If you’ve never dyed your hair at home before, the whole experience can be a little daunting at first. Semi-permanent, demi-permanent or permanent? Sometimes even deciding what box to buy can be confusing. Fret not! If you’re new to the DIY game and you’re looking to take your current look up a notch to high-impact, dimensional shine, we’ve compiled our top five tips on how to colour hair at home. Plus, we’re arming you with our picks of the best shampoo and conditioner for colour-treated hair—to ensure that your glossy new colour doesn’t wash down the drain.
Tip 1. Choose the right formula.
When you’re a first-timer, it’s probably best to avoid permanent hair colour. Demi-permanent cream colour like L’Oréal Paris Casting Natural Gloss is a far safer bet. This ammonia-free formula doesn’t actually lift hair colour, so there’s no risk of ending up with drastic patches or an orangey cast that you didn’t expect. It also means you don’t have to worry about applying hair colour perfectly! Different from deposit-only semi-permanent hair colour, demi-permanent hair colour contains a hint of peroxide to open up the hair cuticle, letting colour inside. Translation? Your shiny, natural-looking hair colour takes little of the damage that permanent hair colour leaves behind, with results that last far longer than semi-permanent hair colour (up to 28 washes). PSA: If you’re looking to cover greys, you’ll be able to achieve light coverage, with more of a blended result.
Tip 2. Find your best colour.
If you’re a DIY hair colour newbie, you’re definitely going to want to stay within one or two shades, lighter or darker, of your natural colour. One thing you can easily tweak to achieve the most flattering result is the level of coolness or warmth in the tint, which is often indicated on the side of the box. As a general rule, warm skin tones look best with warm hair colours and cool skin tones look best with cool hair colours. Not sure where you fall? Have a look at your wrist. If your veins appear greenish, you’re in the warm camp; if they appear bright blue, you’re team cool.
Tip 3. Get prepped!
Colour adheres best to hair that isn’t freshly conditioned, so wait 24 to 48 hours after your last wash to begin. Grab an old oversized button-up you can whip off when it comes time to rinse so you don’t have to worry about ruining a perfectly good top. You’ll also need a timer. You can line your hairline with petroleum jelly so you don’t stain your skin. And you’ll need some hair clips to section your hair in order to get at the roots underneath. You can simply separate into top, middle and bottom sections, rolling these pieces into tight buns. Since you’re not messing about with permanent colour, a patch test isn’t as necessary as it would be if you were looking to make a more obvious change.
Tip 4. It’s time to apply.
Wearing the disposable gloves provided in the box, start with the top (most visible) section first, where you’ll want the longest amount of processing time. Use the applicator or your fingers to get deep into the roots, and then carry the colour downward to your tips. Repeat for all sections, and then set the timer according to the instructions in the box. You’re going to rinse without using any shampoo, massaging your scalp until the water runs clear. Next, apply the nourishing conditioner provided for instant hair repair. The best part is seeing the end result after you dry your hair: luxurious, glossy colour with more noticeable highlights and lowlights throughout.
Tip 5. Take good care.
Maintaining your hair colour is actually really easy if you choose the best shampoo for colour-treated hair and avoid those that deplete colour. Opt for sulphate-free shampoo, such as L’Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Shampoo , which is also free of harsh salts and surfactants. (These are known to strip away hair colour.) Clarifying shampoos are also a no-no. When the sun is really shining, you might even want to make use of a wide-brim hat, as oxidative stress can dull rich hair colour. Just like skin, hair needs protection, too!