6 Don’ts for Preventing Hair Color Disaster

6 Don’ts for Preventing Hair Color Disaster

Coloring your hair? Try these tips to keep your strands looking gorgeous.

By Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Coloring your hair can be an amazing and transformative experience. However, as with any beauty routine, there are good ways to go about it and not-so-good ways. For example: Highlights can look fabulous, but if you don’t condition them, or if you try to go too light in one process, you’ll end up with less-flattering streaks of dry, brittle hair framing your face.

Dena Gardella, a colorist with Hopscotch Salon in Greenwich, Connecticut, has more than 10 years of experience. And in that time, she’s seen more than her share of messy coloring jobs and hair in bad shape. Here, she offers her five most important don’ts for coloring your hair, whether you opt for at-home hair color or a salon trip.

1. Don’t over-process. It’s easy to leave dye on your hair for longer than the recommended time, especially when highlighting. Or you may visit a salon too often, because you don’t want to see roots. But committing these two hair sins can leave your tresses looking dull and frazzled. “A good rule of thumb is to wait four to six weeks between touching up your roots and every eight weeks for highlights,” says Gardella.

2. Don’t aim for an unrealistic shade (in one shot). In order to achieve the most natural-looking results, you never want to steer too far from your natural color. “Anything more than two shades lighter, you need to be prepared to visit the salon every four weeks,” says Gardella.

So, if you’re trying to go from Goth black to California blonde with an in-home coloring kit, you may need to dye your hair twice in a row. “If you want to make your color more than two shades lighter than what it is, it’s not going to be the result you desire with just a box of color,” Gardella says.

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3. Don’t put off cutting your hair. Long hair is gorgeous when it’s well-maintained, meaning trimmed at least every few months. But because colored hair is, inherently, chemically treated, it’s likely to split more easily, and therefore, always looks better with fresh ends. “When your hair is colored, you must not neglect the cut,” says Gardella. “If you want to keep it long, try slight trims, but do them more often.”

4. Avoid going “ashy.” While the white-blonde, ice princess look is “in,” icy tones often contrast harshly with most women’s skin tone and can offset its warm glow. And the last thing anyone wants is a hair color that ages them! “As you age, warm tones keep your skin glowing and looking vibrant,” says Gardella. “Gold reflects more shine and light than ash tones.”

5. Choose the right shampoo and conditioner. Aim for lower-sulfate shampoos. In other words, look for labels that indicate a shampoo or conditioner is designed for “colored” or “chemically treated” hair. “They help to prevent breakage and split ends,” says Gardella.

6. Don’t forget your vitamins. “Great hair starts from within,” says Gardella. “So make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.” Specifically, you might want to consider a multivitamin with biotin, which promotes hair (and nail!) strength. Always check with your doctor before taking a new supplement.


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What are your personal don’ts for at-home hair coloring?

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is a freelance writer and guitar teacher who lives with her husband and two young sons in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Images ©iStock.com/Squaredpixels (2); ©iStock.com/powerofforever ; ©iStock.com/RapidEye; ©iStock.com/aldomurillo

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