Go ahead and gloat about mastering great at-home color with pro tips they never put on the back of a drugstore box.
1. Try Before Your Dye
You really can't tell if a haircolor will flatter you just by staring at that mind-boggling wall of home kits. (And why do so many of the models on the boxes look like they've been bonked on the head?) Nikki Ferrara, a colorist at Sally Hershberger Salon Downtown in New York City, has a better idea: Sample wigs at a beauty supply store. "The right shade will bring out the color of your eyes and warm up your skin," she says. Once you hit the jackpot, look for a match at the drugstore.
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2. Soothe Your Scalp
It's an old trade secret: Protect a sensitive scalp from the chemicals in hair dye by adding two packets of Sweet'N Low and an ounce of skim milk to your color formula before applying. We don't know why, but it works.
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3. Shine Like a Star
If you're blonde (or blonde-ish): Try the halo effect. "Going lighter on top creates a sun-kissed look," Ferrara says. Spot-lighten with John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Controlled Lightening Spray, $9.99, which is activated when exposed to the heat of your blow-dryer. If you're not: Great news! A more vibrant color doesn't always require highlights. Go rich with a monochromatic shade. To keep it from looking flat, choose a warm (think auburn, not ash) tone.
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4. Use a New Klutz-Proof Forumula
Foam dyes make for easy cleanup: no drips! Better yet, these products puff up like mousse, so they're simple to spread on without missing a spot. Three to try: Clairol Nice 'N Easy Color Blend Foam, $10; Samy Fat Foam Permanent Hair Color, $9.99; L'Oréal Paris Healthy Look Sublime Mousse, $9.99.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.