Highlights are one of the few timeless trends. They’re versatile so you can get them in every possible color, shade, and style. They’re also relatively short-lived so you can change your hair color frequently.
Some people get highlights only to later wish to return to their natural hair color.
If you’ve gotten highlights—or expect to do so—you may ask, does your hair go back to normal after highlights?
This short and digestible guide provides everything you need to know about your hair going back to natural hair color after highlights.
Does Your Hair Go Back to Its Natural Color After Highlights Fade?
No, highlighted sections of hair don’t go back to their natural color even after the highlights fade. You will have to wait for your hair to grow back entirely if you want your original color back naturally.
Highlights last between 8-10 weeks on average and after that it starts to fade. You will notice a lighter and brassy hair color when it completely fades.
There are two ways to get back natural hair color after highlights.
The first one is the natural method which we mentioned earlier – grow your hair. But Hair grows six inches annually on average. You will also have to trim the ends every month to gradually remove the previously highlighted sections.
So depending on how long your hair is, you may have to wait several years to see your root to bottom in natural hair color.
The second one is getting other treatments to achieve a close resemblance to your natural color through various methods. This is the quicker method but it can damage your hair more.
Why Does Highlighted Hair Never Return to Its Natural Color?
When you get highlights, you bleach your hair to lighten it. Bleach strips the pigments from your hair which are responsible for your natural hair color.
As pigments are removed from a section, the natural pigmentation of that section gets permanently changed, and for this reason, highlighted sections never go back to their original color.
Over time, the toner or dye used for highlighting washes out, leaving behind a lighter, often brassy color. This can be mistaken for the hair’s natural color, but it is not the same.
You may also notice your roots growing in. While these should reflect your natural color, they may look out of place against the bleached hair underneath.
Can You Get Back Your Natural Hair Texture After Highlights?
Highlights damage natural hair and make it drier and more prone to breakage. But it is possible to regain your original hair texture after highlights with proper hair care.
Highlights can also disrupt the hair’s natural curl pattern if the process is not done properly. For this reason, getting highlights from a professional is better than trying them at home.
You may also lose shine, bounce, or durability when your hair loses strength. However, your hair will go back to its normal texture if you deep condition your hair, use gentle hair products, and avoid heat styling.
How to Get Back Natural Hair Color After Highlights
Getting back to your natural hair color after having highlights can take some time and care. Here is how to do it:
The most reliable way to return to your natural hair color after highlights is simply to wait for your hair to grow. The amount of time it takes for highlighted hair to return to normal will depend on how fast your hair grows.
If your hair were only two or three inches long, then it would grow back entirely in under a year. The longer your highlighted hair the longer will it take.
In the meantime, you can dye your hair back to its natural color and wait for it all to grow back.
Choose a semi-permanent color that closely matches your natural hair color. Semi-permanent dye is less harsh than permanent dye and can help blend the highlights with your natural color as your hair grows out.
Trim 1 inch of hair from the ends in every 6-8 weeks. This will remove the highlighted ends bit-by-bit and new hair growth will cover up the shortened length so your hair length will remain the same.
Use hair masks and special conditioners to keep your hair healthy and smooth. Minimize the use of additional chemical processes like perming or straightening, which can further damage your hair.
While you transition, you can also consider using hair masks or color-depositing conditioners that can temporarily mask the faded highlights.
So, the only way to get back your natural hair color after highlights is to grow it. You can dye your hair to its natural color for consistency and wait for it to grow.
Ultimately, you should always care for your hair by using protein-strengthening products to avoid some of the damage of highlights.