The Real Way to Get Your Natural Hair Color Back

Augusta Falletta
The Real Way to Get Your Natural Hair Color Back
Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

A lot of us have been dyeing our hair so long, we have kinda lost track of what are natural hair color even is—but that doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes get the urge to go back to our roots. Unless you have the patience of a saint, however, that process is a lot more difficult than it sounds—and it totally helps when you get a professional’s advice.

So that’s what we did. We asked Michael Dueñas, Celebrity Hairstylist and CEO of Hair Room Service, how to take dark brown dyed hair back to a natural, mousy brown color. He explained how to go through the process and make it out alive.

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In order to get back to natural, you’re probably going to use a little bleach.

“To get back to your natural color, you have to lift the artificial color out of your hair, so I’d recommend a bleach wash. A bleach wash is traditionally done with a low peroxide and hair bleach mixed with shampoo,” said Dueñas. “You gently wash the hair and it will cause a slight lift in the hair color. It’s gentler than any other way to get the color out of your hair, unless you can get your hands on a color remover (but they are few and far between). A color remover shrinks the artificial color molecule down and allows you to wash most of it out of your hair.”

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After the dye is lifted from your hair, it’s time to add a little more color. Yup, to get back to what you were born with, you need to use a toner.

“Once your hair is to the same level or lightness or darkness of your natural hair, a toner should be deposited.  A toner neutralizes any unwanted tones in the hair, such as, red, orange, gold and so on.  Use the opposite color of what the hair lifted too, to achieve a neutral tone.  You can they play with the color to make it mousy if your natural color has that natural mousy hue to it as well.”

Sounds easy enough, right?

Originally published December 2013. Updated July 2017.