Q & A
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Q & A

Hello everyone.

I want to let you know that I can not continue to keep up with the Question & Answer forum. I simply get too many every day. As it is, I've had to start only answering the ones that asked questions that haven't been asked before. I get many, many of the same questions asked over and over again. Over the next few months I plan to put together a FAQ page. In the mean time, please scroll through this page and the archive page and you will likely find the answer to your question. I may possibly post some of the Q&As that I already have in my in-box but my time is very limited these days so I can't promise anything.

Thank You


I was on the internet looking for a way to solve my hair problems and came across your site. My problem is, I changed salons to try and save money. I went in for highlights (foiling). When the hair dresser finished putting in the last foil she went to the first foil to check color. I asked what she was doing because at my other salon I sat for 30 minutes. She said she didn't use color to change highlights, she uses bleach. Now that it's all said and done, I can no longer blow dry my hair properly, it won't straighten with a blow dryer and it's dry. My hair has completely changed. It's no longer silky and smooth. What can I do? Can you give me any suggestions? I appreciate any help you can give.

Thank you

The only thing you can really do at this point is get into a routine of weekly protein treatments (leave on for a minimum of 30 minutes) and use a good moisturizing daily conditioner. You will probably also need to cut some length. Hopefully, in time, your hair will improve. A lot of stylists use bleach for highlights routinely. It is more rare to find one that prefers using color. I know this because in my 20+ years doing hair, most stylist I have ever worked with teased me about my methods saying they take longer and bleach is just as good. You just had first hand experience on what I've been saying for over 20 years. Bleach can be a valuable tool if used sparingly. With my clients whom I use bleach on, I only use it on a few foils mixed in with the color foils, and I watch them closely to make sure they do not get too light. In the future make sure you have an in depth consultation with the stylist who will do your hair. Or you could find a way to fit your old stylist, who you seemed happy with, into your budget. Give up daily Starbucks coffee so you can have beautiful hair, or something like that. Good luck and I hope things improve for you.

I am 24 years old and I am 6 weeks pregnant with our second child, and I was wondering if it is ok to get highlights in my hair. I tried highlights for the first time and I loved it! they are ready to be done again.
Thanks Mary
I would ask your doctor. Usually they say wait until after 3 months. That said, when doing highlights with foil, the color is not touching your scalp. I gave people highlights all through both of my pregnancies and I know many hairdressers who did not stop coloring their hair when they were pregnant.

No one really knows for sure if there is a potential problem. That is why most doctors say to at least wait until after the first three months just in case.

It sounds like I have hair like yours. It is very thick, extremely thick. It falls just over my shoulders. I see that you don't recommend home perms. My hair is pretty curly right out of the shower or when I get it cut really short. However, I have a heck of a time keeping it that way throughout the day. It is extremely frizzy. I tend to do the ponytail thing or the bun thing just to keep it tamed. It is crazy. I have tried products for wavy to curly hair and my hair still seems to frizz out. The last time I had a perm was about 8 years ago, but it was more managable back then. I really need something done. I bought a home perm and I am having someone who has been doing these since I was a child on people do my hair, but I really want to know what I am getting into first. I am job hunting and I don't want to screw this up, appearance really can make a difference.
Please help me.
The problem with home perms isn't only about who's rolling it. It's about the product. There are a lot of professional perms I wouldn't even use. Most stylists I know have a couple of favorites and won't touch the rest with a 10 foot pole. If your hair does well with a perm, I would have it done by a professional, using professional products. I would even shop around for the right stylist to do it. Especially if you are out job hunting now.

Hi, I have um.....dirty blonde hair I think.because of the color of my hair I always look like I have oily products or something in my hair.I don't want to dye my hair because it will damage it , and I've tried lemon juice but no matter how long I stay outside in the sun it won't brighten.is there any other natural way to bring highlights or brighten my color?
So called "natural" lightening techniques are very over rated. I've seen many people who's hair has been "naturally" lightened by spending every day at the beach, for instance, who's hair looks much more damaged than someone who had a well done, professional highlight. If your hair is already in the blonde family, doing some foils with a medium to light blonde color (not bleach) and maybe 30 volume developer would probably give you just the kick you're looking for.

Hey, I recently had my sister-in-law perm my hair because she's done it before and it turned out awesome. Well, for some reason, it didn't turn out so great this time and it isn't as curly as i'd like and looks a tad bit frizzy. i was wondering how long I absolutely have to wait to go get my hair permed, I'm going to have it professionally done this time. My husband is in boot camp for the army and in 9 weeks i go see him and i would really like to look good for him, so if i can't go get another perm soon, what other options (besides cutting my long hair off) do I have? Thank you!!!!
It really depends on how damaged your hair is. Usually, if it's not too badly damaged, you can re-perm after about two weeks. You should do a deep conditioner or two in the mean time. I would consult with the stylist who will be giving you the perm and ask what they recommend. They will also be able to evaluate your hair to see if it can stand another perm so soon.

I have been doing my own hair for a year now (all over color). I am a level 6 and have been using a 40 volume lift and the Loreal majiblonde in various shades, most recently 900. I haven't been happy with the yellow tone I am getting instead of a more golden look. It's a bit too light and "brassy", instead of golden. Would it be a mistake to use the majirel 9.13 or 10 instead? I want to be blonde, but would like a bit of warmth. Would it be better to just tone? Thank you!
I love the .13 tone. I would not go to 10. Keep in mind that 9.13 is Marirel not Majiblond so it is mixed a little different. You will not get quite as much lift even with the 40 volume. But you did say it was a bit too light anyway so it will probably work well. I hope you are being careful not to run the color through to your ends for the full time. You should just do your roots, and then with 5 to 10 minutes to go mix a bit of water in with the remaining color and then run that through to the ends.

Is this the same Mary Reid that graduated from Richard Montgomery H.S.? I could not get your email address for some reason.
Hi Toni !!!!!

It sure is. Just hit the contact link and there is an e-mail button at the bottom. I look forward to hearing from you :o)

I am a cosmetologist and know that perming hair with Sun-in, is a big NO-NO. I have a client that has been using a product called Got:2b SoBlonde Hair Lightening Spray. It is used just like Sun-in, but the ingredients are not the same. I don't know anything else about the product nor can I find anything about this product, or it's ingredients. My clients hair is very healthy feeling and she would like a perm. Any helpful hints?
When in doubt, do a test strand. Of course in this case, even that might not be fool proof because the effects of the product would be most evident on the top layer of the hair. I would take a small section as close to the top as possible, without it being obvious if it does break or fry. Of course if you try to coordinate this with another perm in the salon so you can use the leftover solution it would be best so you don't waste a perm. I'd like to hear how it goes. In my first and last experience with this type of thing, my clients hair seemed healthy. It only looked a shade or two lighter then her root area. That's why I ended up taking her word for it (and the fact that I was only 20 and didn't know better yet) when she insisted she didn't put anything on her hair. At least your client is smart enough not to lie to you. I would have her sign a release form though, just to be safe.

Hi Mary..

I used a demi-permanent color to cover my highlights as you suggested... (diacolor dark brown).. I used a very good shampoo for color treated hair and was never in the sun.. but just after 3 washes, my highlights are back! they are not as light as they were but very noticeable!

I went back to the salon to ask if I should have it done again using the same demi-permanent product but my colorist told me that its not worth doing it again because my hair is just not holding on to the color... he said that my hair is not bleached so I don't need a filler... and he recommended I wait a week then come back and have it done using Permanent color (Majarel #3)...

What do you think????
I am very confused :(
Just a reminder: my hair is dark/very dark brown and waist long. It has golden tones (Not Red and orange which I am afraid I might end up with when I color my hair)

The requirement for a filler is not about whether bleach was used it's about how much color has been removed from your hair. If your highlights were blond then that means that the red and orange tones were taken out. Hair lightens in stages (using bleach without any tonal control) It goes from dark black, to dark reddish brown, to medium reddish brown, to reddish brown, to light orange red, to gold orange, to gold, to light gold, to yellow, to pale yellow blond, to palest yellow blond. When using a color to lighten the hair we add tones to control the end color. Usually these are to combat the red and orange when lightening the hair. But if your highlights were done lighter then a brown color, you need to return the orange and red to the hair before putting the darker shade on. This goes with demi permanent AND permanent color. Either way the missing colors must be replaced.

Now let me say this, I have been using Majirel off and on for my entire career. #3 is basically black. I have used it on Asian and Indian hair to cover gray when they want their hair black. (#1 is too black and there is no #2) If you consider yourself naturally a dark brown I would stick with the #4's. Maybe mixing a little #3 in. If he puts #3 or even #4 on your hair without a filler or orange and red in the mix your highlights will likely look muddy and drab as they fade.

This is the best advice I can give you.

To relax a too curly perm,I have been told to comb a perm through my hair. If this so, do I use the solution or the neutralizer?
You would use both, just like with a regular perm. First use the solution for the recommended time (or maybe a bit shorter because it is freshly permed) then rinse very thoroughly and gently towel dry your hair. Then comb the neutralizer through the hair. I hope you are using a professional perm or having this done professionally. A home perm could damage your hair considerably. If you got the perm done in a salon and you feel it's too curly I'm sure they would do this for you free of charge (assuming that it was done recently and you did not ask for a curly perm and then just change your mind)

I am 26 years old with waist length dark brown hair (my hair would get a golden tone in the sun, not red or orange).. I got golden highlights (using Loreal's majarel).. but the upkeep was too much for me so now I decided to go back to my natural color.. The only problem is, that I have conflicting views from two different specialists.. the first wants to use loreal's dia color and the other says that this will wash out in a month and the best solution would be to use a permanent color..

What are the pros and cons or each? What do you suggest for me? I am considering the demi permanent dia color but the fact that my hair is so long and that I don't want to cut it shorter than my waist means that I need the color to last for years to come! It took me 8 years to grow my hair to this length and I want to keep it... and getting it redone every month or even every 6 months is too much trouble for me... this is why I decided to get rid of the highlights in the first place... also, is it true that even if I use a permanent color, it still won't last? going one shade lighter over time is ok... but continuing to fade is not!

Please tell me what to expect from each and what my options are..

Thank you in advance

I would use the Demi Permanent color. It will fade out but probably not as light as it is now. You might be able to get away with having it done every two months to start but each time you do it the color will last a bit longer. (at least I know it does with Shades by Redken) If you use a permanent color you will be coloring all of your hair. (Demi-permanent color will not change the inner structure of your hair and will grab the previously colored hair and hold longer to it) With the permanent color it will fade and get brassy with time and you will end up with a definite root area. In time you will look like the top half of your hair is one color and the bottom a completely different one. With the Demi-Permanent color, the color will fade, but not to a brassy color. And you will not have as definite of a root area, depending on how heavy the highlights were done. If your stylist fills the hair first then puts the desired shade of Demi-Permanent on top it will give it a better color and more longevity.

I hope this helps.

On Thursday, my stylist colored my hair "coffee bean". (My hair natural color is dark brown) Help! My hair looks black! It looks very goth! My complexion is fair, almost reddish and the contrast is so drastic.

Its Sunday and I have a banquet to go to tonight. I CANT go like this. I went to Eckerds and bought LOREAL FERIA in Espresso. Will this hurt my hair in your opinion? HELP and THANKS!

Don't put the color on your hair. It will only make the matter worse. Color will not lift color. So if you are trying to make a dark brown lighter by putting a lighter brown on it, it will do absolutely nothing except maybe dry out your hair some more and make the color that much harder to remove. I do not know what line or what type of color (permanent, or demi permanent) "coffee bean" is but either way the following technique is probably the best way to go for now until you can have your regular stylist spend the time to really fix it.

If you can get into see a stylist today I would say your best bet would be for them to put some foils around your face and bring them up lighter with bleach. This will break up the dark color and give it an overall lighter look. They should only take them up a little lighter and take them out before they get red. It will probably be difficult, if not impossible to avoid red completely so they will most likely need to tone the highlights once the foils are out.

This should get you through the night and shouldn't take to long to accomplish. If the stylist who colored your hair originally is working today you should call and ask them to do it. If not then find another salon who could accommodate you and then call your stylist as soon as possible to explain what happened. I have to ask, you said you got this done on Thursday. Why didn't you call them on Friday. Most stylist would find a way to fit you in to fix your hair so you are happy. It is always best to go straight to the stylist and tell them what is going on right away.

Ok here it goes... about 4 years ago I used to use sun-in on my hair I told my hairstylist at the time and she advised me to stop because it was bad for my hair. so I did now my hair is a dirty blonde and I wanted to get it lighter so I decided about 2 months ago to get it highlighted little did I know that my new stylist used bleach. let me just say that even though my former stylist told me that it was bad for your hair it seemed to be more shiny and healthier than after bleaching and it was a more natural look and an all over lightening color compared to bleaching. needless to say I don't like bleaching either. here's my question... since I bleached my hair 2 months ago and I want an all over lighter color can I put sun-in in my hair again and start using it again? why do they say it is bad for your hair it can't be as bad as bleach, can it? also incase you need to know my hair is bra length and I love my hair and I don't want it to fall out from using bleach and sun-in so I will wait for your response.
A long time ago, in the beginning of my career, I had a client come in for a perm. I had never met her before so I did not know anything about her history except what she told me. I asked her if she had any color in her hair. She said no. I could see a bit of a line of demarcation (roots) but some people will get that naturally if their hair lightens up a lot in the summer. So after asking her a couple of more times if she had anything at all in her hair and her saying no I had to either take her at her word or call her a liar. (lessen learned) Any way, I gave her the perm and her hair ended up looking like marsh mellow. This had never happened to me before and I was horrified. I apologized profusely and offered her free deep conditioning treatments and cuts until I got her hair back in shape. During our conversation while doing the first deep conditioning treatments she let it slip that she had used Sun-In in her hair. I can't tell you how angry I was with her (she had laid the guilt on me thick and made me feel like s--t) I learned two lessons that day. If you think a clients lying, she probably is and it's not worth it to do something you feel "off" about. Secondly, never touch a head of hair with any chemical that has had Sun-in in it.

When I do highlights I almost (95% of the time) use color on the hair not bleach. I do not like the color that bleach comes up and it saps the shine right out of the hair. If I have a blonde client that want's to be brighter than the color can bring her, I'll use bleach in a few of the foils around her face.

If your hair is naturally a "dirty" blonde than using a blonde color in foils would have been beautiful. There is a lard percentage of stylists who use bleach in their foils as a default. When I first started doing hair I decided that color made more sense, not because someone taught me that way but because it was giving me the look that "I" thought looked good. After being in this business for 20 years I realize that I'm in the minority.

My suggestion to you is to find a stylists who favors a natural look and uses color instead of bleach in most cases. What I have done with clients in the past who had bleached out highlights is I would foil the hair and use the color at the root, use a very light demi permanent color over the bleached hair shaft (in the foil) and use a darker demi permanent color (in your case probably a dark blond) on all of the hair not in the foils. This type of process is corrective color and will cost more than just getting foil highlights but chances are good you will only have to do the who thing once. One the people I've done this to I just did a normal highlight re-touch when they were ready again.

Sorry for the novel but I hope it helps a bit.

Hi Mary...I have a question for you. I am in the 8th grade this year and I am really into cosmetology and hair. This year for science fair, I am doing my experiment on hair and my question is, does highlighting your hair really damage it more than dying it all? If so, why? Please answer my question as soon as possible because I really need to know. Thank you!
It's all a matter of what is used on the hair and how long it's left on. Often times highlights are done with bleach. (I often use color as opposed to bleach because I like the effect better and feel it's easier on the hair) With bleach you can use different volumes of peroxide to activate it. Most people use 20, 30, or 40 volume but 10 and 60 - 120 are also available. The higher the volume, the faster it works and the harder it is on your hair. Over 60 volume you can pretty much guarantee a fair amount of damage.

With color (either all over or using it for highlights) it is not designed to work as fast and it is formulated to get to a certain color and stop. You can also use different volumes of peroxide with color from 10 to 40. The higher the volume the more lift you will get. Most modern professional colors also have buffers and conditioners built in. Color can not lift the hair as many levels as bleach can though. So someone with dark hair who wants light highlights would need to use bleach.

For your project you might want to try Pivot Point International for human hair to experiment on. Here is a link to the page where you could order hair. http://ppsales.catalog.com/browseGroup.cfm?item_group_id=78661 I would think either the 30cm x 50cm or 40cm x 40cm Human Hair Weft would suit your purpose.

I was wondering if you could help me. I have dirty-dishwater blond hair. I hate it so I have it highlighted frequently. I usually get my highlights very fine so it nearly colors all of my hair. Recently I went to get my roots touched up, and the woman did my hair solid. Not only that, but she took the dye out too soon, and my hair was yellow at the roots. I have since bought a purple shampoo that has toned my hair down a lot. My question to you is, how can I get dimension in my hair again, instead of solid color?
The best thing to do at this point is to get lowlights. Probably about a level 7 would work well. That should break up the line. You could either do it now, you could wait 4 or 5 weeks and have high/lowlights put in. In other words one foil would be a lowlight and the next would be a highlight etc. This needs to be done pretty heavy because your trying to break up the line. You will probably need to have this done the next two times. After that the all over color should be grown out enough that you can go back to just the highlights with maybe just a few lowlights.

So how did this end up happening? Did you go to a different stylist than you had been? Whenever you go to a new stylist it is very important to have a consultation and make sure you understand each other. The stylist should spend at least 5 or 10 minutes talking to you about what you want and what the plan is for your hair. Sometimes it's a good idea to make an appointment for a consultation before you make your color appointment. That way you can really concentrate on devising a plan and you can make sure your appointment is booked correctly. It can really through a monkey wrench into things if you call and make a "color" appointment (very common mistake) for a Saturday and when you show up the stylist sees you really need highlights.

I wanted to know if I could dye or perm my hair when I am pregnant.
As far as color goes, I usually tell people to go with what their doctor says. Highlights should not be a problem because the color does not touch your skin. I do not recommend perming, mainly because they just don't work when your pregnant. Something about the hormones. Perms don't take correctly (if at all) on pregnant women and prepubescent girls.

I recently bought a dark&lovely hair dying kit but I don't want to dye my whole head. Can I use this kit for streaks as well or is there something else I have to do? PLEASE HELP!
I'm not sure what type of color is in Dark and Lovely but I assume it is normal permanent color designed for naturally dark hair. You can use the end of a comb and paint it on sections of hair (this can be pretty tricky to get right) or pull it through a cap. If you've read through previous questions you know that I do not recommend using home color. Application techniques and the quality of color are just not the same. If you do plan on experimenting at home have someone help you and read the directions carefully. Use extra caution if your hair is relaxed.

...Hi. I would really like to know if there is any thing in this world that could straighten curly/waved dry and kinky hair permanently without damaging my hair more than it probably is, and that when you take a shower you don't come out with your natural curly hair again. I want to have supper straight hair so that when you get in the shower and get out you still get out with supper straight healthy hair like the Chinese people.....
PLEASE TELL ME THERE IS SOMETHING OUT THERE FOR US. I sure will appreciate it a lot.

Thank You.

Whoever manages to invent this will be an instant millionaire. Even the Bioionic "Japanese" Straightening system doesn't leave you with healthy hair (just possibly a little healthier than conventional relaxers) and to get the supper straight, shinny look you still need to blow dry it. I wish I had better news for you.

I'm 13 years old, and I have medium to medium-light brown hair that is wavy (I straighten it). I do demi-permanent dyes every now and then when I need a change. Last year I tried a L'Oreal Casting Colorspa in a really light golden brown. It did nothing to my color. Yesterday I did another L'Oreal Casting Colorspa, only this time I used the color Palomino Dark Blonde. I was hoping to lighten my hair to a light brown, because I heard that if you use blond coloring on brown hair, it would lighten it to a lighter brown. But now my hair is the same brown with very very subtle red. I don't really see a noticeable difference, and I like red, but I would really like to have my hair a light brown, at least only for a month or 2. Please don't suggest doing permanent color or going to a stylist. Right now I'm not in for permanent color, or spending money on something I could do for myself. Also, are there products that I can use that have the same effect as spa masques for hair? The only ones I've found are in coloring boxes.


The only way to lighten hair is permanently. To lighten the hair, color pigment has to be taken out of the hair. Once it's out it is gone until you replace it with something else. Demi / Semi permanent colors can only add color to your hair. They can not take it away. Even sun lightened hair is lightened permanently. The hair that is light will stay light until it grows out or is colored over.

So called Spa Masques are conditioners. Get a good, preferably professional (I like Nexxus Keraphix and Alterna's Hemp Deep Conditioner), deep protein conditioner and apply it to towel dried hair. Cover with a plastic bag and a towel and let it stay on for 30 minutes before rinsing.

Over the summer I went to jcpennys salon and got my hair cut. It was past my hips and hard to take care of so I decided I would get it to my shoulders and I got it chemically straitened. Well I had to wait 3 days before I could wash my hair. A few days later I washed it and it turned back to what it was before and I don't want to spend the money again to get something that didn't work for my hair. I have a straitening iron I use but it takes me so long to do it and a blowdryer doesn't work. What do you suggest for my hair??? pllllease help me......
Did you go back into the salon and show them what happened? Whenever you get a service that you are not happy with or that doesn't work you should ask to have it made right. Now let me ask you this. Was it really just the way it had been before the service or was it just that it still had some wave to it? What most likely happened is that with your hair as long as it had been, the weight of the hair pulled out a lot of the curl. After it was cut it was most likely much curlier than when it was long. The relaxer may have relaxed some of the curl but not taken it all out. It never does, not and still leaving you with hair worth having. You will not get hair that looks and acts like naturally straight hair with a relaxer. You always still have to blow dry it, it should just be easier than without the straightening. If it really isn't working for you then I would suggest finding a cut and style that uses your curl instead of fighting it. It's always better to work with what you have and play it to it's best advantage.

I got my hair permed yesterday. The hair stylist said I could get my hair wet as long as I didn't wash it. Is this true. I always thought you weren't supposed to.
Getting it wet is fine. You just don't want to use shampoo or conditioner. You can also use gel if you wish. If you think about it, they have to wet your hair to rinse the perm so your hair has already been wet down once. The rule of thumb is, don't shampoo for 48 hours.

Hi how do you do home foils, I have a blonding highlight kit, it comes with a cap that I don't want to use. Can you please help me.

Thank you

Foil highlighting is a very delicate technique which takes lots of practice. In the hands of someone who doesn't know what they are doing the results could be horrible. It takes some stylist months, if not years to build up to an efficient speed. With foil, each section is done one at a time. The hair starts lightening the second the bleach is on the hair. It is NOT a technique for the untrained. If you must use a home kit, stick with the cap. Check the holes first to make sure they are not to big or ripped and be careful not to mush the bleach down on the cap too much. Better to work it away. If the bleach bleeds through the holes you will have ugly (most likely orange) blotches. That said, let me just say that I have seen many corrective colors come into our salon after trying these home kits. It's not as easy as it looks in the commercials. If you end up needing to get it corrected it will most likely cost more than if you went in to get foil highlights in the first place.

Hello Mary I'm an African American female with hair is real kinky when it's natural. But here's the question, I've recently bleached my hair I liked it the color it came out it looked like the sun yellow at the roots and orange at the tips, then two weeks later its started to get real dry and weak. My hair is cut low in the back and goes longer at the middle and the top. this past Saturday I've permed my hair and as I was washing it clumps of orange hair started to fall out literally. I was horrified I want to know can my hair be saved with proper treatment, and less perms and color. Or do I have to cut it real low and texturize it or should it just be natural and grow out for a while or do I have to get a wig because I'm real terrified I loved my hair before and the length now it's all going away I'm scared to even combed out my hair so please get back to me ASAP PLEASE!!! EMERGENCY
Mixing bleach and relaxer is playing with fire. If it is to be done it needs to be done very carefully and only by a professional. Most stylist I know won't do it, or if they do they have the client sign a release form. I'm assuming you did this your self. When bleaching hair you have to leave a "buffer zone" so you don't bleach hair that will possibly be overlapped the next time you relax your roots. You said it was the orange hair that was falling out. That was the hair on the ends right? Did you comb the relaxer all the way through your hair? You should always just do the roots whenever you relax your hair. If you have been combing it all the way through every time you relax it the hair at the ends has been relaxed several times. I'm surprised it didn't break off the second the bleach touched it if that is the case. I don't hold out much hope for your hair right now. The best you can do is use deep protein and moisturizing (use both types) conditioners to try and save what can be saved, cut what can't be saved, and stay natural until all of the damaged hair is completely grown out.

I'm sorry I don't have better news for you.

Hello Mary! Just wondered if hot irons are bad for your hair--my hair stylist does not recommend them, but I have very little time for straightening my hair with a round brush and blow dryer...I understand that ceramic are perhaps less damaging--if so, which brand would you suggest? Thank you so much.
All heat styling can damage and dry your hair. You need to use equipment and products to help minimize the damage. Either way, the more often you give your hair a break the better. Try experimenting with ways to wear your hair curly. As for styling it straight, a blowdryer is less concentrated heat than the iron so it is not as damaging. I know that not everyone can blow dry there hair straight adequately enough though. I have the Chi ceramic flat iron and it works well. The ceramic is a more even heat than a metal iron and is a bit better on your hair. You always want to use some sort of styling product to protect your hair. I really like Laminates by Sabastian. They have drops which have no hold factor and gel which has a small amount of hold. If you have very thick, coarse hair the gel would work better for you. If your hair is fine the drops are better since they have less weight. Both products you would want to use sparingly. Also you want to take a little care in blowdrying your hair first. Keep in mind that you will not be able to get right up to you scalp with the iron. If you dry it with a vent or paddle brush and take a round brush to your root area your results will be much better after using the iron. Finally, use good, professional shampoos and conditioners. I would also use a leave in conditioner when you plan to make it straight. When you style your hair straight you should be able to go two or maybe three days before shampooing it again. Put it up when you take a shower in the morning and then maybe just touch it up with a round brush and blow dryer after. When I have my hair straight I usually have to blowdry around my hairline after a shower and that's it. If you take special care of your hair and learn to use the iron correctly (and not every day) you should be ok.

I want to get highlights in my hair before school starts. I have dark brown hair and I am considering getting blonde highlights. I'm just afraid that it will look weird. What color highlights would look good on me?
A good rule of thumb is to not go more than about two or three shades lighter than your natural color. With dark brown hair I wouldn't go lighter than light brown. If you go lighter, not only will it not look natural but you will feel like you have roots very quickly. I have a client now who has very dark hair and when she first came to me she had very light (some even white) streaks in her hair. They weren't done very well and they were way too light. We have been slowly working her darker and her hair looks much better now.

I just recently got my hair highlighted today. It didn't turn out so well. All of my hair looks fine, except for a streak of it. It was the first part that my friend applied it to and it is the most noticeable. It is right above my ear and if my hair is up it looks like there is a blond spot above my ear. It looks TERRIBLE. How can I leave my house? How can I fix it? PLEASE HELP ME ASAP
The best thing to do is to have a demi permanent color that is about the color the other highlights are applied. That will tone it down. If the problem is that the lightener got all the way to your scalp so you have a "blotch" it would need to be foiled with a darker color with some applied at your scalp to break it up.

A few months ago I got my medium brown hair highlighted it started to grow out so I went to get it highlighted again , but it's too blonde now and I want it back to brown, I was thinking about low lights or just plain dying it back because I hate it right now...Any thoughts..Also how long should I wait till I can re-dye or highlight it again?
Are the highlights too light or are there too many now? If the highlights themselves are too light they can use a demi permanent color of a darker blond. This will not effect the natural hair since demi permanent color will not lift at all, it can only deposit color. If you have too many highlights (can't see enough of your natural hair coming through) then lowlights are a good bet. If both are true (they gave you too many highlights and there too light) a combo could work well. Lowlight your hair with a color close to your natural color and then do a blond demi permanent color on all of the hair that is not in the foils. If using a demi or semi permanent color it can be done any time. Just an FYI... I wouldn't try this at home. I have had clients come in who have used what they believed was a demi or semi permanent color on their hair with bad results. In looking at their hair I can see clearly that the color they were using was indeed lifting there natural color. In other words, if it says demi or semi permanent on the box, don't trust that it really is.

I hope this helps a bit.

Does Japanese straitening ruin your hair and if you get it done what are the side effects?
I do not do the Japanese straitening so I can only tell you what I've heard from clients and other stylists. It is much better than the usual chemical relaxing and does not damage the hair as much. Your hair will still not be like naturally straight hair and you will still have to blow dry it. It is also a very expensive and time consuming process. I'm sorry I couldn't give you more information.

I recently highlighted my hair (this makes about the third time I've had it done). I am starting to get a brassy orange streak in the very front of my hair and I am wondering what is the best shampoo and/or conditioner to use to get rid of this problem.
I assume that you got your highlights done to about a medium to light brown. If so you could try one of the Artec color shampoos or conditioners. An even better solution would be to get a color gloss to tone the hair back to where it is supposed to be. If your highlights were done to a blond than there has to be something else going on that is turning it orange. Blond hair will not "fade" to orange. If this is the case it could be something you are using on it, or something in your water.

Hi, I have naturally thick,curly and lots of frizzy caucasian hair. My natural hair color is dark brown. I have hazel eyes and a fair complexion. I would really love for my hair to be shinny, under control, and dark blonde. I have heard of products such as curlex curl relaxer and chi ceramic flatiron for a gentle relaxing. Do these products work? Also, what is the best way to get my hair to a dark blonde? It is about 4 inches below my shoulders. Thank you so much
When you say shiny and under control do you mean straight or curly and under control. For wearing it curly I really like Sebastian's Molding Mud. Work it through your towel dried hair from about mid-shaft to ends, (not the roots) and use a diffuser to gently dry and work up your curl. The Molding Mud will keep the curl from looking frizzy. For straightening it I like the Sebastian Laminates. Since your hair is thick I would recommend the Laminated gel as opposed to the drops. It is silicon based so use it sparingly. Apply to towel dried hair from mid-shaft to ends. Blow dry with a medium sized boar bristle brush. The Chi flat iron works great. Ideally you would blow your hair as smooth as you can and then go over it with the iron. Some people don't bother blow drying the hair straight first and just use the iron. I don't think the result is as nice in this case.

As for color you would probably do well with a tone on tone technique. You would get a full highlight and the hair that is not in the foil would be colored to a light brown. You are taking your hair down quite a bit. Because of this you will see roots pretty soon. You would probably need to get the root color touched up about every 4 weeks. Every other to every third time you would do the highlights. As you can see this is very high maintenance. Alternatively you might consider forgoing the all over color and just getting the highlights in a medium to light brown. It would be a lot better for your hair. You will need to concentrate on using good, professional shampoos and conditioners.

I want to get the multi tonal hair coloring effect. What is the difference between full foil and partial foil and one step color?
Full foil means that there are foils placed from your front hair line to your nape and side to side. In other words, your full head. Partial is the top of your head, sometimes including the sides and your crown area. One step color is coloring all of your hair from roots to ends.

To get multi-tonal or dimensional color you need to use a highlighting technique. Different colors can be used in different foils. Also sometimes you might get foils and then an all over color on all of the hair that is not enclosed in the foil. (tone on tone). What technique is right for you would be decided during the consultation with your colorist/stylist.

For clarity's sake, I'm going to list in order what I've done to my hair:

1) I'm Chinese and my hair is naturally jet black.

2) I've used Clairol's Balsam Color in Med Ash Brown for 2 years and get great results: a neutral medium brown.

3) The ends were getting too light so I decided to darken everything and put on a dark brown color. I've done this before - left the color in for 20 min - and the results were good. My hair became blackest black.

4) Used Loreal Haircolor Remover and my hair turned an intense orange-red.

5) I used my usual Clairol Med Ash Brown and the lower half of my hair turned out a med ash brown with a slight olive green tint to it. The top half of my hair turned out auburn.

6) Applied another round of Med Ash Brown to even everything out - left color in hair for 1 hour. Everything just got darker. The red was less red, but still red enough.

7) I went to a beauty supply store owned by a cosmetologist and she suggested I use the following: Clairol 86N, Level 6 mixed with 20 volume developer and Ardel's Unred.

8) Left this solution on for 1 hour. The green is gone and overall look is much better (unified).

Question 1: How can I get rid of the still-present red tones? The area from my roots to about 8 inches from the roots is most red (my hair is about 2 feet in length).

Question 2: What is toner and can I just use that instead of applying another color?

Question 3: Are there any natural alternatives to restoring my Med Ash Brown color?

Thank you very much for any advice.

Wow... You sure went through a lot didn't you. This is a perfect example of why I say "Don't try this at home". Any way, I would not touch your hair your self again. You've done so many processes that even a professional would have to tread very carefully. What you are describing on your root area is what we commonly call "hot roots". Basically, the hair closest to the scalp processes faster and if you are lightening will get lighter than the rest of the hair shaft. If you lighten dark hair too far (past brown) and not far enough to get to blond you get red or orange. (refer to the next question down for more on this). To get your hair back to where you like it a colorist (and I recommend going to a color specialist who is very good with corrective color) would have to use different colors and probably even different types of colors on different parts of your hair. I would not expect this to be an inexpensive process. Corrective color can cost double or triple the cost of regular color depending on what needs to be done. I've seen corrective color processes take the better part of a day before. You should have gone to the salon the second your hair turned black. You will also likely need to get onto a serious conditioning routine. All of those processes have had to damage your hair considerably.

As far as "Natural" color to get the same result that you used to get. No, not really So called natural colors like Henna can be more damaging in the long run than today's color, and much harder to control.

Good luck. I hope it all works out for you.

I recently used a medium brown haircolor by loreal to cover up highlighted hair that was too light and growing out (done at a salon) my hair now turned a grayish green! What can I do? I don't have a lot of money to spend but this looks terrible! My natural color is very dark brown/black. Thanks
My best advice is to go to a salon and get a demi permanent color. This may have to be done in two steps depending on how ash your color is. They may have to use a red/gold first and then a brown second. The reason this happened to you in the first place is that you need to replace all of the colors that were taken out. Black hair has all colors in it and they are taken out in stages as it is lightened. The brown that you used had an ash color in it and if you put that on blond hair without replacing the gold and red first you will just get the ash (green). Color is just not as easy as the TV commercials would lead you to believe.

Hi Mary! I have very thick hair and I want it real flat and straight!!! I think that might be a problem because I tried a flat iron and that just makes it dry. I tried this gel stuff but that didn't make it flat. I tried the revo-styler and that takes too much time! Is there anyway possible I could make my hair permanently flat, straight, and soft? Please answer a.s.a.p.Thanks
I know a bit about how you feel. May hair is very thick also with a curl/wave to it. You can get it chemically relaxed but you will still have to blow dry it. A very popular service right now is the Japanese straightening. This will get your hair straight but it's very expensive. Both processes will damage your hair. How badly depends a lot on the condition of your hair now. If you are willing to spend the money on the Japanese straitening I would say your money might be better spent on getting a professional blow dry once or twice a week. Your hair will fair better in the end. Talk to your stylist about your options. For blow-drying at home, whether or not you get a relaxer, I highly recommend the Sebastian Laminates drops. Take a few drops and work it through your hair before blow-drying. I also use a medium to large size boar bristle brush when blow-drying curly hair straight. It makes the hair much smoother than a plastic brush.

Hi Mary! I have been dying my hair for just over two years now. My natural colour is a medium brown and I have been dying it a light brown. I'm considering growing it out. What is the best way to go about that? I hate the thought of half my hair one colour and half the other. Any suggestions? Thanks for your time.
The best thing to do is to get a demi permanent color done. It will not damage your hair any more and will gradually fade out. When I was growing out blond highlights I would get a demi permanent color that was pretty close to my natural color every month. Be sure not to let them go to dark at first. Better to err on the lighter side. You can always make it darker next time.

I have A LOT of hair but the individual strands are VERY fine. Because of the fine texture to my hair I feel very uncomfortable and unattractive without "weight" to my hair. How do I communicate this to my stylist? I explain that I want a lot of body and I walk out with tons of layers that make my hair fall flat against the sides of my head. Stylists love to thin out my hair and make it shaggy. I hate that look on myself and because of a slight but funky natural wave to my hair, it is very difficult to achieve their creations daily at home. I used to get perms to even out the curl & am thinking of going back to that because it was so easy. I also felt like my hair strands were thicker and more manageable. My fine hair without a perm feels too silky... like cat hair. I know that means it's healthy but it drives me nuts. Because I have so much hair, it won't hold any style and I truly don't have striking enough features to get away with that flat, natural, sporty look. The best length for me is below the chin & above the shoulders. If this makes any sense at all, I would appreciate any input you have to offer. Also, just curious... I found a line of products at Sally called Aura. It looks like generic Aveda. Are the products the same or just as good as Aveda?
I think what you should be telling your stylist is that you want it mostly all one length with some long layers just at the bottom, and maybe a slight angle in the front. A lot of times when I do this type of style I start the angle somewhere between the tip of the nose and the chin. That all depends on the hair, the shape of the face, and the client's preferences. It sounds like you will have some growing out to do to get there though. You should find a good stylist who listens to you and tell them what your goals are. Then work together to get your hair in the style you want.

Do you use styling product on your hair? If you don't, you should. It will help give your hair a bit more staying power and make it less likely to get "fly-away". As far as the Aura, I can't say because I'm not familiar with it. Aveda has never been one of my favorites though. One thing you should remember about salon product vs. store or "generic" brands is that most salon products are very concentrated. Some more than others. If they are used correctly the price difference gets a lot smaller. One thing a lot of people don't realize is that when they are washing there hair, if it is not sudzing up enough, they should add more water, not shampoo. So if you are using a highly concentrated professional product, splash more water into your hair after you start sudzing.

I'm a 13yr old female, and I got my hair permed about 6 months ago. Now the perm is going straight. I want it to go back to how it was before the perm (straight). My hair was layered before the perm. I liked the layers at first, but then they didn't look as good. My hair is a medium brown, with slight natural highlights of blond, and also a darker brown. I want to get it straight, and then from about the middle down I want to make it crazy colors, like green and hot pink. What should I do to straighten it at home. Then, would you recommend using food coloring, if I just wanted the color for a day, or week. If so, how would you suggest I go about achieving the fade into color from the middle down? I don't exactly have a cash flow to do this, so what would be the cheapest way? Please help me before I do something really STUPID!thanx
As far as making your hair straight at home goes, the only thing I can recommend is to learn how to blow dry it straight with a boar bristle round brush. There are many people with naturally or permed curly hair who get it straight and smooth this way (including my self). If you use a chemical at home you will almost certainly damage your hair beyond repair. Do not, under any circumstances use a chemical relaxer. The relaxers you will see at the store are designed for African hair and will most likely burn your hair right off, especially considering your old perm. If you must use something chemical then get a perm and comb it through your hair. Be sure to follow the directions carefully (except about using the perm rods). I repeat, I do not recommend this.

As far as the colors go, I'm not very familiar with the techniques that kids are using to color their hair wild colors at home. For that, it's best to ask your friends. I will say though, don't expect it to only last a day, especially on the blond. It will hold in for quite a while. If you wanted the color to be bright, you would have to bleach your hair first (more major damage and irreversible) As far as fading the color in down the shaft, that is the type of thing that could only be done by someone with a lot of experience.

Let me just say that the things you are thinking about doing to your hair will cause it considerable damage, and when you are tired of it, you will have to just cut it off. So think very hard about it before you do anything.

I'm considering getting highlights...I have medium brown hair that's layered in the front and a bit at the back and olive skin (that's probably lighter than what you're thinking). What colours would you suggest? And should I use more than one? I'm only planning to do half-head highlights (I think that's what they're called) Thanx A Lot!
I would suggest you only go a few shades lighter than your natural color if your only doing half your head. Also stay in the warm shades. Maybe a chestnut brown or a light honey brown. Don't go lighter than a dark blond. You can also alternate colors, one just a shade or two lighter and the other maybe three or four shades lighter.

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Hello everyone.

I want to let you know that I can not continue to keep up with the Question & Answer forum. I simply get too many every day. As it is, I've had to start only answering the ones that asked questions that haven't been asked before. I get many, many of the same questions asked over and over again. Over the next few months I plan to put together a FAQ page. In the mean time, please scroll through this page and the archive page and you will likely find the answer to your question. I may possibly post some of the Q&As that I already have in my in-box but my time is very limited these days so I can't promise anything.

Thank You


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