Expert tips for how to colour your hair at home
Don’t want to colour your hair at home because you’re too scared you’ll stuff it up? Well, it’s high time you faced your fears – in the most informed way possible of course! We’ve pinned down L’Oreal Paris’ National Education Manager, Bronwyn Fraser, to get her top 10 tips on doing it DIY-style – they’re guaranteed to get you colouring your hair like a pro, all in the comfort of your very own bathroom…
#1 Choosing your colour
The end result is determined by your natural hair colour, so a good guide is to select a shade that is within two shades lighter, or two shades darker than your natural hair colour. If you already have colour in your hair, keep in mind that this too can affect the end result.
Keep a couple of old towels on hand as the product may stain/bleach them, and wear an old/pre-loved T-shirt or button-up shirt to avoid spilling on your favourite outfit. Before you start applying your colourant, always ensure you have all the components necessary (such as gloves, instruction leaflet, comb, clips, water spray).
#3 Amount of product needed
Portion control is very important to the colouring process. The amount of product within a pack is sufficient for short to medium-length hair. For very thick shoulder-length or long hair we recommend using two packs to ensure a true colour result.
#4 Where to start the application
This will depend on the particular product you’re using (some require roots first, while others call for mid-lengths and ends first), so be sure to read and follow the enclosed instruction leaflet. However, when covering grey hair it is usually best to start at the whitest area first.
#5 Ensuring the best and most even coverage
To ensure an even application, part the hair into four sections – straight down the centre from front to back, and across from ear to ear (like a hot cross bun!). Then apply the colour section by section, to ensure even coverage.
#6 Timing from start to finish
This will also depend on the particular product being used, as some will involve more than one step in the application process. However, to be on the safe side, I would set aside 60 to 90 minutes from start to finish.
#7 Colour development
Before a product hits the shelves, extensive testing has already been done with the formulation to ensure its effectiveness in a given amount of time. The development time is always specified in the instruction leaflet and must be adhered to, in order to achieve the best possible result.
#8 The colour of the mixture while it is developing
The actual colour of the mix while it is developing is not always an indication of the final result, so if in doubt use a paper towel to wipe a strand of hair to get a better idea.
#9 Stained skin
A little bit of Vaseline applied around the hairline (before you begin colouring) will help prevent staining, but be sure not to get it on the fine hairs or it will prevent the colour from taking in those areas. If you do get some staining, a little mouthwash or light perfume containing alcohol will help remove it.
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#10 Fading and special care
We recommend using a shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for coloured hair to help restore the colour's vibrancy – especially for plum, burgundy and bright red shades, as they are the quickest to fade.
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What are your best tips for DIY colouring?