With better and better hair color technology it’s becoming rare for women to ‘stay’ their natural hair color past their teen years. Most drug stores dedicate a whole aisle to hair color and salons are practically on every street corner offering to change your look with the application of a few chemicals.
Hair color, it can be magical when it works and the WORST thing ever when it turns our wrong. A bad haircut is one thing, you can accessorize and work with a bad haircut (been there, done that, … stupid pixie cut craze in the 90s – I still haven’t forgiven Winona Ryder for that trend) but a bad hair color is tougher since most work places frown upon you donning hats/hoods at client meetings.
So what can you to prevent and deal with hair color disasters? Now I’m not an expert but I’ve been alternately dyeing my hair myself and going to salons since I was 13. I have almost literally had every single hair color possible (green and black included) and have had to deal with my fair share of hair color disasters. And I feel my dear mother could’ve prevented some of these disasters, but alas I was head strong and usually dyed first and asked questions later.
So let’s start with home dyeing and how to prevent bad hair color from happening to you.
The #1 rule your mom should have taught you is to never try to lighten your hair with home dye. Why? Because: A) The chemicals are nastier and B) the chances of disaster exponentially increase with each shade you try to go up the brunette to blonde ladder. Ideally you should only try to darken or enrich your own hair color by about 2 shades with home dye. I have naturally medium brown hair so I had the most success dyeing my hair a darker chestnut or enriching my brown color with a reddish cousin in the same shade family.
If you want a bigger change it’s time for you to hit the salon and pay a professional.
When getting your hair color done at a salon bring pictures and ask whether or not your hair can ever be the color you’re lusting after. Make sure you disclose if you’ve home dyed your hair since some of the products will cause a reaction on dry ends. Most hairstylists will be open and honest with you and make helpful suggestions. Also get a price quote from them so you’re not shocked by a $200 bill when you went in for a $50 dye job.
It’s also a good idea to ask about any risks associated with dying your hair such as: Will the color dry my hair out? Is it possible my hair will fall out (more common when going from dark to blonde – again lived it!)? Is there any special care with this color? What will you do if the color doesn’t meet my expectations? This last question is VERY important. Some salons will charge you extra for the amount of toner they have to use in order to get your shade juuuuuuust right. Don’t let them charge you for it unless they have a good reason. It’s one color, if they said they could do it, then it shouldn’t cost you extra.
Now that you’ve gone and (hopefully) gotten the color of your dreams how do you keep it from washing down the drain, literally, every time you shower? Let’s look at it by hair color:
Blonde: To keep blonde hair from looking brassy and nasty invest in a purple shampoo (there are also purple conditioners but they are less important). Use the purple shampoo at least twice a week and focus on massaging it into your roots for a couple of minutes before quickly sudsing your ends (I recommend AG). Blonde dye is notorious for drying out your ends so it’s important to focus the purple shampoo’s toning properties to the roots (where the most brassiness will occur) and then quickly washing your ends so they don’t get more dehydrated.
Red/Black/Technicolor: A rich red, black, or Technicolor is lovely way to make a bold style statement, but it’s been my experience that these hyper-pigmented colors do not like to stay vibrant or on even on your head! And there’s hardly nothing worse than a fading ‘statement’ hair color. If you’re going for one of these colors invest in a good shower cap and ‘extend your style’ products (I like Oasis ‘Dust It’ Mattifying/Texture Powder – it soaks up oil and is awesome for up-dos when you can no longer extend your blow-out). You want to wash these hair colors as little as possible and once it’s freshly dyed do not wash your hair for 3-5 days. Also never wear white with freshly dyed hair. Any kind of neck sweat will make you look like you just dyed your hair with Kool-Aid instead of paying $200 at the salon. This rule also applies to white towels, white pillowcases, and unfortunately white porcelain (seriously bring a MR. CLEAN Magic Eraser with you in the shower the first time you wash your hair … porcelain is porous and even if the dye won’t stick to your hair it will stick to your tub/sink)
Brunette: The trick is that you want to keep your brunette hair looking rich and luxurious, not mousy or mangled. I love having brown hair because you get to have the most fun with ‘luxury’ products and not worry about them staining your color. Lush has some beautiful hair masks to keep your color looking great. Like any hair color the less you wash it the better it is but if you treat your brown hair weekly with some sort of indulgence I find it’s the most forgiving color.
Most importantly have FUN with your hair color. I love how hair color can change the tone of an accessory or make up style. Happy Hair Trails!