Looking to juju-up your current hair color at home but are worried about a disappointing, or worse, disastrous outcome?
Do you know the two questions you need answers to before hitting the hair color aisle that offers a blinding array of shades, enticing hues and gorgeous colors?
Want salon results at home from box color (who doesn’t) but are confused as to how to exactly go about it?
Guess what? You can easily avoid a home coloring meltdown with this …
Hey! You might want to pay attention here. Especially if you and your friends been clogging the hair color aisle of the drugstores or big box retailers near you excitedly looking for your next shade of hair passion.
Which isn’t all that surprising. Since one result of this uncertain economy is a rise in those turning to home hair coloring to save money. They aren’t looking for the salon level pampering. They just want to color their hair.
Luckily those selling these home hair coloring kits have made it easier to produce salon-like results at home.
- Instructions are better, more detailed and easier to follow.
- The process is more predictable with generally satisfactory outcomes.
- The ingredients found inside the box are easier to apply, work faster, and have reduced levels of the bad stuff. You know ammonia or peroxide required to do the job? So there’s less risk of ending up with a bad dye job.
Bottom line, then? All it takes is a bit of practice, a little know how, and you too can use home hair coloring kits to produce a rich, radiant, ravishing mane while not damaging a single hair on your head. Yeah you can. For real.
While I can’t help directly with the practice part, I do want to provide a quick cheat sheet that at least might help you get up to speed faster. You won’t need GPS. Nor will ID be required. Here’s what we’ll cover.
- The Two Questions You Need To Answer
- Cutting Coloring Anxiety is Easy
- Video: Getting Salon Results At Home
- More Help to Avoid A Home Coloring Meltdown
After getting through this you won’t find yourself alone and clueless in the hair color aisle unsure of what to do next.
Know the Only Two Questions You Must Answer?
When it comes to hair color, some know exactly what they want. Others not so much. They simply know they are up for a new hue and haven’t bothered to figure out much else.
Honestly, this makes it hard to decide what to get when standing there facing shelf after shelf of hair coloring kits all with images of pretty models with long, gorgeous hair. Any of which suggests you too can get a head full of glamorous color and look like just that. But can you now?
- Okay so it helps to keep in back of your mind what you want out of the coloring experience.
- Do you want to lighten or darken just a bit or go more for a more dramatic change?
- Are you looking to hide the gray in salt-and-pepper strands and little else?
- Most important how long do you want the results to last?
Still even if armed with answers to those questions, standing in front of endless beckoning boxes of hair coloring products, and where does it end? is enough to make even a rational person freeze up in fear of making the wrong decision.
What’s a dewy eyed color novice to do?
Relax. There are really but two things to decide here – shade and formula.
- Shades come down to the hue. And you can’t judge a box by the color of the model’s hair so read what the label says. As long as you are only going a shade or two from your natural one, you should be okay. Looking for a bigger more dramatic change of color? Make an appointment. The risk of messing that up and doing deadly harm to your mane is too great.
- Formula options means how permanent of a change are you looking to make? The more temporary the gentler the process will be on your hair. Generally semi or demi permanent products work without relying on peroxide. Both of those are effective at banishing a few silver gray hairs. Both can enliven and brighten up your natural color. And you can expect a dye duration of as long as a three to four weeks, depending on how carefully you baby the color.
Still when done in a salon, you can sit back and leave the formula selection to your colorist. He or she is a pro and would know what to use. At home that would be you doing the selecting. To help with that here’s a bit more detailed run down of your formula choices.
Cut Coloring Anxiety by Better Understanding the Three Color Formulas
Ditching blah hair color is easy. It’s also easy to calm the coloring butterflies. It’s just a matter of knowing how long of a relationship you want to have with the new hue.
Semi-permanent will brighten up your God-given color by coating your strands. Safe. Temporary. While not totally foolproof, still a good way to start coloring at home since the deposited color will wash out in only a relatively few shampooings.
With this approach you can go to the darker side knowing it will last for no more than a dozen, maybe 15 shampooings. Or you can add a touch of tone to your shade without affecting your natural color for about as long.
While this is certainly not as drying as permanent color can be, done repeatedly it can produce dry ends. This is why you always want to use moisturizing shampoo and conditioners, deep condition and even use a moisturizing mask as often as needed to keep your hair properly hydrated and looking good.
To goof proof this here’s a couple of tips. Pay attention to your current hair color. That will influence the result you should expect. Also pick a shade a color lighter than you think you need. This will keep you from ending up with something too dark. Perfect choice for the commitment-phobes among us.
If that isn’t a long enough color love affair then go with
Boxes containing demi permanent colors will produce color that lasts twice as long. You may hear this referred to as tone on tone coloring. Again, it will give you more lasting results – say 28 shampooings on average or maybe six weeks depending on how often you shampoo. Obviously as you wash the intensity of the color will fade over time. Yet much like a stain on a white blouse the color will still be there. That’s because there is a just a hint of peroxide in this formulation. That helps the pigment to penetrate the hair shaft but doesn’t remove the underlying shade.
As with semi permanent this will be taking your color a shade or two darker. It can also give decent gray coverage.
If you want an longer relationship with the color selected then opt for
Great choice if you have something more long term in mind or you’re more certain about the color. And this is where you can be bolder with the color choice. Basically your colorist will bleach the existing color out of your strands and substitute that with your new shade.
Just know that this will also require ongoing attention to the roots which will grow out at the rate of a half in a month. Luckily there are some amazingly easy to use yet effective root touch up kits to be had at your neighborhood Walgreen’s too. In 10 minutes or less you can easily eliminate those unsightly roots with a solution that makes them disappear for as long as three weeks even. Or more than enough time to schedule another appointment to have things done professionally.
Just remember permanent color uses more chemicals so it can be more drying.
Next let’s cue up a video that demonstrates step by step how to
Get Salon Results At Home
Kandee, as a licensed beautician, is a big fan of semi permanent dye. Reminding that since it washes out sooner you won’t end up with crazy bands of color that can happen when you color previously colored hair. It what the majority of women who color at home use too, by the way.
What you need
- Deep mixing bowl so you don’t spill
- Dye brushes
- Developer – noting that the lower the number the darker the hair color it works with
plus the universal advice to wear stuff you don’t care about. To which I would add
- Repeated warnings to put towels down everywhere. Splatters happen.
- That it is best to dye second or even third day hair.
- Brush your hair out to remove any knots that may inhibit dye take up.
- Mix the color and developer together thoroughly.
- Put some kind of color barrier at your hair line so you aren’t coloring your skin. Vasoline works. There are also commercial stain shields like ColorTrak Repelle Hair Color Stain Shield or color blocks you can buy that are designed to do this too.
- Apply the coloring agent to your hair line first using one of the applicator brushes. Be sure to work the product into the strands coating them well.
- Put a part in the middle of your hair from front to back. Again your are targeting the roots on either side of the part. Taking care to hit the roots will be the difference between a result that looked like you knew what you were doing from one that doesn’t. This is all the more important if you are covering grays.
- Create another part a half an inch in one direction or the other and repeat.
- Tip: Remember that the heat from your scalp will help activate the dye.
- Continue doing the roots of each section like this down each side of your head. It will insure you’ve got even color distribution. Then you will turn your attention to the back of your head doing the same thing only with horizontal parts.
- The ends will be colored last. Using your free hand as support, paint the color on the ends then use your fingers to work it into all the strands. You can do the same with a wide tooth comb.
- When you’ve covered all the hair with they dye, put on a shower cap to capture the heat to help activate the dye. You can also use a hair dryer to heat things up.
Now having seen a demo here’s more things from the cheat sheet.
More Helpful Ideas to Avoid A Home Coloring Meltdown
BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING:
The healthier the hair you start with the healthier the colored hair will be. Obvious, right? Well, as it turns out not to some.
So if your ends are fried trim them up. Either do it yourself or enlist the help of a friend.
If you’ve got product build up or dull locks hit them with clarifying shampoo. Or mix some baking soda in your everyday suds and use that to clear things up.
Dry strands? Replenish any lost moisture by using a deep conditioner a few days before coloring.
Finally lay off the shampoo for at least a day before breaking out the new color. This will help desensitize your scalp. Plus having some natural oils are good to have on your strands.
Even those experienced at using hair coloring kits should not skip the strand test. Especially if it is one you’ve never used before. You want to take the color for a test run on your hair, using something from the underside that is out of sight, to see how your hair reacts. Leave the dye on for as long as the instructions tell you to. Rinse and dry and check it out to see if you like how things came out. The additional benefit of doing this is you can tweak the development time a bit based on how the strand test results turned out. Going longer or shorter before rinsing to produce an end result that is lighter or more intense.
An emergency run to the drug store to get another kit with your hair slathered up with coloring solution isn’t a good way to impress the guys. Plan ahead. Which is all the more important if your hair is shoulder length or longer. Or just buy more than one box and hold onto the receipt. That way you can always return what you don’t use.
TIME IT RIGHT
It’s a mistake to start the timer when you finish the dye application. Mark the time from when you start so you don’t end up with a color that is too dark because it was left on too long.
FOR A BOLD BRUNETTE
Wish your attempt at brunette was bolder? If things are looking a little too mousy go nuts. No, not what you think. Try adding a five or six unshelled black walnuts to a half cup of boiling water. To that add a quarter cup of rubbing alcohol. While letting the brew steep for 15 minutes to give the pigment a chance to leach out wash and towel dry your hair. After the mix has cooled down pour the result over your damp hair and leave it for another 15 minutes. Then rinse. The heat works to open the cuticles so the pigment can get inside leaving your with a richer shade than when you started.
COLOR TURNING BRASSY?
Over time your brunette hair might start to show off a little brass. Just not the good kind. To counteract those warm red undertones that are peaking through you want to look to an application of ashy (violet) ones. Rinsing in cold coffee can also help. So can, believe it or not, grape Kool aid. Either of those admittedly offbeat ideas brings into play colors that will cancel out the tangerine undertones if given about five minutes before rinsing then washing.
GOING ALL SCARLET
Have your heart set on crimson? Good idea. You’ll stand out from the cast of thousands who have gone blonde. If you have light hair to begin with you may find a semi permanent kit works fine at home. Going red from anything on the darker side should only be done by a pro as the color will be need to lifted first. Oh and here’s what the newly red need to know about the red hair color fade.
WATCH THE CONDITIONER
You don’t want to fall into this trap. Sure the color formulations can by drying on your hair and all. Yet you don’t want to go crazy and over-condition any fine color treated locks. Why? Because if you fail to follow this advice and you can end up with limp, lifeless locks due to an overdose of moisture.
ENDING TOO DARK
Ends turning out too dark? No news there. Think about it. The tips are the oldest, most porous part of your strands. They are likely to lap up the color like a thirsty dog.
Work in the color mid strand and up first. Then get to the ends with a few minutes of processing time to go and only after misting them with water to dilute the effect.
If that doesn’t work see if deep conditioning the ends only first thing when you wake up on the day you plan to color helps. Then only apply the color towards the ends when you are about half way through the development time.
Yeah it’s a pain. But either idea, or both, might be the cure you seek for those dark roots.
Not loving how the color turned out? You can’t undo the mistake by applying more color. That will only make a bad situation worse not to mention harder to fix. This is no time for home remedies. Time to bring in the pros. They’ve seen it all and can properly diagnose what went wrong and prescribe the right fix. It won’t be cheap but we are talking your hair here afterall.
MAKE IT LAST
Want the color to last? Dumb question. Of course you do. Once it’s made in a shade you want it to last as long a possible.
First, give your freshly colored hair 48 hours before you reach for the shampoo. Why? It takes that long for the cuticles to close up. Even then you only want to wash your hair in warm, not steaming hot water. Even sticking to warm water you do not want to wash any more often than you need to using shampoos that limit sulfates and/or are designed to cleanse color treated hair gently.
Want you color to last even longer? Think about a color depositing shampoo or shampoo and conditioner combo. No, it won’t take you all the way back, but this can restore a degree of richness washing has removed.
Want one more color stretching tip? Get a deep conditioning mask designed specifically for color treated hair. The best will both protect the color from the elements and will help leave your mane feeling silky soft.
Then prevent the sun from killing the color by using products with UV filters built in. Shine creams and sprays can help to snap your hair’s cuticles shut so those color producing molecules don’t break out only to be rinsed down the drain. With a little assist from you and color guards like these your hue will hang around weeks longer.
Nearly three out of four women in this country change the color of their hair at some point. Some do so to tinker with their God given color. Others do so to cover gray strands. Others still want to pay around with highlights or lowlights to add the appearance of more color depth to their locks. Should you be going for some totally new bombshell color or just want to change things up a bit, maybe you now have a better understanding of what’s involved in picking a color. Or you grasp the approach to use when coloring those locks of yours whether at home or at the salon.
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