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Answer Angel: DIY hair color that shampoos out

Ellen Warren, Tribune News Service on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: For multiple reasons, I will have to color my own hair for the first time and am afraid of a disaster. Are there any products that can be easily reversed or that fade quickly if the result isn’t presentable? I just want to brighten my look without trying to “streak” the (unreachable) back of my head or deal with a root line in a few weeks. To complicate matters, my dark blonde hair is brassy from heavy iron deposits in my well water. (I’ve tried Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo to remove the iron, but it doesn’t seem to have much of an effect). Any tips or product suggestions for something relatively simple and not too pricey? I’m tired of looking “haggy”.

— Marie W.

Dear Marie: You have several options for coloring your hair — all of which are going to require some trial and error. “Temporary” or “wash out” hair color comes in a spray and is usually meant to last only a day or two. That’s one way to preview how your DIY hair coloring will look.

“Semi-permanent” hair color is meant to fade gradually in four to six weeks. Many of the semi-permanent shades now are crayon bright blues, reds and purples — not what you want. It sounds to me like Christophe Robin Temporary Color Gel (perhaps in Golden Blond) or similar products might do the job (, $35), especially if you’re trying to cover grays.

There are many other brands with online reviews and YouTube tutorials to guide you. Beware, the lighter your hair color — in your case dark blond — the longer the temporary hair color will stick around.

As for the brassy color in your hair, you’re right that the heavy iron (and other?) deposits in your hard well water are the culprits. There are products made for this problem. For example, Color Wow makes Dream Filter, a pre-shampoo spray (, $16.80). There’s also an array of shampoos (like Malibu C, which didn’t work for you) formulated to combat the effects of hard water. The Pioneer Woman ( has these suggestions and more: Ion Hard Water Shampoo recommended for colored hair (, $25); Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend (, $24.99); Pattern Clarifying Shampoo (, $20), developed by actress Tracee Ellis Ross for curly hair, and Kenra Clarifying Shampoo (, $14.64).

Other methods:

— Make a paste of your shampoo and baking soda (start with a small amount and keep adding for paste consistency), leave on for three to five minutes, rinse.

— Spray hair with lemon juice until wet, let sit for five to seven minutes, shampoo.


Dear Answer Angel Ellen: For most of our 54 year married life my dear wife has had extreme difficulty finding shoes to wear in narrow widths. We have gone all over in her quests. She has also explored the internet with very limited results. As an example, recently I prevailed on her to replace her tennis shoes. It turned out that the shoes she was replacing had been purchased in 2014. Can you offer any guidance as to where we might find stores that could provide narrow width shoes?

— Mike G. (Similar questions came from Anne L., Rebecca P., Mary D., Jodi D., Constance B., and Ruth M.)

The flip side…

Dear Answer Ellen: I wear a size 10 wide and it is near impossible to find pretty shoes or sandals in this size. They are brown, black, masculine, old-fashioned, out of stock or overpriced Do you have any suggestions?

— Liz D. (Lisa C. has the same problem.)

Dear Mike et al: Reader Andrea M. had this excellent tip: “I absolutely found the best place for narrow shoes and boots: Maryland Square ( Retail stores seem to no longer carry narrow shoes, so this find lets me be up to date style wise.” Maryland Square isn’t just for narrow feet. The website carries widths from super slim (AAAA) to extra wide (EEEEEE). lets you search its site by width. And reader Kathy K. has wide feet and recommends Munro Shoes (, where you can search by width from extra narrow to extra wide. Kathy also recommends New Balance athletic shoes for “a roomy toe box” for wide feet.

Reader Rave

Janet K. writes: “My husband loves Mission Belts. They simply slide so there is no need for holes (, $34.95).

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