How to have fun with at-home hair colour

If you are looking to cover the greys you pretty much know that you need to match the root overgrowth with a colour closest to hair colour. As a hair professional, Madhvi Lodhi, top stylist, Jean Claude Biguine Spa and Salon, does not recommend touching up the roots at home. But considering current times, she understands that some clients are not comfortable stepping out. In that case, she recommends getting in touch with your regular stylist as the salon does keep a note of your shade and brand and would be able to suggest a closest packet colour for home usage. “Sit steady with good light source to help. Don’t attempt the back of your head, obviously because you can’t see there. Focus on just the roots. Be super sure that you don’t go anywhere close to your eyes. Post-colour care is so important, so if you know what your stylist recommended the last time, you could continue with that,” adds Lodhi.

However, if you are looking for some fun and experiment with a new look, to choose the right you need to bear in mind your skin undertone, eye colour, natural hair colour and natural hair texture (curly, straight, wavy etc), states makeup artist and hair stylist, Nikhar Jivani. Giving us a peek into a colourist’s mind, she says to observe the colour of the eyes. “Our eyes are usually our greatest feature and the colour of our eyes is something we usually need to focus on when we are framing our face when experimenting with hair. A contrasting shade to your eye colour really will bring out features of your face,” adds Jivani.

How to have fun when colouring hair at home

“Colour your bangs and strands that frame your face with a colour that suits your skin tone and brings out your eyes, or add a pop of blue, pink or blonde,” suggests Jivani, if you are in the mood to experiment.

If you are looking for a drastic change, try it on a strand first to see if you like the results. For those who want a subtle change, Jivani recommends adding soft streaks that complements your hair colour- meaning two shades lighter will add more dimension to your hair and hairstyling. “You could also play safe and colour the midsection of your hair with whatever bold colour which will only be visible when you decide to style your hair a certain way according to your own terms and conditions,” adds Jivani.

How can you do it right?

There are more ways you can fail, while colouring at home. However, if you are insistent and patient and keen to save a few bucks, here are some pro tips:

  1. How to avoid two-tone effect: If you are bleaching the hair then you should start from the strand up to the roots. “The logic is that your scalp generates a lot of heat, the processing time for hair to catch on colour is quicker on the roots than it is on the ends,” explains Jivani.
  2. Work in sections: Sections are your saviour! Divide your hair in four to six sections and colour the hair starting from the bottom and work your way up to ensure full coverage, says Jivani.
  3. Use a hand-held mirror: Colouring the back of your hair can be tricky, use a hand-held mirror to check the back of the head instead of relying on guesstimates whether you’ve covered all the sections fully.
  4. Colour on unwashed hair: Do not wash your hair before colouring your hair. “When you shampoo your hair you sometimes create tiny little abrasions on your scalp so when you use any dye or worse bleach, the chemicals might seep into the cracks and burn! Contrary to popular belief it is better to sit with unwashed hair for 2 to 7 days when you want to colour your hair, the oils in your hair will shield your scalp from the chemicals in the dye,” says Jivani. Also, a gentle reminder, colour your hair on dry hair as wet hair will dilute your hair colour.
  5. Detangle before application: Brush out every single strand of your hair, every single tangle so the dye is applied evenly onto every strand. “Do not use a leave-in conditioner to detangle the hair, it might help with the detangle process but it will dilute the chemical compounds of the hair colour which in effect; will not give you the desired results,” warns Jivani.
  6. Wash off your colour with lukewarm water: “Washing your hair in cold water will be a sort of shock to your hair after you have applied the colour. Your hair has expanded really wide in order to absorb all the colour in and by washing the colour in cold water will constrict the strands. Also, be mindful of not letting water run through the hair for too long when in shower, water too strips the colour on the hair. If you use too too hot or cold water, and for too long, you would not get the desired results that you were hoping for,” adds Jivani.
  7. Don’t scrub but rub the colour off: Your hair is already very fragile when you’ve coloured your hair, be careful to not rough handle your tresses. Use the tip of the finger instead of your nails to gently rub and take off the colour.
  8. Don’t innovate every step: “There is a reason why in salons they use a brush and bowl. Use those tools to mix the hair colour evenly, and ensure using a brush for an even tone and full coverage of hair colour application,” says Jivani.
  9. Have patience to prep and clean up: Sometimes it’s easier to book an appointment and surrender to the expert’s care. At home, you are the expert, the client and the cleaner. Set your station up as you don’t want to be searching for things mid process which could lead to mistakes like leaving the dye on too long or missing areas. “Wear an old t-shirt so you are not disheartened that the shirt has been stained in any way.  Cover the floor with newspapers or old towels so that if the colour falls on the floor, it doesn’t stain it. Apply a lip balm around the hairline in order to protect your skin from the chemicals and from the hair colour staining your skin. Use a shower cap or cling film when colouring your hair during winter to cover your head post hair colour application. This will generate heat which means a quicker turnover of the hair colour,” says Jivani.
  10. Curate a post-colour care routine: Investing in quality and targeted products is very important for the health of your hair in general, especially when it is coloured. They are less likely to strip away the colour. “Do not use any hot tools for at least a week before colouring your hair, the heat from hair tools such as straighteners and curling irons and blow dryers cause damage to the hair making it dry, brittle which might make the end result different to what you may have tested by comparing your hair colour on the box or the strand test you may have done before,” adds Jivani.

Last but not the least, be mindful of skin sensitivity.

This article first appeared 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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