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DIY Hair Color Like a Pro

The thought of dying your own hair might seem intimidating — after all, it is permanent or semipermanent — but the pros say it’s possible to have salon-quality results at home if you stick to some guidelines. Of course, stylists want you to come see them in a perfect world, but many acknowledge box color has its place.

“At-home color is good for people who have a lot of gray or those who can’t get to the salon easily,” says Doug Macintosh, color director at Kieran McKenna Salon in New York City. “Coming into a salon isn’t always convenient or affordable and that’s when a box color is helpful.”Here are top salon colorists’ advice for making the most of DIY permanent color so you have the best results at home.

Know When You Have to Go to the Salon

There are some color jobs that require a pro. “The further away you want to go from your natural color, the bigger reason you need to go to a professional,” says Colin Lively, a colorist at Eddy’s on Coventry in Cleveland, OH. Macintosh says that going more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural color sets you up for unpredictable results.

Bleaching or lightening your hair can also be a challenging job for an amateur. “Without knowledge of how color lifts, the density of hair and hair texture, it’s hard to gauge how long to leave on bleach to get the result you’re looking for,” says Nicole Brumley, owner of Kiiro Hair Lab in Springfield, MO. “I’ve had to fix quite a few mistakes with DIY bleaching, so I wouldn’t do home lightening.”

Select the Right Shade

To match your color, standing under the store’s lights won’t help much. “It’s essential to go outside to see the true color and take a close-up picture of your hair,” says Jet Rhys, president of Jet Rhys Hair Salon in Solana Beach, CA. Having that image of your shade in daylight will be helpful to match with the picture on the box, she explains. Read more

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