Dyeing is a pretty big deal and shouldn't be taken lightly.

By Karen Fratti
Updated March 31, 2020

Dyeing your hair is a great way to change your look to match your mood. But there are things that happen to your hair when you dye it darker that make it more of a commitment than just going platinum blonde (or a Cara Delevingne-inspired silver) in a few ways. There are basic things to consider, like whether you want to dye your brows to match your new shade or if your complexion will look different with dark hair, or if you need to stock up on different lipstick shades that wouldn’t have worked before with your previously lighter hair… Basically, dyeing your hair darker is a pretty big deal and not a decision that should be taken lightly.

So we talked to Laura Estroff, the head colorist at the Brooklyn and London based Kennaland salon, who broke down for us the actual changes you can expect and plan for. She told us:

Here’s what else happens to your hair when you go darker, whether you want a be a brunette or hop on the glow-in-the-dark locks look.

1. It will look shinier.

Like Estroff said, you’re just lifting up the cuticle and adding color molecules to it, so it’s not just an optical illusion: your hair is actually a little thicker and bouncier. Those color molecules also add shine to you hair that a lighter look won’t. When you’re going dark, you’re adding something and when you go light, you’re stripping away.

2. Your hair might feel  damaged.

This really depends on your hair type, according to Estroff. “Everyone is different and everyone’s hair reacts differently, but going darker is far less damaging than lightening it.” That being said, remember that your hair might feel dryer at first, since either way, you’re chemically altering your hair. “There will be a difference no matter which way you look at it,” Estroff said.

3. It will be hard to go light again.

Because you’re adding all of these color molecules to your hair, you can’t change your mind once you go dark and switch back to a lighter color right away. Estroff said, “When you lift your hair from being dyed dark, you have an extra layer of hair color that you have to break through. It will get lighter [eventually], but it will likely be darker than your target.”

This also depends on how you got to dark in the first place. If you go darker from already dyed hair, Estroff says it’s near “impossible” to get super light again. If you dyed your natural hair color darker, there’s a better shot. You’re going to have to go through a lot of layers of color molecules to get what you want, so you really should think carefully before you go dark and think about what kind of in-between shades you can live with in case you ever decide to go lighter again.

4. Like, really, really hard. You’ll need to color correct your hair.

But it won’t happen overnight, according to the professional colorist. “You’re entering a whole new realm of color corrections,” Estroff said. She added that at Kennaland she’ll as her clients before they go dark under her watchful eye if they’re sure. “I can’t take you lighter in a month,” she said. “[You] really need to manage their expectations and be patient. You can get there eventually, but it’s not a one time thing. It can be a year before you get to what you want,” Estroff added.

5. There’s more upkeep.

After you go darker, you’re going to want to stay away from clarifying and volumizing shampoos, since they tend to lift up your hair cuticles and make the color fade faster. But so does being out in the sun and with spring break and summer around the corner, you’re going to want to ask your colorist about a color depositing conditioner.

Estroff says that there are tons of them out on the market that will do the trick, whether you want to grab a John Frieda from the drugstore or treat yourself to the one Aveda makes. Most colorists will most likely be able to send you home with color depositing conditioner made specifically for your color. At Kennaland, Estroff works with Evo Fabuloso Pro and is able to formulate something on the spot for her clients, but there are pre-made ones you can buy, too. Hair color is personal, though, and it’s always best to talk to your colorist about how to maintain the color between visits.

Dyeing your hair is a fun way to switch up your routine, but it does take some thought and planning. When you dye darker, there are just a few more things to consider than when going icy white. But don’t let that stop you from being all the brunette you can be.

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This article originally appeared on HelloGiggles.com

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