Article by BR Natalie
If you're a regular at-home hair colourer, you probably don't over-think the process - choose colour, mix product, apply, rinse. If you're a newbie to at-home hair colour you're probably a little more cautious - you might even have a box of colour sitting in your bathroom waiting to be used!
Colouring your own hair is not for the faint of heart, it can go wrong, but colouring kits are becoming easier to use, so armed with a great product and these steps, you can say bye-bye to colour boo-boos!
1. Consider your hair type.
- How many layers of colour do you currently have on your hair? Permanent hair color penetrates the hair shaft and removes existing pigments before replacing them with your chosen one. The more you do this the less effective it will begin to be. Existing pigments will also affect the result of the next pigments added.
- Is your hair damaged or dry? Dry or damaged hair is usually very porous - this means not only will it absorb product, it will also easily lose pigment when you're shampooing and rinsing. You might have heard of salon PLEX technology - an oil added to colour that not only protected your hair from future damage, it repaired the bonds of your existing hair. This technology is now available at home in the new Schwarzkopf Colour Specialist range containing Omegaplex.
If your hair isn't in the best of condition it might be wise to seek professional advice. You might need to consider chopping some of the length (and more damaged parts) off or even embarking on the dreaded 'growing out'. At least growing out is in thanks to ombre right?!
2. Start small
Like a first date, If it's your first time colouring at home, consider what kind of relationship you want before jumping in feet first!
Flirt with colour by opting for a semi or demi permanent colour, that will wash out from 8 to 28 washes. As these colours coat the hair, rather than penetrate it, they won't do anything lasting and won't really impact the existing condition of your hair.
Stick within 1 to 3 shades lighter or darker than your natural colour, anything more than that and you'll want to book yourself in to the salon to consult the pros.
3. Know your skin tone.
As well as looking at your hair type, you'll need to assess your skin tone - you want your hair to compliment, flatter and illuminate your face, not wash it out. Check out this chart and look for clues in the shade names!
|Skin Tone||Most Flattering Shades|
|Pale||Soft, light tones|
|Olive||Beiges, soft honeys and darker chocolates
|Dark||Warm tones and dark naturals|
|Golden||Warm honeys and caramels|
|Pink||Cool colours like ash blondes and 'ice' shades
|Peachy/Freckly||Reds and Caramels|
4. Choose your shade wisely.
Ok, you've assessed your hair type and you've sussed your skin type, the choices are narrowed. Now to make the final decision.
- Can you rock the colour all day, every day? That deep purple might look fantastic on the model, but consider if it will fit in to your daily life. Think of work restrictions, your existing wardrobe and ask yourself - is this me?
- Use the shade grid on the box. The model on the front of the box will reflect optimum results. Every box of home colour will contain a shade grid, showing what results you can expect on your existing hair colour.
- When in doubt, choose the lighter shade. Like most things in life it's much easier to add colour than to take it away. Err on the side of caution. Most hair colours turn out darker than expected and it's much easier to fix up a lighter colour than a darker colour.
5. Prepare your hair.
Use a clarifying shampoo 24 hours before colouring your hair to remove product build up and leave you with super clean hair. Avoid brushing or shampooing your hair directly prior to using bleaching or permanent products as this stimulates the scalp and can increase irritation.
6. Read the instructions.
Even if you're an old hand at colouring your hair at home, read the instructions! Hair colouring formulas are always evolving, as is the application process. For example, Schwarzkopf Colour Specialist comes with a Repair Reviver that's applied after three weeks to reseal the micro-bonds and reinforce colour retention. Now without reading the instructions, you wouldn't know this would you?
7. Follow the instructions
Now you've read the instructions, the next step is to follow them. Not 'pretty much' follow them, adhere to them strictly. If they tell you to leave the product on for no more than 30 minutes, be sure to follow that. The instructions are there to help you get the best from the kit and to leave you with no colour regrets!
One of the biggest mistakes repeat colourers make is not following the instructions for touching up regrowth. You really do only need to apply the product to the regrowth alone, combing it through your hair a few minutes before it's time to rinse. If you repeatedly colour your whole head of hair, you'll unnecessarily damage your hair as well as gradually darkening your shade.
8. Do a strand test / skin test.
We know time is precious - but strand tests and skin tests can avoid irritation and lengthy and often costly 'fix ups'.
Strand Tests will not only give you an indication of the the result you can expect, they'll also give you an indication of the colouring time for your hair. Skin Tests will ensure you're not going to react to the product and end up with sore or irritated skin. Trust us, it's much better to have one teeny sore patch, than a burning scalp! Again, even if you're an at-home pro, you should be conducting these tests every time you colour your hair. Formulas change, your hair type changes and your skin changes.
9. Set the Stage.
Ensure you have everything you need ready and to hand before you start mixing and applying your colour. The last thing you want to be doing is running from room to room, with colour developing on only some of your hair!
- Do you have enough product? Long or thick hair may require at least two packs of hair colour.
- Use natural light. Go for a light and airy space so you can correctly assess the development of the colour.
- Have a few old towels to hand. You'll want one around your neck and one to mop up stains.
- Gloves. Check out the gloves included in the pack before you start. Home colour gloves are notoriously hit and miss - you might want to pick up a couple of pairs of disposable gloves that fit your hands, instead of having to contend with flapping gloves.
- Wear a button up shirt. This is especially useful if you're going to be hopping in the shower to rinse the product out.
- Vaseline. Apply a layer of Vaseline or similar product around your hairline and ears to prevent colour staining your skin.
- Remove your jewels. Remove all jewellery to prevent staining. Some dyes react to metal, so if you're using sectioning clips opt for plastic ones.
- Enlist a friend. If you're not confident about reaching the back of your head, get your bestie round to help.
10. Look after your hair.
Pretty much every home colour kit will come with a tube of conditioner. This is a hint. You're going to want to continue to look after your coloured hair. The Colour Specialist range comes with a unique Repair Sealer to be used immediately after colouring - it strengthens and repairs microbonds inside the hair fibres to seal and extend colour intensity.
After colouring you'll want to use colour protecting products and treat your hair to a deep conditioning once a week. The Fibre Therapy range contains Omegaplex and works to repair and protect from future, damage from colouring and heat styling. It's reviewed really well with our members too!
So there you have it. Our top ten tips for colouring your hair at home. Are you a regular home colourer? What tips do you have? Get chatting below!