5 at-home hair colouring mistakes and how to fix them

If you spent the lockdown experimenting with box dye, you know that snafus are just a part of the game, especially if you picked unusual colours. If you can’t make it to your hairstylist just yet, we reached out to Maleeha Jafferbhoy, celebrity stylist and style director at Jean Claude Biguine, and Sareena Acharya, artistic head, Enrich Salon, to address some common struggles you could have.

1. You left the hair colour on for too long

“Most colours have a development time, post which they stop working. So, if it’s on your scalp for longer, the colour won’t change drastically. However, what could happen is that you will end up with redness or an itchy scalp,” says Jafferbhoy. A soothing head massage followed by a purifying hair mask can help relieve the topical irritation.

However, if you kept it on for way longer, then the colour could appear ultra-dark. “On an average, 30-35 minutes is a good time to get a desired result, and anything beyond required can make it look a bit unnatural. Be warned, that when the colour gets too dark and you’re not a fan, professional assistance will be required to do a colour cleansing procedure. Bleaching hair at home can also go very wrong,” warns Acharya.

2. Your colour is looking patchy

“Every step, from the hair analysis, to the mixing, application, processing time and final rinse and conditioning must be done carefully,” says Acharya. “The trickiest part is the application, and sectioning hair correctly will make it easier,” she says. Section off the hair into four parts, making it easier to treat and manage each bunch separately. Within each section, take small horizontal sections from the bottom going upwards, for best results.

Don’t set unrealistic targets. “To make at-home colour foolproof, check with your stylist regarding the exactly colour they used at the salon. Pick the same shade to maintain continuity,” says Jafferbhoy. “If a different colour is used at home [and goes wrong], the process to rectify it becomes laborious. [In such situations,] the stylist will have to strip off the colour and re-colour,” adds Jafferbhoy.

3. You substituted gloss with conditioner

“A colour gloss enhances the existing colour especially if it’s looking faded and dull, as it cuts the warm tones and the brassiness from the hair. Most times, a gloss is applied pre shampoo and conditioner. You still need to condition your hair when you use a gloss,” says Jafferbhoy. “Hair conditioner plays a primary role of hair care, which means it treats the cuticles of the hair which could have got damaged because of the colour. Both steps are important individually and cannot be substituted,” adds Acharya.

4. You have colour stains on your skin and clothes

“Before you start a colour service, its super important to wear gloves to avoid staining your hands and nails. Apply a layer of Vaseline around the hairline to prevent colour from staining the skin,” adds Jafferbhoy. In case the skin does get stained post the colour wash, you can dab some after-shave on a piece of cotton and gently rub the stain to remove it off, suggests Acharya. “To take the colour stains off your clothes, try using a hairspray or any alcohol-based spray to fade the stains off,” she shares.

5. Your hair colour is looking flat

Hair colour tends to look flat if you have damaged and porous hair. “The distribution of the colour pigments differs in such kind of hair making it look a bit faded. Colour application plays a very important role in this case,” says Acharya. You can try to avoid this by beginning the application from the roots to the mid length where the hair is virgin and avoid over-application on the coloured hair as it may damage the hair further.

The article was first published in Vogue


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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