Should You Color Your Own Hair?
Why spend money on getting your hair lightened or darkened outside when you could do it yourself? When considering if you should color your own hair, use these 12 tips we’ve gathered over the years:
1. Don’t go more than two shades lighter or darker. If you want a dramatic change, get your hair professionally done. If it’s a subtle change you’re after, then doing it yourself is fine. We’ve read of several top beauty editors who do it themselves (probably because they despise how long it takes in a salon).
2. The simpler, the better. At-home hair coloring is for people who simply want to go a couple shades lighter or darker or to cover gray. Anything more complicated than that should be handled by a pro. If it’s a new base color and highlights you’re after, go to a pro. If you have permed or relaxed hair, or if your hair is damaged, also see a pro, you don’t want to overprocess your locks.
3. Don’t go by the picture on the box. Pictures on hair color boxes can be deceiving. You’re better off going by the color swatches on the box and the descriptions. Most boxes will call out the color (blonde, brown, black and red) and the shade of that color (light, medium and dark). There might also be mention of the tone (golden or ashy). This is a better guide to what you’ll end up with.
4. Always test a few strands of hair first. Too many women skip this step and end up with a color they despise. Once the color is in, it’s harder to change.
5. Consider trying two colors. Many stylists create lighter strands around the face. To get this look, invest in a bottle of dye a shade lighter and paint it on the strands around your face.
6. What to do if your color isn’t as bright as expected? If your hair turns out not as light as you’d expected, take another bottle of dye and mix in an equal portion of shampoo. Lather and keep it on for 5 minutes. Rinse, and you’ll notice a difference.
7. Don’t overprocess your ends. Once you’ve colored your own hair, you’ll want to re-dye the roots. To ensure you’re not wrecking your ends, cover ends with conditioner when dying roots and around your crown. This will protect hair from the dye. A few minutes before it’s time to rinse the color out, work the dye over the conditioned ends. This will add just enough process to update the color, without damaging your ends.
8. Make sure you prep before you color. Rub Vaseline around your hairline as a protective measure before applying color. (To remove after coloring, rub a small amount of cream cleanser and wipe off with cotton balls). Always wear gloves and wrap an old dark-colored towel around your shoulders.
9. When to wash hair before you dye? Many experts suggest washing hair a day before – not the day of – coloring. Natural oils protect the scalp from the processing.
10. After you color, wait a full day before washing hair. You want the pigment in the dye to fully settle into your hair, so avoid washing hair at least 24 hours after you color.
11. Maintain with the right shampoo. A color-depositing shampoo and conditioner are good purchases. Otherwise, select a formula created for colored hair.
12. Super dry hair? Try a deep conditioner. Because the ingredients in hair dye are very concentrated (even more so than the salon dyes), it’s a good idea to deep condition dry hair a week before you color hair. Once hair’s colored, you’ll want to deep condition every week to keep processed hair soft.