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Tips for Coloring Hair at Home: Do-it-Yourself Hair Color Can be Salon Perfect! 

A woman colors her hair for various reasons. She may want to add temporary or permanent highlights, twilights or lowlights; she might be in the mood to change her hair color entirely; or just needs to cover the grey.

Some hair color products are temporary or semi-permanent, wherein the color washes out after shampooing for a few weeks. If a woman is unsure of the color she wants, or only wants a new color for a special event, using a temporary color that will wash out makes the most sense. The permanent hair color lasts until it is cut off, but the shade may fade somewhat right before it’s time for a touchup.

Permanent Hair Color

When coloring with permanent hair color, a woman is making a commitment. Here are some things to consider:

• If hair has been permed, tinted with Hennas or has a heavy coating of hair products on it, the results may be affected. Use a shampoo that will remove waxy buildup and then a heavy conditioner a day before coloring.

• If hair is long, the ends will absorb more color than the roots, therefore start color at roots.

• The color on the hair may look different from the box, depending on current color and condition of hair.

• A touch-up will be needed in 5-6 weeks when the roots start to grow out.

• Coloring and perming hair are not compatible.

• Pregnant women should check with their doctor before coloring.

Picking the Color and Product

A woman must choose a color that matches her skin tone and coloring as well as the right product. For instance, if covering grey is important, she needs to ensure the product will do that.

TheBarbr.com has a reference color chart in its “Choosing a Haircolor” section. They advise that a woman first determines if her coloring is “cool” or “warm”. "Cool” coloring will look best in ash shades, and "Warm” coloring. the golden tones. There are many products on the market, all with similar shades. However, one brand’s “ash blonde” shade may be slightly different from another. It might take a few tries to find the right brand and color. Once the right color is determined, it is best to continue to use it for touch ups.

Coloring the Hair

If the hair is short to mid-length, the actual coloring of the hair is fairly simple for a do-it-yourselfer.Longer hair is a little more challenging, and first timers may want some assistance from a friend for a few times. Initially, a strand test should be done 24 hours prior to coloring.

Before coloring, hair should be in fairly good condition and not newly washed. Day old hair has natural oils on the hair shaft that helps protect the scalp and skin from irritation and will enable the color to set more evenly. Wearing an old blouse or smock will ensure that dye drips don't ruin anything. A towel, washcloth, hair clips and some cotton balls should be handy.

The first time color treatment goes fairly quickly because the dye is worked into hair starting at the roots continuing to the ends almost like shampooing (you should use purple dye for the first time, see more the guide on choosing the best purple hair dye). However, touch-ups require a little more work. The purpose of a touch up is to color the roots that have grown out since the last color. If the dye was added over the entire hair area for the full processing time after that initial color, the hair shaft would become stressed and brittle.

Steps for Touch up Color:

• Remove all contents from the box and follow instructions completely.

• Part hair into four sections, securing with non-metal clips.

• Start at the top of the head, applying the color mixture evenly to the first section, starting at the roots. Repeat for other sections.

• The applicator is pointed, which helps for coloring the back, where there is limited visibility. Make vertical parts in the back with the applicator and squeeze the color along the part, continuing until the entire root section has been colored.

• Once roots are saturated, clip treated hair away from the face and neck and start timer.

• Wipe away dye that has dripped on face, neck or in the ears. Check the floor and surrounding walls too!

• Once the time is up, the remaining color is worked into the rest of the hair, left in for five minutes.

• Rinse and add the conditioner provided in the box. Don’t shampoo!!

Color Technique Tips

Color in an area where a bath mirror can be swung open to see those hard-to-view parts of the head or use a hand mirror. The color will look dark on the hair during processing, so don't panic! Also, a few missed spots won't ruin the result and probably won't even be noticed once hair is styled. (Even natural hair has light and dark areas!) The main sections that require coverage are the front, natural parts, and if hair is worn in an updo often, the sides and neckline.

After Care of Colored Hair

Once the hair has been chemically treated it is more fragile, therefore using hair products that are gentle and non-drying on hair is advised. There are many products specifically for color-treated hair in all price ranges. Deep condition a few times a month to keep the hair healthy looking.

After a woman has colored her hair the initial time and done a touch-up or two, she will fly through the process and realize how easy do-it-yourself coloring is! As well, she might be surprised at how much healthier and shiner her hair is after coloring. (Just like the commercials!) And if she has been paying the salon prices for her hair color previously, she will be thrilled at the do-it-yourself results she got for under $10.00!