Professional At-Home Hair Color

Professional At-Home Hair Color

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!HairColorImageHow 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.

4.  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?


Beauty Buzz | Chafing Cream as a Primer?

Beauty Buzz | Chafing Cream as a Primer?

This is a post that I never imagined writing and a comparison I never dreamed of doing.  But necessity sometimes calls for drastic measures and that’s exactly what led to this discovery.

Last week, I ran out of my beloved Smashbox primer, the same primer that all of you have heard me sing praises about since this blog’s beginnings.  Since I order the jumbo sized tubes directly from Smashbox, I have to wait several days for it to arrive when I run out.  Which is why I try to order it in advance.  This time, I kept forgetting to place my order and got to the end of my tube without having a replacement.

Panicked, I took to the internet to see what, if any, drugstore brands of primer are comparable to get me through until my Smashbox arrives.  Over and over again, the same results came back…and they weren’t for a primer at all.

Instead what I found is a chafing cream, yes, a product to prevent irritation in intimate and delicate areas, is actually an awesome facial primer!


Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel vs. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

1.  It’s inexpensive.  At around $6 for a 1.5 oz. sized tube of Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel, it sure as heck beats $36 for a similar sized tube of Smashbox primer.  That’s a $30 savings!

2.  It feels great.  It glides onto skin the same as the Smashbox primer and quickly creates a powdery smooth base for foundation.  A little bit goes a long way!

3.  It has the same ingredients.  The main ingredient in both products is dimethicone which creates a barrier between skin and your cosmetics.  Foundation and other cosmetics float on top of your skin which creates a smooth canvas and hides imperfections.  It makes your skin look smoother and foundation last longer.

4.  It’s non-irritating and doesn’t clog pores.  I was afraid my face would break out since I have very sensitive skin and this isn’t technically formulated as a cosmetic product.  I’ve had no irritation, break outs or other adverse effects from it.

5.  Bottom line:  It works the same.  It really does.  I decided not to re-order my Smashbox primer and plan to use the rest of the Monistat Soothing Care Powder Gel instead.

If you can get past the fact that this is a chafing cream, your cosmetics budget will thank you.  I’m all for a budget friendly solution that I can easily pick up on my weekly shopping trips.

It’s Your Turn:  Would you be willing to try it out?  Tell me in the comments.


BeautyBUZZIt’s time to link up your beauty posts for this week’s Beauty Buzz link up.  Join me along with Lulu of Simply Lulu Style, Nicole of MomTrends and Janise of Mama in Heels to connect, share and sparkle!

Lulu is hosting this week, link up HERE.  We also have a great giveaway going on, so be sure to pop over and enter!

Beauty Buzz | Five Tips for Whiter Teeth

Beauty Buzz | Five Tips for Whiter Teeth

As a two cup a day coffee drinker and three cup a day green tea drinker, I have to work really hard to maintain a white smile. Fortunately there are a whole plethora of products on the market that make it a lot easier.  Combined with some tips and tricks I’ve learned through the years, keeping my smile stain-free is pretty easy.  Here are my top five tips for whiter teeth.

1.  Drink Through a Straw – A friend and I were at Starbucks one day when she ordered her coffee with a straw.  At first, I thought she was crazy until she explained that drinking coffee and tea through a straw gives it less contact with your teeth.  Genius!   You might feel silly doing this at first, but trust me, it works.

2.  Use an Electric Toothbrush – Electric toothbrushes are best for removing the deeply imbedded surface stains on teeth.  I was amazed at the difference in my teeth when I switched to using one.  My affordable yet effective favorite is the Philips Sonicare Essence.

3.  Touch Up with Whitening Strips – I wore braces for almost five years as an adult.  After they were removed, I got one of those expensive whitening treatments done by my dentist.  It was very effective but I’ve had to maintain it with touch ups.  I’ve had the best results with Crest 3D Whitestrips Intensive Professional Effects.  After my daughter got her braces removed last year, we used these to whiten her smile.  They were just as effective as the expensive treatment I got but for a lot less.

4.  Brush with Whitening Toothpaste – This one is a no-brainer but using whitening toothpaste on a daily basis really does make a difference.  Just make sure it’s the right one.  I’m not kidding when I say that I’ve tried almost every whitening toothpaste on the market.  Hands down the best results I’ve gotten in both whitening and preventing stains is Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Toothpaste.  It’s removes up to 90% of surface stains in five days.

5.  Fake it With Bronzer – You know how your teeth look whiter when you have a tan?  You can fake a brighter smile year-round with a facial bronzer or sunless tanner.  Sunless tanner applied to your face makes teeth and the whites of your eyes look brighter.  Bare Minerals Faux Tan Face gradually develops into a natural looking tan and won’t clog pores or cause breakouts.

It’s Your Turn:  What tips do you have for a whiter, brighter smile?  Share them in the comments.


BeautyBUZZIt’s time to link up your beauty posts for this week’s Beauty Buzz link up.  Join me along with Lulu of Simply Lulu Style, Nicole of MomTrends and Janise of Mama in Heels to connect, share and sparkle!

Janise is hosting this week, link up HERE.