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Whether your highlights have grown out into a bad balayage, your grays are starting to show or you need a dramatic hair change to bring some excitement back into your life, you’re probably missing your routine trips to the salon.
There are plenty of ways you can support your local salon and stylist during this time (besides going to them for a professional touch-up for your at-home cuts and colors when they reopen). Consider purchasing gift cards for future appointments and tipping your stylist in advance for that next cut or color. It’s a good idea to contact your salon to see what inventive take-home options they’re providing right now, too.
However, if you absolutely can’t hold off until your salon is open again, there are a few tips on how to dye your own hair that you should read — and you want to have the right products on hand so you don’t regret the outcome.
We spoke to professional hair colorists about the products they recommend you use to color your own hair at home, if you absolutely must.
First, think about how you can maintain your color
If you’re feeling impulsive, you might be tempted to mix things up and try a new color or trend, but colorist and stylist Haley-May Block at The Wayward Hairdresser said to think twice. Even if your color comes out all right at first, it’s going to take a lot of time and money to fix when you return for your post-pandemic salon appointment.
Block said the best thing you can do is use products to maintain the tone of your hair color, like an Evo Fabuloso color-boosting treatment for platinum and cool blondes or Overtone hair mask for brunettes.
The reason you dish out so much for highlights and balayage at the salon is for the expertise of the stylist, according to colorist and stylist Monica Reyes from Hairspace. Professionals know the right techniques, like when to rinse out the product and how to balance out any unwanted yellow, orange or brass tones.
“It is not the time to all of a sudden go platinum or give yourself some highlights.”
“A stylist can fix messed-up color, but a stylist cannot fix damage and breakage without cutting your hair off,” Reyes said. “It is not the time to all of a sudden go platinum or give yourself some highlights.”
But there are a few things you can do to maintain your existing strands. For blondes, Reyes suggested Matrix Total Results So Silver to neutralize unwanted warmth, eliminate yellow tones, and brighten gray to white shades. For brunettes, she recommended Brass Off Blue Shampoo to neutralize brassy tones. And redheads or other quick-fading colors should consider Keep Me Vivid Sulfate Free Shampoo.
What to do if grays or roots are your problem
If your natural roots are starting to show or you’re not ready to embrace the gray, there are some tricks you can try that don’t involve dye.
If you just need to something cover your grown-out roots for Zoom meetings, Reyes said you can probably get away with a less permanent hair solution, such as L’Oreal Magic Root Cover Up.
“It is a temporary root touch-up spray that I recommend to my clients when they need to conceal their grays between appointments, and the best part is that it lasts until your next shampoo,” Reyes told HuffPost Finds. “My clients generally only apply it to where they part their hair and maybe along the hairline.”
What to do if you need a custom color solution
The second best thing to do for your dull strands ― besides trying to maintain the color you have ― is to get a personalized take-home color kit from your local salon.
Block’s salon, for example, is offering mini “no contact” consultations to local clients who can stop by to pick up their custom hair color kit. It’s a better and gentler alternative to drugstore box dyes, according to Block.
“I don’t think anyone wants to be a swatch on a box,” she said. “And furthermore, anyone who has been to a salon for their color knows their color isn’t just a simple selection on a wall. It’s a perfectly personalized formula.”
“I don’t think anyone wants to be a swatch on a box. Anyone who has been to a salon for their color knows their color isn’t just a simple selection on a wall.”
DIY hair color projects often go very wrong, and can sometimes even cause permanent hair damage. Box dyes contain the maximum amount of pigment and ammonia in order to be a one-size-fits-all solution ― which can cause an onslaught of issues that your stylist will have to address before you can go back to your regular hair color routine.
If you can’t get a take-home kit from your salon, Garnier’s Olia line is a good generic option that can be found at most drugstores, Reyes said.
Use this time to get your hair strong and healthy
It’s an opportune time to give your hair a break from heat styling and over-shampooing, Block told HuffPost Finds.
“Remember your stylist telling you not to shampoo so much? Take this time to get through that awkward phase while you’re inside and no one is seeing you,” Block said. “Consider this time to get your hair healthy, strong and less shampoo-dependent.”
You can also keep your locks healthy with conditioning masks. Reyes recommends L’Oreal Elvive Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm, the It’s A 10 Potion 10 Miracle Repair Mask Deep Conditioner and Redken’s line of treatment masks.
Still, if you absolutely must color your hair, we get it. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best products you’ll need to color your hair at home, and do it well.