I was not expecting this to work, at all. I'm so pleasantly surprised.
My hair is naturally a dark brown/almost black color, and I use L'Oreal Hicolor Hilift to get my hair to a medium/dark brown. So I was trying to touch up my dark roots, but I suppose I left the Hicolor on too long, and my hair came out a touch too light. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I wanted it to be my normal deep brown color, so I ran out to the drugstore (too lazy to go to Sally's and buy dye/developer) and bought a box dye in dark brown. As I left it on, I noticed my hair turning black. I didn't leave it the full 25 minutes and rinsed it out when I panicked about the dark color, but it was too late, my hair was already strong, intense black. Not even a pretty natural color, but almost gothic. It was horrible.
For a couple of days I let it go. I didn't trust my usual relatively cheap salon with hair coloring, and didn't want to spend the money for a really good salon. I tried to learn to like it. But it was too harsh and I couldn't deal, so I searched online for a way to fade the color. I figured I'd try this b/c it didn't sound too damaging, and I had the ingredients at home anyway.
I crushed about 30 vitamin c tablets in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin, and just mixed it with enough shampoo to work it through my hair. I used normal shampoo, but one w/ sulfates, which will strip hair more. I left it on for roughly an hour. Doing this twice, the black was completely removed from my hair, leaving me with my original deep brown color, and I am SO relieved.
Obviously this won't lighten hair, I think it will just return you to the lightest color your hair has been by stripping out the dark dyes. I used deep conditioner following the treatment each time and haven't noticed any damage. It's great.
I had dyed my level 7 blonde hair to light brown for more than 10 years, but with age, this dark color started to look harsh on me. I read about this method a few years back, so I decided to give it a try. With two applications of vitamin C paste, I was able to get very close to my natural shade - a faded-out, but at the same time still slightly darkened version of it. I am a cosmetologist student and we are being taught that a dye will not lift dye, but in this case the rule doesn't seem to apply. I was able to lift my still somewhat pigmented hair to a level 8 blonde with dye only. And the funny thing is: not one of the school's instructors have ever heard of this method. It works beautifully and the damage it causes is practically nonexistent. I guess that the drying effect some users mentioned is more likely due to the shampoo in which the hair sits for an extended period of time. Even without ascorbic acid, a harsh shampoo like Head and Shoulders, or a dish-washing liquid for that matter, will dry out the hair considerably. I used a mild, organic shampoo, but on damaged hair I would even try using a conditioner.
This works! I had blonde highlighted hair. Decided to dye it red with box dye. Then maintained the red with ION color brights semi-permanent. My hair was shockingly red. I liked it enough to keep it that way for a couple weeks then got super super sick of it and wanted to go back to blonde. I crushed up a lot (30-40) vitamin c pills in a ziplock bag. I mixed it with a sulfate free clarifying shampoo and applied to towel dried hair. Really worked it in there and got it lathered up. Put on a shower cap and waited about an hour. After washing and blow drying my hair is still red, but faded about 2 - 3 shades lighter. Very noticeably lighter with blonde highlights showing through the red. I haven't seen a highlight in my hair since I started the journey to being a redhead. It removed both the semi-permanent and permanent. I definitely have to do it a few more times but the difference is huge after just one application. And my hair feels just a little dry. Nothing major and much less, if any, damage than bleaching the color out would cause.
This is one of those pinterest DIY's that actually work. I never write reviews but this I had to share.
I am the person who posted originally on the Web (on the hennaforhair fotum) about this method, in 2010. At that time, I was attempting to find a method for removing a direct (not deposit) dye from my hair. I had been using indigo plant dye for several years, and no one had found a successful method to lighten it.
After weeks of research, which included enlisting a chemist friend (he found nothing), I found an obscure article that hinted obliquely at the possibility of using citric acid to break the bond of direct dye to keratin via reduction. There was/is a caveat, however: it is necessary to rinse for quite a long time to completely remove as much dye as possible, longer than a normal rinse that simply removes product. Otherwise, you will notice a redarkening of the hair as the direct dye molecules re-establish. I posted this in my original thread, but it seems to be forgotten (and then people say that this method doesn’t work, or doesn’t work well).
Trust me, it works. It will not, as noted above, completely remove direct dye. But, as my master colorist stylist noted, once you get the color to budge, the hair will gradually lighten, and that is what happened for me. I used this method 4 times initially, let it lighten further over the next 6 months, then did it again a couple more times. Result: my hair went from opaque black to a deep auburn with beautiful highlights (ie, not opaque). And they said it couldn’t be done.
Since that original 2010 post, it seems that the method has gone viral. I certainly didn’t expect that! But I am pleased to see that my post in an obscure forum was helpful and that so many have found it useful.
Just don’t forget to rinse, rinse, rinse (I set a kitchen timer for 5 minutes). And you can buy Cheap vitamin C powder at Trader Joe’s or Amazon. As far as type of shampoo, I used cheap, plain drugstore shampoo for this task. The simpler the formulation, the better (no conditioners or proteins).
So let's see - I chose to use this method to lighten up some dark patches that were left behind from my hasty home bleach job - I'm trying to get my hair light brown and ended up with something resembling light auburn with random black patches. No thanks. I didn't want to rebleach because it ravaged my hair and I actually ended up cutting a lot off. I bought a bottle of 30 chewable vitamin C tablets from the dollar store and crushed them up with pestle. Then I added about a quarter cup of pomegranate Sunlight dishwashing detergent. I got my hair a little bit damp and slathered it on. Wrapped it up in a plastic bag and watched Anna Karenina. Two hours later I lathered it up in the shower and rinsed and rinsed. There was colour coming out but who knows if that was the food colouring from the vitamin C or not. I went to bed with wet hair so had to wait until morning to see the results but I was pleasantly surprised. All the black patches were now a medium red. My other already lightened spots were lighter copper brown.
Now for the reason I took one lippie off - my hair STINKS SO BAD!!! When I first washed it out it smelled sickenly sweet. It was making me want to gag. It seemed to be gone when I woke up and my hair was dry. But just now had a shower and washed my hair 3 times to try and get the smell out. It has morphed into a gross, sort of vitamin C scent plus how my hair smells when I accidentally burn it with a straightener, smell. I can't stand it! Now I'm scared to put the intended light ash brown on it because I don't want any crazy unexpected chemical reaction. So, I shall wait until the smell goes away. Ugh. I think I would definitely do this again though, but perhaps use a different brand of vitamin C (sans food colouring) and an unscented dish detergent - or maybe Head and Shoulders - or something.
P.S. prepare to deep condition a lot because this dries the heck out of your hair. But I'm sure it can't be as bad as what bleach does. I hope.
This review is for Vitamin C powder mixed with shampoo as a means of lightening previously dyed hair.
The story: A while ago, I'd had my hair professionally dyed red. The color was great, but as we all know, reds fade very quickly.
Cut to a week ago - my red had faded considerably and my roots were dark. Not cute. But I'm trying to save money, so I decided to go the DIY route and re-red myself.
I went to Sally's and concocted my own mixture using Wella Color Charm. It turned out well, but much deeper and more burgundy than I'd planned. I wanted something lighter and more fiery/copper for summer.
So - I checked out YouTube to see if anyone had a solution for bringing dyed hair up a couple of shades. I found a few tutorials on using vitamin C tablets mixed with shampoo as a treatment.
I decided to try it. I got vitamin C powder at Trader Joe's and mixed it with shampoo. The tutorial I'd seen featured crushed-up tablets of Vitamin C (I had powder already, so didn't bother with this) and Head and Shoulders shampoo mixed with dishwashing liquid(!). I didn't feel like destroying my hair, so I went with a moisturizing shampoo (Nexxus Humectress).
I mixed the Vit C powder together with the shampoo till I had a liquid that was thick but still spreadable. It's important to dampen your hair before applying this, or you'll find it difficult to work through. I applied this mixture to my whole head, added a bit more water to lather it up a little and make sure it was applied evenly and thoroughly. Then I put a plastic cap on and waited for one hour - then washed this mixture out and conditioned.
The reviews I saw on YouTube were mixed, but for me this worked PERFECTLY. My dye job was lightened several shades - from a deep burgundy red to more of a fiery red. I will say that there are places on my head where the color doesn't exactly match but I don't mind this, as it just looks like highlights. I have curly hair so it's not that big a deal - it just looks like natural color variation. It might not look so even on straighter hair.
Anyway, this is a great trick. Not sure if it would work to bring the natural color of someone's hair up any levels, but for me and my red dye, it worked like a charm.