How to Fade Hair Color Highlights at Home

When done correctly, highlights add depth and life to your hair.
When done correctly, highlights add depth and life to your hair. (Image: hair image by Dubravko Grakalic from <a href=''></a>)

A trip to the salon or the drugstore for a new look for your locks does not always turn out as planned. While highlights are a great way to give your hair new life, if not done correctly, they come out looking anything but natural. It's important to note that since blond highlights are actually a bleaching process more than a coloring process, achieving fading to tone down too-bright lights does help by blending the highlights with your natural color.

Things You'll Need

  • Clarifying shampoo
  • Peroxide
  • Hot oil treatment
  • Color shampoo

Wash your hair as soon as you discover the problem. According to, you have 48 to 72 hours before your color sets in. If you colored your hair at the same time you had your highlights done, washing it in hot water with a clarifying shampoo within this time frame will help fade the color. Clarifying shampoos open the follicles and allow them to release pigment.

Wash your hair multiple times. While you are advised to wash less often to extend the life of a color, the opposite is also true.

Mix a couple of ounces of peroxide with your shampoo and warm water, according to Apply at the darkest part of the color and work all the way into the highlights.

Apply a hot oil treatment. These often cause color leeching, according to Hair Boutique, and may result in some desired fading.

Use a shampoo with color added if your hair is natural except for the highlights. Choose a shade or two darker than your natural color to mute the highlights.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cutting hair is often the best way to minimize the effects of a shoddy dye job.
  • While swimming in the ocean or a pool may be tempting, as they are known to be hard on hair color, be aware that your highlights may come out with a green or a pink tinge.

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