|Should You Color Your Own Hair?|
As I type this, I am sitting in my kitchen on a wooden chair with my head wrapped in plastic wrap. I look a little bit like a creature from outer space–I certainly wouldn’t answer the door like this. Yes, I’ve colored my hair and I’m waiting the 45 minutes until I can wash the coloring lotion out. A hair coloring kit costs about $7-10. I use the semi-permanent coloring that I need to do every 4-6 weeks. I am saving about $75 a month by doing this myself, but in some areas of the country hair coloring costs upwards of $100 a time. Should you color your hair yourself? Maybe, but consider everything before you start.
First of all you need a place to do the coloring. The best would be a utility room. You don’t need anything but a mirror, but you will splash colorant everywhere. No sense messing up your bathroom walls, woodwork, and flooring. It will also get on a sink and fixtures, but these tend to clean up well. As I’ve said before, I’m
sloppy uncoordinated. I spill food on myself, hence I have become a permanent student of stain removal! Even when I’m careful when coloring my hair I squirt colorant all over the place. There are hair coloring kits that use “gel” colorant that tend to stay in one place better. I just happen to like the color I’m using and it doesn’t come in gel form. I color my hair in an old mostly unused bathroom that we intend to remodel one day. After the remodel I might have to set up a mirror in our unfinished basement. But the basement is not warm in the winter, so I might have to go to a salon in the winter.
Guidelines? Remove everything you can from the bathroom. Take your glasses off and put them in another room. Wear really old clothes that you don’t care if they get stained. You could wear a plastic cape or plastic poncho to protect your clothing. I’m more comfortable in old clothes. Follow the directions that come inside the box of hair color. They are pretty straightforward. ALWAYS aim the nozzle of the hair care bottle AWAY from your eyes and face.
|DIY Hair Coloring|
One thing that shows a poorly done DIY hair coloring is missed sections, especially on the back of your head. The way I avoid this is to comb my gloved fingers through my hair all over. Any place where my fingers don’t go through easily needs more colorant. I also pay special attention to the areas around my ears and the hairline all around the bottom because I wear my hair in a ponytail a lot. It doesn’t look very chic to have a telltale line of a different color there.
When my hair is totally covered and saturated, I wrap my head in wide plastic food wrap. I wrap several times to be sure it’s all secure and all the hair is covered. I put my glasses on after the first wrap to keep them on. That completes the Martian look! Set your timer for the wait time.
During the wait time I clean up any drips I can find around the room. It’s best to clean spills as soon as you see them while you are coloring, but without my glasses I don’t see much. I start on the floor first because the stains there tend to not come out of the tile. Also, if I step on colorant, I’ll track it all over (including the carpet just outside the bathroom.) Then I clean the walls and woodwork such as window frames and door frames that absorb color a lot, but can sometimes be saved by a quick wipe. I use toilet paper and throw them in the trash can rather than the toilet. Not sure it that helps the environment or not, but I hate to add chemicals to the water system. Chrome fixtures and mirrors clean up the easiest, even if I’ve overlooked drips there until after my shower. If your sink doesn’t clean up with toilet paper, try cleaning it the way you usually clean your sink. (It helps if the sink was a little dirty to begin with as the dirt layer will protect it.) I’ve never had the stink get permanently stained, but I have had to scrub it a bit sometimes. Also my sink is porcelain–not sure how other types of sinks would do. You don’t really need a sink at all for this, but I use the mirror there.
|How Much Can You Save?|
During the wait time you can’t really sit on any upholstered furniture for fear you might stain it. As far as I know colorant is a permanent stain. Also you will get drips coming from your covered hair from time to time. Just use a paper napkin or more toilet tissue to mop it up. I prefer paper napkins for this. You can also add another layer of plastic wrap, making it a little tighter. Don’t worry about any dye that gets on your skin, even on your face, because it washes off easily with soap and water.
Don’t worry if you accidentally leave colorant on your hair longer than the timed amount. The chemicals stop working at that time anyway. I always get into the shower within a few minutes of the timer ringing. I get the clean clothes and everything I need for the shower ready so that I can jump in the shower when the timer rings.
Set out one or two old towels to use for your shower. I’ve never gotten dye on these towels, but I don’t want to take a chance with better towels. I might have some odd situation where I need to wipe dye from getting too close to my eyes. When the waiting time is up, take your shower, following the directions on the instruction sheet. Basically you rinse out the colorant and apply the special conditioner that came with the kit. You do not use your regular shampoo at this time. Save that for your next shower.
After the shower I recheck the bathroom for drips and stains I missed before. They seem to appear and places I already cleaned now show more of a stain than before. Double check the faucet area, mirror frame and towel racks. You are done! I wait for the dye to dry on my “dyeing clothes” before washing them in the washing machine with a load of whites or jeans. I’ve never had any dye come off onto other clothes this way.
I always save the box top from the coloring kit as a reference for the next time so I can get the same color if I liked it. I write on the back of that box top if I want a darker or lighter shade next time. If I thought the color was too brassy with too much of a reddish tone, I will look for a shade labeled “cool” next time. If it looked too dull, I’ll look for a shade labeled “warm.” I can keep track of this on the back of the box top.
Most hair color lasts for 4-6 weeks, but there are things you can do to hide roots. The easiest thing is to get a haircut that has no defined part and has a more “tousled” look. My son calls this the “messy all over look!” But you could have that look mainly in the crown of your hairstyle where roots would be most noticeable. You can also buy special kits for covering roots, and these are located in the hair color aisle. Some people do this with a mascara brush instead. Why try to stretch out the time for coloring your hair again? Because your hair will stay in better condition and look healthier. You don’t want the straw look. Some color kits include a special protective cream to apply before you color. You put it on the ends of your hair and any place that had has been colored a longer time. Those are the areas most likely to have been overexposed to the colorant. Another trick is to make sure your hair is dirty before coloring it. The dirt actually protects the hair from absorbing too much of the chemicals.
Still afraid to try it? Ask a friend who colors her hair to color your hair for the first time so you can learn from her and get over your fear of it.
Who should not color their own hair? People with arthritis in their shoulders and neck, those with permed or straightened care, those who have no place to be sloppy, and those who have high level jobs that require impeccable hair. You might not want to try this for the first time right before a special occasion. For the rest of us, why not? You can try the once a week hair color first to perfect your technique. Then when you are ready, give the semi-permanent coloring a try.