Most people are looking for low maintenance hair colour that
looks natural. Here are some techniques for just that:
First Rule Of Colour - Hair
Colour Is Not Hair Paint
Colour, as we perceive it, is actually the reflection of
light off of the coloured pigments in the hairshaft. This
"reflection of light" is what we see as "colour".
The shade of
colour is made up of the different combinations of
reflections of light off of the coloured pigments.
This is why hair colour appears different under fluorescent
lights than in natural sunlight whether it is colour from
nature or from a bottle.
Levels: What They Are And How
They Impact Hair Colour
Levels are the degree of "lightness or darkness"
of a colour that is "reflected or seen" by the
eye. Hair colour is assigned a Level 'number' from1 to 10
with 1 being black and 10 lightest blonde.
In other words, black reflects very little light and
lightest blonde reflects the greatest amount of light. A
level 10 blonde would be 'two steps lighter' than a level 8
blonde. This system of levels applies to all colours and
almost all brands commonly found.
How Hair Is Lightened
The 'new' hair colour is a combination of your old colour
level and tone (referred to as our 'base' colour) and the
new colour that is deposited into the hair, you must take
into account what happens when you lighten or lift the base
colour to another level and deposit the new pigments into
the hair shaft.
Always Do A Strand Test
A strand test is a reliable way to "preview" the
new colour. At this time adjustments can be made to the hair
colour formula to either add or subtract colours to enhance
or cancel different undertones in the test strands.
Do not be afraid of doing more than one test strand before
doing overall colour and always do it on uncoloured hair.
The length of time that the colour mixture is left on can
also be varied to change results. Always thoroughly dry the
test strand to check for proper colour and breakage/damage.
- Mix one
teaspoon of colour and one teaspoon of developer
(peroxide) in a glass bowl.
- Apply the
mixture to the roots or ends to determine the outcome.
You can protect the test strand from the other hair by
wrapping a piece of tin foil around the strand and
securing it with a clip.
- Time the
process according to package directions, then rinse and
dry the strand.
- Look at it
in different types of light to see if you like it.
Before colouring it is best to practice parting off thin
parts of hair 1/4 to 1/2 inch in width depending on the
density of the hair.
In the case of thick long hair, get a friend to help. A
clarifying treatment to remove buildup in the hair should
always be done before colouring. Always follow the
On long hair, the ends are always more porous than the rest.
Apply colour to the mid lengths from about 1 inch from the
scalp and then the ends.
Follow this procedure because the scalp will process faster
due to the heat of the body and the insulating effect of
long hair on the scalp. Here there is no help like
Even just doing the test strands or working on your friends
will teach an amateur colourist a lot.....if you will be
observant and patient.
Very thick, long hair, may have to be coloured in sections,
rinsed and the uncoloured hair dried to allow colour to be
applied to the rest.
Be sure not to re-colour already coloured hair and observe
Is there a way to soften gray
hair without completely covering it up?
A reverse frost or low lighting process can soften the
appearance of gray hair. A frosting cap or foil technique
can be used. A reverse frost or low lighting can be
selecting a shade close to the natural colour. Always follow
manufacturers mixing and timing directions. Semi permanent
hair colour is an excellent choice when going darker.
of gray blending: Those with 50% gray or less want to
blend but not cover the gray completely. Softens gray and
blends it in gently when using a shade that is lighter or
similar to the natural shade. Adds richness and dimension
without a heavy re-growth. Consider leaving some of the
temple area gray—helps to keep the look very natural.
For those who want the I’ve just been to the beach look
you might want to highlight. Here are some tips on
highlighting short hair: Highlighting short hair is easy and
fun. Simply blow-dry the hair standing up as much as
possible (you can apply a small amount of styling gel). Take
your hair colour or bleach on the end of a comb or on the
tips of your gloved fingers and moisten the tips with colour.
Apply the colour liberally so that the tips are moist with
colour and process until desired lightness is achieved.
What else can I do about gray
No, it's not your imagination. Some gray hairs -- especially
coarse hairs, prematurely gray hairs and gray hairs around
the temples and hairlines -- are especially resistant to
colour or quicker to lose colour than other gray hairs. Try
the following suggestions:
- Apply colour
to gray areas first. (This gives resistant gray hairs
more time to absorb colour.)
- Leave colour
on longer. (Adjust your timing and try it first in the
strand test. Grays could take up to 45 minutes to colour.)
your hair colour level. (If your grays still show up
even after you've adjusted the timing on your semi- or
demi-permanent colour, you might consider going up a