Hair Colouring Products Buying Guide

1 Hair Colouring Products Buying Guide
    1.1 Skin Tone
    1.2 Starting Conditions
        1.2.1 Natural Hair
        1.2.2 Semi-Permanent Coloured Hair
        1.2.3 Permanently Coloured Hair
    1.3 Ready to Colour?
    1.4 Colouring Commandments
    1.5 Quick Picks
    1.6 Related Products

If you've ever tried to cut your own hair, you've probably realized that it's not as simple as your hairstylist makes it look. This is doubly true for hair colour. Though you may see your favourite TV star's new shade, run out and buy a box of the exact colour, and follow all of the directions to a tee, you're almost guaranteed to have different results. That's because there are a number of factors that can affect how a dye job ends up, like what your original colour is, whether you've coloured before, and what shade you're attempting. On the other hand, your favourite TV star may have utterly different skin and eyes from you, and her hair colour may not suit you at all. So before you make a change, be it radical with all-over, permanent colour , subtle with a colour glaze , or somewhere in between with a few highlights  or lowlights , read this guide to better understand the principles at work with hair colouring and get the best results possible.

Skin Tone

Taking into consideration your skin tone when choosing a new colour for your hair will give you the most flattering, could-be-natural results. The right shade should make your skin glow and your eyes pop, so it's worth figuring out. There are two basic tones: warm and cool.

  • Warm skin tones are pinkish-yellow and are accompanied by green, hazel, amber, or warm brown eyes.
  • If this is you, you'll look your best with with red or yellow-based hair colours like strawberry blonde, honey, auburn, golden blonde, or warm brown. 
  • Check hair colour boxes for these key words: Golden, Ash.
  • Cool skin tones are bluish-pink and come with blue, grey, blue-green, or cool brown eyes.
  • If this is you, you'll suit platinum blonde, wheat brown, plum auburn, dark brown, or black hair colours.
  • Check hair colour boxes for these key words: Ash, Cool.

Starting Conditions

Natural Hair

  • You're at the best advantage here because, without previous colouring damage, your hair should be strong, healthy, and will absorb pigment evenly.
  • Be sure to check the back of a dye box to predict the results you'll get when mixing your current colour with that on the box.
  • If you're unsure about the colour you want, pick up a box of demi-permanent colour, which should come out of your hair in a few washes. You'll get a great preview of results you can get with a semi-perm or permanent hair colour, but with much less damage and little to no commitment. 
  • If you want a permanent change, but want to start slow, a highlighting kit  may be just the thing to perk up your look. Try experimenting with streaking the bottom layer of your hair for a peek of colour that can easily be hidden if you're less than thrilled with how it came out. 
    Ariel should have tried a semi first.
    Ariel should have tried a semi first.

Semi-Permanent Coloured Hair

  • Okay, so you've done this before. But whether you're eager to go permanent right away because things worked out, or you want to cover up a poor job, it's probably better to wait until most of it has washed out (you can speed the process with few goes with a clarifying shampoo or even dish soap--just deep condition afterwards).
  • Two pigments could react to each other in unpredictable ways, so it's in your best interest to start with a clean slate. And in the mean time, baby your hair with a trim and a deep conditioner so it will be in good condition for colouring.

Permanently Coloured Hair

  • Uh oh. Are you trying to do a fix it job here? Get to a salon, now. The damage you could do to your hair is not worth a few more DIY attempts.
  • Maybe you're just trying to touch up your roots? Look into special root kits  at the store and follow the directions very carefully. Or, wait a little longer before making an appointment with your colourist by using a temporary root colourer that rinses out in one shampoo. 
  • Need to perk up your current shade? Consider a colour glaze , which is both gentle and good for your hair, since it seals the cuticle. It won't leave much colour, but the polishing action should make it appear more vibrant.
  • If you really want to re-dye, proceed with caution at home, and read all directions at least twice. Or, just book an appointment with your stylist. 
  • Highlights are a nice way to blend roots with new growth without having to re-colour, or just change your look a little with minimal damage.

Ready to Colour?

Hair Colour Brush 

  • Perfect for root touch ups (though an at home root kit should include one).
  • Great for evenly distributing all-over colour. 

Hair Colour Foils 

  • A necessity for highlights, as it speeds the process and protects hair you don't want to lighten.
  • You can make your own by cutting aluminium foil .

Hair Clips 

  • Great for clipping away hair as you colour it section by section.
  • Use the pointed end to help you part hair as you section it.

Hair Colour Cap 

  • A great technique for getting natural, sun-kissed highlights as opposed to thick streaks.
  • Painful to use on long hair. 

Shower Caps 

  • Traps heat and speeds the colouring process (also intensifies conditioning properties if you're doing a glaze). 
  • Prevents stains.

Colouring Commandments

  • You can't lift a level of colour, you can only change a tone. In other words, a box of blonde hair colour will never lighten your brown hair. It will only leave a cast of colour--i.e. Ash Blonde will make your starting shade cooler (greyer, bluer), while Golden Blonde will make it warmer (yellower, reddish). But you'll still have that brown hair you began with.
  • You can't expect to get the colour on the box unless your hair is colourless. That is, if you're completely platinum blonde (but even then, you should go to a salon because your hair is likely damaged and will absorb colour in strange ways). Otherwise, you need to realize that your results will be a combination of the colour you start with and the shade on the box: putting pure red dye on brown hair will give you reddish brown hair. So check the back of the box to find your starting hair colour and what your results will likely be.
  • Don't try to fix major colour mistakes at home. Hey, crap happens. Be a big person and let your stylist fix that green hair. Putting more colour over it will likely result in an uneven mess and damage to your hair. Plus, you'll probably end up having to see a colourist anyway, so might as well save the money on three or four more at-home dyes and just go to the salon as soon as you mess up.

Quick Picks

Color Smart by Matrix 

John Freida : Sheer Blond ,Brilliant Brunette , and Radiant Red 

Redken Color Extend Shampoo  and Interbond Conditioning System 

Nice 'n Easy Root Touch-UP 

Colour Glaze 

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