Dye Basics

Read this before coloring your hair!
by Jennie Llamas-Garcia   |  Sep 25, 2011
photography by Ken Go
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Itching for a change but not quite ready to commit to the permanence of a haircut? Then hit the bottle—the hair color bottle, that is—and get ready to turn heads!

Cool or Warm?
Changing the shade of your hair is actually quite simple, but the steps leading up to the actual act are quite complex. First, determine your tone category:

Cool

  • Eyes – dark brown, brown
  • Hair – blue black, deepest coffee brown, medium golden brown, medium ash brown
  • Skin – very brown, true olive (most Asians), medium with pale cheeks, medium with golden undertones, medium with faint pink cheeks

Warm

  • Eyes – golden brown, light brown
  • Hair – deep brown with gold or red highlights
  • Skin – brown with pink undertones, brown with golden undertones, pale with peach or golden undertones

 

Choosing Color
Next, choose your color. Remember that hair dye works with your base (natural) shade, so your results might not come out exactly as you wish—especially if you’ve got black hair.

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Cool - Ash browns and blonds, reds, burgundies, purples, or raven black
Warm
- Dark warm browns, warm golden browns, golden blonds, or auburn

 

Home or Salon?
Lastly, ask yourself if you want to DIY or go pro. This question is best answered by determining what you really want. If you want to go darker and color your entire head, then the box is your best option. But if you want to go lighter, or maybe just get some highlights, then the salon is the place you should be.

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DECODING TERMS

  • Permanent: Base color is lifted and a new color is deposited. Hair can actually be lightened but only slightly. No chance for removal at home.
  • Semi-permanent: Color pigment only reaches the outer layer of hair. Base color cannot be lifted, neither can it lighten your hair. It washes out after several shampoos.
  • Deposit-only color: This is the gentlest of all dyes. A translucent shade or glaze is added to hair to simply enhance natural hair color.
  • Single-process: Hair color is lifted and deposited at the same time (suitable for at-home coloring).
  • Double-process: Hair is bleached and then tinted to get the exact color desired. Warning: This must only be done at a salon.
  • Virgin hair: Hair that’s never been colored.

 

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Remember: Though it’s generally safe to color your hair, always do a strand test first to see if you’re allergic 

DIY Tip: Apply petroleum jelly along hairline so dye doesn’t seep into skin.

REAX!
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About the author
Jennie Llamas-Garcia
Former Beauty Editor, Candy
jennie@candymag.com
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