Coloring your hair - do's and don'ts
Advice on how to dye your hair successfully
Hair color is definitely one of the most important products in a woman’s beauty arsenal. It can perk up dull, lifeless hair, or add zip to a lagging mood. However, in order for hair color to take properly, it must be done correctly from beginning to end. Most all, the hair must be in good enough condition to accept the color. Otherwise the process can backfire, further damaging the hair or completely negating its intended effect.
Whenever possible, it is always best to meet with an experienced colorist before taking the plunge into coloring. No one is better equipped to gauge whether or not your hair is ready for the step. Having said that, there are certain things you should always keep in mind before coloring your hair:
DON’T color hair that is falling out because of an illness, chemotherapy, radiation or some other form of damage. This is not the best time to put additional stress on your tresses. Wait until the hair grows back healthy and strong before making a color change.article continued
Also avoid coloring the hair if you have some type of scalp injury caused by an open wound, lice, or some type of skin disease. Such situations carry their own set of problems and there is no need to exacerbate them further.
DO research before making any color change. Decide exactly what color you want and how long you expect to keep it. This will influence the “type” of color chosen. If you aren’t ready to live with the color for at least three months, then stick with deposit color systems that can be easily washed away.
If you aren’t sure about the color you want, go to a wig shop and try on several different shades in the same color family. Once you find the shade that appeals to you, try to match it by going one or two shades lighter in boxed color.
Be sure to choose a color that is compatible with your skin tone. See my article on choosing hair color for more detail in this area.
DO understand that most hair colors come out one to three shades darker than they look on the box. Exactly how much of a difference you’ll see will be based on the condition of your hair at the time of coloring. The better your hair condition, the more likely you are to get a true color match.
DON’T color recently permed or relaxed hair. It may not be ready to accept color, so wait several weeks before taking the plunge. Most products recommend two weeks minimum; I suggest waiting at least four to six weeks unless the hair is still in strong condition.
DON’T mix different types of coloring processes. For example, if you recently used a permanent hair color on your hair, now may not be the best time to opt for a bleach job. While much of that decision rests on the hair’s condition, various types of hair dyes do contain varied chemicals, which if mixed and matched, can temporarily or even permanently damage hair.
DO understand the various types of color processes. Permanent hair color actually changes the hair’s pigment and cannot be reversed back to the natural color - it has to grow out. Semi-permanent color hides gray and richens color but it does not lighten it. Bleaches lift out all of the color so that a new color can be planted into the hair shaft. Temporary colors typically include wash-in or spray-in colors and glazes that can be washed away over time. Highlighting involves a dual-step process, much like bleaching, but is done on individual or multiple strands rather than the entire head of hair.
DON’T trying doing anything but single process coloring at home on your own. Taking platinum blonde hair to black is risky and could be disastrous if not done properly, which is why it requires a professional’s attention. Double process color – taking dark hair to light by bleaching – should also be left in the hands of professionals in order to avoid breakage and damage.
DON’T try mixing your own custom hair color. Leave that to the professionals, or you could end up with purple, green or orange hair, which for most is not a good look.
DO a test color on the hair first to make certain you are not allergic to any of the coloring ingredients and that you will get the color you want. Wait 24 to 48 hours before proceeding with a full color job.
DO read hair color instructions and follow them to the letter. While many will tell you that you don’t have to pre-shampoo before coloring, a few brands do recommend that step. You will get a better color if you follow the instructions as outlined.
DO use more than one box of color if the hair is extremely long. Using insufficient color will give unnatural results.
DO follow the hair color’s timing guidelines. Leaving hair color on longer than advised may result in breakage or other permanent damage. Leaving it on for a shorter amount of time may result in little or no color change.
DO rinse the color thoroughly. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear. Leaving any color clinging to the hair could cause further damage.
DO use the conditioner provided with the color. It is formulated specifically to protect your hair based on the chemicals used in that hair color.
DO refresh your color periodically, usually every six to eight weeks. Use the root touch-up application for this process rather than re-coloring the hair from scratch.
DO consider color choices that go on quickly. The less time the dye has to stay on the hair, the better. Try some of today’s 10-minute colors. They are short, sweet, easy and oh so beautiful!
DON’T perm or straighten hair for several weeks after coloring. I recommend waiting at least 10 to 12 weeks minimum.
DO contact a professional colorist if anything goes wrong. Let him or her fix the problem rather than risking further damage to your hair.
Getting the color you want for your hair can be tricky. However, following all of the above guidelines will get you close!
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