After leaving my hair completely untouched for the majority of my (fairly short) life, I decided I needed a change, and, if you’re here, you’re probably feeling the same way. Or you’re my mom, reading this because I told you to (thanks mom!). Anyways, I eventually took the plunge (after many long months of research) and added a caramel-blonde balayage to my dark brown tresses- and, months later, I can say I’m still happy with it (an accomplishment since I get very easily bored). That said, I know so many others who’ve coloured their hair and hated it, (hi, Mom, that’s you.), and through their experiences, I realized that the research beforehand is really important. So, I’ve compiled my top five things you should know before you take the plunge and colour your hair.
Use a Salon
Please. Hair colour products (especially those that require bleach) can be so damaging to hair if they are used incorrectly. From breakage, to frizz, to completely altering your hair or even burning your scalp, it can be super dangerous to colour your hair if you don’t know what you’re doing. I know that salons can be expensive, but the tradeoff is that you’re in a professional environment, with people who have probably encountered every possible problem and know how to handle them. By the way: use a salon you trust. If you’ve never been to a salon before, don’t trust them to change the colour of your hair. Along those same lines, if you aren’t happy with your current salon, shop around for others before your colour. Make sure you’re 100% comfortable, and trust the people who will be working on you. Also, if a salon is offering colour at an extremly low price- anywhere from around $30 or less, be weary. While it could be completely legit, it probably isn’t. The sanitation in there might be off, or they may be using low quality and potentially dangerous products, unless you’ve been there before and you trust it, I would stay away.
Your Hair Will Change
More than just the colour. Especially if you choose a lighter colour, you will almost definitely experience some type of change in your hair. Typically, people’s hair tends to become much drier, and more prone to breakage after a colour, which is normal. The bleach will do some damage to your hair no matter what. How much damage, however, is determined by the type of colour you’re having done, the state of your hair before the colour, and the products used to achieve your look. Typically, hair that has never been coloured will not be as damaged, just like hair that isn’t styled with heat regularly. Also, a balayage colour is not a damaging as, say, a double-process to turn your entire head of jet back hair to platinum blonde (but more on that below). To combat damage during your colour, request that your colourist use a product called Olaplex on your hair. It actually conditions your hair as it’s being coloured, repairing the bonds in broken strands on a molecular level. Basically, Olaplex can substantially reduce the amount of breakage you see after a colour.
Take Things Slowly
Yes, jet black to platinum blonde can be done in one day, but that doesn’t mean you should do it. That requires a double process, upwards of 8 hours in the salon, and (usually) a nice stack of cash. More than likely, your hair will be dry as straw and fall right out of your head (not exaggerating). The amount of bleach in your hair to make that happen will result in a massive amount of breakage, and without the proper after-care, your hair could break off completely as soon as you attempt to put it in a ponytail (there have been horror stories). Instead of putting your hair at risk for that much damage, most colourists recommend beginning with hi-lites or balayage and slowly adding to and lightening it over a period of time, to avoid as much damage as possible.
It’s a Committment
Whatever type of colour you choose, know that there’s usually a certain level of committment required afterwards, both to keep your hair healthy, and to maintain the look. For me personally, the look-matinence part is fairly optional, as balayage is typically the most low-matinence style (which is why it’s recommended to colour novices so much). That said, I still had to add to my routine to keep my hair healthy and minimize damage, and for me, that means a weekly hair mask and very little heat styling. It also meant switching out my hair products for organic, colour-friendly (sulfate free) alternatives. If you’re unsure of what post-colour matience your look requires, be sure to ask your colourist. If they suggest a product, either purchase it, or ask why it’s beneficial and find an alternative that offers those same benefits with a similar ingredient list (oftentimes, the products salons suggest are expensive, so I typically opt for the seond option).
Know What You Want
Not only that, but know how to describe it to your colourist. Sometimes, the words we use to describe colours can mean a completely different thng to us than they do to professionals. For example, a common misconception is that the term “ashy” refers to cool-tones. Actually, it doesn’t. If you ask your stylist for ashy blonde, you’ll get a warmer-toned colour that may or may not walk the line of being caramel. Instead, you could say “a cool-toned blonde with grey undertones” (or whatever undertones you’re going for). Research the colour you’re going for, and know how to describe it in technical terms. Bringing in photos to your appointment can also be a huge help to the colourist, as they can use those as a point of reference.
Have any of you ever coloured your hair? What was your experience like?
CREEP ME (see my hair in all its filtered glory)!