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Ask The Beauty Expert,

I need your help. I just tried to color my dark brown hair. I used blonde hair color (permanent) and now my hair is orange? Help, I can't afford to go to the salon.

          - Amy K., Boston

Amy K.,

     This is a common complaint. Most permanent haircolor is only formulated to lift (lighten) up to 4 levels. In other words, dark brown hair would only be lightened to light brown when using a "box". Pre-bleaching will dramatically improve your results next time. To cover the orange you have a few options.

If your hair is still in excellent condition I would use a gentle on-scalp bleach (being careful to not overprocess. The next step is to tone.using an ash based semi permanant haircolor. The darker the haircolor the ashier (opposite of orange/red) your hair will become.

If your hair is dry from the process you've already used, for the next few days don't shampoo (as long as all of the haircolor you've used has already been washed condition and rinse everyday, air dry. Once your hair is no longer dry, assess the level (lightness/darkness) of your current hair color.  For the typical orange left from the process you used. I would recommend using a medium to dark ash blonde semi-permanent color.

If your hair seems damaged, the last thing it needs is more chemical treatment. Use only products that contain no peroxide or ammonia. If you want to return to your dark brown color, Henna is a viable option. Pick one-two shades lighter than your desired result. You can always do this again. Look for products labeled "temporary" as they are labeled for use on uncolored hair and in your situation they will likely stain very well. You may need to use this product every few weeks to keep up with fading. A medium - dark ash blonde should cover the orange tones. Henna or temporary color is very hard to color over or lighten, if you use these to darken your hair do not attempt to color again until the treated hair has grown out and been cut off.

Every time a chemical process is used (color, perm, etc.) the condition of your hair changes. Even if you can't afford to have professional color, remember to have a trim every 4-8 weeks and after chemical processes.

Good Luck Amy, let me know how it goes and what I can do to further assist you.

                                                                                                   -                                                     -Candace The Beauty Expert
The Beauty Expert,

I have curly hair that just won't go straight. I've used all sorts of gels and other products. None of them seem to work. How do I get rid of the curl?

          - Melinda C., Greensboro, NC


We have entered a new day and age. Products can do many many things. Straightening is best accomplished permanently, professionally, with chemical straighteners. However, there is a way to straighten your hair yourself. A
ceramic flat iron reaches high temperatures and the ceramic surface resists sticking (like those darn metal plated ones) and it adds shine at the same time. I prefer ceramic flat irons with teeth (like a comb). Finding a good one may mean spending $50 - $100. Check your local beauty supply store.

Wash, condition, and dry hair. Section the hair into 4 clipped sections. Using a tail comb, release the bottom inch or so from the first section. Comb through this section and then use the flat iron. Keep the iron moving at all times, always from root area to end. A few swipes may be necessary. Let this section hang and release a section above it. Continue this until the whole head is complete. Always let the last piece cool completely before combing. A shine spray may be used. Hairspray is not always necessary but a light spray will provide longer lasting results.

Curly hair is naturally dry. A good conditioner is the first step to protect your hair. And remember that washing every day is not necessary. Once or twice a week is plenty for most people. A shower cap will help you avoid moisture reaching those ends and can help your straightening session last for days.

Flat irons may seem tedious at first. But soon you'll get into a routine and it will be a breeze.

Good Luck Melinda, and don't forget curls are beautiful too.
Please email me again sometime.

                                               - Candace The Beauty Expert
The beauty expert is not liable for damages relating to or caused by advice through email or through this webpage.
Use common sense whenever using chemicals and always read the directions on the product.
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