Step-by-Step at Home Color
- Do a small test piece. Use a plastic spoon to mix half a teaspoon of color and half a teaspoon of developer in a glass or plastic container. Pull out a section of hair from behind one ear. Put on the gloves that come in the kit and saturate the hair with the formula. Wait the allotted time, then rinse and blow-dry hair. If the color looks too dark or wrong for your skin tone, check the directions to make sure you did it right; if you did, you'll need to start over using a shade closer to your own color.
- Once you've had success with the test piece. Divide hair into four sections; part it down the center and across the head from ear to ear. Pin each section up with hair clips. Smooth petroleum jelly along your hairline to prevent the dye from staining your skin. Mix the color and the developer.
- Unclip a section from the front and saturate it with dye, working in quarter-inchpieces. Apply color evenly from roots to ends, getting as close to the scalp as possible without touching skin. Reclip the saturated hair and move to the other front section, then the two back ones. Use a hand mirror to make sure the back is thoroughly covered. Find that tricky? 'Get a friend to help apply it to the back', suggests Licari!
- Pile all of your hair on top of your head and wait for the color to develop (typically, it should take about 25 minutes).
- Rinse your hair thoroughly in the shower until the water runs clear. Apply conditioner for color-treated hair (many kits come with it) and leave it in for three to five minutes. Dry hair and style as usual.
If you have dark hair that's less than one-third gray, use a semipermanent color that matches, or is just lighter than, your base color. The gray hair will look slightly lighter than the rest of your hair, but it will blend in better. Semipermanet color contains less peroxide, so it's less damaging says colorist Giselle. 'It also fades gradually, so there's no line of demarcation'. If you have lighter hair, or it's dark and more than two-thirds gray, opt for a permanent color with an ashy tone, recommends colorist Rita Hazan of N.Y.C. In addition to subtly brightening your base color, 'it makes your grays look like blonder highlights,' she says. Need a quick fix? Camouflage roots with temporary touchup products such as color mark or lrene gari touch-up (above).
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