Skip to Main Content

Questions to Ask When Coloring Your Hair

by Madison Reed December 08, 2023

Madison Reed Hair Colorist

Image by Madison Reed

Bangs? Nope. Chop it off? Nah. More layers? Meh. You want to change up your hair, but cutting it doesn’t feel like the best answer for you. What to do? Try a new color, of course!  

Much like a new hairstyle, a new hair color can come with a different routine (and a commitment to upkeep). Before you jump into coloring your hair, here are a few essential questions to ask a licensed colorist (pssst, stop by a Hair Color Bar for a free consultation with a licensed colorist). 

How to find a good hair salon? The Madison Reed Corte Madera Hair Color Bar in SF Bay Area, California

Visit Us for a Consultation

Search Now

Questions to ask before coloring your hair

How do I choose the best hair color shade?

Much like you always want a haircut that flatters your face shape, you’ll want to choose a hair color that complements your eye color, eyebrow color, and skin tone. If you think a certain color may make you look washed out, a similar shade with a different undertone could be the answer. Your colorist can help you choose an at-home hair color shade that brings out your natural features and keeps you looking your best. 

In the meantime, take the Madison Reed color quiz online. It will ask you questions about your skin tone and the subtle hints of color you’d like to see in your hair. Look into the future with our Virtual Try-On Tool, where you can upload your picture and see how the shade looks on you.

Does my hair type affect how well my color treatment will work? 

Madison Reed Radiant Cream Color is great for all hair types, whether you have stick-straight hair or a head full of curls. However, if you have henna on your hair or other chemical processing such as relaxers or perms, speak with a licensed colorist before coloring.

Do you have any tips for at-home hair coloring?

We might be biased, but we’re pretty big supporters of at-home hair coloring. You don’t have to be a client at an expensive salon to get gorgeous balayage highlights or create the perfect ombré effect in your hair. When you talk to your hairstylist, ask about the general process you should use for your color. Then, ask if they have any more specific tips that apply to your unique hair type, current color, hair length, etc. 

If it’s your first time coloring your hair at home, read this post for our best tips to make things easier, like sectioning out the different lengths of your hair and how to make sure the color is even on the back of your head.

Will I have to change my regular hair routine with this new color?

If you’ve previously had color-treated hair, you already know that changing your color calls for a change in your hair care routine, too. Particularly if you’re going from a dark shade to a lighter one (or vice versa), you’ll want to incorporate a few new products and habits into your everyday hair routine. Your hair stylist will probably recommend things like:

  • Switching to color-safe shampoo. Many shampoos contain sulfates, which can strip the color out of your hair faster than you can say, “Lather up, buttercup.” Choose a shampoo and conditioner that’s made specifically for color-treated hair, like our color protecting Shampoo and Conditioner Set. You may also consider incorporating a color depositing hair mask into your routine to maintain color from fading or minimizing brassiness. Use this in-shower treatment after every other shampoo in place of conditioner to maintain color.


  • Limiting heat styling. You love having the freedom to change your style with curling wands and flat irons, but your hair doesn’t love all that heat—especially when it’s color-treated. Brush up on heat-free hairstyles (like overnight braids or sleek buns), and always use a heat protectant if you must reach for flat irons and other hot tools.

  • Incorporating deep conditioning treatments. There's no way around it: coloring affects your hair and scalp. For healthy-looking hair after coloring, ask your stylist what kind of deep conditioner is right for you. Explore our Pro Boost Treatments to lock in color, add shine, hydrate, and strengthen hair.

What kind of maintenance will this color require in the future?

Some hair color changes are “one-and-done,” but most require regular appointments or at-home touch-ups after the initial color treatment. This upkeep can come with both time and monetary commitments, so you’ll want to know exactly what to expect before coloring your hair. If it turns out that your desired shade comes with more work than you want to deal with, your hairdresser may be able to recommend lower-maintenance alternative options. 

Depending on your current hair color and what shade you want next, some hair color changes may require nothing more than a Color Reviving Gloss every few months. Others might call for multi-step processes every four to six weeks to counteract fading. You want your new hair color to fit into your lifestyle, so make sure there are no surprises before you commit to coloring.

How do I keep my hair color from fading? 

The bad news? All hair color will fade with time— period. The good news? There are plenty of things you can do to boost the longevity of your color. Besides the color-specific changes in your routine (which your colorist can help with), you’ll likely need to use a Color Reviving Gloss or a color-depositing hair mask (like Color Therapy) regularly to maintain your new color. Once you’ve chosen your hair dye color, schedule a complimentary online appointment with a Madison Reed colorist to learn which product and shade is best for upkeep.

Questions to ask before coloring? We are here to help you!
Now you know all the questions to ask before coloring hair. As you can see, coloring your hair at home doesn’t have to mean going it alone. Madison Reed licensed colorists are ready to answer your questions about coloring, maintenance, color-treated hair care, and more.
Consult with a pro colorist via video, email, phone, or online chat, and get ready to love your new color! If you need an extra hand, let our licensed colorists do it all for you at aMadison Reed Hair Color Bar.