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The 9 Most Common Hair Coloring Questions...Answered

by August 05, 2020

Black woman thinking and looking at dark curly hair in the mirror

Image by Madison Reed

If you color your hair, chances are, you have a question or two about the process. From choosing which shade to use to how to care for that gorgeous color afterward, we have heard it ALL. Here are the 9 most common hair color questions we get—and better yet? Here are the answers…

1. When I am choosing a shade, how do I know what hair color is my “starting shade”? Is it my real hair color? My dyed color? Or is it how light it is at the ends?
So you want to color your hair, but even from the get-go you’re confused when trying to choose what color to use. We get it, and you’re not alone. Here’s what you need to know: to figure out what shade you want to be, you have to figure out what shade you are now. If your hair is already colored, this means the shade it currently is (not the shade you were born with, or the shade you see as it grows out at the roots). Look at the color at the mid-lengths of your hair, not necessarily the ends, as those may be lighter. It also helps to know if your hair tends to be warmer or cooler. That is, does your color have any hints of red, orange or even yellow in it? Or is it more of an ashy tone, without any hints of warmth? Of course, if you need any help at all in figuring out what shade to choose, please contact our Color Crew. You can even send them photos of your hair so they can recommend what would work best for you. 

2. I have heard that I am not supposed to pull the color through my hair every time I color. Is this true? 
This is probably one of the most important questions we get asked, and one of the most common mistakes people can make. In general, you do not want to color your entire head of hair with permanent color each time you color. You really only need to color your entire head of hair with permanent color if you are coloring for the first time, or if you are drastically changing your hair color. Otherwise, just color your roots. If you feel like the mid-lengths and ends of your hair also need a color refresh, use a gloss. Permanent color on your roots and gloss on your mid-lengths and ends...we call this the Perfect Pair. Read more about it here.

3. How do I color the back of my hair myself?
Coloring the back of your hair seems daunting at first, almost impossible. But we promise, it’s actually quite easy. It’s all about dividing your hair into smaller, more manageable sections. Here’s a post with simple instructions on how to do it, plus a video to show you just how easy it is.

4. My hair color turned out too dark. What did I do wrong, and how do I fix it?
The issue of color that turns out darker than expected can usually be blamed on pulling the color through your mid-lengths and ends when you really don’t need to. That is, repeatedly coloring your entire head of hair results in the color building up on the mid-lengths and ends over time, causing it to become too dark and even dull. Again, we recommend only coloring your roots with permanent color, and using a gloss on the rest of your hair, i.e. The Perfect Pair. But if your hair is already too dark, you can easily fix it with Prime for Perfection®. This is what we call a “pre-color prep step”—it penetrates the hair cuticle to remove excess color. This hair color primer can actually pull color out so that you can start fresh. Want to read more about why your color might be turning out darker than you want? Check this out.

5. My grays are really hard to cover. Help!
Yep, gray hair can be incredibly stubborn sometimes, but there are a few things you can do to ensure great gray coverage. First, choose a shade that is made for grays. We have shades that are expertly formulated to cover even the most resistant, stubborn grays. You also may want to try applying your color with a bowl and a brush rather than just the applicator bottle. Using a bowl and brush helps you completely saturate grays. Make sure you create very thin sections of hair. Here’s a post with a video showing you how to do this. Always apply to areas where you have the most gray. And give your grays a bit more time to process the color—45 minutes is what we recommend. 

6. When should I start the timer when I color my own hair?
Simple question. Simple answer. Start your timer once you are done applying the color. 

7. Should my hair be dry or wet before I color?
Your hair needs to be dry, and “day-old” hair is best. We recommend washing your hair the day before you color, and make sure you don’t have product in your hair, as that may block the color. Of course, hair that has not been washed in 2, 3, 4 or even 5 days is also fine, as long as there is not a lot of product in your hair, such as root touch up powders, hair spray, gel, dry shampoo, etc.

8. If I wear glasses, how do I apply my color while wearing my glasses?
We recommend wrapping your glasses with plastic wrap to protect them while you color. 

9. How do I keep my hair color from fading so fast?
Luckily it has become easier to protect your color with so many hair care products made for color-treated hair. First of all, make sure your shampoo, conditioner and all styling products are free of sulfates and protect against UV and environmental aggressors. And you can always follow up your color application with a Pro Boost: Seal to lock in your color. Another easy way to lock in color is to finish your shower with a final cool rinse (as cold as you can stand). The cold water helps seal the hair cuticle to lock in your color. You should also avoid super hot showers (better yet—shower less often), and stay out of the sun when possible. Color-treated hair loves hydration, so treat yourself to a weekly deep conditioner, or try Color Therapy Color Depositing Hair Mask.
Got a question we didn’t cover? Ask away! We strongly believe that doing it yourself doesn’t mean you’re on your own, which is why we have a whole team of colorists available to help you via live chat or phone. Feel free to reach out to them with any and all hair color questions, or let us know in the comments.