Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Avoid Red Hair Color

Q: I currently get my hair colored at my hair salon. I have never been satisfied with the result even though I have told my stylist numerous times that I want my hair to a) look natural and b) not be red. She does not seem to be able to do either of these, and I am ready to either color my hair myself, or go to someone else.
My hair is well over 50% gray now, so I need full coverage. My natural color is/was a fairly dark brown with red highlights. Is this one of the reasons that my artificial color is coming out more red than I want, or is it my stylist's issue?
I would like to color my hair myself, but would like to know which product to use so that my hair doesn't turn orange when I color it. Thanks for any help you can provide!

A: My recommendation is to find a new hair stylist. Chances are that the stylist is using a red-based haircolor on your hair that is looking too red and brassy because of the amount of gray present in your hair. However, a good stylist should be able to perform a simple color adjustment to reach the color that you want. The stylist you currently use is either not listening to what you want, or is unable to give it to you. In either case, she does not need to be rewarded for negligence or incompetence with your continued custom.
The stylist should also be talking to you about adding in some low-lighting and highlighting to give you a more natural looking color result. This is known as dimensional coloring, and is perfect for women who are going from mostly gray hair to a more natural look. It's not as if you would require that much in the way of high- and low-lights. Properly executed, your stylist should be able to use the difference in the gray and pigmented hair (after color is applied) as a basis for building in the dimensional color.
The reason for the need to add the dimensions to the color is that your gray hair will not have any of the normal color gradation found in natural hair color. The artificial color that is applied will either appear brassy or flat, and in both cases is very one-dimensional, and therefore very obviously artificial.
When you look for a new stylist, be sure to look for one with coloring experience. Many salon stylists have specialized in hair color. You may want to seek out a dedicated "colorist" to handle the coloring of your hair, and use a different stylist in the salon to get your hair cut.
If you get other services in the salon besides cuts and color, such as chemical straightening or perms, be sure to discuss with the colorist the schedule you follow for these chemical services so that you can schedule your perms or straighteners to occur before you have color done. These chemical waving services use peroxide as a neutralizer which can alter the color of artificially colored hair. You don't want to spend a lot of money on hair coloring and have it ruined in two weeks because you got a perm.
Related posts:
Hair coloring
Questions about gray hair
Hair coloring problems in a salon setting