Hi I am having a real nightmare trying to decide what's best for my hair. My hair is naturally a dark blonde/ash kind of colour. I am 27 and from the age of 17 have been dying it in some form (don't ask why - it just seemed the right thing to do at the time!). For the first couple of years it was just semi-permanent home colour that I used. When I was about 20 I started going to a salon to get it done properly. Not a cheap salon either. The first few times the girl really just obviously (looking back) wanted to take advantage of someone who didn't know what she wanted and so she did the top layer in highlights and the bottom layer a really bold red or brown colour! I soon grew to HATE it. I think what she did to get over this was put a semi-permanent lighter colour on the red or brown underneath, then highlighted as usual. Within a short space of time I was back to natural colour with highlights. However, a few years down the line, a different hairdresser, and my hair was looking like a huge mass of this highlighed colour as more was added to my hair in larger amounts. More often than not I was being given a full head, when all I really want/need is a few random bits throughout my hair. When I was pregnant I came to the conclusion that highlights were not going to be practical for me anymore and when she was 6 weeks old, I went and had a semi-permanent colour (at advice of the hairdresser) put over the top. Within a couple of weeks I had to have a darker yet colour put on as my hair fast went a gingery colour (years of highlights, light base colour = darker colour not taking very well). I have now had it coloured about 4-5 times in this dark brown with ash base. After about 6 weeks it always fades back to a browny ginger (probably auburn) colour. Last week I went to a new hairdresser (my husband's workmate's wife), simply for cheapness and because I know her (plus my hairdresser who I liked, left the salon and I didn't really like her replacement). I went for a cut and she trimmed a bit too much off (I asked for a trim but I got a definite cut), but it's not a major issue. It's still shoulder length (was bra-strap length ) but has quite short layers and is shaped round my face. This is probably a good thing as it's got rid of a massive chunk of the highlights which were mainly on the top layer. My aim was to grow the highlights out and eventually go back to my own colour before my own colour is GREY! So now I'd say I have about 2-3" of highlights left and this semi-perm brown on top (which is faded as it was done 8 weeks ago or more) and my dark blonde roots of about 1.5" which look grey against the brown! I need advice. The hairdresser took some samples of hair to test with a couple of colours. One she is going to strip and put a lighter dye on. The other she is just going to dye slightly lighter. The third option is to keep dying this colour. However, and someone who is a professional please correct me here, I am a bit concerned about continuing to colour this colour - surely it defeats the object? I am confused. I just want to be back to my natural colour in the most discreet way possible which means having a dye as close as possible to my own colour and just letting it grow out, surely? I am concerned about having it stripped because I don't want to compromise the condition of my hair. I have new bits of hair coming through because between 3 and 5 months PP I did lose some hair, mainly round the front, as is normal after pregnancy. Obviously that is coming through natural colour! You can only really see the roots if you are close up, and I think the more root there is, the less grey and more blonde it looks (ie, it looks more like colour growing out than greys coming if I have longer roots!). So the way I see it, my options are: 1) Keep colouring dark brown (how will I ever get back to natural colour? ); 2) Have the colour stripped and a lighter one put on, then grow (worried about hair condition, which I reckon for me is more important than having multi-coloured hair lol!); 3) Just leave it as it is now and let it grow, even though the new bits of hair are dark blonde (mainly round the front) and the roots are dark blonde and look grey against this colour. It could take a year or more for the hair to fully grow out I think (it grows about an inch every 6 weeks and I would never consider shorter than shoulder-length hair for my face shape). 4) Would she be able to put a lighter colour on top of this colour without stripping this colour first? Just maybe a light brown so it's less obvious against my roots? Anyone got any clue?!