So plans to obtain beautiful sun-kissed blonde hair came out a little more like a Sunkist orange? Never fear, most of us at-home hair dye aficianados have had a similar disaster at one point or another. It's all part of learning what works and what doesn't work for your hair.
First, let's figure out how your hair came to be such a, ahem, vibrant shade. Most likely, you started out with dark hair. We all know the saying, blondes have more fun. So it's tempting for those of us with dark brown or black hair to wonder how the other side lives. As a general rule, when dying your hair at home it's best to go no more than 2 shades lighter or darker. If you tried to take your hair straight from shade of espresso to platinum blonde, you will, inevitably get orange hair. Even if your hair is not so dark when you start, it's easy to get orange or "brassy" tones. But, let's not dwell on the mistake. On to damage control.
If you want to continue down the path of going blonde, you're going to have to bleach again. I know, after the first disaster it probably doesn't sound very appealing. But trust me. As hair lightens it goes through stages. You may have noticed them as you watched your hair bleach the first time. The darkest is black, which then usually lightens to a reddish brown color, then a redder color, on to orange, yellow, and finally finishes at a pale yellow (or white if you are lucky, but that's neither here nor there). You simply haven't gotten far enough. You have lifted some of the pigment out of your hair, but not all of it. If you just bleached, you should wait several days if possible to go for round two. And in the meantime, deep condition like there's no tomorrow. If you absolutely can't wait, it's not the end of the world. Just remember that the less recovery time you give your hair, the more the damage is going to show.
Once you have achieved that pale yellow color (it kind of resembles the inside of a banana peel) you will need to move on to using some sort of toner, unless banana is the color you were going for. Basically what a toner will do is cancel out any brassy or reddish tones that are left behind. You will need to visit your local beauty supplier for a good toner. Resist the temptation to use a grocery store box of blonde hair dye. You will not get the results you want. When shopping for your toner, it will indicate what it is used for and what color it will help you achieve. If you are trying to cancel out reddish undertones, the toner will have a bluish base color. You will also need to purchase developer.
If all of this sounds complicated, that's because it is. There's a reason why you should see a pro for such a dramatic change. Another option is to abandon your blonde ambitions altogether. This will probably be the least damaging to your hair. You can simply it dye it back to its original dark state. Or maybe try an auburn shade if you're still looking to spice things up. If you decide to go back towards the darker end of the spectrum, the number one rule is this: do NOT under any circumstances try to cover your dye disaster with an "ash" shade. This will result in hair with a fabulous greenish/grayish tint that no matter how hard you try to cover it, will continue again and again to peek through after several washes. Consider this the most valuable piece of information here. Ashy shades of brown+lightened hair=virtually irreparable disaster.