One n’ Only Color Fix

Double feature Saturday! I wanted to write about this before I forgot about my experience with Colorfix. I’ve been experimenting with this product for close to three weeks now, and I’m hoping that my journey is nearing the end.

My natural color is dark blonde (7 or 8 color). I’ve been dyeing my hair either black or darkest brown (1 or 2) since I was 13 years old. It started off as a mistake that I figured would fade over time, but I actually grew to love the color. I carried on that way for sixteen years, dyeing my hair every 3 or 4 weeks to maintain the roots.

When I got bayalage about a year ago, I decided I was really tired of the black entirely. I knew right out the gate that removing SIXTEEN YEARS (!!) of black dye was going to be a near impossible task. But I bit the bullet, and picked up a box of Color Fix from Sally’s. Could a $13 product get rid of a 16 year love affair with black hair dye?

In the days leading up to this, I scrubbed my hair with Head n Shoulders shampoo, because dandruff shampoo unintentionally reigns supreme in fading out hair dye. I got home from work, made sure my social calendar was clear (in anticipation of looking a bit crazy for the next few days), and ripped open the box. There are three bottles within the ColorFix box, steps 1, 2, and 3. At the advice of the knowledgeable Sally’s employee, I threw out step 3 because it contains peroxide, which revitalizes shrunk hair dye molecules and in turn makes your hair dark again. Makes you wonder why One n Only even included it.

I poured out steps 1 and 2 into a regular mixing bowl, and mixed the two together. This is where the terrible sulfur smell of Colorfix comes into play. Even if you turn your fan on and open your windows, there’s practically no escaping it. The first time I used it, I felt sick to my stomach. Now that I’ve used it a few times, it’s still pretty disgusting, but it doesn’t phase me as much.

You can apply it with a brush the same way you would with a normal dye. After the dye is applied, try to massage the product into your hair to ensure the Colorfix is inundated in as much of the strand as possible. Find a plastic cap or bag to put over your hair to trap the heat, and wait for 20 minutes. I’ve read some anecdotes about using a blowdryer on the highest setting over the cap. I’ve tried this in a few of my applications, but I don’t really see a difference when I don’t use it — it neither increases or decreases the amount of color that gets pulled from my hair. I think all it does is create more unnecessary damage.

I rinsed it out after 20 minutes. A few times I used dish soap, thinking it would clarify the hair more than a normal shampoo clarifier, thus knocking the dye molecules out of the strand — but, in the end, I found that Head n Shoulders was just as effective, and way less damaging than dish soap. You have to make sure you rinse the ColorFix for AT LEAST 20 minutes — not only to get rid of the sulfur smell, but to make sure the product is removed fully before dye is applied over it (otherwise the color will re-oxidize and you’ll be back where you started).

The result? Well, if you’ve been dyeing your hair black for sixteen straight years, do not expect this to work much after the first application. It’s HIGHLY likely you’re going to have to repeat this process at least three or four more times, if not more. For a one-time black dye application, this probably works great, and immediately turns the hair into a rust-red color.

But for me — the process has been slow, resulting in blotches of orange, yellow, light brown, red, and LOTS of remaining black, no matter how meticulously I apply. And though I just hopped out of the shower coming off of my seventh application of the product over three weeks, I’d say that it’s only minimally improved. There are still patches of black that are clinging on for dear life.

My goal: C2 to C7. My hair color after Colorfix: C2, C9, C10, C11, C4, C3, C6….

But the point is that it WORKS. The process is arduous, sure, but I never thought I would see a full head of non-black dyed hair, and the progress toward that is evident. What I also appreciate about ColorFix is that it doesn’t fry your hair the same way that bleach does. It’s a bit damaging, but nothing that can’t be fixed by a week of deep conditioning and possibly a trim.

I know that was a lot, so here are the quick steps to using ColorFix:

  1. Shampoo with a clarifying shampoo before using
  2. Mix up Colorfix in a bowl.
  3. Apply Colorfix to dry hair. Rub it into your hair as much as possible.
  4. Put a processing cap over hair. Wait 20 minutes
  5. Rinse out hair with a clarifier for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Let hair dry, and determine whether or not the steps need to be repeated.
  7. If the old hair color has been satisfactorily stripped, apply hair dye of your choice (or don’t!)

Here’s a few extra things I would like to add about my journey:

  1. I used bleach very shortly prior to using Color Fix. Do NOT do this!!! Colorfix, on it’s own, is not the most damaging product in the world, but in conjunction with recent bleaching, it might just turn your hair to straw. Also, using bleach first will cause the color stripper to turn parts of your hair a somewhat unsightly yellow.
  2. Since you’ve basically wiped out a ton of molecules from your hair, your hair is now very porous. Naturally, it might start to darken on it’s own, even if you don’t apply anything else after the Colorfix. For the same reason of hair porosity, when re-dyeing, ensure that you are using a dye that’s 1 or 2 steps above the desired color.
  3. Yes, that smell will go away. I promise. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: 3.5/5 (due to eventual/inevitable oxidation)

How much I actually like this product: 4/5