lovely hair color care

Over the course of 3 weeks I have become somewhat of a hair color junkie.  See photo above.  I actually have done this before, especially when I was doing hair professionally.  I mean having the tools at your disposal and seeing your gorgeous clients leave with fun color is quite tempting!

So I made a transition-  platinum > honey > mocha > burgundy > auburn > chestnut, all in 3 weeks.  The last two sort of happened on their own due to fading (which I will discuss*) and today I want to share with you a few tips & tricks for keeping your hair healthy & proper color maintenance if you color it yourself.

  • trim- get the yucky stuff off!  it's not going to properly grab the color so trimming any damaged hair off will not only save you on the color you need to use, but it will get it healthier.
  • condition- this is vital especially if you plan to go lighter! you want to make sure your hair will be moisturized and strong to take any chemicals you plan to put on it.
  • fill- if you are going from light to dark its best to fill your hair with a color right in the middle (usually something with gold) so that your hair takes the new color better and has the right pigments put back into it that may be missing if you are too light.
  • dirty-  its not a necessity, but hair color can feel tingly and uncomfortable if your scalp is too clean. the natural oils act as a buffer to the product. and don't worry; color is strong enough to penetrate through hairstyling products, no problem!

  • supplies- make sure before you get started you seriously check your list and check it twice, it will save you a ton of headache if you are prepared.  make sure to get a processing camp or use a plastic bag over your head, it helps conduct heat and prevent color for drying out. oil around your hair line prevents skin stains on darker colors & don't forget gloves, a towel & a smock or old t-shirt so you dont mess up your clothes!
  • product- if you do color at home its best to avoid store box color (although I've seen great results) as you cannot control the lift/deposit of the developer.  if possible try to purchase tube creme color & the proper developer for it.
  • semi, demi, permanent- based off your needs make sure to choose the right type of color if you want it to last a few washes, a few weeks or longer.
  • developers- are made for deposit & lift and can also change your processing time depending on the results you want.  the higher the number the more lift, the lower the more deposit.  for an even deeper color add a little water to 10vol.  for extra care add serum to 40 vol and please avoid putting higher developers on your scalp if using lighteners
  • directions- always follow the manufacturers suggested processing times, some colors stop after a certain amount of time and some do require checking on. if you are using a color that tells you to leave it on your ends for a set amount of time, then do that- too little or too long can change the color.
  • additives- using serum in lightening powder (bleach) conditions while processing.  check in with the color wheel if you feel like you need to counteract an undesired color you make pick up.  gray magic (available at most beauty supplies) is a great for those that have stubborn grays or to add in to dark color when you are going from something much lighter.
  • color theory- color will not lift color (at least not evenly), color on top of color results in a darker color (*), and please try to avoid bleaching color out of your hair instead opt for color removers then color correct it.
  • fix- if your color comes out too dark try using dish washing detergent, its strong enough to pull out any excess color that will come out during the next few washes.  remember hair looks darker when wet, so you may want to dry first before deciding if the color isn't right for you.

  • temperature- washing your clothes in hot water can fade them, same applies to your hair. try using cooler temps to make it last or you will just be watching that work & money wash down the drain.
  • wash- look at your shampoo is it clear or sort of opaque? clear is more cleansing, while the latter is more conditioning.  sulfate free or color care shampoos can help tons.  *instead of re-coloring lots (because color on color is darker color like stated before) usin a color wash is great, if you go dark mix some left over color with developer, water & shampoo and wash it in, or purchase a color deposting shampoo (aveda makes great ones!) if you are blonde use purple shampoo to cut out any unwanted yellow or brassy tones.
  • 2nd day hair- not only can provide great styles, but is also one less day of washing the color out.  if you need to shower, you can still get it wet just scrub your scalp with your fingers and avoid the suds.  another great option is using dry shampoo if you have an oily scalp and skipping a wash seems hard to do.
  • protect- your hair from the sun and water.  suncreen help with fading of darker colors.  they make them for hair, bu you can also use regular sunscreen as well (my favorite are the fine mist spf's).  if you like the in pools & hot tubs then blockers like malibu2000 will be your new best friend and if you have well water then you can use that too!
 If you have any great tips or just a question about something I discussed here or maybe missed make sure to leave a comment so we can chat.  I hope that these tips & tricks help you with your next color and if you are like me and have 6 colors in 3 weeks you will get the hang of it in no time!

*when i stated above that my color faded, its only because i didn't follow my own rules.  for me its easy, i know how to color my hair and its not a task i dread, plus i dont mind change.  i'm naughty when it comes to color- i take hot showers, sometimes wash it daily and i base my shampoo choices off of smell not what they do.. all of which i would never recommend.  so should i practice what i preach? yes.  but i dont.. and as you can see from the photo that burgundy to auburn color happened in 4 days, so if you dont want that- then i would suggest at least practicing a few of the tips i've provided!


  1. What a great post! These are great tips that I can use. Thanks for sharing your secrets! :)

  2. I've only colored mine from a box 3 times lol just because I find I always miss something....but these are great tips!
    My fav tip is using actual SPF on your hair?!? I never knew that!

  3. katie becker (dannismomma)14 July, 2012

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! so much useful info that the girls at sallys never ever tell you. on a side note i wanted a dark red and they told me to use 40vol to make it vibrant. yeah i looked like ronald mcdonald and my scalp hurt soooooo bad =(

    you are gorgeous! i can't get over the fact that all of those colors look good on you!

  4. Oh my gosh amazing post! I am actually thinking about dying my hair soon and needed this! :) You rock!
    Katlyn xo

  5. Please move to the bay area and be my BFF/hairstylist. Love you!!

  6. I've had that burgandy color for years now and you are so right about how fast it can fade! You should see me in the shower trying to rinse my hair with super cold water and trying to bend and lean so it doesn't touch my body haha!
    Check out my blog and follow back on bloglovin' if you'd like!

  7. It's been a while since I popped in to see what you've been up to. I love what you've done with the blog. It's adorable! Thanks for sharing this post too. I've really been enjoying being a redhead this year, but it does fade quickly. I will be putting some of these things to the test after my next touch up.

  8. I have light brown, fine hair and I have only ever had success with highlights. Any time someone tries to do an all over blonde (I would love to have the color of Michelle Williams hair) it goes super brassy. I have had multiple stylists try and they can never figure out why it happens. Would love some advice.

    1. An all over is tricky because going lighter usually result in lifting gold and unless its lifted all the way they thats what you will see (brassy). An route that most people take it so actually bleach and tone, if done properly it can be beautiful and healthy!

      If just your roots are going brassy I would opt for a beige or ash on just your roots to counter that orange/yellow that wants to come through.

  9. I appreciate this post. I recently posted on my own blog about my hair dye drama and my hair actually FALLING OUT! thank you for this because it's valuable for sure.

  10. But whats to do when the hair is colored brown and I want back my blonde hair?
    This wont be healthy... I think...

    1. First thing you have to consider is how many layers or colored brown there is over your natural hair. Have you been coloring it for years? If so you might not even naturally be a blonde anymore (as we age our hair can sometimes get darker).

      A great way to get the pigment out is using a color remover, it opens the cuticle to allow the dark to fall our rather then bleaching which pulls the color. After you color extract it you will be lift with a brassy base- which is actually a great start to get you safely to blonde since you wont need to work through that color.

      Usually a color extraction is followed by a highlight (with bleach lifter) then toned out to start easing you to a natural blonde again.

  11. Great advice!!! Thank you so much for these tips :)

  12. these are all great tips!
    One of my closest friends is a hair stylist - she is the only person i let touch my hair. And each time i go in for a touch up or a re-color, she always reminds me not to wash it within 8 hours of getting it done. apparently, the color holds better that way than if it's recently washed. But your point about the natural oils protecting the scalp from the dye is great too, because it's no fun cleaning dye off of your scalp and skin.


    1. I'm not sure about the 8hr rule- Ive heard lots of different stuff over the years about washing/not washing after your get a chemical service done. With color, your stylist is going to wash it out anyways so anything that your hair wants to hold is just left over pigment that the first wash didn't get out. Obviously to keep your color to last longer if you wash less and use cooler water you will see a huge difference! Ohhhh and this might sound crazy, but windex works wonders on getting color off your skin =)