Hair Color @ Home ....How to achieve the best results....

Aug 9, 2003 (Updated Mar 19, 2004)

The Bottom Line Home color is easy & fun, just be armed with the knowledge to get perfect results!

Coloring your hair isn't as easy as going to your local drug store and finding the box with the coolest color. It's much more complex, and armed with simple knowledge, you can get beautiful results at home.

Things to consider before using color at home:

a) What color would best suit my complexion?

b) Which color will complement my current hair color?

c) What type of condition is your hair in?

d) The length of your hair-

c) What color is you hair?

d) Do I want a permanent color, semi-permanent, or temporary color?

All of these things seem trivial but they are extremely important. If you have a dark complexion than a fairly dark color may not complement your skin tone. As with lighter shades, if your skin is lighter you do not want a color that leaves your complexion washed out.

If you have jet black hair then a bright red color won't deposit the color you see on the box. Although there are alternatives to buying from the box, this is the easiest way of making a color purchase.

(I will go into alternatives to drug store shopping in a minute.)

If your hair is blonde then a dark brown will leave your hair the color of the base in the color itself. It could become orange, purple, etc.

Be informed! There's nothing like hair color gone bad.

Tip #1- never buy a hair color because it looks good on the box, read the back-it tells you what color you will get with your NATURAL color.

If your hair is damaged then you need to damage control before you begin with any color. Get a trim, condition with a quality product formulated for overworked, color treated hair. Most products serve the same purpose, preserving over worked hair due to coloring and harsh conditions.

Tip #2-Buy a GOOD conditioner for damaged hair...use it a few days BEFORE you plan on coloring or the color tends to not adhere. Don't scrimp here, its the difference between a healthy color and major hair damage!

The length of your hair will determine how much color you need to deposit the right amount of color to your hair.

If your hair is fine, shoulder length you may think one application is enough. But if you have a lot of hair you may need a few boxes to completely saturate your hair with color.

You don't want to get stuck in the middle of coloring only to find you do not have enough color. Also, if your hair is over worked, the color will absorb quicker and leave you less product for the rest of your hair. Keep this in mind when making your purchase.

Tip #3-Buy enough hair color for two colorings-that way if you run out you'll have back up-if you like the color and one treatment is enough you'll be stocked up-its better to be safe than sorry. You can always return whatever has not been used!

If you have gray hair then you need a product formulated for gray. Why? Because these products have a neutral base color. In other words going from gray to red is a cinch with a neutral base whereas using a red color product that has an orange base color will leave your hair orange.

Not a good choice, especially since most of these products for gray hair are permanent. If your hair is blonde you want to chose a color that has a neutral base for the same reason. You get the color you intended, not the base of the color which could be any shade of the rainbow.

Darker headed women need to worry about this less but keep in mind if you want black hair and you use a product with a blue base, your going to get blue highlights.

Always consider a neutral base depending on your hair color or the color you want to achieve.

The type of color you use depends on two things: Why you are coloring your hair? and/or how long you want the color to last?

Permanent hair color is good for those who do not want to re color their hair (or roots) for at least 30 days. It fades less often, and has better results with the color deposit.

The problem with permanent hair color is that it will almost always "fade" your natural hair color, making it lighter because of the developer.

Most drug store hair colors use a developer of 10-20 depending on the color deposit. Anything higher than a 10 will lighten your natural color.

Semi-permanent color is good for those who do not mind coloring their hair often & generally you get good results that last longer than non permanent, less than permanent, without worrying of lightening your natural color or leaving color deposits.

It also is good for those who do not want to damage their hair. Although this method doesn't last as long and results vary. Generally with semi-permanent color your rarely get the color you want, but this is a small price for the benefits.

Temporary color is one that colors your hair for so many days and starts to fade with the first washing. It leaves no color residue and does not affect your natural color. A lot for people with predominately gray hair use these products because it wont leave gray "roots." The drawback is this is an expensive way to color your hair and it has to be reapplied more often than most would like.

Tip #4- If its your first time coloring your hair try something that isn't permanent. You don't want to shock your self and even the most experienced at hair coloring shriek when they see themselves for the first time with a different color!

There are alternatives to buying drug store colors, such as a beauty supply store. Most of these stores stock top named hair colors and developers that are easy to mix, cost less in the long run, and you get better results over time.

All you need is a little knowledge of hair coloring. If you have colored your hair in the past then you probably wouldn't have a problem using these types of colors at home.

You have a wide array of colors & formulas to chose from and you get the exact "lift" you want from your developer.

Most of the staff at these stores can give you color guides and help you with any questions you have about coloring from scratch at home.

All you need for a first time color is: an Applicator bottle (2 dollars), a pair of gloves (.99 cents), creme developer (varies by size & lift)-1.99-5.99, and your color-(about 2.99 & up per bottle).

To use these products you mix two ounces of color by two ounces of developer. The more hair you have the more color you will need. The results are fantastic and if you color your hair regularly you will save a lot of money.

Most developers last through many many colorings. Your applicator bottle will stay with you forever, so all you need to buy is gloves and color for your next coloring.

Tip #5-What most won't tell you is you can buy a developer that's a 20 lift and dilute with equal parts of water and get the same results you would with a 10 developer. The result is less lift, and some colors do not need a 20 but you can save money in the long run if you buy the 20 and dilute it.

If you color your hair at home and something goes wrong, do not panic. A quick trip to the local beauty supply store can solve any problems you might experience rather quickly.

If you have colored your hair and the color is not what you intended and you cannot see yourself in public with the hair color you achieved there are other colors you can use and you don't have to worry about your hair being damaged.

If you have bleached your hair and it turns green, orange, blue, whatever color don't fret. You can easily find products at the beauty supply store that will strip color off blonde. They also have these products for those with darker hair colors.

I, myself, am slowly going blonde. Usually after my first coloring I tend to want a toner. A toner is not permanent and it gives your hair a certain tone. So instead of having bleach blonde white hair I can have any color of blonde I want-which is usually a honey wheat.

Toners are widely used on natural and "faux" blondes and can be found anywhere hair products are sold. They are great to use because you can get rid of brassy highlights and get a deeper tone than just raw blonde.

Tip #6- Put in 2 tbs. of developer in your shampoo to lift out brass from blonde colored hair!

Now that you have colored make sure you care for your tresses. If you color at home you can save up to $100.00 a month. But that doesn't mean you should skimp on shampoo, conditioner, and hair styling product. Use those that are formulated for colored hair.

Also try to cut back on the use of heat styling products. If you give your hair a break just a few days a week, then you can cut back on "shape ups" from your favorite stylist.

Tip #7-Wash you hair in the evening and let it dry overnight naturally-you'll save your self at least one trim at your salon

My last bit of advice is this-when you color your hair at home for the first time make certain you are not alone. It is always helpful to have an extra hand, if you need help, more products or just reassurance if you mess up it isn't the first time this has happened and you wont be the last, just suck it up and try again.

The worst thing that can happen is going back to your original color (or close to it).

I hope all this information will be helpful the next time you would like to color your hair.

If you would like any more information you can email me-my addy is on my profile page.


Happy Coloring!

© MM 2004

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Member: Jana Funderburg
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