Now that spring is finally here and days are gradually getting longer, the feeling of change is in the air. However, it doesn’t just stop there. Many of us feel like the need for change along with the seasons, and that’s where we come in! We’ve written everything you need to know before taking the plunge, and to not be afraid of changing your hair colour.
It takes a lot of bottles to change your hair colour. Most stylists agree that colour is what makes a great cut, and salon statistics seem to qualify this, with over half of us booking in for colour services. Colour can help fine hair look thicker, thick hair look shinier and, in all cases, accentuate your hair cut. Today your hair doesn’t have to suffer in the name of colour; in fact, it can improve its condition. Advanced products mean a whole range of new sophisticated effects can be achieved to create lightness, dimension, shine and shape within your haircut – and no one need ever know you’ve been near a head of foils. Most people who decide to colour their hair want it to look as natural as possible. Great natural-looking colour is all in the placement, so you really need a professional to get a professional-looking job. And by the same token, an in-depth consultation with a colour expert is crucial.
We have listed some very important steps to think about when making a change.
CHOOSING A COLOURIST
Using a home colourant may be the cheapest way to get a quick colour change, but it’s certainly not the best. There are some good home products out there, but you must know what you’re doing. Colour experts have a skilled eye and will know instantly what will and what won’t work. A professional’s expertise can guide you in the right colour direction that compliments your skin tone, lifestyle and budget. They can perform colouring techniques that would be impossible at home and eliminate the risk of any colour disasters that may occur.
ITS GOOD TO TALK
Choosing a new colour or even a subtle change shouldn’t be a hasty decision. All reputable salons will offer free in-depth advice, which is your chance to ask the questions you want answered and to air any concerns you have about changing your shade. Here’s our guide to getting the most from your consultation.
It’s quite hard to explain the colour you want without pictures, so bring them! Choose pictures off Pinterest and other platforms of hair colours and styles that you like, as well as those you don’t like, so your colourist can get on the same wavelength.
There’s no point in investing hard-earned cash to go from mousey brown to platinum blonde if you can’t afford the upkeep. You’ll be at the salon every four weeks getting your roots retouched, which can suck the life from your bank balance. You need to decide if you’re a high or low-maintenance kind of person. Find out from your hairdresser what products you can use to maintain the colour for longer.
When you go for a consultation, don’t be tempted to dress down or to ditch the make-up; your colourist needs to see the real you and will make their decision based on small clues that identify your character and personal style.
BE TRUE TO YOUR HUE AND TONE
Hair colour is lying makeup – it must stay within a certain shade range to look good with your skin tone and eye colour. The best colour changes work within two or three shades of your natural colour. Multi-tonal colour creates a natural-looking finish, but block colour is the buzzword this season for its glossy, luxurious finish.
Your hair’s texture is another factor in good colouring. Highlights are good for fine hair as they create the illusion of depth and volume, as well as slightly swelling the hair shaft to make hair thicker. All-over colour can help thick, unruly hair and curls look sleeker and smoother. Colouring your hair can make it appear thick, full and glossy. Just using different techniques that play on light and dark with lowlights and highlights can make even grey, wiry hair seem glossy.
FIND A GOOD COLURIST
While your best friend may claim to be great at home colouring, nothing beats the years of experience accumulated by a professional colourist especially if you’re a first timer. Get a recommendation, then book in for a consultation with your colourist and have a patch test before your appointment.
CUT AND COLOUR
Just as a great cut is determined by your face shape, your colour should work with your haircut and skin tone. You can achieve a lot with a good haircut, but when you add colour, it really comes to life.
COLOUR CAN MAKE YOU LOOK SEXIER
Different colouring techniques work with your haircut to flatter your face, highlighting your best features to make you look sexier. Using face-flattering tones, a colourist can make the most of your best features and give your skin a real glow.
COLOUR CAN GIVE YOU A STYLE INJECTION
If you’re stuck in a hair rut but still love your haircut, then think of colour as a fashion accessory – like a new bag to brighten up your favourite little black dress.
COLOUR CAN TURN BACK THE CLOCK
The right shade for your skin tone can make you look younger, without a needle. Okay – it won’t eliminate wrinkles, but it can give the skin a radiance that instantly makes you look fresher. So, even if you’re not quite at the surgery stage yet, who wouldn’t say yes to looking 5 years younger? If your blonde has gone mousey or you’ve spotted your first few greys, strategically placed colour, especially around the hairline, can be really flattering.
COLOUR CAN BUMP UP SHINE
Multi-tonal colour, vegetable rinses and colour enhancing shampoos work to pick out light-reflecting pigments, leaving your hair with gorgeous radiance. Colour increases shine, especially if you go for a darker shade. Light reflects off fresh brunette colour creating amazing shine, but the application of the colour itself increases shine too, as it smoothes down the cuticles on each hair. That’s why its essential to apply weekly conditioning treatments – they keep the moisture in, the cuticles flat and the hair shiny. Conditioning is especially important when you have block colour – the look is luxe, so if you pamper your hair and give it the TLC it deserves, the colour will stay glossy and true for longer.
When it comes to grey hair what are your options? It all depends on how grey you are. If you’ve just noticed a few hairs, you can ask your colourist to combine highlights and lowlights to blend them in, or you can camouflage them with a semi-permanent colour. When you make the transition from a ‘few’ to ‘too many to tone in’, you need to think about permanent colour. Remember the greyer your hair, the lighter you may need to go, but keep within a shade range that works with your skin tone and eye colour.
THE SCIENCE BIT
Deciding which shade, let alone which colour technique is best for you can be confusing if you’re dabbling for the first time but you shouldn’t be afraid. Try to determine in simple terms what effect you’re after to make sure your colourist is on the right track. Do you want your colour to be subtle, or really shout and make a statement? Do you want visible stripes or a block of colour? Again, pictures are a great point of reference, but a skilled colourist will be able to figure out the best combination and placement of colour for you.
YOUR COLOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
HOW DOES MY SKIN TONE AFFECT THE COLOUR I WANT TO GO?
Most people suit a neutral tone – not too warm and not too cool. Pink skins don’t suit gold or orange tones and olive skins don’t suit blue based colours as in cool tones. A good consultation will take all these factors into consideration.
WILL COLOUR COVER MY GREY?
Permanent colourants will cover up grey, and highlights will also help to blend grey hair into your natural hair colour. Speak to your colourist as soon as you spot your first grey hair and discuss the best options for you.
WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIGHLIGHTS AND LOWLIGHTS?
Highlights lighten your hair and lowlights darken to add dimension. People often use highlights to describe blonde and lowlights to describe any other colour, but both are a partial colour technique and will vary depending on your base shade.
It’s inevitable that all hair dyes will eventually fade, but you can take steps to minimise the fading process and help retain that ‘just stepped out the salon shine’. It’s important to treat your hair with extra care once you’ve had your colour appointment. Specialist colour maintenance shampoos and conditioners are designed to get the most out of your hair colour and keep it looking shiny and fresh. Avoid over-washing your colour treated hair as this will also encourage fading. If you can, wash your hair three times a week only. The best way to give your shade a boost between appointments is to invest in a colour deposit shampoo, which will pep-up your shade with a small amount of pigment, or pop back for a gloss treatment to enhance the colour slightly and add lots of shine.
Protect your colour investment with products formulated to care for chemically treated locks.
Here are our 5 top colour products that HAIR recommends:
Dr Organic Guava Shampoo and Conditioner RRP £6.99 each
JOICO K-Pak Color Therapy Luster Lock Glossing Oil RRP £22.70