How To Color Your Hair At Home

Directions and how to color your hair at home, with the most important tips.

A surprising number of women color their hair on a regular basis, with many teens as well experimenting with hair color, dye, and highlights. Some ladies prefer to spent $40 or $50 at a salon for a professional touch. Others spend $5 or $6 at the drugstore and do the job themselves at home.

If you are in the latter group or are considering doing your own hair color in the future, here are a few recommended guidelines:

1. Carefully read all of the instructions first. These will be found on the external package in general form and on the inside directions in greater detail. If you don't understand some of the terms or explanations, call the toll-free number to speak with a hair color consultant. Directions often are posted in Spanish, too, and sometimes in French or German.

2. Conduct all preliminary tests as outlined. This includes a sample strand test, typically, which asks you to color a small strand of hair before applying all the product to your head to see how the color takes and how it compares with your natural color. If the strand doesn't hold the tint, or if it clashes with your complexion, you may want to consider other shades. The second test requires a sample spot of color on the inside of your elbow for 48 hours, checking for redness, itching, or burning or other possible allergy or sensitivity symptoms. If the color sample becomes irritated or develops a rash, don't use this product and contact the company for a refund.

3. Prepare your hair beforehand. Wash your hair at least 12 to 24 hours before you plan to color. Applying the product any sooner than that does not give your scalp enough time to produce adequate oil for protection during the coloring process. Avoid creating a buildup of styling gel or other products that may interfere with the coloring application. Don't over brush it or get a permanent near the time you plan to color your hair.

4. Apply the tint thoroughly, work it in completely, and remove promptly in the designated amount of time, usually 20 to 45 minutes. Be sure to apply the color evenly, not overlooking the ends of your hair or the nape of your neck. You may want to comb it through for uniformity, as opposed to relying on your gloved hands, which can feel awkward. Cover with the provided plastic cap to supply gentle heat that can enhance the coloring process.

5. Remove the product by rinsing thoroughly until the water runs clear. Then add the packet of conditioner (some products may include this within the color solution) and rinse again, finally drying and combing your hair as usual. As it dries, check the color for evenness of application and uniformity of the shade.

You may want to have a friend help you apply the color. Or you may decide that it's easier to visit a salon for this treatment. When you decide which route to go, plan on reapplying color every four to six weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows.

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