October 19, 2020


A huge deterrent when it comes to at home color use is the fear that your color will turn out too dark. We’ve heard you and are here today to give some insight on why it happens and how to avoid it in the future. Here are 6 reasons to consider why your color might be processing too dark.


Dye buildup

Dyes buildup when demi or permanent hair color is pulled through on top of hair that has been previously colored. Since color does not have the ability to lighten color, your results will only end up getting deeper and darker.

No pull-through is needed if there has not been a loss of depth (lightness) or tone in between color services. When a refresher is required, always opt for a lighter demi-permanent so that dye buildup is less likely to occur.

Pro Tip
Our premium colorbox now includes 2 shades, a permanent for your roots and a demi-permanent for your ends. Available through consultation.

High porosity

Porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb moisture. High porosity occurs when the hair has been over-processed or damaged from chemicals or heat. Meaning, it will absorb hair color faster and oftentimes darker.

When coloring over highly porous hair, formulate hair color one to two levels lighter with a warm tone to compensate for the fast absorption.

Ash Tones

Ash or Cool tones in hair color help to control warm (gold and red) tones and undertones. To the eye cooler colors can reflect darker or deeper in most hair levels.

When using ash tones, formulate hair color one level lighter to compensate for depth in tone.


The developer you use has a direct correlation to the amount of lift or lightness achieved in the coloring process.  10vol is used for deposit and up to 1 level of lift, 20vol is for optimal gray coverage and provides up to 2 levels of lift, 30vol gives maximum lightening with up to 3 levels of lift.

Use the correct volume of developer for the amount of lift you are trying to achieve. Need more than 3 levels of lift? You are a better candidate for a lightener (bleaching) service.

Pro Tip
Be sure to consult with a licensed colorist before trying bleach your own hair at home.


Coarse textures of hair contain more cuticle layers. Meaning, it takes more “energy” in order to get to the cortex to change hair color.

When coloring coarse hair textures, always compensate by using a higher volume of developer except when coloring hair that has been relaxed. This can cause over-processing and breakage. A consultation with a licensed colorist is highly recommended when coloring relaxed hair.

Processing time

Most hair color on the market today, including Color&Co shades, do not use progressive dyes. However, avoid them when you can. The longer you leave them on the darker the color gets. Processing longer than the recommended time can cause over darkening of the color.

Follow the Manufacturer’s instructions on processing time, and avoid removing color before the recommended time, as this could affect the longevity of the color.


Whether you are a first-time at home color user or a DIY expert, use these tips to avoid unnecessary darkening of your hair.

To learn more about Color&Co personalized color, take our diagnostic quiz or have a complimentary consultation with a Color&Co professional colorist click here.

Happy coloring!