The home hair colouring guide

hairdyeWith things the way they are at the moment, not everyone can afford to “nip down to see Luca at the salon for a half head please darling.” I for one have given up my monthly highlighting trips to the salon in favor for the ‘do it yourself’ boxes at the chemist and I must say I will have to eat my words of times gone by and say that I am nicely surprised by the results – not to mention the money I am saving.

Picking the correct color

When choosing a hair color, you need to take into consideration two things – your skin tone and natural hair colour. Nature gave us all a natural hair colour and skin colour that suit each other so we need to try not to stray too far away from that.

Whether you are going darker or lighter you should stay within two or three shades of your natural colour.

When colouring your hair at home it is better to choose a colour that is close to the colour you already have and use it to give your hair more shine and life and make it look more groomed, than to try and give yourself a whole new look.

Colour system

Hair colour is assigned levels depending on the degree of lightness or darkness.

The colour is assigned a level number from 1 to 10 with 1 being black and 10 being lightest blonde. You need to remember though colour is not paint; it’s the reflection of light off the coloured pigments in the hair shaft. This “reflection of light” is what we see as “colour”.

2=Very Dark Brown
3=Dark Brown
5=Medium Brown
6=Light Brown
7=Dark Blonde
8=Light Blonde
9=Very Light Blonde
10=Light Platinum Blonde

Another scale from 1-6 represents the tones/reflections adding to your base shade.

1. Ash(blue) 4.Copper (orange)
2. Pearl (violet) 5. Mahogany (red violet)
3. Gold (yellow) 6. Red (red)

The first number of a hair colour will always represent the base shade and the second number will represent the reflect added. Some shades will have two reflects for a more intense colour.

So for example, a hair colour labled 7.4 would be a dark blond with copper reflections

Types of hair colour


Permanent really does mean permanent – it will permanently change the pigment of the hair shaft. It will not wash out but in time will fade. All hair dyes that will lighten the hair are permanent


Semi-permanent hair colours can cover greys and darken hair. They will last varying amounts of time depending on the product which makes semi-permanent hair colour a great product for first timers.

Be realistic

If you’re a level 1 dark haired person wanting to become a level 10 platinum blonde you are going to need a few trips to the salon – this is the not the time to be doing it yourself as the process will require a few dye jobs to slowly lighten you up rather than jumping from one extreme to the other! I can say with out any hesitation if you try to do this at home you are going to end up with orange or green hair instead of gorgeous blonde locks – or just plain bald.


  • Section your hair with clips to ensure you get an even coverage and make sure you don’t miss any areas – if possible, enlist a friend to help out.
  • Don’t wash your hair on the day you are going to colour it, the dirtier the better!
  • Only apply colour to dry hair – wet hair will not absorb colour!
  • Be sure to rinse thoroughly after. Do this till the water runs clear and then longer just to be sure. Any colour that is left in will stain pillows, clothing, and anything you rub up against – plus it can continue to process so the colour could end up darker than you expected!
  • Wear gloves and protect anything that will stain. Standing on newspaper is a good idea.
  • Colour removes colour from the skin! During the colouring process you can wipe a small amount of colouring solution over any staining on the skin to remove it.
  • Lemon juice and astringent skin toners will also remove any stains from skin, while bleach will generally remove stains from surfaces that can be bleached safely.
  • Adding a thin strip of petroleum jelly around the neck and hair line prior to hair colour application can help prevent skin stains.
  • Do not re colour hair for at least two weeks even if the colour is wrong. Over-colouring is incredibly bad for the condition of your skin.
  • Use a colour safe shampoo and conditioner that are designed specifically for coloured hair as these will help maintain shine and coulor.
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