From smart techniques to our best product recommendations, we spoke to Garnier’s Colour Consultant, Trevor Halls for his insider tricks on turning this once frightful act into something easy and enjoyable with salon-worthy results.
1. Leave Hair Unwashed
There’s no hard and fast evidence that suggests freshly washed or unwashed hair is better before you dye it, but in my experience, unwashed is slightly kinder to the scalp. This is because any build-up of natural grease is protecting your scalp from harsh chemicals. Especially for blondes who use bleach.
2 .Always Do A Strand Test
Yes, it sounds obvious but skipping this is one of the main reasons people get it so wrong, especially when changing brands – no colour is a one-size-fits-all. Not only does it give you an indication of your new colour, it also allows you to see if it will blend evenly. For example, if you’re going two to three shades lighter on a darker colour, you’ll want to know in advance if you’ll get the level of lightness you’re after.
3. Consider Your Texture
Coarse, curly or frizzy hair soaks up colour faster and become cooler-toned when you dye it, so always consider going for a colour that’s warm but a little lighter than your natural shade. As for fine to medium hair that’s straight, I recommend choosing cooler shades (champagne, beige) that are slightly darker than your natural colour. And always make sure you do a patch test 48 hours beforehand, even if you’ve used the brand before.
4. Read, Read, And Read Again
Instruction boxes can be overwhelming. The key lies within reading them several times rather than doing it step-by-step as you apply the colour, this way you won’t be stopping and starting. So many brands including Garnier Nutrisse and Olia have three-step processes now which are illustrated, so it’s much easier to follow and a lot harder to get wrong.
5. Stock Up On Petroleum Jelly
Afraid of tinting your forehead? This can happen, so I always advise swiping petroleum jelly or a blob of moisturiser on the hairline, this will just make sure your strands are the only part getting a hit of colour.
6. Don’t Be Tempted To Take It Off Early
I see so many people who think that leaving the dye on for a shorter amount of time is kinder to hair. It’s not. This just means you’re not allowing colour to deposit the right tone the colour requires, so you’ll never get the true likeness. It’s hard but try to trust the guidelines and remember they’ve been through rigorous testing to ensure everything is correct – don’t be afraid!
7. Think Of Hot Cross Buns
Not in the drooling sense but for even application. Try and envisage parting your hair like the cross on a hot cross bun. Start using the dye at the nape of your neck, then work upwards towards the crown on the left-hand side. Follow up by moving along to the front corner of the hairline and then to the other end. It’s the easiest way to make sure you get even coverage.
8. Invest In A Brush
Some people have been known to use toothbrushes for even application from roots to ends, but I personally recommend buying a proper brush. Look for ones that are very thin as this will allow you to deposit colour evenly and not in clumps, which you’re at risk of with a thicker brush.
9. Prevent A Bleed
Colour bleeding happens when the product expands on the hair. This is fine if you’re going for the same colour all over, but if you want to prevent it from spreading to strands that don’t need dye, use thin strips of cotton wool between the layers of hair. It’s super absorbent so the colour won’t smudge past it.
10. Be Realistic
Another reason people get fed up with DIY is they’re never realistic enough. You need to keep in perspective that your hair has a limit – you won’t be able to get a light blonde colour at home if your hair is already very dark. That’s when a trip to the salon is necessary.
11. Conditioning Is Key
Never skip the conditioning step that comes inside your box. Otherwise, the cuticle will be left open and the colour keeps working. Invest in some good treatment masks too, especially in the summer and winter when hair becomes parched from central heating or air conditioning. Another trick to make sure the colour is vibrant, is to rinse with cold water after you’ve shampooed post-dye. This help keeps the cuticle flat, locking the colour firmly in.
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