Now, let's investigate a bit further.
- It's much more difficult and risky to try to go lighter than it is to go darker.
- Generally speaking, artificial hair colour cannot lighten artificial hair colour. This means that unless the last colour you put on is quite faded, you can't expect to apply a lighter colour over it and have it come out well. It may lighten a little, but it may also be uneven and patchy. The only way you can significantly lighten the existing artificial colour is by using colour remover or bleach, and if you're going to get into that on your own, I truly do celebrate your adventurous spirit! But I may not stick around to see what happens.
- Home hair colour is stronger, harsher and more drying than good salon colour. One of the reasons for this is that the manufacturer needs to make it predictable, making sure it works in many different situations. It's sort of like the difference between using a nice, herbal blend to get rid of bugs in your garden; it might take some doing and it may only work on certain pests or even attract their friends. But get yourself some Bug Apocalypse and no problem! All bugs dead! (along with every living creature for twenty yards). Milder, professional hair colour requires more skill to use.
- Fixing a colour that's gone wrong can be a difficult thing, even for a seasoned stylist (not always, but sometimes).
- Home hair colour will not give you the shine or the variation of tones of good salon colour. It tends to be flat and monotone.
- The longer your hair is, the more risks involved. Three years of hair growing can be destroyed in half a glass of Chardonnay.
Okay, okay, I think you get it, enough home colour bashing already! If you do decide to dive in, here are some pointers that may help you and your hair.
- The safest way to colour your own hair is to go as close to your natural colour as you can. The further you stray, the more potential for danger and drama.
- Unless the previous color is quite faded, don't pull the colour through the entire length of the hair every time you do the roots. It will damage the hair more than necessary and could cause them to get too dark. You may have to experiment with this as very situation is different.
- Get the best quality colour you can.
- If, by a stroke of good luck and karma, it does turn out okay, don't call up all your friends and tell them how easy it is and how it's no big deal. Every head of hair is very different.
Colouring your own hair is not a life-threatening endeavor. If you want to have some fun, be creative and save some money, please enjoy, but it's always good to be clear and aware of the risks. And it might be a good idea to leave the second and third bottle of wine for after the colour. That way, you can celebrate if it does turn out well, and if it doesn't, you've got at least one way to make it all better.
In an upcoming newsletter, we'll investigate ways to keep your colour looking great between applications. In another in the series on colour, we'll look at a topic only the brave or the foolhardy would approach: How to Grow Out Your Grey. I wouldn't suggest reading that one before bed.
Jay Lamb is a hairstylist with over 30 years experience, a visual artist and a budding writer. For more information on Jay's hair salon, please visit:
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Flow Hair Salon
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