I admit it: I have champagne taste on a sparkling cider budget when it comes to my hair color. My naturally dark brown tresses have been dyed and fried to sandy brown to golden blonde twice over. I’ve settled to a medium brown hue with golden highlights…for now.
But with my wallet looking a tad anorexic right now, salon touch-ups are not an option. But like any Recessionista, when the tough gets going, the going goes DIY.
Apparently, I’m not alone. 15 percent of 1,000 American women who have their hair colored professionally said they now color it at home, according to a survey by Mintel, a leading market research firm.
Having dyed my hair previously and carefully observing stylists and friends over the years, I had a pretty good foundation on exactly where to begin. After 10 years of DIY coloring, here are some important points to know:
- Box hair color purchased in a drugstore or supermarket isn’t going to give you dramatic results if that’s what you’re seeking. Purchase these only if you want to freshen up your natural color or go a shade or two darker.
- Permanent hair color will last, while semi-permanent will eventually fade out (but not completely if you’re going darker more than 2 shades).
- If you’re goal is to go more than 2 shades lighter, you’ll need to take a trip to the beauty supply store and pick up a professional color and developer. I currently use Loreal EXCELLENCE HICOLOR for Dark Hair Only Permanent Haircolor Crème. It will take dark hair to a nice light brown color in a single process. Anything lighter than that, you will have to use a bleaching product (I don’t recommend that for anyone that has never done it before).
- Get the proper tools. A mixing bowl, color brush, gloves, and a measuring cup will help ensure accurate mixing and applications.
- Section the hair in 4 or 5 smaller sections and work in small sections as you go along.
- Remember that your roots will lighten faster than the rest of your hair because of the natural heat from your scalp.
One little gem I recently discovered is Unred by Ardell. For about five bucks, you add this to your hair color to help take out any red tones in your hair when you’re dying your hair–works great.
After my most recent touch-up session, I’m now proud to say that my roots no longer resemble Brittany Spears’ in her gas station bare feet days. However, I’m not brave enough to attempt my own highlights—so that will be on hold until my wallet recovers.