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Talk to me about coloring my own hair


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I used to cover my few greys with a box from the store. It wasn’t fabulous but it was fine. Then I started getting a few more and I had a stylist I liked and trusted to do it so I’ve had it done professionally for about five years. 
 

Well, my stylist makes me text her several times before she’ll return my texts and it just isn’t worth it for me to chase her down. And I’m not super interested in finding someone new. I can get it cut a couple times a year anywhere (it’s curly and just scrunches up anyway).  If my stylist was easier to work with I would keep going to her but I’m feeling it is not worth the effort or the expense to chase her down or to cultivate a relationship with someone new, who, it seems from the way people talk, I would also have to chase down. It’s just not that important to me I guess.

My options are to just let it go (I did that for over a year due to Covid and I would consider it) or do something myself. I think I’d like to give it a shot myself and then if I don’t like it, just let it go. 
 

So, if I am going to do it myself, do y’all have any tips? Any product better than another? I have dark brown hair and would be just attempting to match it to cover grey. Not changing my whole hair color. At the moment my roots are just starting to come in grey so I’d do something soon before there are big chunks of grey to color. 
 

I’m okay if it isn’t perfect. Just cutting back on some of the grey would be an improvement. I’m almost 47 with three adult children so I can live with a little grey if my home job isn’t perfect 🙂

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Have you seen the articles about Jane Fonda going gray? I was getting some pressure, hints from my hair dresser to color, and I decided if I did anything I'd probably lean in and go with the highlights to lean in on the gray and keep them looking bright vs. trying to cover. I have dark hair like you and my hair grows pretty quickly.

No help on the home coloring, because with covid I punted on the whole thing, lol. But I did find this coloring salon in CA that is where Jane Fonda went. I figured that's what I'd do if I want something. Me, I'd end up with brown ears if I tried to do it to myself. :biggrin:

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26 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

I have dark brown hair and would be just attempting to match it to cover grey. Not changing my whole hair color. At the moment my roots are just starting to come in grey so I’d do something soon before there are big chunks of grey to color. 

Root touch up may be what you need instead of the usual hair dye. As an aside, the supermarket cashier gave my 48 year old husband the senior discount because his black hair is showing lots of white. I was mistaken as my kid’s grandma when I didn’t dye. 
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty-products/hair-dye-reviews/g32240218/best-root-touch-up-hair-products/

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I dyed my hair for over 30 years, usually using L'Oreal but sometimes trying other things. I assume people who looked at me closely knew I was dying my hair, which means very few people outside my family would have given it a thought. I stopped dying during covid because my hair is just about completely white now and I was tired of dealing with it. I did like the fact that my hair had a lot of body when it was dyed, though. 

In some ways I do wish I had not missed seeing the natural progression of my hair from brown to white. But it's all done now. 

You could try using a demi-permanent color to try it out if you are hesitant. I don't know any brands, though.

 

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50 minutes ago, marbel said:

You could try using a demi-permanent color to try it out if you are hesitant. I don't know any brands, though.

The only trouble with demi- or semi-permanent is that it doesn't cover gray as well as permanent. The good thing about it is that it washes out gradually so that it doesn't leave a line of demarkation like permanent color does. I think if someone is more than about 25% gray they really need permanent.

Before COVID, I only had my hair colored at the salon. Now I use L'Oreal Excellence Creme about every 5-6 weeks and Revlon Root Erase about every 3 weeks. The Root Erase is super easy. It only takes about 10 minutes and covers the gray in my part and around my face. The L'Oreal Excellence Creme is for doing all my roots and refreshing the lengths a little. It's not too difficult and honestly I think it looks about the same as salon color.

If you're nervous, you could start with a mousse product. It's easier but I found it didn't cover quite as well as creme color. I think I used John Frieda Precision Foam Colour.

When in doubt, go with a lighter color rather than darker. It looks more natural. I use Light Brown to cover the gray in my medium brown hair.

Good luck! 

Edited by MercyA
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I use Rainbow Henna based on recommendations here.  I use a combination of Persian Blonde & Light Brown, and I'm very happy with the natural looking color and highlights look I get from it.

At first I found it to be clumpy, hard to get the color to take, and hard to wash out, but now I've figured it out. 
Here are the steps that work for me, with long hair:
Make hot chamomile tea in a pyrex measuring cup ~1 c water, add a dash of vinegar ~1 Tbsp
Add ~1/2 C henna powder and mix (I use 2:1 blonde/brown). 
It will "fluff" up and thicken on its own within a few minutes, or I add a bit more powder until it does.
Let cool until warm.

Comb out hair before getting into the shower.
Wash hair with shampoo x2 to strip out oils, concentrating on the scalp.
Shut off the water.
While still in the shower, work henna into the scalp one section at a time. 
Use leftover henna on the ends, then roll hair into a bun and clip on top of head with a shower cap over it.
Run hot water over the shower cap to heat up the henna and hair.
Turn water to a normal temperature to shower and shave as usual.

Remove the shower cap and clip.  Work lots of conditioner through the hair.

Sitting on the floor of the shower with a wide tooth comb, comb through a section of hair and rinse.
Work through sections of hair with the comb, rinsing as you go.
Stand and rinse well until henna is gone.  Hose down the shower.

It sounds like a lot of work, but it's worth it to me to not be using harsh chemicals and dumping them down the drain.  Henna is all natural plant dye.  It's really not that more involved than dying with regular dye, based on my experience with kids stripping hair with bleach to color with bright Manic Panic, etc.  I think this would be much harder to do if we didn't have a pull-down shower head.

You can get Rainbow Henna in lots of colors, and they even make a "clear" to brighten gray hair if you decide to keep the gray.
 

 

Edited by Amy in NH
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I started to dye my own hair during one of the lockdowns and still doing it that way.

I liked the dark brown in the loreal serie but it had a strong coconut smell which only disappeared at time I had to dye again. I didn’t like to smell like a coconut.

I am using Syoss now, the color is a little to red in my personal tast but the smell is just flowerish: I can handle that 🙂
image.jpeg.bfddb44eea96cd5d583a27bb07d09733.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Root touch up may be what you need instead of the usual hair dye. As an aside, the supermarket cashier gave my 48 year old husband the senior discount because his black hair is showing lots of white. I was mistaken as my kid’s grandma when I didn’t dye. 
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty-products/hair-dye-reviews/g32240218/best-root-touch-up-hair-products/

Seconding Root Touchup. $5-6 bucks and 10-15 minutes once a month or so. I’ve been using it for years. 

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I've decided that expensive salon color (I am embarrassed to admit what I used to pay) for all-over color for my very short hair is not worth it. Yes, the salon version was a little better and lasted longer, but it was also a royal pain to schedule. I now order from E-salon, which is similar to Madison-Reed. Madison-Reed wants you to do their entire questionnaire every single time you order; you can't just order "medium brown," for instance. Or at least they used to. My biggest surprise was that at-home color makes a MESS. I have a dedicated outfit and towel that I use, and although I try very hard not to splatter color onto my marble tile or painted walls, I usually do. If I could do it outside, I would. Still, it only takes about 40 minutes every couple of months, and the color looks fine. With short hair, though, it's not much of a commitment if I mess it up. I could not do highlights myself because I am extremely uncoordinated when it comes to my hair, but I had even quit getting professional highlights because it was a lot of time and money for something that would grow out and be cut off in 6 weeks.

 

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Stay away from Clairol Nice & Easy. It used to be my go-to brand, but then they "improved" the formula and now anywhere it splatters it dyes your skin for days. The other brands' splatters don't tend to do that. 

Put some kind of petroleum jelly or beeswax lotion bar on the skin next to your hairline and around your ears. Dedicate a set of clothes to coloring. Put down a tarp. Stay away from walls. Make sure the solution is fully mixed (some of the more creamy ones take a lot of shaking). 

If you start dark, it will be next to impossible to go lighter without bleaching or letting it all grow out and starting over. 

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In my youth I had dark chestnut brown hair. In my late 40's  when I only had a little grey I used a box and was satisfied. 

As more grey came it I loved my hair the week after I colored it-- the next few weeks I HATED it-- too much grey showing at roots and it seemed that I was constantly touching up and missing spots!

At a haircut my stylist suggested that I go with highlights and low lights to 'blend' instead of trying to get 'full coverage'.  This worked for me for almost 10 years.  I had my hair done every 8-10 weeks... LOVED it!

The COVID shutdown happened just a few weeks after my first grandchild was born-- DH and I are his primary care givers (DD has health issues)... this combination led me to let my coloring grow out-- it was pretty easy to do because of the highlights and low lights--I did not have a true 'line' that I would have had if I had all over color.

Now I'm embracing my grey.  My hair is still a bit darker than when I had the highlights but the grey is there-- silver highlights!    I occasionally use a purple shampoo and that brightens it up it it starts to look dull. 

I'm 56, a grandmother and I've been married 36 years. Youngest dd has been away at college one year.  I was ready (saves money too!)... I still look young for my age-- but that maybe because I never go out without the diaper bag!

 

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43 minutes ago, plansrme said:

I've decided that expensive salon color (I am embarrassed to admit what I used to pay) for all-over color for my very short hair is not worth it. Yes, the salon version was a little better and lasted longer, but it was also a royal pain to schedule. I now order from E-salon, which is similar to Madison-Reed. Madison-Reed wants you to do their entire questionnaire every single time you order; you can't just order "medium brown," for instance. Or at least they used to. My biggest surprise was that at-home color makes a MESS. I have a dedicated outfit and towel that I use, and although I try very hard not to splatter color onto my marble tile or painted walls, I usually do. If I could do it outside, I would. Still, it only takes about 40 minutes every couple of months, and the color looks fine. With short hair, though, it's not much of a commitment if I mess it up. I could not do highlights myself because I am extremely uncoordinated when it comes to my hair, but I had even quit getting professional highlights because it was a lot of time and money for something that would grow out and be cut off in 6 weeks.

 

I have also been using e-salon and have been reasonably happy with it. I like that you can make slight adjustments to the color for subsequent orders.  I get the demi-permanent color, which washes out gradually and, as others have said, doesn't leave a line.  I am not crazy about the way that the grayest sections of my hair seem to absorb more color, but since the color is demi-permanent it evens out after a couple of washes.

The mess is EPIC, though. 

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I buy Wella Color Charm and a big bottle of 20 volume developer from Sally Beauty to touch up my roots.

 

I find it far more convenient and less expensive than a box because depending on how often I touch up, it doesn’t require a full treatment so I just mix as much as I think I need.

 

 

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Here's what I do: I color my whole head at home and then get highlights at the salon (which I only do twice a year). My hair person taught me how to cover grey without messing up my highlights. 🥰

But here's the problem: the "at-home box" hair color permanent dye was seriously drying my hair. So I went back to using what is called semi-permanent (which means it may only last 10 to 20 shampoos.) It's gentle on hair. Also, because it's semi-permanent -- and doesn't contain anything harsh, you can save what you don't use. The bottle has lasted two months. There's a lot in there. Plus if you don't like the color, you can wash it out.

This is what I've been using: Clairol Semi-Permanent in Chai Brown (I'm brunette too). Actually the color I want is called Toasted Almond but they're out right now, so I used the Chai.

For some reason they just send a packaged bottle. No directions. No gloves. I googled the directions and just bought a small box of disposable gloves.

Good luck!

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10 hours ago, MercyA said:

The only trouble with demi- or semi-permanent is that it doesn't cover gray as well as permanent. The good thing about it is that it washes out gradually so that it doesn't leave a line of demarkation like permanent color does. I think if someone is more than about 25% gray they really need permanent.

Before COVID, I only had my hair colored at the salon. Now I use L'Oreal Excellence Creme about every 5-6 weeks and Revlon Root Erase about every 3 weeks. The Root Erase is super easy. It only takes about 10 minutes and covers the gray in my part and around my face. The L'Oreal Excellence Creme is for doing all my roots and refreshing the lengths a little. It's not too difficult and honestly I think it looks about the same as salon color.

If you're nervous, you could start with a mousse product. It's easier but I found it didn't cover quite as well as creme color. I think I used John Frieda Precision Foam Colour.

When in doubt, go with a lighter color rather than darker. It looks more natural. I use Light Brown to cover the gray in my medium brown hair.

Good luck! 

This is almost exactly what I do.  I use L'Oreal (although I use Superior Preference -- not sure what the difference is!) about every 6 to 8 weeks.  In-between, I use a root erase product (there are a couple different ones I use).  I've also had good luck with the John Frieda foam color.  I never need a whole box so I usually split it with my dd who's always game.

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19 hours ago, MercyA said:

The bottle says it works well for up to 50% gray--do you find it covers gray okay? Tempted to try it because the permanent is drying for sure.

I do actually think it covers gray well. I must have a lot of gray by now. I haven't stopped long enough to know.

 

 

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