Dye Your Hair Like a Pro- Part 2

Choosing the Right Shade for You

hair color shadesWhen choosing a color, use your skin tone, eye color and original hair color as a guideline. “Women with very fair hair, light eyes and fair skin who want to go lighter should try cool tones like platinum, wheat, champagne or even pale silvery grays,” suggests Aura. “These tones all work well with their complexion. They should just stay away from warm shades with yellow in them since yellow enhances pink in the skin and will make porcelain complexions look ghastly.”

For women with dark hair and dark eyes, Aura prefers tinted highlights as a gentler option for a light, sun-kissed look that is flattering against darker skin tones. “The painted on light brown highlights are stunning. They’re not brassy. They’re soft, subtle, very natural-looking and just give you a glow. You can literally do six months without touching it up.”

Natural redheads are a rarity and Aura is loath to drastically change their gorgeous, natural shade. “If you want to kick up natural red hair, add golden or strawberry blond highlights but you shouldn’t go lighter than that,” says Aura. “And, if you want to enrich it, glosses are a nice way to enhance the natural color.” Generally, going red is not a problem for women with darker hues. “Since the underlying pigment for brown hair is naturally orange, it is usually not an issue when dying your hair red. Problems occur when you want to go lighter,” says Aura. “I use higher ammonia content than peroxide when I paint on highlights. Because what happens with peroxide, the higher the percentage, the more drying it is to the hair and the more underlying pigment you’re exposing it to. And for brown hair, it’s that brassy orange color.”

Tips for Coloring Hair at Home:

  • For long hair, buy two boxes so you have enough dye.
  • As a rule, when applying your own hair color at home, stick to one to two shades lighter than your natural color. For anything more drastic, it is wiser to seek the help of a professional colorist to minimize damage.
  • Be aware that the hairs along your hairline are naturally finer than the rest of your texture. Thus, use a slightly lighter formula along the hairline than the rest of your head for a more natural and less flat, obviously-dyed look.
  • Do a strand test to preview results and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Since the tips of your hair are more porous and absorb color quickly, work the dye from your roots to your ends so the color will be absorbed evenly.
  • Wear gloves when distributing the color so your hands won’t be a mess.

Tips for Caring for Color-Treated Hair

Don’t use sulfate shampoos. They will strip the hair. Use moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoos instead for a conditioning cleanse. Aura likes Shu Uemura Color Lustre Sulfate-Free Brilliant Glaze Shampoo ($48).

Deep condition often. Coloring your hair will make it look pretty, but it isn’t necessarily healthy for your tresses. The process damages your cuticle layer, leading to dryness, breakage and a dull, coarse appearance. Use a hydrating, repair mask or deep conditioner to nourish and restore some of the softness, luster and life.

Strengthen your hair. Coloring can weaken and damage the hair; thus, strengthening it is important. Aura recommends treating your hair with an Olaplex treatment once a week. “Olaplex adds links to the disulfide sulfur bonds in your hair,” explains Aura. “The disulfide sulfur bond of the hair is the rope that keeps the hair together. When you color your hair, you’re essentially breaking the bonds by creating gaps. This product fills those gaps by adding links to the bonds, which in turn makes your hair stronger.”

Limit heat styling. “Heat opens up the cuticles and when the cuticles open up, the color molecules fly out,” says Aura. So, use leave-in conditioners or protectant oils to seal the color in and prevent it from fading when blowdrying, curling or flat ironing your hair. Try Shu Uemura Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Thermo-Milk ($38).

Extend your touch-ups. Because curly/oily hair grows in a spiral formation, it takes a longer time for your natural root color to be noticeable. Plus, dark roots can help balance out a lighter color on darker skin tones.

Try a gloss treatment. Gloss treatments add shine and luster, keeping your color looking fresher and healthier-looking longer.

Protect your hair from the sun. “Leave-in conditioners are great because they coat the hair by creating a barrier that protects your mane from the sun,” raves Aura. SPF sprays work, too. And hats are another chic option.