My Dos And Don’ts For Coloring Hair
by Lauren Branche
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a “blonde,” and I put it in quotes because it’s more of this honey caramel hue that’s impossible to briefly describe otherwise. No one believes me when I say it’s box color and that I do it at home … but to understand why I trust my unprofessional hands to the task, take a look through my color history.
I started coloring my hair, without Mom’s approval (I mean, if I can’t have straight, silky, permed hair … I’m doing SOMETHING) with Sun-In during my early teens. I figured if the sun naturally makes my “baby hairs” and the top layer of my hair golden, Sun-In should only accelerate that. WRONG … DEAD wrong. To fix the orange glow I was now sporting, I used Jolene in small strategic rows to give me highlights. It worked! Wow, it worked?!
My mother wasn’t too pleased and this allowed me my first visit, after a year of begging, to the local top salon for highlights. It was a grand salon with stylish cutters, colorists, all dressed impeccably in black, yacking it up with their clients. I brought with me a picture of, who else, J.Lo for her coveted highlights and walked out with a really cute light brown/blonde mixture.
After four years of highlights, my hair was more blonde than ever and the highlights seemed to disappear. Now a student in college with bills and rolling credit cards, I decided to save the $300 every 6 weeks and dye it myself. I trusted Garnier Fructis after my stint as a Maybelline 5 girl solidified me as a fan. My colors: Light Golden Blonde and Natural Golden Blonde. I haven’t turned back since …
Now for those who are brave enough, and whose hair is currently in a HEALTHY state, that is minimal split ends, smooth cuticles, minimal breakage, natural shine, you can consider following my tips below.
Always color when your hair is straight and not freshly washed. Why? You can get all the “nooks and crannies” and your color will be uniform and even. Freshly washed scalp can sometimes have small lacerations/abrasions from rough scrubbing that can irritate/burn.
Take your time and invest in a mirror that will allow you to see all sides of your head. Use the end of a rattail comb to section off ½” rows in your hair and apply color at the root (for touchups) and from root to end (for first timers). I like to start at the edges all around and then work from the nape to my crown.
If you are touching up, after you’ve completed applying color to each row, apply color all over the shaft and the ends. This will add a nice gloss.
Don’t leave color on too long. Most brands now have found a way to have the coloring agents deactivate after a said amount of time, but I never listen to that …
REPAIR & MOISTURIZE—can’t say this enough. Coloring is a permanent chemical alteration to your hair … AKA DAMAGE. Damage leads to breakage, split ends, dullness, among others. I use a deep conditioner immediately, such as Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask,and I try to avoid heat for at least a few days.
Alternate your color. I like to alternate every four to six weeks with a natural shade of blonde and a warm shade to avoid looking too brassy or dull. This, over time, has given me a beautiful “blonde” with depth!
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