At Home Hair Colour: How to Get Great-Looking Hair on a Budget

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I am no stranger to colouring hair at home. My aunt owns a salon, so I get free salon-colouring whenever I feel like it, but sometimes I just feel like trying out new hair colours at the pharmacy or get introduced to this new hair colouring fad that I have to try. So what I'm saying really, is that I am no stranger to both salon-colouring and at-home colouring. I also get great advice from my aunt as to the do's and don't's of at-home hair colouring.

I was sent a John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Colour kit a while back, and I decided that I would write this post around it, to share with everyone my experience with hair colouring.

Firstly, I want to share the differences between at-home hair colouring and salon hair colouring. When you dye your hair at home, you need to do a lot of work setting up. You will need:
  • An old towel and washcloth - to place around your shoulders and to clean up any drips
  • A comb to ensure that the hair dye is evenly spread
  • An area without carpets or light tiles so that any hair dye that falls down can be cleaned up without staining the area
  • To deep-condition your hair a few days (a week is better) beforehand, to ensure minimum damage and better results
  • Day-old (or two days!) hair - the oils from day-old hair protect your scalp from the hair dye, but too much oil can also mean that the dye is not able to coat your hair well enough
  • A hair oil to protect the skin on and around your scalp from getting stained by the hair dye
  • A toner that is alcohol-based (this is gentle on the skin, but strong enough to remove any stains that do end up on the skin)
  • A timer
Please note that if you are doing any of the following, I strongly advise that you have it done at a salon, where a professional will be able to better gauge the needs of your hair:
  • Colouring your hair any more than 3 shades darker or lighter than your original hair colour
  • Highlighting and/or lowlighting your hair
  • If you have very damaged/coarse hair
  • Getting Balayage or ombre hair
If you're looking for plain, high-shine, one-colour hair that doesn't stray too far from your original hair colour, then you can definitely take a crack at at-home colour. Here are some of my favourite products:

L'Oreal Professionel Mythic Oil
This is a great hair oil for conditioning the hair. I recommend using this after every hair wash for at least two weeks before you dye your hair. This will condition the hair and keep it healthy and manageable both before and after your colour. This is also great for rubbing into your scalp before dyeing your hair - it forms a barrier between your scalp and the hair dye, reducing any damage or irritation.

Use it regularly after you dye your hair as well, because it is very nourishing and works beautifully to eliminate frizz and flyaways, and improves the texture and health of your hair over time.

For hair colours, I love foam hair colours, because they eliminate the need for the steps I listed in bold above. Foam hair colours are easy to work into the hair, don't drip onto the floor or onto the skin, and spread evenly to coat each strand of hair so that the finish is perfectly even and beautifully coloured.

John Frieda Precision Foam Colour
John Frieda are longtime experts in the world of hair, and their Precision Foam Colour shows the expertise and attention to detail that the company put into the product.

This kit comes complete with a quality bottle with a squeeze-dispenser, gloves, a hair conditioner to use post-colour, and a beautifully illustrated step-by-step instruction booklet, complete with safety instructions and colouring tips. Everything inside this pack is beautifully designed and of stellar quality, something that you rarely see in an at home hair dye kit.

The results are equally as high-quality and as flawless as the product. The colour is even, the hair looks glossy, and the conditioner keeps everything soft and healthy after the colouring. The colour has worn pretty well also, with minimal fading (Note that we used a colour-care shampoo and conditioner). The colours that come in this range are very natural, subtle hair colours, so if you are looking for a different colour without screaming "Look at me!", then this is the range for you.

Kao Liese Bubble Hair Colour
Kao (which incidentally, is also the owner and distributor of the John Frieda products) is a huge brand in Asia, an this Liese hair colour has been all the rage back home for a while now. The first company to market the bubble hair colour in such a huge way, it is no wonder people have been flocking to buy these hair colours, and I was no exception. I purchased the colour Chestnut Brown, but chickened out and ended up using this on a family member.

I find that this range is more suitable for Asian hair types because the resulting colour is very much more true to the colour shown on the box. The contents of this hair dye kit are almost exactly similar to the ones in the John Frieda kit, except for the fact that the John Frieda kit is of much higher quality compared to this one.

This product also applies very evenly onto the hair, and the end result is also wonderfully shiny, evenly coated hair. The hair colours that come with this range are also very much more unusual, with colours ranging from a bright red to an olive-green/brown to a dark purple. These colours are very much more suited to Asian skin tones, so if you are looking for a more natural hue, then I would definitely recommend the John Frieda.

Colour care shampoos are also essential to your hair care routine after you dye your hair. You need a shampoo that will both lengthen the life of your colour and preserve the health of your hair.

L'Oreal Professionnel Vitamino Color Shampoo and Conditioner
This line is my boyfriend's favourite. I got him on it as soon as I knew I wanted to have his hair coloured, and he has been using it faithfully ever since. He loves it because it has actually visibly softened his hair. This line is jam packed with ingredients specifically catered towards colour longevity and the health of the hair, so you can't go wrong with this.

Yuko Lock in Color Shampoo and Conditioner
I wrote a more detailed review of this duo a while back, and I am still every bit as obsessed with this range as I was when I wrote the review. This is a straightening brand, so if you like your boho waves or curls, then you might want to find another range more suited to your hair type. If you want to eliminate frizz in coarse hair and also care for your hair colour, then this is definitely the range for you! My hair loves this shampoo, and though I don't have coloured hair, I still love it for keeping my mane in tip top condition.

You can purchase both these products at Tsumiki Design Hair Salon, or alternatively, you can find L'Oreal Professionnel at hair specialty stores and salons.

Revlon Nutri Color Creme
Finally, when your hair is looking a little lifeless in between colour treatments (it is best to colour your hair only when needed, because hair dye does damage your hair), you can treat it with this gorgeous little gem of a product. The Revlon Nutri Color Creme is formulated specifically to give your hair that boost of colour and nutrition that is needed to keep it healthy and glossy in between your hair colour treatments. They come in 15 different shades and work to nourish and repair damaged hair, increase the gloss and shine in your hair, and amp up your hair colour a little.
I used this on my sister's hair, and whilst this does not in any way serve as a replacement for regrowth treatments, it definitely does add some manageability and shine to the hair, and helps the colour last much longer than it normally would.

So that's it for my hair colouring tips! Have you ever coloured your hair at home? Did you find it easy to do, or will you definitely be leaving it in the hands of a professional next time?

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