Step-by-step instructions for livening up your hair at home.
Is it true that blondes have more fun? Do redheads really have fiery personalities? Find out by changing your hair color at home. It’s easy to do and much less expensive than going to a salon. But the more you know about home color, the better your results.
First, ask yourself some questions to narrow down your selections:
Is This a Permanent Relationship?
What kind of results do you want? Are you going lighter or darker? Do you need to cover gray? Are you trying to update your look or jazz up a dull shade? The answers to these questions will help you choose your formula: permanent, demi-permanent or semi-permanent.
Confused? Don’t be. Grace Magazine is here to help.
Choosing Your New Look
According to New-York-based color expert Rita Hazan, who works on big name stars like Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez and Brooke Shields, “the most important factor is your personality”.
Hazan, who was recently featured on the Hollywood Hair episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show, says, “you don’t want your hair to ‘wear’ you—you want to have hair that complements your skin, your eyes—hair that really reflects who you are.”
Look in the mirror, not at your hair, but at your skin tone. Are you a warm or a cool? If you have golden or peachy tones in your skin, you are warm. You probably look lovely in clothes in the gold, copper and brown family.
If you have rosy cheeks or skin with pink undertones, you are cool. You look fantastic in blues, grays, purples and pinks.
Next, look at your hair. What is your starting shade? It doesn’t matter if it is natural or color-treated. Find your current color by looking at hair swatches in the beauty aisle or find charts online. Narrowing down your present shade will lead you to your new color.
It is best to stay within one or two shades from your starting color. If you are medium brown, it would be easy for you to try light brown or dark brown. It could be tricky to try to go blonde.
Now, warm and cool come in to play. Say you have dark blonde hair and you wish to go lighter. Your skin tone is fair and rosy. You would be best to choose a cool tone, such as champagne blonde.
Here’s another example. You have light brown hair and peachy skin. You want to add life to your do. Try an auburn shade. It’s in the brown family, has a warm undertone and is within two shades of your starting color.
Level of Commitment
How long do you want the results to last? If you are trying to mix it up and go a little rock and roll, you may want to choose a semi-permanent shade that will wash out in about 8 shampoos. If you are going lighter, you will have to choose a permanent color. If you are blending away grays, you could use a demi-permanent color that lasts about 28 shampoos. But if you have more than 40% gray, a permanent kit would work best.
Here are the tools you will need:
- Protective clothing – a button-down smock will shield you from drips and you won’t have to pull it over your wet head when it is time to rinse.
- Claw-like clips to separate sections of hair.
- Latex gloves – these should be included in your home hair color kit
- You may want to use a brush to paint on the solution and really saturate the strands.
- If you have long hair you may want to have two kits ready. You don’t want to run out in the middle of the process.
Start with clean dry hair that has no product in it (no conditioner, no styling gels or mousses). It’s best if you wash your hair the day before so your natural oils will protect your scalp.
Brush or comb out tangles, then divide hair into 4 sections. Part down the middle from forehead to neck, then across at the crown. Twist and secure each section with a clip.
Put on gloves and mix the ingredients according to the directions.
Time to Color
Squeeze color along the parts and rub in with your gloved finger.
Do one section at a time. Starting with the back, release one clip. Put a line of color along your hairline. Then repeat by working through thin sections of hair until the whole area is saturated. Twist back into the clip and repeat with each of the remaining sections.
Go around your hairline to make sure you get all the little wisps.
Remove any color that may have gotten on your forehead or neck or any exposed skin. You can use soap and water, or you can find color remover at a beauty supply store.
Discard the remainder of the product by rinsing out the bottles.
Wait for the magic to happen. Color will usually take within 20-30 minutes. Stubborn gray can take up to 45 minutes. Most mixtures will stop working after an hour.
Note: Don’t be alarmed if the product on your hair does not look like your intended color. Oftentimes, the formula will appear darker or even a strange color like purple.
Rinse according to the instructions. Some brands instruct you to add a little water to your hair and work into a lather, then rinse. Some just tell you to rinse. Be careful not to get any in your eyes. Keep at it until the water runs clear.
Apply plenty of conditioner. This should be included with your kit. Be sure to use the conditioner supplied with your kit instead of one of your own. It is specially formulated to follow up the color and restore hair’s pH balance. Leave on for a few minutes according to the instructions, then rinse.
Towel dry and comb through. Style as usual.
Look in the mirror at a vibrant and sexy new you.
Here are some product examples:
Nice ‘n Easy by Clairol covers gray in your choice of 39 natural-looking shades and comes with a tube of fresh-scented moisturizing conditioner that will last until your next color treatment.
Preference by L’Oreal offers lasting color and gray coverage for up to 8 weeks. It comes with a color-vitalizing conditioner enhanced with vitamin E.
Clairol Natural Instincts offers a gentler way to spice up your look and leaves your hair super shiny and soft. Clairol says your hair will be in better condition than before you colored.
ColorSpa Moisture Actif by L’Oreal gives you natural color in just 15 minutes. It’s calming formula works without ammonia. It does for your hair what a spa can do for your mind and body.
Clairol Loving Care is a time-tested product for washing in lively color without ammonia or peroxide. You are ready to color again in just 6-8 shampoos.
L’Oreal Color Pulse is an easy-to-apply mousse that comes in 10 funky shades that wash out after 8-10 shampoos. So you can change your color as often as you change your mood.