When friends of mine found out I was going to Beauty School, they all said the same thing, “even if you don’t become a stylist, at least you’ll learn how to color your own hair.” Their response made me realize that many of us share a dream – the ability to do our own root touch ups that we can conveniently schedule at any time of day or night. This common goal drives the home color market and inspires television commercials that make the process seem simple and fun – just mix the ingredients in the applicator bottle, apply it to your hair and voila!. Unfortunately what I learned in beauty school was that doing your own color was actually a lot harder than it looks.
First of all, devising the correct color formula is complicated and involves a number of variables beyond your current and desired hair color. As professional colorists we consider a number of other factors such as the history of chemical services, the condition of the hair, the texture of the hair, the amount of grey, and even the presence of certain medications in the system. This type of personalization just can’t be duplicated with a “one size fits all” over the counter color.
Secondly, your hair is always changing. –grey hair gets greyer, blondes darken– so even an at home solution that may have worked well in the past may not continue to produce the same results. You’ve probably noticed this phenomenon with friends or relatives who have been using the same box dye for years with results that are starting to look a little orange or a tad blue. Frankly, their at home formula may only need a slight adjustment; however, the products necessary to make the correction are just not available to the non-professional.
Lastly, touching up your roots with permanent hair dye or bleach requires a precise application because extending the color onto hair that has already been dyed needlessly opens up the cuticle and damages it. If you’ve ever applied at home color, or watched a friend do it, you’ve probably noticed how hard it is to avoid getting the color on previously dyed hair. Trust me. Even with a room full of mirrors, it’s almost impossible to avoid the overlap trap. So, even though I have access to professional products and can do my own formulation, I always protect the health of my hair by having someone at my salon apply my color.
So does this mean you should give up on your dream of doing your own color? Not necessarily. If you are just trying to refresh your color, there may be some demi-permanent colors and glossing products that might work for you in a pinch, but it still may be best to get your colorist’s opinion before you try anything “off the shelf.” Root touch ups, however, are always best done at the salon even if you have gone to beauty school.