan Ultimate Shine Gloss in Breaking Brass ($26). The foaming gloss tones down brassiness and removes yellow from grey hair (actually) and contains coconut fatty acid, panthenol, pro vitamin B5, and silk protein to add moisture, softness, and shine to the hair. For good measure, I used this twice in my initial panic. Since then, I've used this product three times a week, leaving it on for three to five minutes each time. I finished up with V76 by Vaughn Brightening Conditioner ($26), which is one of the most hydrating conditioners I've ever used. With sage leaf extract and sunflower seed extract, it nourishes your scalp, strengthens hair, protects against free radicals, and repairs damage from oxidation—covering just about every base possible. After towel-drying my hair, I applied Aveda Color Conserve Daily Color Protect ($24) and Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil ($27) to make sure my strands weren't super-brittle. 

Next time your colorist leaves you feeling unpresentable, don't worry—just cast a voodoo spell on them, then use these products. Everything will be okay.

Related Articles:
How To Actually Pull Off Grey Hair