Coloring your hair can be a really fun experience, but it can also go poorly fast. Not choosing the right color, permanence or brand for your hair type and needs can be disastrous. But how do you know what to buy? As a beauty and hair expert, I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks over the years to help you get the best out of your at home hair dye.
Choosing a Color
The best tip I can give for choosing a color is don’t go dramatic at home. If you’re a natural dark haired brunette, don’t try to bleach your hair at home. You want to choose a shade of color one or two shades darker or lighter than your natural hue. My natural hair color is light to medium brown, so when I decided to dye my hair red, I went with a red that was only slightly darker than my natural hair color.
You also want to get a color that matches your skin undertones nicely. Take a look at your wrist in natural or bright light. Do your veins look blue, green or a mix of the two? If they look blue or even slightly purple, you have cool tones. Greens or greenish yellow mean you have warm tones, and a mix of blue and green means your skin tones are more neutral. If you’re cool, pick colors that say cool on the box or have a more blueish base. If you’re warmer, pick colors that say warm or have copper or gold tones. Neutral gals can pick from either category, but keep in mind whether you’re fair or darker skinned when choosing a color.
With hair dye, you can get varying levels of permanence in at home dyes. If you’re not sure about how much you really like a color, want to dye it for a special event, or just like experimenting, pick a demi or semi permanent dye. These dyes will last anywhere from 12-24 shampoos, but can last longer if you use dry shampoos or color protecting products. If you’re coloring your hair for the first time, I always advise picking up a non-permanent dye.
If you’re confident in your color choice, have experience at home, or need to cover gray hair, you probably want to go with permanent dye. Now, the box may say permanent, but it will only last six to eight weeks at its full strength. If you are covering grays, this means you’re going to need to touch up the roots and do a color refresh every couple months, at least. I dye my gray roots about every six weeks. Permanent hair colors can be stretched out by using color glosses, which deposit just tiny amounts of color, every week to keep it bright.
Finding a Brand
Hair dye brands often tout claims that your hair will be healthier after you color it, that you can achieve extra moisture or radiance from using their product. Unfortunately, these are claims that aren’t completely true. No matter how gentle or non-permanent a color is, it is going to damage your hair. Some brands contain extracts like argan or olive oil to help repair your hair post color, but there is no way a box dye will make your hair healthier. I prefer to use my own hair products to improve my hair’s condition, so I mostly look for the right color, not the brand.
However, there are some that are better than others. Box dyes are usually equally priced, but stay away from budget brands. They are often full of more chemicals or use incredibly strong developers that strip your hair of moisture. Some dyes also are recommended for different hair types, like thick or thin, so you can compare their information with your own hair needs.
Post Color Care
After you’ve followed your box directions, it’s time to consider your hair care to maintain the color. I recommend using a color safe shampoo and conditioner on your hair until the dye has washed out or if you keep coloring it, indefinitely. Bottle blondes should pick up something called purple shampoo which helps tone the color and keep it from getting brassy. Try to skip at least two to four days before you wash, using dry shampoo to help absorb oils on your scalp.
I also recommend using a hair masque after your first wash to help lock in the color. Slather your hair in your favorite mask and pop a shower cap on. Allow the masque to sit for five to seven minutes to truly absorb all the nutrients. Once it’s cured a bit, rinse it out and your color should be set for a good while. I hope that this guide has helped you get a little insight on how to achieve the best results of your color, every time.