So what do you do when you want to leave the land of RED and go to a natural light strawberry blond hair color? Well lets say it's been an interesting journey. There was a lot more info online about how to get bright red hair, not so much on how to get rid of it. Apparently I'm the only one with bright red hair who can't afford a salon visit and doesn't want to go to black. Because most people with RED hair seem to color it black afterward. And now I can understand why.
Being an untrained colorist I am naturally leery of chemicals so I thought why not try some DYI solutions first. I found lots of them online and a few that scared me less than the chemicals. (There are some really crazy ideas out there!) There were lots of recommendations to wash color-treated hair with T-gel or Head and Shoulders for two weeks to strip the color. No way. I've tried those shampoos before for dandruff issues and they really reeked havoc on my fine hair.
So I went with a DYI that seemed fairly harmless - the vitamin C + dish soap method. I found some nicely priced Vitamin C powder at Trader Joes and combined it with Joy dish soap to create a gooey paste that I generously used to wash my hair with. It was HORRIBLE! It certainly stripped out some of the RED but it also dried out my hair badly and it took HOURS to rinse all the dish soap out. The suds just wouldn't leave! I will never do that again. I might consider shampoo with Vitamin C (another DIY recipe) but dish soap will never touch my head again. EVAR!
After that I went with one of the semi-professional strippers that Sally Beauty carries, Color Fix by One n' Only. The reviews I read online were mixed, it either worked wonderfully or was horrible. Not much in-between so it was a bit of a gamble on my part but I'd already started the process of de-RED-ing so I had to do something.
I enlisted my sister's help and after one application my hair resembled nothing so much as a My Little Pony Mane. Oy. In the end we ended up doing three applications, I basically used up the product. In the end the my hair still wasn't a completely even tone but I felt the product had done all it could so instead of buying more stripper I simply colored over it.
The results were livable but it took several more coloring sessions (over the next several months as I babied my hair with long breaks between color applications and lots of conditioning treatments) before my hair was even once again.
If I had to do it all over again I would have just gone to a salon. The amount of time, money and water I used with all those processes was close to what I would have spent having my hair stripped professionally, with vastly inferior results. The only way I would do it myself again is if I was going to a darker color - bright RED to strawberry blond was too much of a contrasting transition. Ah well you live and you learn and my hair hasn't fallen out so the experiments weren't total failures!