Hair colour: salon or DIY?

Hair colour is a great way to update your looks but it needs to be done properly. Find out when to have it done at the salon and when it is safe to colour your hair at home.

Head to the salon: if you are grey already
This is the most difficult to colour because there’s no pigment in the base to lift, so a yellow or beige colour often looks fake. You need the expertise of a creative colourist.

A hot new salon colour by L’Oréal Professionnel is the first anti-ageing hair colour called Color Supreme, designed for covering 80 to 100 per cent grey. It adds natural light reflects and gives a multi-tonal colour that gives the effect of boosting the volume and density of your hair, plus softening waxes and smoothing ceramides to boost its condition too. You can also vary the effect – from a whole head of hair to a subtle veil of colour over the top.

If you want natural-looking highlights
Colouring techniques are so sophisticated these days that hand-painted, freehand “baliage” effects look great whatever length of hair you have.

However, they work best on medium and short styles, and even all-over colours have levels of tone and depth of colour and add three-dimensional shine and gloss that old colourants couldn’t achieve. But although there are a growing number of home highlighting kits now available, they can’t replace these creative techniques from a clever colourist. As a rule, though, short hair carries off full colour better than longer hair. If you have medium-length to long hair, highlights – especially around the face – are very flattering.

Colour your hair at home: If you’re playing with colour
Wash-in-wash-out temporary colour like Wella Shaders & Toners, £7.75 for six, last for a couple of washes, but would be classified as a tint or vegetable colour for at least £25 if you went into a salon, so are well-worth trying at home.

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If your roots need redoing
You can only expect your colour to last about four weeks before your roots start to show – albeit darker, lighter or greyer than the colour that’s been put in.

A quick trick is to use Garnier Belle Color Target Grey Kit, £4.49 at your pharmacy, a touch-up kit for stray hairs and roots that develops colour within ten minutes. This permanent colour and brush makes it easy to hide obvious regrowth (along your parting, hairline and crown). Or try Schwarzkopf’s more temporary Colorsite Root Retoucher, £7.99, an innovative colour applicator pen that covers regrowth instantly but lasts for just two or three washes.

Home-colour kits have come a long way in the past few years and are perfect for busy people and those who want to cut out the cost of professional colouring. Some great hair colouring kits that offer glossier and more conditioning colour than ever before include L’Oréal Casting Crème Gloss Conditioning Colour, £7.99; and the bestselling permanent colouring – Garnier Nutrisse Cream, £6.49, or Clairol Nice ‘n Easy Colour-blend Technology, £4.79.

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