Q: I want to change the color of my hair but am afraid I won't be able to keep up with
the time and money required for the upkeep. What exactly is involved? Would I be
better off doing the color myself at home? What if I don't like it? Will it damage my hair?
A: I don't recommend coloring you hair at home, you may end up in the salon
anyway for a corrective coloring if something goes wrong and you will spend more
time and money than if you had gone to the salon in the first place.
If you have never colored your hair before and you are nervous about what it is
going to look like, start out subtle. Semi- permanent and demi- permanent colors offer
great color choices if you want to stay close to your natural color (they won't lighten
your hair), blend in gray hair, or just enhance your color a little (a natural medium brown
can add a medium red brown to spice it up a little). If you have a light natural shade
you can use these types of haircolor to add lowlights, which will give some dimension to
your own color and can also help to enhance a great cut. The beauty of these colors is
that they are not permanent so they will gradually fade out of your hair and you won't
have a lot of roots to deal with, so salon visits can be spread out over a period of
months. These colors are also an excellent choice for someone who just wants to add a
little shine to her hair as most brands come in clear as well as a variety of colors.
Damage is also not an issue with semi and demi permanents since they contain no ammonia.
If you want to lighten your natural color at all you will have to use a permanent
color. If you choose to stay within 1-1 ½ shades of your natural color you can probably
expect to be in the salon every 6-8 weeks for a retouch. If your new color is 2 shades or
more lighter than your natural or if you have a high percentage of gray hair you are
attempting to hide you will need to be in the salon every 4-5 weeks to keep your hair
color looking great. Most permanent colors today use very low ammonia in their
formulas so damage is usually not an issue with this method either.
For a lighter look that doesn't require as frequent salon visits, opt for a few
highlights rather than an all over color, this will brighten your natural color and when it
begins to grow out it will be less noticeable since every single hair on your head isn't
colored. Highlights can be achieved using color or bleach and an experienced stylist can
lighten your hair sufficiently without damage.
Always consult with your stylist prior to having your hair colored. Explain to him or
her what type of look you desire (bring pictures if you have them) and how often your
time schedule or your budget will allow you to be back in the salon for maintenance.
This will help determine the best method to be used. Also remember to ask your stylist
to recommend professional hair care products for you to take home with you to keep
your new color salon beautiful at home!