Tips for coloring long hair

Surprisingly, the amount of money you spend on hair color isn’t the deciding factor as to how well your color will turn out. Instead, most of your success depends on your knowledge of how to color for your hair type, and how to apply it specifically for your length. If you have long hair, your coloring techniques will be different than someone with a shorter ‘do. Here are some tips on how to get a great looking hair color result when you’ve got long locks.

dying long hair at home tips

Get the right tools.

If you’re not a “first-time colorist,” you may be tempted to skip a few steps and apply the color quickly. But when you’ve got long hair — and plenty of it — you’ll need to spend some extra time to make sure you hit every area of the head with color. Before you get started, make sure you have plenty of “bear clips” or plastic clips on hand (ideally, you should be able to clip them in with just one hand), so that you can easily part hair into sections and reach all layers — especially if hair is thick. If you have really long hair, you should also keep in mind that you may need more than one box of hair color to be thorough in your application.

Not all hair colors equally

Kadi Lee, a professional colorist at Serge Normant at John Frieda Los Angeles, has colored the long celebrity locks of clients like Molly Sims and Christie Brinkley. She says that when coloring long hair, the key is to remember that your roots will need more time to process than the ends of your hair. Because the ends of hair are normally more porous, they will “grab” the hair color at a much faster rate. Your roots, on the other hand, are still “virgin” when it comes to color. As a result, the roots will require more processing time for the coverage to be even throughout the length of your hair.

Lee suggests replicating the secrets of professional colorists by adding a moisturizing treatment that will allow you to perform double duty throughout your coloring time. Once you’ve applied color only to the roots as your first phase of longer processing, try a moisturizing hair oil that is applied only to the ends of hair for extra moisture. Halfway through the processing time (e.g., at the 15 minute mark of 30 minutes), Lee says to apply the remaining color onto the ends of the hair. Because the oil treatment has already “prepped” the ends, color is able to penetrate more evenly, and the application of the color will go on smoothly.

If you’re weary of working with a hair oil, you can also go the “old fashioned” route. Get a trim of at least one or two inches to remove all the dead ends from hair before you color. This will minimize the likelihood of a “lighter on top, darker at the ends” color application.

Expert Tip

Kadi Lee, colorist at Serge Normant at John Frieda Los Angeles suggests products like Dr. Hauschka’s Neem Oil or Shu Uemura’s Effortless Cleansing Oil, to moisturize the ends of long hair.

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