Jul 22, 2009

A New Hue for Less!

Skip your next salon appointment. Your new colorist is looking at you in the mirror.

Your bathroom may not look like your salon but it is. DIY tips to coloring away your imperfections.

In these tough economic times it seems like even getting a hair cut every three months is a bit of a luxury. So it comes as no surprise that most people are looking to save their pennies when it comes to coloring their hair. Getting your color revamped every few months by a professional is always ideal but it adds up quickly and sometimes means sacrificing other mind body & soul necessities. So before you start sacrificing your bi-weekly pilates classes for a colorist’s monthly touch, consider the merits of at-home coloring kits. With the right information and research it's very possible to not only do it successfully but also have it look like its been done by Louis Licari (or at least by his wildly-talented long-lost twin!).

Do your homework on the look you want and products you're going to use. Save dramatic color changes for trips to the salon. Embodying Ashlee Simpson's seamless transition from golden sun-kissed blond to fiery-rocker-chick red would be fun, but that kind of care can only be handled by a professional. Stay within your color range by at least two levels (darker or lighter). Anything more extreme will change the tones that compliment your complexion and not necessarily work with your skin.

Here looking like a quintessential beach blonde beauty.   Crimson locks & a rockstar hubby added just the right amount of  "street-cred."

Finding Your Hair's Prince Charming

Just like your own undertones, your mane has natural undertones in cools and warms. People with warm tones tend to have darker skin while cools have fairer features. If you're a cool choose box tints with "ash, light, or cool" on them, while warm tones need "golden, butterscotch and rich" hues.

Look at online color charts. Clairol and L'Oréal have comprehensive guides and experts to help guide you along. Clairol even has a "try it on" feature which enables you to see how you'd look with different styles and shades. Also Ask your hairstylist for advice on which color or brand is best suited for you. Since you're an amateur, DIY tinting should only be done with semi-permanent, single-processed or color-deposited dyes.

With all this information, how do you choose your glass slipper; the package that's going to change your hair's life? In an interview with O magazine, Clairol Color Director and Co-Owner of NYC's Ted Gibson Salon, Jason Backe, has a few suggestions: "If you're covering grays try Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Color Treatment ($7.50). For a root touch-up, opt for Clairol's Nice 'n Easy Root Touch-Up ($7) but if you want to alter your hue choose a semi-permanent dye like L'Oréal ColorSpa Moisture Actif, ($8)."All brands are available at your local drugstore.

Keep your grays away with this powerhouse.

All you need is 10 minutes to recharge your color.

This one-click applicator boosts your hair's natural color

We also love Feria Haircolor by L'Oreal ($10, drugstore.com). The inexpensive brand has a variety of shades to choose from and leaves your hair hydrated and silky. Nandini Giridharadas, a pottery teacher from Bethesda MD who regularly uses Feria to cover her grays, swears by L'Oreal saying "the conditioner is so moisturizing and the shade (Dark-Golden-Brown) is perfect for my hair and skin tone".

The hues come out looking incredibly vibrant.

Erica Corsano, Editorial-Director at Stuff Magazine-Boston, adores Frederic Fekkai's Salon Hair-Color ($30-Sephora). For someone as busy as her (I was narrowly able to squeeze in an interview with her in-between the charity-fashion show she had just participated and blind-date she was heading out for), time is of the essence. Although Corsano sees a colorist, she mixes in using the hair-color kit because the color looks amazing, its so quick and easy to use and perfect for covering grays in between salon trips.

The "brush and bowl" technique allows for thorough and precise blending.

Gather the tools you'll need for your mission. Find an old t-shirt, a timer, rubber gloves, brushes, clips to section off your hair, old towels and a hand mirror to look at the back of your head. Keep your strands unwashed as your scalp's natural oils act as a buffer to any irritants. Wait two weeks to color if you've bleached, permed or relaxed your tresses. In an interview done with Elle, Adrian Wallace, Celebrity-Colorist at NYC's Rita Hazan Salon recommends using Phyto's Phytonectar-Oil $30, Sephora) if you're locks are damaged. The nourishing treatment helps strengthen and moisturize your hair by restoring the amino acids lost from over-processing, using soybean and egg yolk and corn oil extracts.

Practice Makes Perfect!

It wouldn't fly if your colorist hadn't practiced before working on you, would it? It's no different for you, especially if you've never colored your own mane. Use gloves, a brush and conditioner to mimic the motion used from root to tip. Test a small patch of hair to see if you like the tint. Look at the color in bright natural light. You can make adjustments or mix colors at that point.

Use Vaseline on the outer edge of your hairline to prevent the dye from staining your forehead. If you do end up staining your skin use Roux Clean Touch Hair-Color Stain Remover ($3.39, amazon.com). Apply color to the front sections first and then work your way back since the front tends to be lightest. Reverse the procedure if you're lightening your tresses. Section off your locks into clips to help evenly distribute the dye. If mixing the solution is required, do so, then pour the contents into a plastic bowl. Use a brush as an applicator instead of a bottle as the brush is easier to spread the concoction evenly. If your hair is very long or thick, ask a friend for help. Each section needs to be colored, conditioned and dried separately so you'll need assistance. Leave the formula on for the exact time recommended and follow all directions closely including rinsing out mixture and using a color seal glaze. Don't shampoo again till at least 12 hours later and only use lukewarm water to protect the color from fading. Redo in four to six weeks.

The solution will help remove stains from your clothes.

Also try Avon Grey Root Touch-Up. ($5, avon.com) It’s easy to use, available in a ton of shades and incredibly affordable. Bonus: Throw it in your bag for a rush-hour commute application.

The mascara wand-like applicator is an industry favorite, winning a CEW Insider's Choice Award. For a natural alternative Wallace likes vegetable dyes, like Herbavita ($10.34, online at amazon.com), sold at health food stores. They're great for pregnant women and clients looking to deepen their color at home. Get a box one shade lighter as they tend to come out darker than they appear.

John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze Clear Shine ($9.99, drugstores) Celebrity colorists love this shine-inducing treatment. It gives a jolt of shimmer and leaves your new color rich and supple.

Try Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo in Blond and Silver ($5.90, amazon.com). Wallace uses this favorite on his famous blonds (like Alicia Silverstone) because it “wont stain the hair but keeps highlights fresh by counteracting any brassiness”.

Frederic Fekkai's Sunshine Shield ($ 22, beauty.com) protects your tint from fading and keeps it lustrous. Use a UV protecting spray after you've colored it to keep your hair looking brilliant.

This fragrant smelling spray will help your color last longer and protect your roots and ends. Ken Paves Healthy Hair Boost Up Color Drops ($ 40, beauty.com) has conditioning agents like soy to boost proteins and make your color richer. The famed stylist uses these drops to maintain the chestnut hues and honey-gold's of Eva Longoria and Jessica Simpson.

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