How To Get the Most Out Of Your Box Of Hair Dye

August 15, 2018

When hair dye meets DIY. 

Changing (or touching up) your hair color at home doesn’t have to be complicated.

In fact, sometimes, making the most out of your box of hair dye boils down to plain old common sense. To wit: Clairol Dermatologist Dr. Joyce Davis suggests wearing a button-down shirt while dyeing, to avoid pulling clothing over your head and getting it all goopy.

Okay, I’ve been using boxed dye (and making trips to the salon for more complex endeavors such as bleaching my jet-black hair) since I was eighteen and I hadn’t figured that one out. Either I dyed my hair wearing something that I sadly just resigned myself to ruining, or told myself maybe I wouldn’t ruin it (I always did), Or I dyed my hair wearing nothing, which can feel inconvenient if UPS shows up needing a signature. I tried out the button-down shirt hack and it worked out great! Maybe that one is a no-brainer for you, But it’s all a learning curve, and I’ve learned to expect the unexpected (after all, I only just found out I’m allergic to certain hair dyes.) The experts (Dr. Davis and Clairol Color Director James Corbett) gave me some insider tips that go way beyond the obvious.

Lighten up

If you’re dyeing at home, steer clear of drastic changes. “I see many women choosing a color that’s too dark for their complexion,” says Clairol Color Director James Corbett. “I find that most women think that their natural hair color is darker than what it actually is.” Corbett recommends always going with a lighter shade, and sticking within two levels of your existing hair color: “This will ensure your most optimal success in ensuring the most natural looking outcome.”

Do a patch test

As I recently found out the hard way, no matter how many times you’ve dyed your hair, an allergy can pop up out of nowhere (#bummer). So don’t skip the allergy test part of the process! “The best way to perform an allergy patch test is to mix a small amount of the product and place it on the inside skin of your left forearm,” advises Davis. “Let it sit for 48 hours without washing it off to see how your skin reacts. If there is no itching or redness from the patch test you can move forward with applying dye to your hair.” (You can also refer to the instructions that come with the hair dye.) “Any allergic reaction should happen during the patch test, so you are good to move forward with the coloring process if there is no redness or swelling,” adds Davis.

Use a product with ME+

Clairol’s new-and-improved Nice ‘n Easy formula doesn’t just provide a floral scent, improved conditioning, and damage-blocking technology — “It also contains ME+,  a revolutionary hair dye molecule, which was specifically developed to reduce the risk of new hair dye allergies,” explains Davis. Corbett concurs: “ME+ is groundbreaking.” (Just FYI, allergic reactions can still occur, and if you have a known dye allergy, you should talk to a dermatologist.)

Ease up on the suds

Oh, shampoo. Ours is a love-hate relationship. I love it because: shampoo. But on the other hand there’s the gazillion empty shampoo bottles clogging up the environment, ingredients like parabens and sulfates, and so on. Now it also turns out that shampooing too much can impact your color’s lasting power. “I always suggest to shampoo less often,” warns Davis. “Shampooing every day is not necessary and actually strips the hair and scalp of natural oils that keep your hair healthy.” Davis also recommends using products that are specifically made for color-treated hair.

Know thine hair color enemies

… particularly the evil Brass and the dastardly Hot Roots. “Brass” refers to those unwanted orange and red tones. “To avoid brass, use ashy colors,” Corbett says. “Ash kills brass.” (Coming soon to a theater near you… Ash Vs. Brass: Infinity Wars!) Hot Roots are another decidedly unwanted effect — it’s when the roots of your hair are a warmer color than the rest. “To avoid ‘hot roots,’ know that hair color cannot lift or lighten previously tinted/hair colored hair,” warns Corbett. “If you have been using a light brown and you now want to choose a blonde shade it will only lighten your new growth and will not lighten the previously colored light brown ends. This will result in the roots to appear glowing or looking hot.” After all, there are hot looks, and then hot roots. Big difference!

Comment: What’s your favorite at-home hair coloring tip? 

Images via pexels

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