Changing your hair color is one of the most fun and easy ways to give yourself a fresh look. With the purchase of a simple box dye from the store, you can instantly look like a new person.
Of course, dyeing your hair professionally is always preferred over a box dye. Too many mistakes and disasters can happen at home when people who don’t understand the chemicals and science behind hair dyeing try to make a big change at home.
One of these big mistakes is trying to dye bleached blonde hair to brown. If you’ve ever done this before at home, then you probably have experienced the disappointment when your hair ends up looking more green than brown.
So how can you dye your blonde hair to brown without turning green? Due to the color theory behind chemical dyes and natural hair pigmentation, which we’ll explore below, you’ll need to dye your blonde hair a warm color with red tones before going for brown.
There’s a lot of science behind dyeing hair, and although we won’t become expert colorists in one article, we will certainly provide you all the information you need to know to avoid green hair.
What Causes Your Hair to Turn Green When You Dye Blonde Hair Brown?
As we mentioned, there is a lot of science and color theory behind hair dyeing.
Natural hair colors contain natural pigments, while artificial dyes contain artificial pigments.
Bleaching your hair removes the pigmentation entirely, and causes the hair to have a more porous surface. This means that it’s more open and prone to breakage or damage.
Bleached hair also won’t absorb the pigments properly due to the damage the hair has taken from the bleach burning away the natural pigments in the hair.
Natural blonde hair has a yellow base, while brown hair dyes have orange or red bases. Although orange and red are warm colors, these brown hair dyes often don’t have enough warm pigments to counteract the other pigments.
This is because brown hair dyes also contain a significant amount of green and brown. The green and brown pigments are used to counteract the red or orange base. If it were a purely red or orange base, it would just be red hair dye.
These green and blue pigments in the brown hair dye are what cling to your hair. Without enough of the warm red base or any remaining yellow pigment from the bleached hair, the green takes over and can make your hair look tinted green.
Some brown dyes also contain equal parts red, yellow, and blue pigments, the primary colors. Blonde hair has no red base to help balance the yellow and blue, making it the minority.
So when the yellow and blue take over and mix together, they make green.
Although this is most common with bleached hair, it can also happen with natural blonde hair, depending on your hair’s natural undertones.
If your blonde hair is naturally a cooler shade of blonde, with grey-ish undertones, you can expect to run into the same issue.
Can you DIY or should you go to a salon?
While you can DIY to take your hair from blonde to brown, we highly recommend going to a salon.
In the section above we reviewed the basics of why your hair can turn green in the dyeing process from blonde to brown.
A professional hair colorist, however, will know every detail and science behind it. They understand the intricacies of how to dye hair to achieve the right color.
Professional hair colorists know that sometimes to take hair from one extreme to another, you have to do it in steps.
This doesn’t just apply to going from blonde to brown, but going from brown to blonde, too.
Changing your hair from one color extreme to another takes time. You have to do it in stages to avoid severely damaging your hair, which can lead to breakage and hair loss.
Professional hair colorists at a salon will also know that sometimes it’s best to use color filler or toner rather than harsh hair dye.
Color fillers and toners strive to add color to your hair in a softer way, keeping the hair from being damaged with harsh chemicals found in bleach or hair dye.
How do you go from Blonde to Brown?
If you insist on dyeing your hair from blonde to brown yourself, it’s vital to still do it in stages.
You could try to find a brown hair dye that has very warm, auburn undertones, but there’s no guarantee that there will be enough red pigment to counteract the blue, green, and yellow.
The best way to go from blonde to brown is to dye your hair a warm red or orange color first. While your goal may not be to become a redhead, it’s a necessary step to avoid brown hair that looks more green than brown.
Give your hair at least 6 weeks to recover from the red or orange dye, then you can try a warm colored brown hair dye.
You’ll still want to aim for a warm brown rather than a cool-toned or ashy brown. It will give your brown hair a more natural look, especially when going from blonde to red to brown.
You also want to go darker on the spectrum. Going from blonde to dark red to a light brown won’t work. Whichever red or orange dye you choose should be a middle ground in lightness between your current blonde and your goal brown.
Make sure to condition your hair consistently after dyeing when you shower. You want to encourage your hair to stay healthy after it’s taken so much chemical damage.
After your hair has had time to recover and you’ve properly conditioned and treated it in the interim, you can try dyeing it brown.
If you still don’t get the results you were looking for, make an appointment at a salon. A professional hair colorist will be able to decide on the best course of action to correct your mistake and use high quality products to avoid further damage on your hair.
What’s the Best Box Dye to go From Blonde to Brown?
To take your hair from blonde to brown at home, we recommend using the brand Garnier Nutrisse. Their hair color is easy on the hair with nourishing oils to help maintain your hair health despite the chemicals.
For your in-between color, we recommend using their Light Natural Copper. This is a bright orange and may not be your style, but it’s a good stepping stone to give your bleached blonde hair some warmer pigments before moving forward to brown.
For your brown dye, we recommend the color Deep Chestnut Brown. This is a warmer shade of brown with chestnut/auburn undertones.
These colors may not be what you’re going for, so feel free to review all of the Garnier Nutrisse colors to find the ones that are right for you.
The key is to avoid any brown dyes that have cool undertones, such as Light Ash Brown. If the color has “ash” in the name, it’s likely going to be too heavy on the cool undertones and lead to green results.
How Can You Fix Blonde Hair That Turned Green?
The best solution, and arguably the most simple and straight-forward, is to go to a salon.
Although this will cost you a pretty penny, letting a professional take over when your home dye job led to disaster is the best option.
The professional may make suggestions to fix your hair that don’t sound like the results you want, but it’s important to take their advice and let them do what they think is best.
They understand more about the chemicals in your box dye and how they’ve affected your hair. They’ll do their best to save your hair color without damaging your hair to the point of breakage or hair loss.
If you really insist on not paying any money at a salon, then get ready for an uncomfortable experience.
The green comes in when you don’t have enough red pigment in your hair, so you can try adding some with ketchup.
Squirt ketchup into your hair and massage it in. Bunch up your ketchup-soaked hair into a shower cap and let it soak for around 20-30 minutes.
When the time is up, hop into the shower and wash your hair thoroughly.
The red pigments in the tomatoes and the acid from the tomatoes and vinegar should counteract the chemical reaction and help to soften the green undertones your hair has.
This isn’t a permanent fix, though. This is only a temporary solution until your hair has recovered enough for a re-dye or you’ve decided that the appointment at the salon is worth it.