Hair to Dye for

Hair colour offers an instant change to anyone's look. These changes can range from simple and subtle to major and dramatic. Hair colour can also impact hair texture since it instantly adds volume to thin, fine strands and may also impact curls and waves in certain cases

Dyeing hairWhen done properly, hair colour can make hair softer and easier to care for, or style. Added advantage of hair colouring is that you can opt for the type of colour depending upon a colour that goes with your looks.

A change in colour is the most effective way to spice up your look. Even if you do not want to go for something completely different, adding a tone that is close to your natural colour will add shine and gloss, making your hair look instantly healthy.

Your whole appearance changes when you change your hair colour. A new shade can make your skin and eyes look paler or more intense. Your new looks can highlight hidden undertones in your skin and add new a dimension to your eyes. New hair colour can also make you look younger and more vibrant.

Different methods to colour hair

Semi-permanent/temporary hair

blankTemporary hair colour or rinses are mildest form of hair colour. Typically, rinses do not have any ammonia or peroxide, so they are gentle. Rinses do not lift hair colour, meaning they will not lighten your hair colour. For e.g., if your hair colour is dark brown, and you want to go to a medium red, a rinse will not alter the colour. Rinses only deposit on to hair and will wash out with 4-6 shampoo “treatments,” so you will need to reapply it all over again. Rinses are also a great way to add richness and depth to your natural hair.

Demi-permanent hair colour

Demi-permanent hair colour is stronger than semi-permanent hair colour. While it still does not lift a darker hair colour, it will deposit a darker hair colour onto your hair and will not shampoo out. For example, if you put brown demi-colour over red hair colour then the brown demi-colour will not shampoo out and this will become your new hair colour.

Demi-permanents are a great way to add depth and richness to your natural hair as well.

Permanent hair colour

Permanent hair dyes will change your hair colour from darker to lighter, or lighter to darker. This type of dye contains hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. These colours allow for your natural hair colour to be lifted and for the new colour to be deposited, all in one step.

Bleaching hair

This is the ultimate and sure-fire way to achieve the exact colour that you see on the box as opposed to permanent hair colouring which may yield slightly darker results. Bleaching involves using bleach to lift your natural colour completely, generally to a light blonde and then depositing the desired colour on to the hair. The darker your natural hair colour is, the more bleach will be required to lift it. This lift actually leaves the cuticles open and exposed and this is what causes the damage and often frying of the hair.

Colours with conditioners

Blond hairOnce, having dyed or lightened hair meant sacrificing shine and condition. The latest colour formulas can actually make hair look shinier and healthier. There are a variety of other innovative colour techniques now hitting the mainstream. These include:


Most salons now offer a “gloss,” a new version of what used to be called a tone-on-tone or a semi-permanent. A gloss adds richness and high shine to natural or permanent colour. It is also often applied over highlights to seal the hair and add the “glossing effect.”

Reverse highlights

A big trend at the moment is to apply highlights to the underneath, rather than to the top of the hair. Women tend to wear their hair loosely now. When hair is highlighted from the underneath it complements the fluidity in the hair as hints of colour show as it moves.

Halo colouring

This clever technique, often used on a fringe, enhances the “shine line” in the hair, making it appear like a natural reflection of light. The hair is lightened slightly on the area where it would reflect the light, depending on the haircut. Then a gloss is put over the top, and where the hair was lightened comes out a little shinier and brighter.

Convertible colour

This look, revived from the 1980s, allows maximum versatility for anyone who loves to change hair colour regularly. You have the hair in a side-parting and put, say, blonde highlights through one side, then part it on the other side and put another colour, may be red highlights, through the other side. Then, depending on the way you wear your hair you can change the colour of it.

In general, a good guide is to remain two shades lighter or darker than your natural colour as the right colour is one that enhances your skin tone and eye colour. If the skin veers towards red undertones, then go for a cooler nuance to counter-balance rather than a very warm shade, which will accentuate the redness. You should aim to make the most of yourself, rather than to transform yourself with an overly visible colour, which may draw attention away from your face.

One of the quickest changes to your personal appearance that you can make is a new colour. Why not take advantage of a prominent feature and revitalise your hair with new colouring that provides a new and dashing look to set you apart from the rest of the crowd.

Know what colour you truly have and be aware of your own skin colouring as well. Select a shade that will compliment what you already have to offer. Indeed, there is nothing that will turn a day into a bad hair day quicker than a totally un-researched and poorly chosen hair colour.

Care and precaution for coloured hair

Colouring the hair can make them dry, especially on the ends, even if you have never experienced dry hair in the past. Hair normally has a moisture content of approximately 10 per cent. If your hair’s moisture content drops below this level, the hair becomes dry. The key is to increase the hair’s ability to attract and retain moisture. Look for products that add moisture to hair by trapping water into the shaft.

One major problem for coloured hair is that it fades every time you wash your hair. If you want to preserve your hair colour, use a good colour-lock-in-shampoo and colour-lock-in-conditioner. This shampoo and conditioner has properties that help preserve hair colour longer. The packs come in different colour shades. In fact, these colour-protecting shampoos are an absolute must for at least a month after your hair colour. After that you can go back to your regular shampoo. Make sure that the type of colour-lock-in-shampoo that you choose is of the same shade as your hair. Consult your hairstylist who will be able to recommend you the one which co-ordinates with your hair colour.

Chlorine also plays a important role in colour fading. Hence, you would do well to:

  • Filter your shower water. If the water has high levels of chlorine, you could wash your colour down the drain. Chlorine acts as a bleaching agent and lightens hair colour every time you come in contact with it. Avoid this and purchase an inexpensive shower filter to filter out the chlorine during your morning shampoo. By the same token, swimming in chlorinated water will do the same thing. Wear a bathing cap to limit your hair’s exposure, and always use a “swimmer” shampoo immediately after swimming to strip the chlorine build-up from your hair.
  • Beware of alcohol. This does not mean you cannot have some wine. We are talking about alcohol found in some hair-styling products. Alcohol dries out the hair and opens up the cuticle, which spells an early dismissal for your hair colour. Read the labels of your styling products for high alcohol content [hair gels can be especially bad]. Avoid alcohol altogether and use a spray-in conditioner to boost your hair’s moisture before styling. Opt for silicone-based styling products that will leave your hair protected and super shiny.
  • For most colour-treated hair, a weekly deep conditioning treatment is recommended, in order to help rehydrate the hair and restore any moisture that may have been lost.

Dos and Don’ts

  • Treat your hair to a deep conditioning treatment a few days before colouring. The better conditioned your hair is, the easier it will take the colour and the longer it will last. Recently conditioned hair will also be softer and shinier. As an extra bonus, a deep conditioner will protect your hair against any possible damage from colour chemicals.
  • Colour hair that has not been washed for one day. The natural hair oils will assist in making the hair colour application more successful. The colour will cling better to hair that is not dry.
  • Use a colour-enhancing shampoo between applications to enhance and maintain the colour. Colour shampoos such as after-colour shampoo and after-colour balsam are specifically designed to keep your colour fresh for as long as possible. Be sure to use the colour shampoos religiously to maintain your colour. The colour shampoos will help you keep your colour looking good until it is time for the next application. Avoid exposing your coloured hair to the sun or chlorine in swimming pools. The sun may fade your hair colour and chlorine may damage the colour. In some severe cases, if you have coloured your hair very light chlorine may leave a green tinge in your hair.
  • Keep your hair conditioned. Hair colouring will make your hair drier than normal. It is important to keep your hair conditioned and soft. Conditioned hair holds colour better than dry, brittle, or damaged hair. Conditioned hair also makes the coloured hair shinier and brighter.
  • Add a temporary colour to give you longer wear. There are several wonderful temporary hair colours now available on the market that will give your hair a temporary colour what washes out after a few shampoos. If the roots seem to be growing out a lot faster than normal, or the colour looks a little faded, use a temporary colour until your next permanent colour application.
  • Use layered colours to prevent an overall faded colour look. If your hair is coloured all-in-one colour or seems to fade rapidly after each colour application, you may want to try a layered colour look. The advantage to applying layered colours would be to have complimentary shades of darker and lighter colours which will reflect the light and give the colour a multi-dimensional look. This will give your colour a fresher, less faded look. It will also last longer because of the multiple shades woven into your hair. A professional colourist will need to assist you with layered colouring, since it can be somewhat complicated.
Wasim Ahmed
Wasim Ahmed is Technical Educator for Brushman India Limited, New Delhi.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here