How To Color Previously Colored Hair

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Coloring your hair at home can save money and time on pricey salon visits, but sometimes it’s difficult to be your own stylist. Read our suggestions for coloring highlights, going darker, going lighter, and maintaining your color at home:


If you have highlights and color over them, it may not process evenly over your hair. For this reason, we generally recommend a “colorfill” application. This deposits warm tones on your hair to restore warmth to the highlights. Then it applies the target color to your hair. This helps you achieve an even color allover.

If you want to keep your highlights and cover gray roots, use a single process color on your roots that matches your base color. It will blend grays for a natural effect.

Going darker

If you’ve previously colored your hair a light color and want to go darker, you may need a “colorfill” (just like with highlights). This two-step color process first restores necessary warm tones, then finishes with your target color application.

Lightened hair tends to lose the tones naturally found in darker hair colors, so the colorfill process helps restore them before applying the darker color.

Going lighter

If you previously colored your hair dark but want to go lighter, it may be difficult to lighten previously colored hair. One option is to lighten just the regrowth and let the ends of your hair gradually fade to match.

If want to go lighter and have lots of buildup from previous applications, use a drugstore color removal product to gradually lighten your hair.

Maintaining color

If you are happy with your current hair color and want to touch up the roots, you don’t need to apply color all over your hair. Applying color to the previously colored part below the regrowth can unnecessarily darken and damage it.

Instead, only apply color to the regrowth that doesn’t have color. Then follow with a “Shine & Rinse” emulsion to freshen the ends without darkening or damaging them.

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