How to Get Hair Healthy Again After Years of Coloring

High-lift color -- color that involves the use of ultra-strength developers, bleach powder, or lift and tone colors -- causes the most damage to hair. Although darker colors do not cause as much damage, they can severely damage hair over time if care is not taken during the application process to ensure that a new color application does not overlap an old one.

Color-treated and damaged hair often fade, resulting in a two-toned appearance. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

You may wish to return to your natural color to avoid damaging your hair. However, it can be difficult to live with a two-toned look, and the urge to recolor can become unbearable. The trick is to minimize the color difference and avoid placing color on regrowth areas.

Step 1

Get a haircut to remove as much of the damaged hair as possible. Layer the hair to remove a greater amount of hair while maintaining length.

Step 2

Ask your stylist to perform a service called a tint back on the colored sections of hair that were not removed during the haircut to even out your color. A tint back essentially restores colored portions of your hair to your hair's natural color.

Step 3

Shampoo your hair with shampoo specifically formulated for color-treated hair. Condition with a complementary conditioner. Allow the conditioner to remain on the hair for three minutes.

Step 4

Turn down the heat on your styling habits. Allow your hair to air dry, and avoid using thermal styling tools if possible. Use the lowest possible temperature settings if you must thermally style your hair.

Step 5

Perform a weekly intensive conditioning treatment.

Step 6

Trim your hair every six to eight weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Shampoo for color-treated hair

  • Conditioner for color-treated hair

  • Intensive conditioning treatment


If you wish to keep coloring your hair, choose a color that is no more than two shades lighter than your natural hair color. You can go as dark as you like. Changing your color will lessen the damage your hair sustains during a color treatment. Follow the rest of the tips to optimize the overall health of your hair.

If you continue coloring, do not overlap color applications. Many people put color on their hair from root to tip each time they color. This method is incorrect and results in needless damage. Apply color to the regrowth areas only. Process the hair for 20 to 30 minutes, and pull the color through to the ends for the last 5 minutes.


Do not attempt to perform a tint-back service on yourself unless you have training and understand color theory. Evening out hair color is a lot trickier than hair color; it falls into a category called corrective color. Your stylist will use a color wheel to determine what the colored portions of your hair are lacking. She may have to use multiple colors and additives to match your natural color.

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