Hold it right there sister! Yes you, in the color aisle at Wal-Mart. Drop the Clairol box and back away...that's it. I know, I know, you were broke and desperate. Don't worry help is here. Just glad we got here in time.
Believe it or not hair color is one of the things that inspired me to start this blog. I have witnessed way too many bad color jobs walking around, at least I am hoping they were a result of an at home attempt and not a professional beautician. Some people might think by me giving you tips on coloring your own hair, it would be taking business away from myself. I don't agree. Great chefs still go out for dinner right? First, I will advise that if you can afford it, you really should let someone professional color your hair. Your stylist will be able to suggest the right color, and techniques are changing all the time that can keep you up-to-date. Highlight and/or lowlights are very hard to do yourself, and I do not recommend messing with lightener (bleach) without knowing exactly what you are doing.
If you are just wanting to color gray or go a shade or two darker or lighter, you can do it yourself but let me give you a few tips. First the basics. Hair ranges in shade from 1 to 10, 1 being blackest black 10 being the lightest blonde. Hair color is mixed with different volumes of developer depending on the lift or deposit desired. I honestly do not know what level is in the boxes at retail stores, probably 20volume, it is sort of universal. I usually use 10 volume to darken, unless covering a lot of gray then I go ahead with 20 to lift the gray hair. If you are dark brown you are not likely to get a pretty shade of light blonde from a box. So, when you go to buy color don't just look at the picture or read the name of the color. Look for a color level, I think they all have it on the box. Also, I have never needed to check, but I will bet each company has a website and toll free number you can call for advice.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with hair color is not knowing that color will not lift color. If you apply hair color and the result is too dark, you can not get another box of something lighter. Now you have to go into "bleaching" to correct it, or wait til it lightens with shampooing. This is where "color correction" starts and will cost you a small fortune at a salon. That is why I go back to my first advice, get it done professionally if you can. Some people are just out to make a lot of money, I am out to help a woman look her best. Even though color correction can be very lucrative it is difficult and damaging to your hair. Oh, that reminds me of one more thing. If you do anything yourself and then go to a salon, tell your stylist everything you have done. If I think your hair is that brown shade naturally (although I can usually tell) and you don't tell me you colored it and I try to lift with color, you are probably going to turn out Bozo orange. Or brown with a nice orange part.
Trust me, I am not trying to discourage you from coloring your hair. A new color, or a richer version of your natural color can be a great pick-me-up and also helps to soften your hair. A big part of feeling good is knowing you look good. But, once again, I see constant reminders that doing it yourself without knowing what you are doing can be disastrous. I will be more than happy to answer any questions you have about this subject, if I don't know the answer I will try and find it for you.
Speaking of hair color, I will end with something very funny a friend of mine said one time. (she was blonde, I will throw that in first) We were talking about hair color and she said "Oh I don't have to color my hair, I just do the roots" hhmm and if those roots kept growing?? lol