It’s always important to go a professional for your hair color whenever possible. That being said, emergencies happen. Perhaps your hairdresser is on an extended vacation, or you just can’t seem to scrape up the money to go to the salon. Read on for the best way to take on a color touch-up yourself at home.
Buying your color and supplies.
The first and most important step to touching up your own regrowth is to purchase the correct color. This can be pretty simple, or extremely picky; it all depends on your natural color and the color you want to achieve. No matter what you do, do not buy box color from a drug or convenience store. Instead buy your hair color and developer from a beauty supply store, like Sally’s Beauty Supply.
You will need to select the correct level and tone of color, as well as your developer. Level refers to the level of darkness or lightness of the color, and tone describes whether the color will be cool, neutral, or warm. If possible, get advice from a professional hairdresser or colorist. Buying the wrong color is one of the easiest mistakes to make when doing your own touch up at home, and can result in a complete catastrophe. If you can’t reach your hairdresser for color information, try to get help from an employee at your local beauty supply store. Keep in mind that if your hair is heavily highlighted or lowlighted, it may be difficult for them to find an exact match. If you have extremely thick hair, you may need to purchase two bottles of color to do the job.
Developer is what is mixed with the color to either “lift” your natural color (if you are going lighter), or to deposit the color (if you are going darker or changing tones in your natural level). Developer usually starts at a level 10 which just deposits color, and goes up to a level 40 or 50. 20 Volume will lift your hair color two shades, 30 Volume, 3 shades, and so on.
Once you have the color and developer you need, make sure you have all necessary supplies. This will likely include either a color bowl and application brush (for creme color) or an applicator bottle (for liquid color), hair clips, and gloves. You will also want to purchase a good conditioner or after-color hair treatment if you don’t already have these at home.
Once you have everything you need for your color at home, you’ll need to set up your supplies. Choose an area of your home where you’ll easily be able to clean up any messes, and where a window or fan is available for ventilating the area. Also make sure that there are no pets or young children nearby who could get into your hair color or disturb you.
Generally, you will need to mix your color and developer in a 1:1 ratio, or half and half. You can do this right in your color bowl; usually bowls will have measurement markings on the side to help you get the proportions just right. Mix the color with your brush and mix well; uneven mixing can result in uneven color application.
Next you will want to section your hair. First, comb your hair so that there are no tangles, and part your hair down the middle. Section off two sections on each side of the top of your head and clip them out of the way. Then section the back of your head into two sections (or four, if you have a lot of hair) in the same fashion. Also, before you begin application, make sure you have your gloves on.
For your application, you will want to start in the back of your head at the nape of your neck, and work your way up. If you have someone available to help you, it is highly recommended that you ask for their help, especially in the back of your head.
Take down the first section and use the color brush to paint the color on, outlining the section. Make sure wherever you paint the color is totally saturated in the product. After the first section is outlined, take the rat tail comb and take a thin parting (about 1’4″ or less thick) of hair at the bottom of your section. Pull the hair down and paint the color over the hair to cover the root. Then take another parting with your comb, and repeat. Continue to repeat this process until the first section is done. Then move onto the next section. How far down you have to paint the color depends on how outgrown your roots are. If you have an inch of outgrowth, that is how much of the hair shaft you will paint down.
Work your way up through the sections you created, taking one down at a time as you go. Try to have patience in ensuring the hair is saturated with color in the right areas, but don’t take too much time as the color will start to develop on the hair as you go. Don’t worry too much if you get color on the skin; simply wipe it away with a damp towel. Any stains on the skin can be removed with some gentle exfoliation.
Once your color is applied, pull the hair back from your face or up into a processing bag and allow it to sit on the hair for as long as the directions in your hair color product states. Then get into the shower and wash it out with shampoo. Hold your head back and make sure not to let any of the color or suds run into your eyes as you wash it out. You may require two shampoos to get your hair totally clean.
After your hair is washed, it is very important to use conditioner as coloring your hair can cause dryness and damage. Apply the conditioner liberally, especially to the freshly colored area, and allow it to sit a little longer than you usually would before rinsing. If your hair is especially dry or damaged, skip the conditioner and use a rinse-out hair mask instead, following product directions. You may also want to consider using a leave in conditioner or treatment once your hair is towel dried, and use a heat protectant if you plan to use a blow dryer or thermal styling tools on your hair.
Another thing to consider is the importance of using a color-safe shampoo. Using a shampoo that is not for color-treated hair may cause your color to fade very quickly, which will require you to have your hair color pulled through all of your hair more often in order to keep it vibrant. Using shampoos, conditioners, and styling products for color-treated or damaged hair on a regular basis will keep your hair healthier in the long run.