Did you know that according to a survey by Tresemme, the average woman spends over $50,000 on her hair in her lifetime? She also spends $120 on shampoo, $120 for styling products and another $330 on hair color annually.
A few years ago, I was spending much more than that on hair color – over $100 every 6 weeks just to keep my grays at bay. Eventually I switched to buying boxed hair color at the drugstore and doing it myself. It was a much cheaper solution but my hair suffered for it. The harsh chemicals in box color can dry out and damage hair. Plus I never seemed to get great color results – the picture on the box never matched what I ended up with.
One day I wandered into my local beauty supply store for some advice on professional products to use at home. The associate thankfully recognized the newbie in me and took me on a tour of the store, gathering everything I needed to get started and explaining each step of the process.
What she taught me is coloring your hair professionally at home is a lot easier than it seems. You just need to know what to buy and how to mix and apply. The best part? I spend under $100 per year on professional looking hair color now, about $8 per month. Now that’s a savings! How to Professionally Color Your Hair at Home
1. Buy Your Basic Supplies – You’ll need to make a one time investment in hair coloring supplies but they should cost under $15. Here’s a list of basics to get you started.
- Salon quality latex gloves.
- Plastic mixing bowl.
- Applicator brush.
- Applicator bottle.
2. Select your color. When choosing your hair color, ask lots of questions. The employees in beauty supply stores generally know their stuff. There are many brands and types of hair color and it can be overwhelming. The employee can guide you to the type of hair color best suited for your hair type and the results you want. You’ll need to decide if you’re doing a permanent, semi-permanent, demi-permanent or temporary (wash out) color. If you have any gray in your hair, that will also determine which brand and type you select. For best results don’t go any more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural color. Leave that to the experts.
3. Choose your developer. The main difference between boxed colors from the drugstore and coloring your hair using professional products is that the color and developer are purchased separately. Developers generally come in volumes of 10, 20, 30 and 40. A developer of 10 is to deposit color only, meaning it doesn’t open the hair shaft to “lift” your color. This is ideal for most hair colors and gives you a pretty true color result. As the volume number goes up, so does the lift level. If you want to do highlights or lighter blonde, you would need to go with a higher volume of 30 or 40. Sound complicated? It’s not. The hair color you select will usually tell you which volume of developer to buy. If it doesn’t, the associate can point you in the right direction.
3. Mix your color and developer in the bowl or bottle and apply immediately. Once you have your products purchased, you can then mix them according to package instructions (there will be an insert with the color) and apply starting at your roots. Most of the time, the ratio of color to developer is 1:1. The bottle and bowl are both conveniently marked so you can easily measure out the right amount of product. Most of the time, you’ll be mixing 2 oz. of hair color with 2 oz. of developer. Your wait time for processing will also depend on the result you want. The package instructions will give you a guide. I generally leave my color on for 30-35 minutes in order to cover my stubborn grays.
That’s it! It’s really pretty easy and not at all intimidating. What I love most about coloring my hair at home is that I have complete control over the color results. I’ve even started to experiment with mixing different colors within my natural color level to create my own custom color. In the fall and winter, I mix up darker neutral brunettes and then gradually lighten to more golden tones in the spring and summer.
My hair is healthier now than it was when I used boxed hair color. My friends are always shocked when I tell them that I color it myself. I’ve even taken some of them along to the beauty supply store to get started. 🙂
It’s Your Turn: How much are you spending on salon hair color? Would you consider DIY with professional products at home or is it too intimidating to try?