Our CVs are expanding. Over the past couple of weeks stuck at home we’ve had to employ some pretty #boss tactics to get stuff done solo. We’ve become our own IT team, our own source of entertainment (thanks to Zoom Come Dine With Me) and we’re brushing up on becoming our own at-home hair colourist, too.
The good news for those already familiar with DIY dyeing is, you’re about to get even better. And for those dipping their brush into the dyeing arena for the first time? Clever innovations and clear instructions are making it easier than ever to get it right at home. So alongside picking up a game-changing new skill to add to your expanding repertoire, you can save yourself money with fewer expensive trips to the salon in the future.
But before you start, you need to know what you’re looking for. Things have moved on massively from a one-fits-all at home colour experience. Now, there are many options to help you create a custom, multi-dimensional finish. There are a few things to consider: How long do you want the dye to last? How do you want it to fade? And where do you actually need it?
Here’s our best advice for finding the right solution for you…
The scenario: You want a long-lasting colour that looks glossy and multi-dimensional
The solution: Permanent colour
Permanent dye is the answer if you’re after a long-lasting solution that you can apply once. It’ll give you a rich, beautiful colour and 100% grey coverage that will see you through months without fading. What’s more, it’s the best bet if you want to go for a slightly brighter blonde, since semi-permanent shades have a hard time lifting colours lighter.
For a seamless finish, apply to your roots first (the hair here is fresher and less absorbent), before adding colour through the lengths (which are older, more porous and therefore absorb colour more quickly). Another tip? Dirty hair works best (provided you haven’t loaded it with styling products). Second or third day hair will give your scalp a chance to build up a layer of natural oils to provide a buffer between your scalp and your hair colour. For a natural-looking colour, stick to shades no more than two shades lighter or darker than your own.
The product: Clairol Nice’n Easy Crème
This is blended with three tones and highlights to give a pretty, multi-dimensional colour that mimics those found in natural, uncoloured hair. It’s infused with nourishing oils to ensure it’s extra gentle on the hair and scalp. And there are conditioners at every step, so you’re left with silky soft strands.
The scenario: You want something non-committal and low maintenance
The solution: Semi-permanent colour
If you want a non-committal solution that will fade to natural in a few weeks, go for semi-permanent. It’ll give you a natural boost of colour, without the worry of root regrowth. You can call on this for a one-time deal to experiment with colour, and then leave it to do its thing without having to maintain the shade you’ve chosen. (Then you can always go back in with another colour next time.)
The product: Clairol Natural Instincts
This delicious conditioning colour is gentle, effective and suitable for vegans. It’s free from ammonia and harsh scents and the ingredients are 80% natural (coconut oil and aloe vera ensure your hair stays healthy and shiny). Even though it’s kinder on strands, it still offers impressive colour. It lasts up to 28 washes and comes in 15 natural-looking shades.
The scenario: You want to keep hold of your highlights, but cover regrowth at the roots
The solution: Root touch-up
If you just want to cover regrowth, you’ll be needing a root touch-up. It’s a clever solution that involves tactical application, rather than a complete cover-up. Once you’ve matched yourself to the colour that you need, apply it directly to your hairline and along your roots. It’ll blend seamlessly into the rest of your hair colour, without having to re-do the whole lot.
Top tip: To keep the rest of your hair pristine (and to give it a little TLC), smother your lengths in a nourishing mask or coconut oil to shield it from any run-off colour from your roots.
The product: Clairol Root Touch-Up
This is the only permanent touch-up available in the UK. Others can be sprayed on and washed off, or will fade over a few washes. It comes in a whopper 21 colours to match all of the most popular shades (even in salon colour), takes 10 minutes and comes with a precision brush for accurate application.
The scenario: You’re a first-time hair-dyer and you want something foolproof
The solution: Semi-permanent colour
Again, semi-permanent colour is the way to go for this. Firstly, it’s less complicated to master as it doesn’t require using a developer (a chemical which helps to activate permanent dye). It will provide enough pigment to effectively cover any greys, but it fades out evenly over 24 washes, which means it’s easy to erase any mistakes, you won’t get any visible root lines and it’s gentle too.
The product: Clairol Nice’n Easy No Ammonia
This comes in 22 beautifully natural-looking shades, gives a healthy, sheeny finish and since it contains no ammonia, it’s even kinder to hair.
To find out more about getting natural-looking colour at home, head to clairol.co.uk