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Moms: How to avoid at-home hair color disasters

Coloring hair at home can be a more economical way of maintaining shiny, vibrant haircolor, but many women are intimidated by the thought of actually coloring their hair themselves. Yes, there are variables that come into play — base color, hair type, desired result and color placement — but with a little guidance, anyone can do it. Nicole Lynne, from studio two, a patrick mcivor color studio, sees her fair share of color correction cases from DIY jobs gone south, and offers solutions to the five most popular challenges women face when coloring hair at home.

Challenge #1: Choosing the right color

Picking the right haircolor can be daunting — there are so many to colors from which to choose! The best place to start is with your eyes and skin — you need to find out if they are warm or cool.

Woman coloring her hair

To determine your skin tone, first look at your wrist. If the skin is more on the green side, you have cool skin; and if it’s yellow, you have warm skin.

Next, look at your eyes. Eyes that have grey, cool greens, or crystal blue are on the cooler side. Eyes with flecks of gold, red, auburn, caramel, or yellow are considered warm.

The idea is to pick a color that compliments your warm or cool palette. The general rule is that if you have cool skin and cool eyes, you would want to stick with a cool color — and if you have warm skin and warm eyes, stick with a warm color.

The majority of people have cool skin and warm eyes, so in that case, pick a neutral shade to balance both warm and cool tones. Have you seen people that get their hair colored and they look really washed out? That’s because they did not take skin and eye tone into consideration.

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Challenge #2: Undertones

When selecting a color, it’s important to know the underlying pigment of your hair.

Every level of hair has different undertones. For example, a level 4-6 is going to have a strong presence of red and red/orange undertones — so unless you want a warm brown, you will need to select a shade that will cancel out most of the red undertones.

If you want to cancel out any warmth, you will need to select an ash-based color. For example: if my target shade were a level 6 and I didn’t want to pull warmth, I would select a color that is relative to a 6A or 6AA to help get rid of any unwanted red tones.

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Challenge #3: Uneven or Spotty Color

To avoid having color spots throughout your hair due to uneven application, or the inability to reach the back of the hair, I suggest taking small section – “less is more.” Taking smaller sections when applying color will better help you control where the color is actually being applied.

When it comes to the product, don’t be shy. Using ample color will help achieve even color saturation, which reduces spotting. When it comes to applying color to the back of your head, hang a mirror or ask someone to help with the application of the areas you can’t reach, following the previous instructions about sections and application.

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Challenge #4: Gray

Covering gray hair can be pretty tricky, and sometimes frustrating if you have stubborn gray. The solution to getting the coverage you need is in determining how gray you are.

Woman coloring her hair

First, pick out what target shade you would like to be. Then, figure out how gray you are. If you are less than 50% gray, you can stay within your target shade. If you are more than 50% gray, you will need to select the same shade, but in one level darker.

The reason why you select a darker shade is because darker colors have more pigment in them which helps cover gray. Think of your hair as a white wall, when you are putting a dark color over white, you need to prime it first. Using a darker shade would be like using a primer in this instance. For example: if I were 75% gray and my target shade was a warm brown, which would be something like a 6w, I would try to select a color that is a 5w instead to anchor my color and increase coverage.

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Challenge #5: Blondes

Most blondes want that creamy vanilla hue, but end up looking more like Goldilocks. The reason this happens is either your natural hair could be too dark to get that cooler tone (you might need highlights instead or a single process) or the DIY home color isn’t strong enough to do the trick.

If you are purchasing a shade that is cool, but still ending up with warm golden blonde, you need to either go a little darker with your color selection or see a salon professional to get the cooler blonde you’re looking for (with either highlights or a stronger professional blonde color that is not sold in stores).

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You can do it!

Sexy, beautiful, vibrant color can be achieved at home, it just takes confidence and knowledge about your own hair, skin and eyes, coupled with the proper DIY home haircolor selection. Master that, and you can get color so polished, friends will ask for the number of your colorist.

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