At-Home Hair Coloring Tips.

It goes without saying that you want to avoid an at home hair color disaster like I experienced last month. As I realize going to the salon for hair coloring is not an option for everyone, I wanted to share some great tips on how to avoid at-home hair coloring mistakes. 

At-Home Hair Coloring Tips from Marie Robinson, Clairol Color Director

Marie Robinson, Clariol Color Director, shares with us her tips for avoiding mistakes and color corrections as well as some advice on picking out shades.

Stay within two to three shades of your current hair color for best results, more drastic changes should be done at the salon.  Basically, find your current haircolor and only look two or three shades up or down from that. I have never considered going more than two shades lighter or darker at one time.

Just as important is to know your tone of your hair so you don't get unwanted brassy or ashy results. You can do this by considering your skin tone and eye color when selecting a box hair color for results that will nicely complement your features.

  • Warmer shades (sometimes referred to as golden) work well for women who tend to wear gold jewelry and have dark eyes as well as an olive or darker complexion.
  • Cooler (synonymous with ash) shades are perfect for women who prefer silver jewelry and have light eyes.
  • Neutral is great for women who can wear either type of jewelry.

When deciding between two shades, always go with the lighter option as once you go too dark, it can be hard to go lighter. From personal experience, this is very true.  Not only with my hair coloring disaster, most formulas that I have used actually add a darker pigment to my hair, so choosing lighter is always best. 

When it comes to looking at the hair color box, most women tend to solely look at the hair color on the front of the box when they should really pay attention to the three shades listed on the back. That’s where you can see how the chosen box color will affect your specific color. I can understand this mistake and totally get where Marie is coming from.  Of course, you look at the front of the box and think, I want that hair color. You have to look at the back or side of the box to see how the shade might look on you.  I also know how wrong this can be, so Marie's last tip below on doing a strand test is probably the one I now encourage the most.  

Read the hair color box instructions prior to applying the hair color for more consistent, natural looking results. The strand test goes hand in hand with this point as well. Performing a strand test before you color your hair ensures you’ll get the results you want.  Yes, a strand test takes time, but trust me it is worth it in the end.  I take about ten strands from underneath my hair, making sure it is a lighter sectionTape the strands together and apply the hair mixture as directed in the box.  Take note of the time(s) suggested and remove hair color at that time.  Let the strand dry and check the color. If the result is not what you want, do not do the process.  Most drugstores or mass retailers have very good return policies, so you can return the product and get a new one.  Be sure to save your receipt and explain that the color did not work for you. 

Of course, I want everyone to have beautiful hair and to never ever have to go through what I did.  If you color at home, please put Marie's tips to use and be careful.  Never rush and always do the strand test. The extra time and patience will be worth it in the end.