My Return to Rebellious Hair: Part 2 | Haute Macabre

My Return to Rebellious Hair: Part 2

NOTE: This is part two of an ongoing series wherein I attempt to let my hair go gray without looking like a crazy person. You can find the first part HERE.

With hair, as with most things in life, I tend to think that the best plan is to start with the simplest solutions, and if those fail, move on to more complex things. Here’s where I am at the beginning of the week. All that lighter, coppery hair is gray with a semipermanent dye stuck to it. The object of this game is to get that dye out using gentle, natural methods so that the incoming gray blends into the darker hair gradually instead of suddenly.




I got lots of advice from professional hair types and friends and some from kind of questionable corners of the internet,  and here are the suggestions I got and how it all worked out:

1. Vinegar– my hair smelled like Easter eggs, but there was no color change.

2. Crushed Vitamin C– I think I still have little gritty bits in my ears, but again no color change.

3. Lemon Juice– I saw this suggested a lot online, but I know from experience that lemon juice puts red highlights into my hair, and since what I’m trying to do here is get red highlights out of my hair, I decided to skip this one.

4. Baking Soda and Dandruff Shampoo– There were actually two common baking soda recommendations: baking soda and Dawn dish soap, and baking soda and dandruff shampoo. Because my hair is so dry to start with, I went with the dandruff shampoo. I followed with a vinegar rinse because that is supposed to help re-balance the PH.  This is the first thing I’ve used that made a visible difference. After one round, there is definitely more silver before the red starts, and the red is a little lighter.  It’s not drastic, but it is lighter. The downside is that after a wash/rinse/repeat, my hair felt like wire.  After day two, some of the copper had lifted to gold, and the hair felt like hay. Following an attempt to fix the problem with a hot oil treatment and a heavy conditioner, we achieved a good approximation of…oily hay. I’m pretty sure this is the combo that the makeup artists on Game of Thrones are using, because my hair looks almost exactly like this, except with roots:

Game of Thrones


So, um, not continuing down the baking soda road.  I’m going to give my hair a break for a few days, and I will be back for more once I’ve figured out what the next step is.

disco witch

4 Comment

  1. I am about 2 years into my “return to my own hair that I haven’t seen since I was 15” story, I feel your pain. The last color I’d used on my hair was a mixture of henna and indigo (so I could have black hair ~naturally~) and it’s the nature of henndigo to only stick really well to virgin hair, so I realized after about 6 months of using this concoction that I had a jet black band near my roots and the length had settled into a murky brownish mess that looked green in some lights. I wish I was kidding, but alas, I am not. So I too began the heroine’s journey of color removal. I tried everything at least 3 times, and found, like you did, that most don’t work. But! I found a few that did work, at least enough to keep me from going to a pixie cut.

    First, vitamin c crystals, not tablets, mixed with John Frieda Go Blonder shampoo works noticeably on my indigo/henna mix, so I am pretty confident that it might help with a semi permanent color. The shampoo has a bit of lactic acid in it and it seems to catalyze the vitamin c, plus it smells pretty good. You can buy the crystals from Trader Joe’s or ebay. The conditioner also has a lightening effect, and neither will leave your hair feeling fried. Baking soda is revolting in hair, I cannot imagine how people can use it regularly.

    Second, regular, heavy oiling, using coconut oil. This really worked the best I think, but it was a process of about a year, henna and indigo are really really permanent though, so it will probably work quicker for you. If you wear your hair up, nobody knows it’s oiled too.

    Third, when the contrast between my natural auburn root (plus grays!) and the jet black band and then my terrifying mirkwood length became too unbearable, I used a temporary color to blend the whole mess. Nothing fancy, just Clairol Jazzing from sally’s. Oh, and I wore my hair up, like all the time, I just had too much crazy going on.

    Good luck!! Undyed hair is really a trip, I have 2 insane blondy streaks right behind each ear which I know I didn’t have when I was a kid.

  2. Last Summer my dark dyed hair got horribly bleached by the strong sun and no amount of permanent dyes could hide the very obvious bleach tide mark as it grew out. In fact it made the brown dyes go a weird shade, almost green. Yuk.

    So at Christmas I bought a dye remover. Have never used one before (been home dying since the early 80’s) and was a bit nervous but it actually worked really well and didn’t wreck my hair either. I was a bit startled at how the grey is only round my face, at first I was OK with it, but after about 6 weeks I decided I definitely couldn’t live with it so started to use permanent brown dye again. 6 months on and you can still tell where the sun bleached patch starts just because there are loads of split ends and a not so well conditioned band about 3 inches from my roots, but as I have long hair, letting that grow out seems preferable to having to cut it all off. The wired colour has never returned thankfully.

    I used ‘Scott Cornwall Decolour Hair Colour Remover’ and was really happy with the fact that it left my hair shiny and soft, but I did follow the instructions to the letter and boy did my hair smell weird for about a week afterward

  3. Have you considered one of those colour removers like Colour Oops or Colour B4? They’re not natural, but they are gentle. I’ve used both in the past and they do work to lift out dye (provided it isn’t plant based, it has to be chemical) although since I was going from box black it turned things a bit coppery. I am unsure how well it works for grey, but it could be an avenue to investigate.