The ABCs of Coloring Your Hair at Home
By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Whether you are planning to go from carrot-top to platinum blonde, looking to camouflage those annoying strands of gray or just hoping to brighten your natural shade, there are hair-coloring products available today for nearly every dying objective.
But for many wannabe hair-color chameleons, the mere thought of taking the plunge at home is terrifying.
Certainly, tales of green-hued locks and streaked tones of orange are enough to scare any potential do-it-yourself into rushing over to her nearest salon to have a professional handle the job.
But Alejandro de la Rosa Carrillo, artistic director of Revlon Professional in Mexico, says that by following a few simple rules, almost any woman can color her hair at home and get professional results.
“There really isn’t any major difference in the technique used by salons and the technique you use at home,” he explained during a recent hair-coloring seminar at the brand’s Mexico City studio in Colonia del Valle to introduce the company’s new Colorsilk Beautiful color gel collection.
“The important thing is to read the directions careful before you start, and make sure the product you choose is right for you.”
De la Rosa Carrillo went on to explain that there are different types of dying solutions depending on whether you want permanent or semi-permanent color.
If this is the first time you are coloring your hair or if you are trying out a new shade, you might want to opt for a semi-permanent dye in case you change your mind after you see the results, he said.
Generally, permanent colors – which last far longer than semi-permanents – can be harsher on your tresses because they contain strong chemicals such as ammonia.
But the new Colorsilk line, with a 3D formula that is ammonia-free and enriched with apple protein extract, delivers gray coverage for long-lasting, high-definition color and shine, De la Rosa Carrillo said. It also has a built-in UV defense to keep color vibrant longer.
But while Revlon Colorsilk is designed to provide full coverage, De la Rosa Carrillo admitted that there are no hair colors on Earth that can completely cover all grays.
He said that with stubborn grays, it is a good idea to leave the dye on a few minutes longer to penetrate, and he said that the lighter the color, the harder it is to get a full-coverage effect.
By the same token, De la Rosa Carrillo said that while some highlight products will give brighter, fresher tones, they do not cover gray as well as uniform coloring products.
“Basically, it is a tradeoff between shiny highlights and deeper coverage,” he said.
As a rule, De la Rosa Carrillo said that highlight products are geared to a younger market that is not as concerned about covering gray.
De la Rosa Carrillo also recommended that unless you are expecting “dramatic results,” it is a good idea to stay within two or three shades of your natural hair color.
“Your whole face has a color coordination, and shocking blond hair with jet-black eyebrows doesn’t usually create a natural look,” he said.
To see how your hair will turn out with a given color, check the side of the box, hich always has a before-and-after guide of expected shades.
You can also run a test dying by trying the product out on a single strand of hair.
For best results, De la Rosa Carrillo suggested that you color your hair when it hasn’t been washed for at least two days.
The natural oils will protect your scalp and not interfere with the dying process.
De la Rosa Carrillo likewise said that coloring should only be applied where it is needed.
If this is the first time you are dying your hair, you will want to extend the color to the tips, but if you are retouching, apply color only to the roots, since repeated processing will damage delicate ends.
Then, during the last 10 minutes of coloring, you can freshen the ends’ tone with a quick application, Del la Rosa Carrillo said.
He said that hair should be colored by sections, beginning in the front, then proceeding to the sides, and finally finishing with the back of your head.
“You want to make sure that you don’t leave any uncolored areas,” he said.
Using the color applicator’s nozzle as a separating tool, section off each area before you start and then rub in the dye into the root with a piece of hair shaft in circular motions.
He said that the dye can also be applied with a brush, but that the built-in applicator, if used properly, is all you really need.
It is best not to cover or wrap hair while it is being colored since the dying process is activated by oxygen in the air.
“Most permanent hair coloring takes about 30 to 40 minutes to work,” he said.
“When you are done, wash out the excess and be sure to apply the conditioner that comes in the hair color box. This product is designed to both condition and seal in the color.”
That done, rinse your hair with warm running water and set or dry as usual.
To keep your color fresh and make it last longer, De la Rosa Carrillo said that it is best to use shampoos and conditioners specially developed for chemically treated hair, such as Revlon Colorsilk that helps protect colored hair and minimizes fading due to sun exposure and frequent washing.
Try not to wash your hair every day, since this will only speed decoloration.
And always, always apply conditioners and treatment to nourish your hair.
Remember, any chemical processing can harm delicate ends.
De la Rosa Carrillo concluded by saying that you should never wait more than two months to retouch your color.
“That way, you can color the roots to match the rest of the hair shaft and have natural results,” he said.
“There is no reason why you can’t have professional-looking hair color applied at home. All it takes is a little time and following the directions on the box.”