DIYs are always fun, but when it comes to hair color, things can get a little tricky. (You haven't lived if you don't have a hair color horror story to share.)
Because salon visits can get a little expensive, many people try to touch up their roots at home. However, if you don't do it correctly, sometimes you end up paying a higher price than if you had just let your colorist take care of it. Keep in mind that repeatedly applying permanent color all over your hair isn't healthy because it can be very drying. So remember to save up and treat yourself to a salon visit every once in a while.
To learn more about the dos and don'ts of hair color, I spoke to colorist Christine Silverman from the Ramirez Tran Salon in Beverly Hills. Check out her expert tips below and learn how to dye your hair at home the right way!
Don't shampoo the day you dye your hair
Do not shampoo on the day you will be coloring your hair, especially if you have a scalp that is more sensitive to chemical processes. "This assures your scalp's natural oils will protect you from the color you are applying at the root area," Silverman says. After you dye your hair, wait 48 hours before washing your hair again so that the color can settle in. If you typically wash your hair every day, resist the urge and opt for dry shampoo instead.
Look for a dye with shine serum
Silverman recommends using L'Oréal Superior Preference for its range of shades. Try the Care Supreme Conditioner, which contains shine serum, vitamin E, and a UV filter. Those key ingredients will prevent premature fading and provide intense nourishment, leaving your hair silky-smooth.
Buy more than one box of dye
If you have short hair and are applying color all over, one box of hair dye will be enough. However, if your hair is shoulder length or longer, Silverman recommends buying at least two boxes. If you have particularly thick hair, you may even need three.
Go up to two shades deeper
Going blonde or going any lighter than your natural hair color? Silverman recommends treating yourself to the salon because often box color will result in brassy, orange hues. If you want to apply subtle highlights, you can get away with it at home. Otherwise, book an appointment.
If you want to go darker, you can safely go about two shades deeper, no matter your hair color. However, if you have lighter hair — meaning you naturally have blonde or light brown hair— definitely don't go darker than two shades because you may develop a muddy, greenish hue. The same can happen if you apply a very dark color over previously highlighted hair.
Apply color to your roots first
Whether you're looking to touch up gray strands or want a full hair transformation, focus on your roots first before using the remaining color on the rest of your hair.
Silverman recommends adding approximately one ounce of water to your remaining color and applying it to the rest of your hair for the final 7 to 10 minutes of the processing time. Because the hair at your ends doesn't have as many oils as your roots do, it'll absorb any color much quicker.
Note that how much product you use on your roots depends entirely on how much hair you have. Women with a ton of very thick hair will use a whole box of color. On the other hand, those with finer hair may have some left over.
Use sulfate-free color-care shampoo
Sulfate-free color-care shampoo helps to maintain permanent color. "Brazilian Bond Builder shampoo and conditioner are my current favorite at-home color-care products," Silverman says. "They are an effective sulfate-free cleansing and conditioning system that gently removes impurities while replenishing and protecting color-treated hair."
If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, Silverman recommends L'Oréal Paris Hair Expertise EverPure Smooth or Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner. Both are specifically designed to maintain hair color.
Use a heat protectant when styling
Another way to maintain hair color is to use a heat protectant when using a blow-dryer, flat iron, or any styling tool. Also, be sure to use a natural bristle brush instead of a metal brush when blow-drying. Yes, metal brushes can help dry your hair quicker, but there are consequences. "It's like applying a curling iron to your head the whole time you are blow-drying!" Silverman says.