Color Run: Hair Drama

Soooo…we did the Color Run this morning. Matt and I and a good portion of our small group, plus about 20,000 of our closest friends and neighbors gathered in downtown STL to run/walk a 5k* and get doused in powdered color. Sounds fun, right?

Well, it really was. The weather was crappy (50 and drizzling the entire time), but that totally did not stop us from having a great time. The atmosphere is fun and getting covered in color and looking ridiculous was a blast.

pre-race, all clean and happy

pre-race, all clean and happy

post-race fun!

post-race fun!


Because of the rain, we knew that the color would likely stain worse than it does on a typical day. When we got home, Matt showered first, and texted from upstairs, “You better pray hard you didn’t get much pink on you.” When he came downstairs a bit later and I saw why he said that, I got a little nervous…his neck and head still had dark stains on them, even after being thoroughly scrubbed.

pretty awesome, right? i actually loved the green/blue streaks down my ponytail!

pretty awesome, right? i actually loved the green/blue streaks down my ponytail!

And my hair had a LOT of pink in it. I started having flashbacks to 5th grade and my punk-rocker Halloween costume, complete with pink sprayed hair. That stayed pink for a couple of weeks.

I quick headed to the shower, bringing along Dawn dish detergent when my friend Robin suggested that it helped. I scrubbed and scrubbed my hair with 2 different shampoos AND the Dawn, and it was quite evident that the pink? Wasn’t going anywhere.

In a panic, I texted Kelli, consulted Matt and his mom, who was our super-helpful household manager while we were traipsing around downtown getting colored cornstarch shot at us, and eventually decided that I needed to enlist the help of Anne, my amazing hairstylist, because I seriously looked like I’d tried to color my hair with Kool-Aid in a drug-induced haze.

more than slightly concerned at this point, right before my appointment.  the color is all in blotches, and it's all over my head.

more than slightly concerned at this point, right before my appointment. the color is all in blotches, and it’s all over my head.

I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say that a) there was a LOT of laughing at the salon, with everyone in disbelief that the Color Run could do something like this to my hair and b) even with their products and mad skills, my hair was still orange/pink in spots after a few tries at removal.

Eventually, Anne was able to lighten the color up enough that she could highlight and lowlight my hair, fixing the problem spots, and getting it looking like a normal non-Color-Runner’s hair again without damaging my hair. Thank God.

after!  phew!

after 3 hours of work! phew!

Since getting home tonight, I’ve learned this fun information from googling Color Run hair stain: you’re supposed to coat your hair (particularly if it’s light-colored) with olive oil or coconut oil before the race, or completely cover it. Obviously, had I even remotely thought this could be a problem, I would have done one of these things. I recommend that if you’re considering doing a Color Run, YOU DO THEM ALL. (Reportedly, you can also try ketchup or OxiClean for removal from hair, too, which I didn’t try, but have very little faith that they would’ve done anything to remedy the situation.)

Share this with the blondes you know who might be doing a Color Run, and save them some drama, okay?

*More on this later. This 5k was the impetus for our major lifestyle change around here, and it deserves more than this post about my hair issues.

11 responses to “Color Run: Hair Drama

  1. oh my gosh–are you kidding me?!? this race was on my bucket list, and i think it’s officially off it now… your stylist is a godsend! LOVE the after-the-race pic–good memories πŸ™‚ and go you!

  2. I’m SO glad I got to be there in person to see the various stages–Rainbow Brite before your mega-scrub-down-shower, as well as the blues, pinks, & peachy colors still remaining in different areas of your hair afterwards! (Matt’s remaining colors were also entertaining!) Thank heavens, your hair looks great post-Anne! πŸ™‚ What a day!

  3. Yikes! I have tried the ketchup, baking soda, Dawn and nothing is working with this pink dye! Loved the color run but I too should have followed the pre-race suggestions.

  4. I rocked the Rainbow Brite hair yesterday too. I had a pink spot on my scalp and my hair was an interesting shade of purple since I was doused in pink and blue. I was also rockin some icky roots so I bought a box of color and lightened my hair last night and the purple is gone. Glad you’re back to a normal hair color.

  5. WOW! That’s crazy!

  6. Ellen Josephsen

    I, too, heard many questions and laughter from the ladies at my hair salon, and they were incredulous that this could stain hair so effectively. I had coated my hair with a smoothing dimethicone product ahead of time and a bandanna, but the bandanna fell off just before the color throw and I was left with a head full of pink. My hairstylist couldn’t get it out with her concoction of chemicals, so we resorted to dying it my natural light brown and we’ll highlight it next week. But you can even still see some pink underneath there! I had fun but I’m not sure if I want to deal with the trouble that was the Color Run again, so much mess!

  7. Stumbled onto this post after doing The Color Run this past weekend and having the same issue! The pink WILL NOT come out. I have tried Dawn, Neutrogena Anti-Residue, etc. to no avail. Short of cutting all of my hair off, I guess I will make an appointment with my hairdresser. Unfortunately, where I work, wearing a hat or bandana or any head covering is not an option!

    • What finally worked for me was my hairdresser mixing water downed bleach with shampoo and applying to my whole head. She said the dye immediately started lifting. Then she worked quick to rub concentrated areas and rinse before it started lifting anything else.

  8. Michelle Ferren

    I am a hairdresser, and I too have pink stained hair. I am a natural blonde with summer blonde and chemically highlighted hair….other than more chemicals it’s stuck…so I have a pink hi light in my bangs! I went and bought a hat for my next run! Good luck ladies!

  9. I have been a hairdresser for 25 years and I was a technical advisor for L’Oreal Professionnel. My daughter just got her hair tainted with this awful stuff and we have tried everything to get it out. It just doesn’t come out at all!! Colouring her hair darker tonight to remedy the situation.

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