Cosmetologist Yvette Camilo – “Is There Anything I Can Do To Lighten My Hair Without Frying It Off?”

QUESTION: Hi Yvette! I’m getting bored with my plain dark brown hair color and want to dye the under part a lighter blonde. Here’s the problem- it won’t lighten! I would bleach it but there is an insane amount of iron in my water system and I’ve heard that it would just fry my hair off. Is there anything I can do to lighten my hair without frying it off?

YVETTE’S ADVICE: Hey chica! I’m going to have to guess about a few things since I don’t have much information, but hopefully I can answer your question.

You’ve dyed your hair dark in the past, right? If so, you can’t lighten pre-dyed hair with hair color unless the process was done over a year ago or your virgin hair has completely grown out. In order to get previously dyed hair to lighten, you have to strip the color out of the hair with either color remover or bleach. Google a product called “Color Oops” for more information on color removers. I don’t recommend using bleach because you said there was rust in your water. I’m guessing your local water might come from a well? Usually what happens in these cases is that the common rust in the water turns your hair reddish (due to the rust reaction). It’s true, though, that bleach won’t fix the problem. It will just worsen it.

Rust stains are a common problem with well water systems. This is not an easy problem to fix, unfortunately. Think about how hard it is to get rust stains out of fabric. I agree with you. Bleach is incredibly hard on the hair and bleach doesn’t really work on rust stains. The hair cuticle would be opened up so much that not only would the rust would wash out to some extent, but it would also stain, and cause blotches and uneven coloration in your hair. This is a bad idea. You will end up with very fried reddish orange, strawberry and white blonde hair patches. Yuck.

As a last resort, I would suggest you try another color rather than blonde. How about red! (I’m smiling right now looking at the SoLatina logo with the picture of me and my red hair…lol). Use the situation for you and not against you! The rust in your water will make and keep your hair reddish if you attempt to lighten it.

Also make sure to get your hair trimmed regularly since iron deposits in water can be very harsh on the hair. On a daily basis, use shampoos that are designed to take minerals out of your hair. The shampoos will say something like “clarifying” or “removes build up.” There are a few on the market that are made for use with well water but I have never tried any of them, so I cannot give you my opinion on them. What you can also do on about a monthly basis is add a tablespoon or so of baking soda to your regular shampoo, leave it in for a few minutes and then rinse it out. Depending on how much build up you have in your hair, you can probably do it at least weekly.

One more thing. Rust is caused by the reaction of iron and water. Do not let your hair stay wet for long periods of time. Either blow it dry or, if you must, let it dry naturally. But be sure to toss it around and scrunch it with your hands so it dries as quickly as possible. If you don’t need to wash your hair daily, don’t. Be sure to use a good conditioner in your hair regularly, as well, and try to avoid heat as much as possible to prevent your hair from overdrying.

I wish I could suggest a miracle product that could have solved your problem hun, but unfortunately I can’t.

Good luck!

Cosmetologist Yvette Camilo

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