To Color or Not To Color?

I was never the type who was daring enough to color my hair. Thanks to hair horror stories from friends who got entangled in a hair damaging mess, I've always stayed far away from coloring products.

It also helps that I'm quite fond of my dark hair, actually. But sometimes, I do wonder how it would look if I gave it a just hint of a softer color.

If you're a bit braver than me and actually want to plunge into a color makeover, here's a hair color 101 from Teen Vogue to guide you through it:


Hair coloring can be a lengthy and daunting process. I know that whenever I decide to make a dramatic color change, I'm always nervous about whether or not my hair will turn orange, or worse, fall out! Luckily, I caught up with Frauke Neuser, a senior Clairol scientist, who helped clear up some hair coloring myths and provided some really great advice for teens who want to change up their do's without permanently damaging their locks.

What are the most common types of hair and how do they differ?
The latest research suggests that there are 3 main types of hair: fine hair, thick hair and curly hair. Their differences in texture and protein structure not only lead to different sensorial properties, but also to specific needs in terms of caring for and treating the hair.

Is there a hair type that accepts color better than others?
Fine hair has the thinnest diameter and therefore accepts color the best. Thick and curly hair require more color or longer exposure times to get similar color results.

What should girls do before getting their hair colored? What about after the process to protect it?
Don't wash your hair right before coloring - the natural oils on your scalp protect it against possible irritation. However, do brush out any styling product residue. After coloring, always apply a specialized color conditioner... to lock in color.

How often can young women color their hair? Does coloring it a lot in your teenage years do long term damage?
Many women color their hair every 4-6 weeks - depending on how fast the hair grows (and how quickly the roots become visible). Normally, color is then only applied to the roots, where hair hasn't been colored before (and only pulled through the lengths for the last 5-10 mins).

If you want to completely change your color and therefore have to apply color all over your hair every time, you really shouldn't do that too often - depending on the hair length about every couple of months. Coloring only damages the visible part of your hair, it has no influence on the hair bulbs or future growth. So extensive coloring in your teenage years might be stressful for your hair at the time, but shouldn't have any effect on how your hair looks in your 20s and 30s.

What should you look for when picking out an at-home coloring treatment?
Be clear on what you want - if you want to enhance what you have, choose a demi-permanent colorant to start with. If you're ready for a commitment and don't want your color to wash out,
choose a permanent color. Either way, make sure the color on the package is no more than two shades away from your natural color.

How do you cover up or reverse a color that you do not like or are ready to change?
It depends on what color product you have used. Demi-permanent colorants wash out over time - so all you need might be a couple of thorough shampoos. Don't try and cover up a fresh color with another color at home. If you really hate it, go to a hairdresser for advice. If you have had the color for awhile and feel ready for a change, try to not move too far away from where you are now.

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