Salon clients have tons of options for great color. Whether you’re looking to make a dramatic change or simply cover a little gray or brighten your natural color, you have lots of choices and making a decision can be difficult. Whatever you choose, going with a professional colorist is always your best bet. You’ll save yourself the hassle and heartache of a home color job gone wrong. An experienced colorist will also help you choose the process and products that are best for you.
Permanent vs. Semi-Permanent Color
Semi-permanent hair color lasts about six weeks and fades over time. It’s applied on the outside of the hair shaft and generally doesn’t contain bleach or other strong chemicals. Semi-permanent color can’t be used to lighten your hair color, but it’s great for covering small amounts of gray, going a little darker for dramatic effect or just giving your natural color a little pop.
Permanent dyes require less frequent application but also tend to have more chemicals, like hydrogen peroxide or ammonia so color reaches into the hair shaft and lasts longer. Permanent hair color offers a wider range of color options and is a must when going lighter (lightening your hair requires removing pigment through an oxidation process). Because of the stronger chemicals, permanent hair color is generally harder on your hair, so if you have fine hair, semi-permanent may be the way to go, while thicker hair can often handle stronger chemicals.
Single vs. Double Color Processes
With single color process, a new color is applied to all hair to create a new base color. A single shade is great for covering gray or adding a little glamour to your natural color. The single color process is generally less expensive and means less time in the salon. Single color also tends to be easier on your hair: as a general rule, going darker is gentler than going lighter.
If you have dark hair and want to go significantly lighter, your colorist will use a double color process. She’ll start by bleaching your hair and will then add the color you’re going for. The double color process is a little more time consuming and a little more complicated, so it’s all the more important to have it done by a pro. Going lighter through a double color treatment also means your color will need a bit more maintenance, with regular touch ups for roots.
Highlights and Lowlights
Highlights and lowlights are spot color processes that can be used separately or together. Most of us are familiar with highlights, which involve lightening selected strands of hair. Highlights don’t have to be blonde—they can be any tone that’s a couple shades lighter than your natural color. Lowlights are less well known but are increasingly popular. To create lowlights, your colorist will take selected strands of hair a few shades darker.
Highlights and lowlights are increasingly used together to achieve a more natural look. Mixing in lowlights can keep darker roots from standing out and can help your color look better with your skin tone. Red lowlights can be a nice touch for darker hair.
Hair Coloring During Pregnancy
For many women who rely on great color as an important part of their look, it’s tough to go months without a touch up. But many women have concerns about the safety of hair color during pregnancy. Most research suggests that coloring your hair with products currently available is safe during pregnancy. However, some moms-to-be opt for semi-permanent color with no ammonia or peroxide while expecting. And some experts recommend waiting until the second trimester just to be on the safe side.
Caring For Your Color
The chemicals in both permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes can cause damage to your hair. So it’s important to take great care of your hair before and after the coloring process. This will help keep your hair healthy and your color looking great. Many stylists recommend a deep conditioning treatment before coloring. After coloring, be sure to use products made especially for color-treated hair. And don’t wash your hair every day: less frequent washes mean less fading. There are also special protective products to use when you’ll be out in the sun. Your colorist can recommend great products to keep your hair healthy and your color looking its best.
Your colorist will have great suggestions to help you decide what kind of color is best for you and your hair type. From the type of color to the length of time the dye stays on your hair, a professional colorist has a wealth of experience to help you make the best choices for gorgeous and healthy hair.