I had been toying with the idea of dying my hair emerald green for years. Shamelessly I’ll admit, Kylie Jenner’s green bob was the source of my inspiration.
One day I felt impulsive (more than usual) and headed to a salon, where I spent seven hours being taken from brunette to peacock green / blue hair, and I loved it. I felt vivacious, loud, expressive and for once, my spontaneity had paid off.
Tweeting a photo of my new 'do, I remember this distinct reply from a total stranger: "Looks fab, but it’s a nightmare to get out I had to chop all mine off to lose the green".
Ouch. I had never thought that far ahead.
Fast forward eight months later and I am in need to dye my hair back to brunette. The green’s bleach and monthly top ups left my hair frazzled and I started to feel it wasn’t quite the 'sophisticated' approach to life I was after. With the stranger’s tweet piercing heavily into my mind, I call the one person I know can help.
Angeline Tan of FDP Salon.
Angeline Tan, creative director of FDP salon, crafted her trade in London’s prestigious Toni & Guy, bringing back her skills and knowledge to become a leading hair stylist in Singapore for both celebrities and mere mortals such as myself.
So there I am, seated in the hot seat, while Angeline examines my hair condition and discusses how we can revert back to brunette. As she sets to work, I question, nay interrogate her, on such crazy-colour-resurrections.
Angeline admits, not many clients seem to grasp how difficult it is to remove such colours. They seem to expect it to be an easy, one session change - but this is often far from the case. It takes a lot of work, a lot of time and often, more than one sitting.
To ensure hair is as protected and un-damaged as possible, it is always better to do huge colour changes in stages, giving the hair time to settle before you do another layer of bleach.
“Green is the hardest colour to remove, followed by blue and red. But it all depends on how long you’ve been dying these colours also,” she told me. “On average, it takes 5-8 hours to remove a crazy colour, but once again depends on the intensity beforehand”.
I’ll disclose now, it took us three separate sittings and 19 hours in total to remove my green completely and become very dark brown. Sigh.
To neutralise the green, Angeline had to do a light bleach wash on my entire hair to help lift out the colour, then neutralise the green tones with a layer of red dye. Oh, and plenty of Olaplex. Olaplex is a must-include when your hair has been overly bleached and you’re after a colour change.
Once red layer was complete, she then put on the brunette dye over the top. Following two sittings I didn’t need a bleach wash, just the red to neutralise, Olaplex treatment and then the brunette overlay to finish.
The reason I had to go back more than once is because, after washing my hair, the red and brown dye lifted up very quickly, revealing a dirty-green hue that was still very present. Only after the third session at FDP did my hair stop washing out and settled as the desired brunette colour.
If you want to go even lighter than brunette to a shade of blonde - that’s even trickier but not impossible. “Normally, I'd advise the client to do it progressively if their present hair condition is poor and brittle. However, there are clients who have rather strong hair so they can take up to four sessions of bleach wash in one sitting and massive amount of Olaplex treatment to combat breakages.”
With pastel colours, it’s much easier to revert back. They require a lighter bleach wash and will not need as many sittings, given the lightness of the pastel in the first place.
As for me? It took a long time for me to adjust back to being a brunette and my hair condition has still not recovered from the over-bleaching. I’ve actually decided I would like to go light (to a honey blonde) but this won’t happen for a long time, given the condition of my hair.
Do I regret going green? Never.
Do I wish my hair was in better condition? Absolutely.
If you’re currently toying with the idea of reverting back from crazy colour hair dye or, embarking on an extreme change into crazy colour territory - make sure you keep the below checklist in mind:
Dying hair back from crazy colour:
- Always go to a salon, never attempt this with a box-dye at home.
- Accept it may take a few stages and sittings to get to your desired result - not an instant change.
- Bleaching your hair to go crazy colour and then bleach washing your hair to revert back will definitely damage the condition of your hair.
- Always request Olaplex during the bleaching stage to limit aforementioned damage.
- Accept your hair may need quite a bit of length cut off (dead and split hair is not a good look).
- Be prepared to spend the money needed, as you can expect multiple sittings, Olaplex treatment and bleaching / dying / cutting will cost.
- Be prepared to wait a while after before you embark on a new colour change.