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What is the best way to transition back to natural hair color?

Going back to your natural hair color after years of coloring and chemically treating your hair can seem daunting. However, with some planning and patience, it is possible to healthily transition back to your natural shade.

Why go back to natural hair color?

There are many reasons people decide to give up hair dye and embrace their natural hair color:

  • To reduce damage from chemicals – Frequent dyeing and bleaching can damage hair and cause breakage.
  • To embrace natural beauty – Many feel empowered going back to their authentic selves.
  • To save time and money – Coloring hair is expensive and high-maintenance.
  • Changing priorities – As people age, they may care less about covering grays.

How long does it take to transition?

The time it takes to transition to natural hair color depends on a few factors:

  • Current hair color – Those with lightened or color-treated hair will take longer than those with only subtle highlighting or lowlights.
  • Hair growth rate – Hair typically grows about 1⁄2 inch per month. For shoulder length hair, expect a 6+ month transition.
  • Goal color – Transitioning to a close shade like one step lighter/darker will be quicker than going fully natural.
  • Use of transition styles – Strategic styles and color touch-ups can aid the process.

As a general guideline, plan on about 1 year for a full transition from significant color-treating. Have patience – it takes time for treated hair to grow out.

How to transition gracefully

Here are some tips to help you slowly and gracefully transition back to your natural hair color:

1. Consult a stylist

Seek advice from a hair color specialist. They can review your history and desired result to create a personalized transition plan.

2. Taper your color

Have your stylist subtly lowlight and highlight your hair to blend roots and ends. This helps camouflage regrowth and avoids obvious lines of demarcation.

3. Change part and style

A new part or strategic style, like pulling back hair, can minimize the contrast between colored and new growth.

4. Disguise roots

Use root powders, sprays, and touch-up sticks to color just the roots until they grow out more.

5. Have patience!

Remind yourself that hair health should be the priority. Avoid over-processing and enjoy the journey of seeing your natural color.

How to care for hair while transitioning

It’s important to give hair some extra care while transitioning to natural color:

  • Use a gentle, hydrating shampoo and conditioner.
  • Trim ends regularly to remove damaged sections.
  • Use masks and leave-in treatments to boost moisture.
  • Protect hair from heat styling to limit further damage.
  • Get regular trims to allow treated ends to grow out.

Common concerns when growing out color

1. Dry, damaged hair

Frequent dying can cause hair to become dry and brittle. Use hydrating products, minimize heat styling, and get trims to improve condition.

2. Uneven texture and curl pattern

Hair color and bleach treatments can alter texture. As new growth comes in, it may not perfectly match your ends. Regular trims will help blend the two.

3. Dramatic roots

Dark regrowth can be obvious against lightened hair. Use root powders or sprays to camouflage this, focusing on your part line.

4. Long transition time

It takes patience and diligence to transition from heavy highlighting or lightening. Stick with it and remind yourself of the long-term benefits.

Alternative options

If you’re struggling with the grow-out process, you may want to consider:

  • Cutting hair shorter – Removing length will make the transition less obvious.
  • Wigs or extensions – These offer temporary full coverage while your color grows out.
  • Re-coloring darker – You can move to a darker shade while still avoiding your natural color.

Discuss all options with your stylist. They can advise you on the best solution for your situation.

When you’ve reached your goal

Once your natural color has fully grown in, give your hair some TLC. Avoid heat styling, keep up with conditioning treatments, and protect those natural locks!

You’ve achieved something many only dream of – a healthy head of natural hair. Feel proud of the journey you’ve taken and embrace your beautiful authentic color.


Transitioning back to your natural hair color requires dedication, care, and patience. But the results are worth it. Plan the process with your stylist, maintain hydration and trims, and employ clever techniques to blend regrowth. Before you know it, you’ll be rocking your gorgeous natural shade with healthy, happy hair.