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Tips for colouring your hair

Trying a new colour for your hair this season and planning to do it yourself? Here’s what you need to know before you get started

fashion and trends Updated: Dec 11, 2012 19:47 IST
Serena Menon

Colouring hair seems like the easiest cosmetic change for those who want to sport a radically new look this festive season. But just following instructions mentioned at the back of the colour box isn’t all you need to do. With advertisements insisting that colouring your hair at home is an easy task for just about anyone and everyone, we speak to experts at top salons across the city to bust some popular myths about experimenting with hues.

Hair dyeMyth: Packaged or box colours are softer on the hair

According to the experts, while most dyes that can be purchased over-the-counter are safe to use once in a while, regular use can prove harmful. "Your hair won’t fall off if you use this colour, unless you’re allergic to some ingredient, which the lay person will not be able to tell," says Renee, adding, "Another thing for those people who expect all their greys to get covered with this colour is that it doesn’t happen if you don’t do it right."

As for the strength of the colour, it is much more potent and permanent as it is often applied to non-bleached hair. Says Mitesh, “The dye in the boxes is a lot stronger as opposed to the professional colours we use in the salon. We don’t advise box colours often because if you leave them on for too long, they can damage your hair and the desired result is tough to achieve.”

Myth: Bleaching doesn’t damage hair
Try not to trust ‘expert’ websites that claim bleaching your hair does not damage it in any way. Apart from the difference in hair types, the various kinds of bleaches and how they are applied to your hair and for how long are also all deciding factors when it comes to hair colour. “Bleach actually strips the colour molecules out of your hair, which inevitably leaves it weaker than it was before,” says Mitesh Tailor, principal stylist at Saks salon. Which is why, attempting it at home is not recommended.

“You’re removing your hair pigment at the end of the day. It is definitely not safe to do it without supervision. Bleach is a very tough on the hair, and if someone inexperienced is doing it, it can burn your hair permanently,” adds hairstylist Renee Malik.

Myth: Don’t use conditioner on coloured hair
Often, inexperienced hairstylists at salons ask people to not use conditioner on the coloured part of their hair. The theory seems to be that this prolongs the colour. But Mitesh insists otherwise. “On the contrary, when you have coloured hair, you must condition your hair and mask it. Using shampoo opens up your cortex, which leaves your hair in a vulnerable state. Conditioner prevents that,” says Mitesh.

Myth: Any hair type can take any colour
Apart from the fact that certain colours can’t be applied on certain hair types, those with chemically straightened hair must also be careful. Says Shimsha Shetty, salon director and partner at b:blunt salon, “For those who have sensitive scalps, we wouldn’t recommend a global colour. If their hair is thin, then I would recommend milder tones. Not something very light, as those colours have higher doses of chemicals.”