When we heard reports that Susan Boyle recently showed up to the British show The X Factor with fire engine red hair-the result of a dye job she did herself gone awry-we thought it was a good time for some tips on how to color like a pro. (For those of you who still think it's a dinky substitute for professional color, even salon lines, such as Frédéric Fekkai, now offer kits.) While highlights and drastic changes should stay in the salon, single-process color is totally do-able, if you follow these tips.
- Pick a color no more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural shade (to cover grays, go with the color that most closely matches your own). For hair that's longer than shoulder length, buy two boxes so you have enough.
- If you hair is naturally curly or wavy, blow-dry it straight before coloring-it'll be easier to distribute the color evenly.
- Apply the color on an inch-wide section of hair from the nape of your neck and on another hidden section of hair at your crown. This way, you'll get a preview of the results before you have a Susan Boyle situation on your hands.
- Don't squeeze the dye directly on your ends-they're more porous and will absorb more color, making them too light or too dark. Instead, spread the dye from your roots to a few inches above your ends, then run your fingers through your hair to work the dye down through the bottom.
- Always use your gloved fingers-never a comb-to spread the color. Dye opens up the hair cuticle, making it vulnerable to breakage.
- Don't slap your regular hair dye on gray hairs or regrowth between colorings-the color won't match. Instead, use a root touch-up kit (Clairol and Revlon make good ones). They're designed to match your color when it's faded after a few weeks.
Here are 5 Tips for Protecting Your Haircolor.
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