Color correction is a hair treatment used to fix an unwanted outcome of poor color treatment. Hair color correction may require lightening your hair, toning down brassiness, or dyeing it a darker shade. The type of color correction will depend on what needs to be fixed. 

Poor color treatment can happen in different ways — whether it’s an unexpected result at the salon or from box dyeing your hair at home. Or maybe it’s been a while since your last bleaching appointment, and your hair has morphed into an unwanted color. 

In any case, don’t worry — a color correction service can reset your hair back to your desired color. We’ll cover everything you need to know about hair color correction before booking an appointment with a local hair colorist

Two stages of color correction on blonde hair.

How soon can I get my hair color corrected?

If your hair coloring process went completely awry, you’ll likely want to fix it as quickly as possible. However, you may need to wait a few weeks to preserve the health of your hair. A professional hairstylist can evaluate what’s been done to your hair (whether it was done yourself or by another stylist) and devise a plan for color correction. 

If your hair just requires a minor update, then you may be able to go back into the salon for a quick fixing appointment. However, if your hair took a lot of damage from bleach or other chemicals, then your correction appointments may need to be postponed and spread out over several weeks or months. Some hairstylists do have “fixing policies” when it comes to booking a secondary appointment if you’re not satisfied with the final product, so be sure to do your research. 

If you’re seeking a color correction treatment, we recommend going to a professional hairstylist. Color correction requires the use of harsh chemicals that can easily damage your hair if not used properly. 

Three types of color correction

There are three types of color correction. Each one is used differently to counteract what was specifically done to your hair. 

Color correction with bleach

You may think your hair strands are all the same color. In actuality, you have a multitude of pigments within your hair that creates your overall hair color. After a bleach job gone wrong, you may end up with stark orange or yellow tones. This happens when bleach isn’t left long enough on your hair to lift up your hair pigments. 

To fix a bleach mistake, you’ll have to wait about a week or so to let your hair recover. Next, you should go to a professional stylist to lighten up and tone your hair to perfection. It’s ideal if you go to a stylist who specializes in working with blonde hair

Pro Tip

Use a color-safe restorative hair mask every couple of weeks to protect and strengthen your bleached hair. 

Color correction with toner

Hair toner is used to cancel out unwanted brassy tones in your hair. The toner color you use will depend on your brass tone (yellow or orange). You should use a purple toner or shampoo if you have yellow tones, and a blue toner or shampoo if you have orange tones. 

You can also go to a hairstylist for a professional toner treatment. This is a popular choice for blondes looking to maintain their cool tones between bleach appointments.  

Color correction with dye 

The easiest way to color correct hair is by using dye to darken the shade. Your hairstylist will be able to insert pigment back into your strands to add vibrancy and depth. You may need a couple of dye sessions to achieve your desired look. 

How to fix different hair colors

If it’s been a few weeks since your hair appointment and you’re noticing your hair color is evolving into some unwanted tones, here are some easy ways to help balance these tones at home as you wait to see a professional hairstylist. 

Yellowish hue correction

Blonde can require a lot of upkeep to maintain the desired hair tone, whether it’s cool-toned, golden, or platinum. For all blondes, the biggest worry is the hair color developing a yellowish hue. 

How to fix it: Looking at the color wheel, the color that’s opposite yellow is purple. Therefore, to combat those unwanted yellowish hues, you’ll want to use a purple toner in your hair to bring back those cooler ash tones. Don’t leave this toner or mask on for too long, though, as your hair may develop purplish hues. 

Brassy orange correction

Even brunettes can get brassy hair! For those with brunette hair, you may develop a warm orangish tone. Luckily, it’s an easy fix to banish those unwanted brassy tones. 

How to fix it: To combat orange tones, you’ll want to use a blue shampoo or conditioner. Just like purple and yellow, these colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. A cool-toned treatment won’t only get rid of orange and red tones, but will also prevent the brassiness from reappearing.  

Dark hair correction

Did you just come back from the salon and your hair color is a few shades darker than you were initially hoping for? If you can’t go back to the salon to lighten it back up, there’s a way to partially lighten the rich hues at home. 

How to fix it: Clarifying shampoos tend to be more potent than normal shampoos, as they’re formulated to help with product buildup in your hair. Because of this, they have the potential to lighten up your dyed hair color with several washes. However, if you’re looking to lighten up your hair with bleach, it’s best to go to a professional salon. 

Fading hair color correction

Noticing your beautiful hair color is fading quicker than expected? Don’t worry — this can be an easy fix for those with colored hair!

How to fix it: Toner is your best friend when it comes to bringing vibrancy back to your hair. Using a color-safe shampoo and conditioner along with a toning appointment with a hairstylist can help maintain your hair color. 

How long does the color correction process take?

How long the entire color correction process takes will depend on what your hair currently looks like and what results you want to achieve. It will also depend on your hair type, hair texture, and condition of your hair.

For a quicker fix, it may take a professional hairstylist just a few hours to complete a color correction service. However, if it’s a more tedious hair correction, it could require two to three sessions. 

Tip for washing your hair before a color correction appointment.

Color correction FAQ

Below are frequently asked questions about hair color correction and average appointment costs. 

How much does color correction usually cost?  

The cost of color correction will depend on the location of your salon, your stylist’s skill level, and what you need done to your hair. Hair color correction tends to be more expensive than other hair treatments, especially if your hair requires multiple appointments to achieve the desired look. 

We found the average appointment cost for color correction is $210.

Disclaimer: This average cost is the result of averaging available proprietary data from various states. For more accurate costs, it’s best to discuss pricing with your hairstylist.  

Average Prices for Color Correction Around the United States

StateAverage Appointment Cost
Texas$288
California$405
Wisconsin$68
Illinois$189
Tennessee$100
Oregon$100

How do you know if your hair needs color correction?

It can be pretty obvious when your hair looks like it needs a bit of color correction. The following signs indicate you should think about booking a color correction appointment.

  • (Unintentional) brassy yellow or orange tones throughout 
  • Uneven color regrowth
  • Stripey highlights
  • Fading color

Does color correction damage your hair?

Color correction can involve using bleach and dyes, which can include harmful chemicals that strip away your natural hair oils. Color correction can be damaging if done too often, especially on fine or brittle hair.

Your stylist may recommend getting a haircut to remove damaged ends and promote hair growth during your appointment. Deep conditioning treatments between appointments can help strengthen and protect your hair. 

Keratin treatments are also a popular choice, as they can make your hair nice and shiny. Plus, some treatments enhance the color and shape of your hair at the same time. 

Can you lighten permanent hair color? 

You can lighten permanent hair color with bleach. We recommend going to a professional hairstylist to lighten your hair, as you should use professional-grade products on your hair. 

Accidents can happen, but there’s no such thing as unfixable hair! If you’re ready to book your color correction appointment, navigate to our directory of local stylists and hair colorists