November 21, 2011

Choosing Your Color Shade

Today I thought I would put my good hairstylist tricks to work and help you all who color your hair find the perfect shade!

When picking a new hair color there are many things to consider: skin tone, cool or warm tones, and what you wear for make up and clothing.  It's also important to consider if you are willing to commit to a color that might need to be touched up every 6-8 weeks or if you want a more easy going color.  I'm going to try to lay out some basic steps for you to help you figure out which color will be best for you!

Step 1: Determine your hair's natural shade.  Natural hair color falls on a number system scale.  2 is the darkest black going up to 10 which is the lightest blonde.  We call these levels.  The easiest way to determine your level is to look at these swatches and look at your own hair under the most natural light possible.  Sunlight is best.

<----10 to 2---->

Step 2: After determining your natural level, decide if you'd like to go lighter or darker.  Usually 2 shades darker or lighter won't give you any problems if you are using box color.  If you want to go much lighter or darker, I would suggest professional color.  And remember, it's always easier to go darker than lighter!

Step 3: Now determine what shade you want.  This ranges from warm to cool including gold, brown, red, and yellow.  Most box colors, no matter what they say, will almost always give you a warm color.  It's because of the type of dye and developer they use along with some other "chemically stuff" so I won't bore you with that.  Just know, that if you're looking for something cool or ash, you might not get it, especially if you're going lighter.  I'll talk about that in a second.

Step 4: So now that you have your level and shade, it's time to get started!  If you are going darker, start in the front of your hair!  It's easiest to part your hair in 4 sections (like a T) and color the front two sections and then the back.  If you are going lighter, start in the back.  This is because the sun naturally lightens the front part of the hair.  Do you ever notice when people have highlights just around the front hairline?  It's to mimic what the sun does!

Step 5: Wait the allotted amount of time, rinse, shampoo, and condition as usual.  And I'll even give you a tip: if you have color on your skin or ears around your hairline, take some shampoo (before anything gets wet) and rub it into your skin.  It will help you not get that dreaded color line.  Or better yet, apply some conditioner to your hairline and ears before you even start.  It acts as a base so you won't get color on your skin!

Step 6: Dry and style your hair as usual and admire your new color!

Tips and Tricks: 

  • The darker you hair is, the more pigment it has.  When you go lighter in color, the lightener (fancy word for bleach) has to "eat" away all that pigment to get to the shade you want.  When this happens, the hair goes from dark brown, to dark orange, to orange...etc, until you get to blonde or caramel.  This is why I suggested that if you want to go super light, it should be done professionally.  And this is also why I said that if you're going for "cool tones", and you have dark hair, it might end up being a little warmer than you thought.  It's because of that underlying pigment.
  • If you want to do highlights or the ombre effect, you will need some other tools (color brushes and bowls), foil, and lightener.  Paint the sections of hair you want lightened, holding the brush vertically.  This will help your hair to not have a solid line of color.  It will look more blended if the color is applied sparingly where you want the color to start.  Visit my post here if you want to know more about the difference between ombre and balayage.  Visit my post here if you're ready to take the plunge on how to DIY Ombre or Balayage.  
So there you have it!  Tips for choosing your own color and how to apply it so you get the best results!  If you're interested in what hair color will look best for your natural hair type, visit my specific coloring posts on Blondes, Brunettes, and Redheads.

All pictures are courtesy of Google Search; Last two photos are mine


The Key To Chic said...

Such great tips! I used to color at home, but now I go to a salon. In fact, I just had my hair done this morning :)

Belle de Couture said...

Great tips and pics!


terhi said...

My own hair is mousy =) and I used to have light stripes, when the hair was short. Then bleached it all for many years. And now I use henna, natural green henna - it was popular when I was young a long time ago and does good to your hair: makes it shiny and alive! Maybe it is a color too strong for me but so far I've been happy with it!

White List said...

Great post!!! You've got a great blog here!!!

strat said...

You look more stunning now!

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