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How to Color Your Hair at Home With Box Color

The Dos and Don'ts of Coloring Your Hair at Home

The models above have gorgeous, velvety brown hair. And if you guessed that this color came from hours in an expensive salon chair, you'd be wrong. Colorist Marie Robinson colored their hair for the Spring 2012 Naeem Khan show with Clairol Perfect 10 (some of which she picked up at a nearby drugstore during a last-minute run). "Coloring hair at home isn't as scary as people think," she says. "A lot of people don't realize how easy it can be." Here are the dos and don'ts of unboxing your color.

DO:

  • Stay close to your original hue. "Whether you have virgin or previously colored hair, stick within two shades of your hair color," Robinson says. Bigger changes, like going from brunette to platinum blond, are best left to professionals.
  • Perform a patch allergy test. Trying a new hair color can be exciting, but hold off until you've done the allergy test described within the kit. Usually, this involves dabbing a bit of dye on your skin 48 hours before you wish to color your hair.
  • Go for silver or gold. "You can tell what colors work for you by looking at jewelry," Robinson says. "If you look better in silver or platinum, you'll look better in ash tones. If gold is more flattering, try reds or caramels."

DON'T:

  • Don't paint your hair. "A lot of people try to paint their hair rather than putting the color on the scalp," Robinson explains. "But you can miss regrowth or grays that way." Instead, massage color into the scalp, and the hue will migrate up the hair shaft.
  • Don't color your entire head. "As I tell my own clients, it's more about doing a retouch," Robinson says. "You're not going to get the best results if you keep pulling color through."
  • Don't leave the color on longer than necessary. To get the best hue, follow instructions to a T.
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