Hair Skin Care Hair Coloring Dyeing

We can’t choose the hair color we’re born with. However, thanks to hair dyes, color-enhancing shampoos and bleaching products, blondes can turn into redheads over night and brunettes can find out if blondes really do have more fun.

To prevent hair coloring and bleaching disasters, however, it’s important to learn how to choose a hair color as well as how to apply it.

Choosing a Color

The first thing to do before dyeing or coloring your hair is to choose a color. When choosing a color, you’ll want to take into account the following:

  • your eye color
  • your natural hair color
  • your skin tone.

Try to find a color that will complement all three elements.

In addition, you’ll want to consider whether you are trying to cover gray, add highlights or lowlights or dramatically change your appearance.

Once you’ve settled on the color, you’ll need to decide how long you want your color to last. Hair-coloring products are available in permanent, semi-permanent and temporary versions:

  • Permanent: Permanent hair coloring permanently colors your hair and will require root touch-ups.
  • Semi-Permanent: Semi-permanent hair color will generally last for a month or two.
  • Temporary: Temporary hair color lasts for only a few hair washes.

If you’re trying out a new color, you might want to try it out on a temporary basis. If you like it, you can always apply a permanent or semi-permanent color at a later date.

When to Visit the Salon

Sometimes people can have great success coloring their hair at home. Other times, however, hair disasters can result from a bad home dye job.

In general, people with darker hair who are dyeing their hair a similar shade can have success dying their hair at home. Dyeing blonde hair can be trickier and might require a visit to the salon.

Bleaching hair and applying highlights and lowlights is best left to the professionals. Also, professionals should always perform chemical procedures, including coloring, on hair that is dry and/or damaged or that has recently undergone another chemical procedure.

Applying Hair Color at Home

If you choose to apply your hair color at home, always follow the directions that come on the box of your hair dye. If you have any questions, contact the product’s manufacturer. Manufacturers usually provide a toll-free number to their helplines somewhere on the packaging.

Also, keep the following in mind:

  • Deep Condition: A few days before applying the hair dye, shampoo your hair and then follow with a deep conditioner. This will help protect your scalp from the chemicals in the dye and will help the color set.

    Do not, however, condition your hair immediately before applying your hair dye. Conditioners can prevent the dye from bonding to your hair and can result in uneven coloring.

  • Gather Your Tools: Before even opening the box of dye, prepare for the dying procedure. Wear either an old t-shirt or an old smock. Also, place towels and washcloths that you won’t mind staining in the bathroom. You’ll need these to catch drips as well as to protect bathroom surfaces from the dye.

    Have hair clips and a hand mirror handy, just in case. Also, you’ll need a timer to let you know when you should wash out your dye.

  • Practice Makes Perfect: If you’ve never dyed your hair, you might want to practice the application process before actually applying the dye. Holding an applicator bottle in one hand and using the other hand to section the hair can be tricky.
  • Protect Your Skin: To prevent the skin around your hair line from getting stained by the dye, apply petroleum jelly to it and to your ears. If dye gets on your skin, quickly rub it with a cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide.

If after coloring your hair, you are unhappy with the results, contact a color correction expert at a local salon. In general, you have only 48 hours to fix bad hair color.

Resources (2004-2007). Hair Care Retrieved October 24, 2007, from the Hair Care Guide Web site: (2006-2007). Hair Coloring Tips. Retrieved November 6, 2007, from the Web site: