If you’re thinking of changing your hair color, you might be considering doing it yourself instead of going in to a salon. For some people, the DIY method works out fine. Here are some tips and recommendations for making sure you get the results you want!
When To See a Pro
If you are planning on bleaching/lightening your hair, please see a professional! There are so many things that can go wrong when bleaching. Don’t end up like me with an impromptu bang trim due to hair breakage! Additionally, if you have other chemical processes on your hair, like chemical straighteners or others, definitely seek a professional stylist for your color changing endeavors. If you are wanting to change the color of your brows or lashes, do not do this yourself.
What Color To Use
Unless you are quite experienced (or willing to entertain the possibility of an outright disaster), you’re probably best off getting one of the “box dyes” from the drugstore. When selecting your hair color, make a note of what level you are choosing. Level 3 colors are permanent, level 2 are semi-permanent. Clairol says these will last up to 8 weeks for permanent color and 28 washes for semi-permanent, but my experience tells me they can last a lot longer, depending on your hair. I prefer to use an ammonia-free hair dye such as Revlon Colorsilk; it is much more gentle on the hair, and comes with a nice conditioner for after you color.
Make sure your hair is as healthy as it can be before you color it. When you color your hair, the hair cuticle is opened so that the color can penetrate, weakening your hair. If your hair is already damaged when you begin, you’re asking for trouble. If your hair is damaged, deep conditioning for a while before you color is not a bad idea. Once you have the color, read the instructions. Not all hair colors are meant to be used the same way! If you’re using one you’ve never used before, do the strand/patch test as instructed. Better safe than sorry! Apply vaseline to the backs of your ears, hairline, and nape of your neck to prevent staining.
While You Color
While coloring your hair, wear gloves. Box dyes from the drugstore always come with at least one lousy plastic glove. They are usually pretty terrible, but will do. Best case scenario, get some disposable gloves from the drugstore when you’re picking up your hair color. You can find them in the first aid section. You may also want to pick up a pack of disposable shower caps, and a cheap wide-tooth comb. You can use the comb to help ensure even distribution of the color, and once the dye is in you can put the shower cap on while you wait for the color to process to prevent accidentally getting hair dye on walls, furniture, other people, your cat, etc. Keep a damp washcloth (an old one you don’t care about) handy to wipe dye from your skin if you drip or smudge yourself. Wait to discard any left over color until after you rinse out your dye (you’ll see why later).
Once it’s time for the color to come out, it’s time to rinse like crazy. Rinse until the water runs clear, and then a little more. Now it’s time to use that conditioner that came with your hair dye. Be generous with the conditioner, and then let it sit on your hair for a minute or two before rinsing it out.
Say you step out of the shower after rinsing your color out and conditioning your hair only to see a big smudge of dye on your skin that you didn’t know was there. You try to wash it off with soap, but it’s not budging. Many beauty supply stores sell wipes for just this purpose, but there’s another way without any added expense. Simply mix together a little bit of your hair dye with any shampoo, and wash the offending smudge away with that.
Or how about you look in the mirror, and horror of horrors your hair color turned out way too dark. Well, first be patient. The next time you wash your hair, it will fade a little bit. It will continue to fade slowly over time. If you are desperate to speed the fading process up, wash your hair with the cheapest clarifying shampoo you can find. Suave Clarifying is great for this. If you are still not getting the results you want fast enough, it’s time to ask a pro. Color stripping and correction is something best left to the experienced set.