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How to fade hair colour highlights at home

Updated February 21, 2017

A trip to the salon or the chemist shop for a new look for your locks does not always turn out as planned. While highlights are a great way to give your hair new life, if not done correctly, they come out looking anything but natural. Since adding blonde highlights is actually a bleaching process more than a colouring process, toning down too-bright lights does help by blending the highlights with your natural colour.

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  1. Wash your hair as soon as you discover the problem. You have 48 to 72 hours before your colour sets in. If you coloured your hair at the same time you had your highlights done, washing it in hot water with a clarifying shampoo within this time frame will help fade the colour. Clarifying shampoos open the follicles and allow them to release pigment.

  2. Wash your hair multiple times. While you are advised to wash less often to extend the life of colour, the opposite is also true.

  3. Mix a couple of grams of peroxide with your shampoo and warm water. Apply at the darkest part of the colour and work all the way into the highlights.

  4. Apply a hot oil treatment. These often cause colour leeching and may result in some desired fading.

  5. Use a shampoo with colour added if your hair is natural except for the highlights. Choose a shade or two darker than your natural colour to mute the highlights.

  6. Tip

    Cutting hair is often the best way to minimise the effects of a bodged dye job.


    Swimming in the sea or a pool can give new highlights a green or pink tinge.

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Things You'll Need

  • Clarifying shampoo
  • Peroxide
  • Hot oil treatment
  • Colour shampoo

About the Author

Angela Baird has been writing professionally since 1995. She has a wide range of life experiences from work with abused animals with the Humane Society, to more than 20 years of hands-on experience in the culinary arts. In addition, she keeps horses and does her own home improvements and home gardening.

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