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Tips for Coloring Your Hair at Home

Coloring Your Hair

Coloring your hair at home is always a bit of a “mission impossible” but with a few tips from an old pro like myself, you can have a stylish color that you can show off!

First of all, there are a few things you should decide before you buy your color. You shouldn’t try to do anything drastic on your own. Try not to go more than three or four shades lighter or darker than your natural color by yourself. I have naturally black hair that I’ve been dying for years because I have a lot of gray. I recently decided to try to go blonde to see if that would hide the gray for longer since my hair seems to want to shoot out of my head at a rate of an inch every three weeks and I have to dye it that often. I was dying it a dark brunette at the time and when I spoke to my hairdresser friend she said DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!! So I went to her and in three lengthy sessions, I had pretty blonde hair and I could go six weeks or more in between sessions but it didn’t hide the gray that well and it was expensive to maintain (I had to go professional, there was no way I could have done that drastic of a change myself) and I didn’t feel like myself as a blonde. So I decided to go from blonde to red. I thought I could do that myself but NO I was told that you have to go through a fill process and then color and another £80 later, I was a redhead that faded out really quickly. The hair that has been stripped to blonde still has trouble grabbing and holding on to any color. However, once I had gone back to a darker color, I could do that at home by myself.

I started out buying a semi-permanent since I knew that I would be dying my hair much more frequently. Sometimes they call them Demi-permanent hair colors in England. There are some nice colors out there, but man they sure fade fast. It was okay on my roots, but that blonde bit is giving me fits! I can’t wait till it grows out and gets all cut off.

The thing about home coloring is that it is a HUGE mess. You wind up staining everything and have all this stuff to throw away and how do you touch it when its covered with hair color? Well, I have done this so much that I have some tricks to recommend.

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First, preparation is key. Sit down with a nice cup of tea and read all of the directions several times. Make notes whether or not your hair needs to be wet or dry before application, how long do you let it develop, what you do once it’s developed.

Next, get everything all set out. Put the post color shampoo/conditioner in the tub or wherever you will be rinsing out your color so its at hand when you need it. Then, lay out the instructions, your developer and color and double check which is which. One time I actually put the conditioner into the developer instead of the color!! Oops! Unfortunately I was doing slices and had painstakingly put all the sections in foils before I figured out that it wasn’t developing!!

You will also need something for drips of color onto your skin. Baby wipes work great!! Open them up so you don’t have to fumble with them once your color is on. Extra stuff you might need is the kitchen timer, two old towels (one for your shoulders and one to clean up any big spills), put newspaper on the floor and a tap so you can do any rinsing immediately.

Next, if the directions say to put the color on dry hair, make it unwashed hair, your natural oils will help protect your hair from too much damage. If it says wet hair, make sure you towel dry it thoroughly so you don’t have tons of dripping once the color is on.

I usually put on one glove so I have one hand free to take out baby wipes or do things I need to do with a clean hand and then I also have a glove to help me rinse my hair so I don’t stain my fingernails during the rinsing process. If you need both hands to do both things, buy a box of extra gloves so you can have an extra pair. You’ll want to take the gloves off so you can surf the net or do whatever while the color is developing.

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I know this sounds silly but if you are going to rinse your hair in the shower, make sure you take off your t-shirt before you start coloring your hair. You can wrap the old towel around your shoulders and secure it with hair clips or wear a robe, but only if its one you don’t mind getting color all over. If you go for naked coloring, just make sure you have someone check your back for drips!! The reason I mention this is because you may not think about it but once you get the color on, how are you going to get the shirt over your head without getting color all over it?

Follow the directions for mixing the developer and color. Make sure you shake it very very well. Then, usually, the directions tell you to start at the roots. Holding the bottle in your un-gloved hand (unless you are wearing a pair), go in lines from the front of your scalp back towards the back of your head. After you make a couple of lines, smooth the color in with your gloved hand. Cover your entire head then fold the back of your hair up and make sure you get underneath and cover all your ends. If you are repeat coloring, you should only need to cover the ends for the last few minutes. Refer to the individual directions for that product. As you are doing this color, check that you don’t get any on your face or anywhere. If you do, which you will, just grab a baby wipe with the clean hand and wipe it off as soon as you can. They work great for this. I used to mess with putting lotion or Vaseline all over my hairline but since I discovered the baby wipes solution, I don’t have to do that anymore. If you are dying your hair very dark brown or black, get drips off quickly!!!

If you want easy clean up, keep the box that the color came in handy. Once you’ve emptied the color into the developer, put that in the box. Then, put the empty bottle of developer and color into the box. Once you are covered with color, take off your glove or gloves and put those in the box. Re-check your instructions for development time and once you have set your timer and you know what to do in order to rinse your hair out (some say work into lather, some just say rinse), and you are finished reading them stuff the instructions in the box. Also, as you use baby wipes, stuff the dirty ones in the box too. When you have your color on and your timer set, you’ve got your color clean up done! You can just throw the box away! The only part you may want to keep is the top with the name of the color and the number in case you want to remember which one to buy.

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Relax while your color develops. I play video games. I’m sure I look hysterical. Check for drips a few times during development time. Don’t forget your back! Once your timer goes off, follow your directions for rinsing. The easiest is in the shower. Aren’t you glad you took your shirt off first now? It’s best if you have one of those hand held shower heads too. You can rinse your hair off, tilt your head back and after the water is pretty much clear, make sure you rinse off the walls in your shower. Use the after color treatment, rinse if you are supposed to, then style as usual. If you dye your hair red, I have always been told to dry it every time you wash it and don’t use too hot of water to keep the color longer. Also, some colorists say to not wash your hair for 48 hours after coloring. That’s mostly for red as well, I think. Black usually doesn’t come out! Unless you have bleached it out like mine!

Enjoy your new color!!