(Original story published on Tuesday August 11th, 2015 on FashionMagazine.com.)
After a bit of trial and error, we now understand pretty well that things on TV aren’t always what they seem. Need proof? Ask anyone who’s ever tried an at-home dye job.
Now, we’re not saying it’s impossible to get Sofia Vergara-esque locks from a box. It’s just that our results tend to look more #PinterestFail than your typical glossy mane hair dye ad. The reason? Well, chances are it’s not the product itself, but the executer. Yeah, you.
But that’s no excuse to throw in the DIY towel just yet. After all, dyeing your own mane is a serious cost-saver, plus it gets you out of spending hours in the salon chair.
And so, to help you make the most of your at-home, budget-friendly experience, we’re outlining the reasons why it can be obvious you dyed your hair yourself, and how to avoid these common mistakes to achieve salon-worthy results.
From stains on your scalp to too-bright roots, flip through the slideshow to find out how to prevent yourself from the heartache of accidentally channeling a Beauty School Dropout.
SIGN #1: Scalp Stains
Vaseline (or even Chapstick for a more precise application) is the most effective way to prevent dye stains, which is a tell-tale sign of an amateur colourist. Just apply the petroleum jelly along your hairline, neck and ears to prevent the dye from staining your skin. Missed a spot and have a stain? Apply eye makeup remover to a cotton ball and dab it on the mark.
Vaseline Petroleum Jelly ($3, well.ca).
SIGN #2: Hot Roots
Legendary celebrity hair colourist, Kim Vo, uses the term “hot roots” to describe when your roots are brighter than the rest of your mane. This typically occurs when you change your hair to a lighter colour, and the roots end up being too light, too vibrant or even too brassy.
To prevent “hot roots” from occurring, stick with a colour that is no more than two shades lighter or darker than your present hue, and be sure to follow the directions outlined on the box. Pay special attention to the suggested amount of time to leave the colour on for, while taking into account how long it’s taken to apply the dye to your whole mane as well. And note: When you’re looking for a drastic change, it’s better to see a professional.
KINGSO Mini Digital Slim Magnetic LCD Timer Count Up Down Alarm Kitchen Cooking ($5, amazon.ca).
SIGN #3: Blotchy Job
Whether going blonde, brunette or red, the main sign of a non-professional dye job is blotchiness. First and foremost, follow the manufacturer’s directions. A lot of time and research goes in to determining the directions, so it’s best to read and follow the specific advice of each product, as it changes per brand and formula.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to really get in there. Slip on thin plastic gloves, and ensure you’re fully covering every strand. Start by applying the colour to the roots, followed by the ends. Then, spread the dye evenly throughout the rest of your hair to ensure you have uniform colour.
Sally Beauty Kimwear Salon Fit Vinyl Gloves ($7, sallybeauty.com).
SIGN #4: Orangey Results
If you find your hair features an orange hue after a dye job, it means you didn’t pick the right colour. When dyeing hair red, your strands can easily adopt an orange or a pink tone (this is particularly the case for those with gray hair). Be sure to choose a colour that is only one or two shades lighter or darker than your natural colour, and if it’s gray-coverage you’re after, find a product that boasts a formula specifically targeted to covering grays. Another tip for covering grays? Apply the product at your grayest points first (usually the roots), giving the formula more time to colour these areas.
Garnier’s Olia Oil Powdered Permanent Colour is a great option for colouring gray hair, and comes in a gorgeous light natural auburn hue, along with twenty other shades.
Garnier Olia Oil Powdered Permanent Haircolor ($10, drugstore.com).
SIGN #5: Shoe-Polishy Finish
When going for a darker colour, the results can often be “shoe polish-y.” This means the colour is too saturated. Instead of being reflective and natural, it’s dark, harsh and lacks tone and dimension. Opt for a colour that’s close to your current shade and go for a hair gloss to help the colour stay vibrant and shiny. Oribe offers a nourishing mask that features watermelon extract, wild mango butter and edelweiss flower extract to strengthen and condition hair, and bioflavonoids to prevent the colour from fading or discolouring.
Oribe Masque for Beautiful Color ($59, net-a-porter.com).