How To Color Your Hair

You are about to enter the fabulous world of hair color!

You walk up and down the aisles immersed in a seemingly endless ocean of possibilities - colors, highlights, foils, permanent, semi-permanent or temporary hair color. Scratching your head in confusion, you then read on one box that scratching can irritate the scalp and cause burning when applying the color. Who knew!

Take the guess work out of hair color by following these basic steps below; but first, make certain your hair and scalp are in good condition before applying any type of tint. Over coloring can cause breakage, discoloration and other hair damage. Recondition your hair if necessary before tinting and wait until your hair is back in good condition.


How to Select Your Shade

You should consider the following general factors when choosing color:

  • Bear in mind your age and skin tone
  • If you are trying to maintain your natural shade, select one shade lighter.
  • If your skin has pink undertones, select a color in a cooler (as opposed to golden) tint.
  • For olive complexions, warmer shades are quite flattering.
  • Yellow skin tones are complemented by colors with a certain amount of gold, copper or red based color. Avoid ash color.

Categories of Hair Color

Permanent Hair Color: Most permanent hair color contains peroxide. As you have new growth you will need to reapply the color to the roots every 2-4 weeks to maintain your beautiful color.

Semi-Permanent: Semi-permanent color last 4-6 weeks and gradually shampoos out back to your natural color. With semi-permanent color you should have no line of demarcation. Semi-permanent colors are designed for:

  • partially gray hair to help blend the gray into your natural color
  • bringing out highlights in your natural color
  • enhancing or brightening dull gray hair

Temporary Color Rinses: Temporary rinses are colors that can be shampooed in or applied after you shampoo and condition. The color will remain on the hair until your next shampoo. Temporary colors are designed to:

  • blend gray
  • brighten your natural color
  • add a little extra color

Patch Test

If it's your first time using a particular product, you need to conduct a 24 hour patch test in the same shade and proportion of mixture that will be used on your hair (see manufacturer's directions). Apply the patch test behind the ear or the inside fold of the elbow. Allow the mixture to remain on the test area for 24 hours to determine if you develop an allergic skin reaction to the product.

Preparing to Color Your Hair

If this is your first attempt at either the procedure or you are trying a new hair color you may want to perform a strand test. Select a strand of hair in the back of your head and under a section of hair, apply the mixture to the strand, and leave the mixture for the time described by the manufacturer. Wash, dry and confirm this is the color you want.


Materials You Will Need

  • Hair color of choice (all products designed for at-home use contain all the necessary chemicals, disposable gloves, applicator bottle, and a mixing container)
  • Plastic to cover the floor
  • Towels
  • Petroleum Jelly (optional)
  • Timer
  • Shampoo for color treated hair
  • Conditioning rinse
  • Card to write down color

Applying the Color

  • Section the hair into 4 sections by parting your hair down the middle, then part one more time from ear to ear. Clip each of the 4 sections separately. At this point you may want to apply petroleum jelly around the hair line to help from staining the skin.
  • Mix your color according to manufacturer's directions.
  • On the root area, outline the 4 parted sections with the tint mixture.
  • Taking one section at a time, begin subdividing the working section with the bottle nozzle into 1/4 inch strands, applying tint to the root as you section. Distribute evenly at the root using your thumb. You can also use the end of a rat-tail comb to section a ¼ inch strand of hair and then apply tint at the root area of the separated strand.
  • Apply to the top-side of the selected strand and then to the under-side.
  • Time color according to manufacturer's directions.
  • When time is up, apply warm water and distribute the color through to the ends of the hair.
  • Rinse thoroughly!
  • Shampoo with color safe shampoo.
  • Apply conditioner as directed, rinse, and gently towel dry to remove excess water.
  • Style and enjoy your beautifully colored hair!

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