How to Fix Patchy Hair Dye & Prevent Uneven Results

Your dyeing result can come out uneven due to many reasons: from mixing the ingredients incorrectly to applying an uneven base color. This is a common problem for hair dyes both at home and in a salon.

Orange patches, uneven shade, or the result that looks sad and disappointing — all these issues can be fixed relatively easily. Let’s look at how to fix patchy hair dye and make sure it never happens again.

Guide to Fix Patchy Hair Dye at Home

Woman dyeing her hair in a salon

If your hair color came out uneven and patchy, there are several things that you can do:

  • Re-dye your locks after 2 weeks;
  • Fix orange or yellow patches with a blue or purple toner;
  • Add a filler to correct the shade before dyeing your hair again;
  • Go one shade darker.

What causes uneven color?

There are several reasons why you can get patchy hair color:

  • improper dye use;
  • wrong base color;
  • incorrect application;
  • damaged hair;
  • poor product formula.

When you understand those reasons, it’s easier to figure out how to fix it, be it just to color the uneven patches or get your hair to an intermediate shade that will make the color better.

Not mixing your hair dye properly

It is a common mistake. When you prepare a poor-blended mixture, it makes the strands where you apply them lighter, causing patchy hair color.

Not applying the dye correctly

If you dye your hair at home, I recommend asking your friend, roommate, or family member to give you a hand with this. You’ll get a better and more even result, and it will also ensure better pigment saturation, which will prevent unevenness.

Use brushes and gloves and remember where you start the product application because that area will be the darkest.

Starting with an uneven base

This factor causes patchy hair color in most cases. When you bleach your hair at home several times, the color of your hair might become uneven. Every time you apply the dye, the effect accumulates. Patchy hair color shows even more on lighter hair.

Processing the hair from the roots

The heat of your skin speeds up the effect of the bleach. By the time you finish processing the entire length of your hair, your roots spend more time with bleach than they should’ve. As a result, they’re 2-3 shades lighter compared to the rest of your hair.

Applying the dye to the damaged hair

Your mane might become patchy if it were initially damaged because the pigments penetrate porous hair worse. A week before dyeing your locks, treat them with deep conditioning or use a bonding agent if your hair is bleached.

Using poor-quality dye

The purchased dye can also be unsuitable for your hair type. Cheap boxed dyes harm your hair over time and are incredibly difficult to get out later. In this case, the best option is to address a professional hairdresser for color correction, though even specialists admit it’s a pain to get it out.

How to dye your hair the correct way

Before we talk about how to fix blotchy hair dye, let’s examine the correct technique for dying your hair.

Start with an even base

A quality base ensures a better result. If your hair was damaged or bleached, use a bonding agent before dying it. You should also treat your locks with deep conditioning before you dye them.

Conduct the “strand test”

Ceramic bowl with pastel purple paint

Never skip this step because it’s the best way to see how the dye will act and ensure you don’t have a negative reaction to it. Take a small strand, apply some product to it, and see if the result is what you want before using it on the rest of your hair.

Mix your dye well

You can get patchy hair color because you’ve mixed the dye wrong. I advise blending it more thoroughly.

Apply the mixture to your locks

Remember that the area where you start applying the dye will end up darker than the rest of your hair because the dye will work longer there. Section your hair properly (into strands of about ¼ of an inch) and brush it. Work from the ends to the roots to get a more natural look.

Rinse the chevelure and treat it

Rinse your mane with lukewarm water; otherwise, the wrong temperature will affect both the dye and cuticles of your hair. To seal the effect, use color-protective hair products with every wash.

How to fix patchy hair dye?

If the worst did happen, and you want to fix uneven hair color at home, start by identifying what exactly went wrong. Consider common mistakes and understand whether you made any of them.

The usual failures are related to the wrong use of the dye, from improper mixing to incorrect timing. If you apply the hair dye to the already damaged chevelure, you might not get the result you want.

Dye it again

You can always dye your hair again. Read all the instructions on the box and mix the product well to ensure even application. Always wait for at least 2 weeks before re-dying your hair; otherwise, you will damage the hair cuticles and make the results even worse.

Fix orange or yellow patches

If your problem is brassy or yellow spots, the best solution is to use a hair toner. Identify the unwanted shade you got and choose the opposite hue.

A color wheel can help you do that. Find your shade on it and draw a straight line – the opposite will be the toner you need to neutralize the blotchy color.

Hair dye application

Orange requires blue for correction, yellow – purple, etc. After you use a toner, apply a bonding agent and deep condition your hair consistently for a couple of days. The effect can be better if you do it more than once, using both the color and gloss treatments.

Add a filler

You can add a layer of filler that will cover the patchiness and prepare your hair for the next coloring. A filler is something in the middle between the color you have now and the one you want to get, so think of it as an extra layer that will saturate your strands with intermediary pigment.

Go one shade darker

You can also solve the problem of how to fix uneven hair color by going one shade darker. This will even it out and help your hair not fade out too quickly.

It will also create a base that will help you even out the hair color when you repeat the coloring. It is an interim solution before you build the even color.

Coloring aftercare

Correct hair care is as important as the dyeing itself. Always use color-preserving hair products afterward, as well as a color-depositing shampoo and a mask every couple of washes.

Remember, the less you wash your hair, the less the pigments wash out. Avoid too frequent shampooing and aggressive towel-drying. If your hair is damaged, getting a regular haircut, occasional deep conditioning, and scalp treatments will keep it healthier.

FAQ About How to Fix Uneven Hair Color at Home

hair dyeing process with foil

Though I’ve explained how to fix patchy hair dye at home, there are still several things worth discussing. Here I’ve gathered some frequently asked questions about fixing your hair color and will answer them briefly.

How soon can I dye my hair again to fix it?

Since the only actionable solution to the problem of how to fix uneven hair color is to dye it again, it’s a good question.

Even if you want to re-dye the chevelure the next day, it’s important to let at least two weeks pass before dyeing your hair again. In the meantime, wash it with a usual shampoo a couple of times to help the undesirable tone fade.

Can you dye your hair twice a day?

I don’t advise it because it can seriously damage your scalp and hair structure. However, this might be okay if you use a semi-permanent dye. It doesn’t harm your hair as much as a regular dye, but there still is damage, so try to avoid repeating the coloring session twice in one day.

Can I dye my hair wet?

It’s possible to dye your hair while it’s wet because the strands can still absorb the pigments. However, if you wanted to achieve a vibrant color, this might not be a good idea.

Because of the water, the color will be less bright. The ideal condition to dye your hair is when it’s unwashed.

Fix Patchy Hair Dye at Home Successfully

Everyone can end up with a patchy chevelure, but following the basic rules will help to prevent it. If you figure out what went wrong, you’ll understand how to fix blotchy hair dye easily.

If you need to mend the brassy or yellow hair tone, use the opposite color. If the dye was mixed incorrectly, repeat the coloring 2 weeks later. Add a filler or go one shade darker to make the base for your new color.

Have you had any experience with fixing uneven hair dye? Let me know in the comments below.

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Monica Davis

Monica Davis

Monica is a professional men and women's hairstylist and a success coach. She started MyStraightener as a personal blog and it has grown into something bigger. You can also find her writing/speaking about new styling tools, hair products, and the latest things in hairdressing on HuffPost, NBC News, Healthline, etc. Learn more about Monica.

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