BuzzFeed Life spoke with four hair color experts to get the details on everything you need to know on getting the best color, maintaining it, and not losing half your paycheck to your hair.
Anyone who colors their hair knows that it can be hella confusing (not to mention time-consuming and pricey). So we decided to get some professional advice on how to make the dyed life more easy and understandable. Our experts are…
- Christine Silverman, colorist at Ramirez Tran, a top Beverly Hills salon.
- Guy Tang, a hair activist, celeb stylist and YouTube personality who has gained a cult following for his informational hair dye videos.
- Loren Miles, a hairstylist at Bleach in London, which specializes in beautiful, punky colors.
- Shaun Surething, lead stylist and co-owner of the famed Seagull Salon in Manhattan’s West Village.
1. Drugstore hair dye will only reflect the color on the box if you have virgin (aka never-before-dyed) hair AND if your hair is lighter than the color dye you’re going to use.
“People should remember that these are permanent colors; they lift the hair’s natural color and deposit color at the same time. The hair will look close to the model on the box if you have virgin hair. If you have already dyed hair, you will get “hot roots” — meaning the scalp will glow brighter than the rest of the hair because that’s the only part that’s virgin,” Tang tells BuzzFeed Life.
2. If you’re re-dyeing your hair, don’t put dye on the ends of your hair.
“This is an unnecessary step and will make your hair look inky and heavy over time,” says Silverman.
3. When you’re not pulling dye through the ends, use a gloss in a slightly lighter shade to add shine and consistency.
“Find a similar or slightly lighter shade in a gloss (Redken Shades EQ is the highest quality available at beauty suppliers) and use that instead. This will add the shine, color, and consistency you need without further damaging our ends,” Surething tells BuzzFeed Life.
4. If you’ve got green tones from old color or chlorine, try a pink shampoo.
(Also, it can also give your hair a pinkish tone, if you’re looking for that.)
5. Use a sulfate-free shampoo.
Silverman advises, “Sulfate-free shampoo will extend the life of permanent hair color as it is gentle and will not strip it out like a harsher detergent-based shampoo.”
6. Use heat styling tools sparingly and responsibly.
“Try to blow dry your hair rather than use curling irons or straighteners as there is less direct heat and it causes less damage,” Miles tells BuzzFeed Life.
7. When you are styling your hair — especially if you have temporary color — make sure to use a heat protecting spray or product.
“A good heat protector is key when heat-styling hair, and retaining temporary color. Temporary color fades as you wash it but also through heat styling,” says Miles.
8. Blondes should do a moisturizing and nourishing mask treatment at home once a week.
“L’Oréal Damage-Erasing Balm is a good drugstore option,” suggests Silverman.
9. Also, blondes should use a silver shampoo once or twice a week.
Miles says, “A silver shampoo and conditioner will reduce brassy tones in blondes.”
10. Get a shower filter.
“This is the number one recommendation I have for all my color clients. A shower filter will prevent fading and discoloration from the buildup of minerals and chlorine that are present in city water,” Silverman tells BuzzFeed Life.
11. Opt for balayage instead of traditional highlights to extend time between salon visits.
“This technique does not usually go all the way to the root of the hair (making it look more natural as it grows out). With balayage, you can put off going to the salon for longer, or you can go to the salon two or even three times to have your base color done or your highlights toned without having to retouch the highlights — the highlights are generally the costlier part of a salon visit,” Surething tells BuzzFeed Life.
12. If you’re broke and just need something to carry you for a while, ask your stylist about getting a base break.
Tang suggests that “a base break is a good option when regrowth (roots) start to show up. It lightens or shifts the base one level up so there’s no demarcation or harsh line. It’s a single process and takes about 10 mins. It should cost about between $30-65 depending on the salon.”
13. If you’re desperate to hide roots, you can try a DIY option, apply eyeshadow with a wand or brush to the roots.
“If you get permanent color for grey coverage, you can get a color mascara to hide your roots around your face and part. Alternatively, you can use drugstore eyeshadow to achieve the same result, simply pick a shade to match your base color,” advises Silverman.
14. Ask your stylist about getting a glaze or gloss, which is an inexpensive way to revive color.
“You can ask for a glaze. It’s a demi-permanent coloring that will just enhance the old color without doing the whole coloring service. It’s like doing a coating of color,” says Tang. Silverman adds: “A glossing treatment is a good way to freshen up older highlights or bring back vibrancy to brunettes and reds.”
15. If you’re a blonde, a Malibu treatment can make your color look a bit fresher.
“Malibu treatments brighten up your blonde and remove product, chlorine, and mineral buildup from the hair,” explains Silverman to BuzzFeed Life.
16. Ask your colorist about Olaplex, a miracle-working repair treatment.
“Ask your colorist if they use Olaplex hair repair treatment. It actually makes the hair stronger and replenishes its health. It’s not a smoother or a filler. It’s a fixer,” says Surething. Tang adds: “Olaplex works by rebonding broken disulfide bonds due to chemical, lightening, and straightening processes.”
17. Had a disaster? You can try removing color with Color Oops.
“Color Oops will remove permanent hair color when the instructions are followed exactly. However, relying on a professional to fix your hair is the best course of action as we are trained to deal with these situations,” cautions Silverman.
18. If you’ve damaged your hair, get yourself on nutritional supplements right away to get your natural, healthy hair growing.
“I recommend starting a nutritional supplement called Viviscal to promote regrowth and healthy new hair. It really works!” Silverman tells BuzzFeed Life.
19. Want to try a punky color? Construction paper makes for good DIY color swatches.
“The best way to see if a color will work with your skin tone is to hold the paper against the underside of your forearm between your wrist and elbow,” explains Surething.
20. If you’re scared about how your color will turn out, secondary colors are safer.
“Secondary colors are always safer than primaries. So, teal not blue, coral not red, peach not yellow,” Surething tells BuzzFeed Life.
21. Before swimming, rub down your locks in coconut oil.
Surething also advises that you “slather your bleachiest ends in coconut oil or thick conditioner. It creates a barrier between the salt or chlorine and your color.”
22. To protect your hair color, condition first when you wash it.
“My favorite if sometimes totally confusing but absolutely successful tip? Wet your hair, run conditioner through it, and shampoo directly on top of the conditioner. This puts a barrier between your color and the shampoo while still removing excess natural oils. Next step: Recondition, rinse, and go,” says Surething.
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