Hair Color Banding – 5 Easy Ways to Fix It.

We’ve all been there. You get your hair colored and are thrilled with the results – until you look in the mirror and realize that your gorgeous, multi-tonal color has turned into a streaky, banded mess. Ugh! Hair color banding is the worst.

If you’re tired of looking like a walking coloring book with starkly different colors on the top and bottom of your head, then it’s time to learn how to make this pesky problem go away.

Here are some tips for getting rid of demarcation lines in your hair that you can use today! 

What is banding in hair color?

Color banding is not a good look! It happens when previously dyed hair has been dyed over again resulting in uneven, blotchy spots and stripes caused by strands of hair that have either been missed or have not taken the dye evenly.

It leaves a clear-cut line between the original color or texture of your hair and the new color or texture caused by dyeing or treating it.

This problem is especially common after bleaching as different parts of your hair can process bleach differently due to its texture, leading to an obvious line where one color ends and another begins. 

This usually occurs when you’ve let too much time elapse between coloring sessions, resulting in color fading in certain sections of your hair.

Hair color banding before and after

How to fix color banding in hair.

Removing color banding in hair can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before. But don’t worry – getting rid of that unnatural ombre look is totally possible!

Start by clarifying your hair with shampoo (or conditioner, if your locks are dry and brittle) to get rid of any leftover product from the previous dye job. 

Then try one of these tricks to get your locks looking back to their best.

1. Use a toner 

A toner is an excellent choice for addressing hair color banding issues because it can even out unwanted red or orange hues and neutralize any brassiness.

Toners are semi-permanent dyes that help balance out the underlying pigment in your hair and blend together all of the colors for a natural finish. 

2. Reach For a Glaze 

Glazes are great when it comes to achieving natural-looking highlights without the use of bleach or ammonia.

These products work by coating each strand of your hair with product and adding shine while evening out color bands that have developed from multiple dyes and highlights.

Glazes are also effective at masking any greys that might have arisen over time. 

3. Redye Your Hair

If toners and glazes don’t do the trick, then it might be time for a new dye job!

Redyeing your hair is one of the most effective ways to get rid of any unwanted tones or hues that may be causing color banding. 

Try redyeing the affected areas with a box of the same shade you used previously. Simply apply more dye to the lighter sections until everything looks even again. Although be careful because you can make it worse!

4. Try Balayage, Ombre or highlights techniques 

One of our favorite methods for tackling color banding is through balayage, ombre, and highlights techniques.

Balayage involves painting the hair with lightener which gives it a natural sun-kissed look with no harsh lines like traditional foiling techniques do.

Ombre creates a gradient effect from dark at the roots to light at the ends while highlights involve adding pieces of lightener throughout the entire head, creating dimension and depth in all areas of the hair.

All of these styles will give you a natural look that hides any banding while you grow it out. This approach works especially great if you have lighter hair or want to remove blonde hair banding.

5. Professional Color Correction

The most common way to fix up demarcation lines is with color correction. Whether you do it yourself or visit a professional stylist, this strategy will help blend away any stark contrasts between tones.

Generally speaking, color correction works best when the lighter parts of your hair are dyed darker and vice versa.

Just keep in mind that this process often requires multiple bleaching and dying sessions over time before you get the desired results. It’s best to consult a professional!

Watch and learn: How to fix hair color banding

Here’s a great video that shows you how to fix hair color banding and color mistakes step-by-step!

How to remove color banding in hair.

If you find yourself stuck with a single color or noticeable “banding” that won’t go away, don’t panic! The answer may lie in using a hair color remover.

Hair color removers work on both natural and chemical dyes to strip the unwanted color pigments and hues from your strands so you can start from scratch with something new entirely.

Before starting the process, make sure your hair is clean and free of any styling products or oils that could interfere with the removal process.

Then, apply a generous amount of hair color remover directly onto the sections where you want to remove the color banding.

Leave it on for about 30 minutes before rinsing out thoroughly and repeating as necessary until all traces of discoloration are gone.

Afterwards, condition your hair deeply using a nourishing mask or treatment oil for best results. 

When used properly, this method will result in minimal damage and get the job done faster than any other option.

If this doesn’t work, you might need to remove hair dye or strip your hair color completely with bleach!

What can cause banding of hair color?

Color banding occurs when you have multiple colors layered onto the same section of hair. The result is an uneven coloring job that looks patchy and unprofessional. 

This can happen if:

  • You use too many hair dye colors
  • When certain sections of the hair don’t absorb enough dye during coloring or bleaching
  • There are gaps of time between color applications.
  • Natural fading and oxidation, resulting in streaks of two different shades.
  • The most common cause of this issue is when someone tries to dye their hair at home without having the right technique or tools!

How to prevent hair color banding.

Banding can be a major buzzkill when it comes to hair color. Unfortunately, not everyone has been trained in the art of avoiding banding!

Here are some tips and tricks for preventing hair color banding so that you can achieve the look you’re after. 

Start with a clean canvas 

The first step in avoiding hair color banding is to make sure that your canvas (your base hair color) is totally clean.

That means pre-lightening (bleaching) your hair if necessary, and thoroughly cleansing your scalp before you apply any dye.

If possible, try using a clarifying shampoo the day before coloring to get rid of any excess oils and product buildup that might interfere with even absorption of color. 

Choose the right color 

Choosing the right color plays an important role in avoiding hair color banding.

Start by considering what level of lift you need for your desired results. Only choose a hair dye that’s one or two shades darker or lighter than your hair color base.

When selecting your shade, keep in mind that different colors can react differently on the same person’s hair due to texture, porosity, etc., so choose wisely! 

Follow the box dye instructions carefully

Once you have chosen a box dye for your hair, it is important to read the instructions carefully before starting. All box dyes are slightly different in terms of what they require from you before and during the process.

Before applying the dye, make sure your hair is clean and free of any styling products or oils. Wash your scalp with a gentle shampoo, and then rinse thoroughly.

You may also want to use a clarifying shampoo the day before to ensure that all excess oils and product buildup is removed to prevent color banding.

It’s all in the technique!

Before applying your hair dye, think about the overall effect you’re trying to achieve.

Do you just need to apply the dye just to your roots?

If you’re dying your hair the same color, you don’t need to always refresh it from root to tip. This will cause the dye to layer and band together leaving those unsightly stripes.

Consider strategically mixing two colors together or alternating how much dye is applied in each section of hair.

This prevents one area from becoming oversaturated while another remains under-saturated—aka “banded.”

Avoid over-processing one section by leaving it on longer than the rest; this will only result in uneven coverage and can lead to banding as well. 

Parting words

No matter the cause, hair color banding is never a good look. But thankfully, with these four simple strategies, you can easily get your mane back to looking its fabulous self in no time!

Just remember to talk to your stylist about the best approach for tackling this tricky situation and don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and products until you find the perfect fix.

Good luck – you can do it! Good luck on your journey to perfectly balanced locks!


  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
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    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!

  • Enza Piazza, Hair Stylist & Color Consultant
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    I’m Enza Piazza, your go-to hair stylist and color consultant with over 23 years of professional salon experience bringing vibrancy and life to hair of all hues. My Italian roots from sunny Sicily infuse passion into every snip and color, a passion that’s been recognized with top honor awards including bridal and party hair at the National Hairdressers Federation’s Championships. After training in Surrey, UK’s most prestigious salons including Head Master Academy, I embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and set up Enza Hair Styling, offering tailored hair care for 13 years, and treating each client like family. Away from the salon, I cherish moments as a proud Nonna to grandson Joseph and as a playful companion to my Jack Russell, Bo.