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Colour Build-Up is The Worst

You’re just looking for a fabulous colour which you apply at home and look like you just stepped out of a salon.

Perfectly reasonable.

Except for an irritating little bit of reality.

All that colour that you applied previously, and which hasn’t been cut out or lifted out is still there, impacting the outcome of any colour you apply on top of it.

Colour layered on top of colour will change your colour results over time. You will see darker, duller, flatter colour results creeping up on you each time you recolour.

There are 4 key signs of Colour Build Up:

  • Dull looking hair with no or minimal shine.
  • Hair which is very dry or coarse, even after conditioning treatments.
  • Hair which looks and feels heavy.
  • Brighter regrowth and darker ends.

How colour build-up changes your colour outcomes:

You recolour using the same colour as always but your colour result is darker and duller than it used to be.

As you are adding layer upon layer of colour, which inevitably gives you a deeper, heavier, less vibrant, washed out and flatter colour result.

You recolour and get the colour you want, just not where you want it.

Your roots look fab, gorgeous, but the lengths and ends of your hair are flat, dull and heavy.

This is another clear indicator of colour build-up. The colour is doing its job perfectly on uncoloured hair, but it can’t achieve the same results on hair that has been recoloured repeatedly already. The layers of old colour block the effect of any new colour, giving you a muted, heavier colour result which lacks the brightness and vibrancy of the colour result at your roots.

You try colouring with a lighter colour and still get a dark colour result.

It’s just not as simple as that. A lighter hair colour will not give you a lighter colour result if your hair has already been coloured a darker colour. It can’t. Colour cannot lighten pre-existing colour pigments. The only way you can use a lighter hair colour over darker colour and achieve a lighter result is if you have used a colour removal product (maybe a few times) or bleach process such as a bleach wash before recolouring with a lighter colour. These products can lift the darker colour pigments out, lowering your base hair colour level so that a new lighter hair colour can be effective.

What to do?

If you colour your full length hair regularly, then you should schedule in colour removal as part of your ongoing colouring strategy.

You can do this at home with a bleach wash which will lift lighter pigments out, enabling you to then use a lighter hair colour product or the exact same colour your regularly use and to get the bright, vibrant, fresh and fabulous colour result you want.

Bear in mind that the darker the pigments of colour in your hair, the harder it is to get them out.

Another option is bleaching, which is not quite as scary as it sounds. You can bleach or colour remove your hair at home using The Shade’s Bleach Wash Kit ($23.95) which includes everything you need in one kit, including easy to follow instruction. .

When you have removed the built-up colour, you can recolour your hair and say hello to bright, shiny colour again.

Try to adapt your home colouring technique to avoid more colour build-up in future – use the tint brush we provide to only apply colour to regrowth. Avoid overlapping colour so that the lengths of your hair have only been coloured once. This will keep you on a path to gorgeous colour and banish build-up.

Very happy with the end result. I used the bleach wash kit first to get rid of excess previous colour. Easy to use & my colour application was even & bright. Have had some compliments & someone not believing I did my colour at home.

. McCredie

I used the bleach wash to get old colour out and then used this colour and am so happy with my new colour! I have received so many compliments.

P. Shires

6 replies on “Colour Build-Up is The Worst”

  • Hi, once you have bleach washed your hair, and followed with shampoo and conditioner, do you then color hair straight away or wait 24hrs because you have washed hair?

    • Thanks for getting in touch. You can dry your hair off and apply the colour on the same day as your lightening process. For regular colouring it is best to apply colour on unwashed hair, but you can apply the colour after washing and drying your hair after the bleach wash. I hope that helps!

  • Hi can you apply highlights , after you have used a bleach wash, and colour? Then use the highlights kit to do foils?
    So do bleach wash, colour and then add in foils? Thinking I’d like to try this on my next colour application..

    • Hi Louise! Thanks for getting in touch. Yes, in general that approach would be correct, but we would recommend speaking to our colourists directly for personalised colour recommendations. Please get in touch via the colourist questionnaire and our colourists will follow-up with specific colour suggestions to help you achieve your colour goals. Thank you!

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