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“I Hate My Red Hair Dye Job” — How to Fix It?

The excitement you feel when you’re about to switch up your hair color, dreaming about how fabulous you’ll look? But then you end up with red hair that’s not what you expected?

If you’re reading this post, you may have already said to yourself, “I dyed my hair red, but I hate it!” The good news is that several color correction techniques can solve your problem. Whether it’s too dark, too light, or a shade of red you didn’t even know existed, don’t freak out.

Even if you’re planning to visit the salon, several DIY solutions could help bring an end to your hair dye nightmare and save your wallet.

This article will walk you through the options to rescue your hair from the brink and give you a look you love.

How to Fix Red Hair Dye That Is Too Dark

If your red hair dye is too dark, you have the below options to fix the problem:

Clarifying Shampoo

Fixing Red Hair That Is Too dark - Clarifying Shampoo

One way to remove the dark dye from your hair is to bleed out the pigment by using a clarifying shampoo. It contains a sulfate that aids in washing out excess hair color and removing product buildup.

Let the shampoo sit as directed before washing it with cold water. Repeat the step as required until you achieve the right shade you want. It may take longer to reduce the color which lasts up to 10 days.

After using the clarifying shampoo, apply a deep conditioning treatment to replenish the moisture balance. The shampoo nourishes damaged strands back to health.

Color Remover

Hair color removers strip the color from your hair so you can recolor your locks. It can eliminate unwanted tones without further drying your hair out.

This method reduces the large molecules of oxidative dyes into smaller ones. It also breaks down the chemical that creates the color. Once the molecules break down, it’s easier to wash them away.

When choosing a product, you’ll want to consider its formulation, how to use it, and its results. The best formulation includes persulfate, peroxide, hydrosulfite, ammonium chloride, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Use a color remover with any of these ingredients.

Next, you’ll need to confirm whether it’s easy to apply. Use a product that comes in a kit because it’s pre-portioned. A kit with a two-step process will contain two bottles. One bottle is for conditioning, while the other is for color removal. These kits also come with an applicator tip.

By using a kit, you can remove your hair color in 20 minutes. Find a product that allows you to recolor the same day.

You can also use powdery solutions, which you combine with a developer (which is sold separately).

The results vary for each brand. You’ll want to find a gentle product that uses color deposits to remove hair color while balancing your locks. With this formulation, your hair shouldn’t get damaged.

Some products are effective at removing direct dyes and work for bleached hair that’s off-tone. Traces of reds and oranges may be left, but you can recolor them without a problem.

Bleach Bath

Fixing Red Hair That Is Too dark - bleach bath

Another option is to use a bleach bath for dark-dyed hair. It’s actually a gentle way to lighten the hair and differs from a regular bleach application. When you use this method, you have three options.

  • Add bleach mixture to shampoo
  • Mix it with a low amount of peroxide
  • Apply the mixture to wet hair


If a bleach bath doesn’t sound too appealing, you can always use a natural alternative to remove red dye such as vinegar (apple cider or distilled white).

By rinsing your hair with vinegar and cold water, you’ll lighten the color and revive the strands. Don’t forget to use a conditioner to seal the moisture.

How to Fix Red Hair That Is Too Light

If your red hair dye turns out too light, you don’t need to visit the salon to darken your locks.

Apply a Red-Toning Color Depositing Conditioner

Fixing Red Hair That Is Too Light - Red Conditioner

Applying a red-toning color depositing conditioner every week can help you eliminate undesirable tones in your hair.

These conditioners work by penetrating the cuticle – the outer layer of your hair – to add a temporary pigment to your locks. As they are not long-lasting, you’ll need to apply the product frequently to maintain your desired shade.

The steps to use a color depositing conditioner are straightforward. You’ll first need to wash your hair with a gentle shampoo. Once you’ve towel-dried, apply the conditioner and use a wide-toothed comb to distribute it evenly.

Follow the product’s instructions to the letter, particularly the time recommended to leave it in. Then, rinse with cool water and apply your normal conditioner.

Try a Hair Gloss

Using a hair gloss in a darker shade of red adds depth and shine to your hair. This method is particularly effective if your dye job results in faded or otherwise lifeless hair.

The technique works on the cuticle, creating a demi-permanent color mask that gives your hair vibrancy and a subtle injection of color to even out tones.

Hair gloss doesn’t contain ammonia (unlike typical hair dyes), an alkali that can impact your keratin protein and damage your hair. Treatments last four to six weeks and are often done by a professional stylist for best results.

Use a Darker Red Color

Fixing Red Hair That Is Too Light - dark red dye

Choosing a darker shade of red can tone down an overly bright dye job to give a more natural-looking appearance. Keep in mind that if you have light hair, it’s easier for the color to fade.

Moreover, this approach isn’t precise enough to give you the exact shade you’re looking for.

Change Red Hair To a Different Color

Changing the color of your hair comes in two steps: color removal and hair dyeing.

You can use a permanent color over your red hair, even without the remover. Blacks and warm-toned browns are particularly effective because they work with red undertones.

Hair color removal depends on the type of dye you use. For a one-day hair color spray, wash it and color it the next day. Shampoo is enough to wash away semi-permanent color but the shade takes weeks to fade.

A permanent color requires hair correctors and removers, yet it doesn’t restore the natural hair color.

Which Color Neutralizes Red Hair the Best?

green toning shampoo for neutralizing red hair

A toning shampoo is an effective option for dealing with unwanted tones and brassy-looking hair. The most popular is purple, yet different shades are available.

Before using a toning shampoo, you’ll want to check the tone of your hair. Green cancels out red undertones, while blue is recommended to fix the red hair that has turned orange after dyeing.

When using toning shampoo, follow the directions on the bottle for the best results. Some products will require you to leave the shampoo for a few minutes, while others will have you rinse it off immediately.

Keep in mind that you can’t use toning shampoo every day, as it may dry your hair out fast. Moreover, you’ll want to consistently use conditioner after using it.

Wrapping Hair

Fixing a red hair dye disaster depends on how light or dark your hair is. For dark hair, use a clarifying shampoo. Light-colored hair will benefit most from you treating the hot roots or visiting a salon for color correction. Alternatively, you can use toning shampoo to neutralize your red hair.