9 Things To Consider Before Dyeing Your Hair
by Sarah Bunton

It seems like not too long ago, women felt the need to keep their dyeing habits a secret, insisting their fiery red hair or platinum blonde strands were natural. But nowadays, people are proudly rocking every color of the rainbow in their locks. All the Instagram and Tumblr pictures of beautiful pastel shades and sophisticated ombres probably have you thinking about changing things up yourself. Whether you're looking into some subtle hues or you want to make a drastic leap and do a vivid neon, there are some things to consider before dyeing your hair.

Unless you're Nicki Minaj or Kylie Jenner, you probably don't have a plethora of colorful wigs at your disposal to switch up to a new look every week. So it's good to remind yourself that coloring your hair isn't always quite as temporary or easily changed as swapping out wigs can be.

By doing a teensy bit of research before heading to the salon or hair color aisle of your local beauty store, you're saving yourself time and money by not having to have someone fix an avoidable mistake. Nothing's worse than looking in the mirror after your hair's done only to be unhappy with the results. So check out the top things you should know before you color your hair.


Go Back To Your Roots

Your natural hair color first determines where to start," Celebrity hair colorist Sharon Dorram told InStyle. "People with warmer base tones can take on different colors than someone with a cooler starting hue." So before you even start the process of changing your look, it's important to know what color your natural hair really is. Although you may think it's just light brown, for instance, a difference in undertone can give you a drastically different result. "


Set Aside Consult Time

If you're going to a salon to get your hair professionally done, don't expect your stylist to be a mind reader. Hair color ambassador for L'Oréal Paris, Kari Hill, told Cosmopolitan that it's helpful to book a consultation before your actual appointment so you can make sure you're both truly on the same page.


Check Your Ends At Home

If you are going the DIY route, it's important to know what condition your hair is in before you start slapping on the color. "Your ends are very absorbent and will end up appearing darker than the rest of your hair if you're using a single-process dye," colorist Eric Muroski of the Marie Robinson Salon told Allure. One way to fix this is to do some type of conditioning treatment prior to coloring, so your hair's moisture level is equal throughout.


Know Your Levels

Whether you're the most seasoned vet of at-home hair coloring or a newbie, you can still get overly ambitious and end up with some unfortunate outcomes. Cassondra Kaeding, a Sally Hershberger colorist, told Refinery29, that in general, you should "stick to two levels lighter or two levels darker than your natural color." Surprisingly, there's actually a lot of variety in two levels and that way you know you won't have any stark or garish results.


Get Ready

Kyle White, lead colorist at the Oscar Blandi Salon, told Everyday Health that you should wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo the day before, not of, your color appointment. This will get out any product build-up so your hair can absorb color more easily and it also gives your hair's natural oils time to replenish themselves.


Be Ready To Commit To Red

There's just something enticing and exciting about the idea of donning a fiery red hue. Yet you should know that, just like flames, their brightness can fizzle out quickly. "The problem with red is that it fades," celebrity hair stylist and colorist, Aura Friedman, told Glamour. "Try not to wash too often, use a glossing treatment, and color every four to six weeks."


Consider Your Skin Tone

Although there are never really any hard and fast rules in the fashion and beauty world, there are some words of wisdom that have successfully withstood the test of time. For instance, did you know your skin's undertone can play a role in your hair color experience? Expert colorist, Laura Estroff, told Marie Claire, that for pink undertones, "you should avoid warm colors, and, "olive skin should choose gold colors." Similarly, if you have a neutral skin tone, go for warm or cool blonde shades."


Buy Extra

When doing your own hair, there are few situations worse than getting partially finished applying color only to realize you've run out. "Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, you should always buy a few boxes of dye," Dorram advised InStyle. Better safe than sorry, right?


Think About The Future

It's easy to be a little short-sighted when thinking about dyeing your hair, but what you do after it's done is just as important as the coloring process itself. Estelle Baumhauer, color director for the mail-order hair-color service eSalon, told Refinery29, that "a color-safe shampoo is more acidic than regular shampoo," which helps your hair hold the pigments longer.