Avoid these hair coloring mistakes to get salon-worthy color at home

9 Common Hair Coloring Mistakes

Let’s face it – not everyone has the time or money to visit the salon. And more women are coloring their hair at home (and getting great results) than ever before in history! If you’ve recently switched from coloring your hair at the salon to coloring it at home or are using at-home hair color for the first time, it may seem like a daunting task to do everything just right and achieve your ideal results.  

Luckily, we’re here to fill you in on how to avoid some common hair coloring mistakes. Keep reading to learn more! 

Related: Hair Color 101: How to Get the Results You Want

Common hair coloring mistakes and how to avoid them  

To help you avoid any hair mishaps and get the most out of your at-home color experience, we’re breaking down the most common hair coloring mistakes and providing solutions to DIY disasters.  

1. coloring and using the same processing time on your full head of hair  

One of the biggest hair coloring mistakes we’ve seen through the years is customers coloring their entire head of hair when it’s been colored recently. This causes your roots to look lighter than your ends. No matter if you’re going from dark to light or light to dark, this is important to keep in mind.  

Previously colored hair is porous, which means the cuticle is already open, and in turn will create a sponge-like effect while your new growth (virgin hair) hasn’t been opened yet. So, if you put color on your roots and on your previously colored hair at the same time, the ends will absorb darker whereas your roots will be your desired level.  

It’s also important to note the difference in application time when coloring gray hair. For best results, apply color to the roots, then wait 30 minutes before coloring the rest of your hair. Next, wait for another 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing out the color gel.  

The longer the color remains in the bottle after mixing, the more it dilutes the potency of the developer. This will leave your permanent color acting more like a demi-permanent color! 

2. missing spots  

Another common hair coloring mistake is missing spots. Random application will lead to an uneven color result.  

The best way to apply the color to your hair is to section it into 4 quadrants. Then, apply the hair color one section at a time. Also, always start with regrowth, then mid-lengths, and finally ends. If you have gray hair, starting in the front is best, as they can be more resistant. 

3. washing your hair the same day you color it 

To maximize the results from your box of hair color, it’s important to color your hair 24-48 hours after your last wash to retain the protective layer of oils from the scalp. This is a simple hair coloring mistake that can be easily avoided!  

4. incorrect processing time   

We can’t stress enough the importance of following the time guidelines for your individual color and hair type! If your hair is fine, you’ll want to use the minimum amount of application time. Or, if your hair is normal, then using an application time of 30-35 minutes will be your best bet. Finally, if your hair is coarse, resistant or gray (often these three things coincide) you’ll want to use an application time of 45 minutes. 

5. skipping the color strand test  

Can we tell you a secret? Most undesirable hair color results can be avoided by performing a color strand test first. 

Many people don’t take the time to perform a color strand test before coloring all of their hair. Sometimes their color choice is great, but they still end with undesirable results.  

If you color all of your hair and decide that you don’t like it, we recommend you wait at least two weeks to color it again. But, if you take the time to perform a color strand test and find you’re not happy with the results, there’s no need to wait. Based on the results, you can make your color corrections and do it right the first time.  

6. ending up with a color that’s too dark/too light 

If you have dry and porous hair, chances are the color will turn out darker than you’re expecting. When you’re trying a new color or are new to Naturtint products, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you’ve chosen the correct shade (especially since it’s hard to tell by looking at a color swatch or the color chart on our website).  

Some people want to regulate how light or how dark the color is by how long they leave it in to process. They think that if they leave the color in shorter, it’ll be lighter. And conversely, if they leave the color in longer, it’ll be darker. But just like filling up a cup of coffee, the fuller the cup, the longer the color will stay in your hair.  

So, it’s better to choose the correct color and leave the color in the full 30 to 40 minutes. If the result of your color strand test proves to be too dark, choose the next lightest shade. And if the color is too light, choose the next darkest shade.  

You can find tips on reading the color boxes by reading this blog post.  

One more thing – be sure to only lighten one or two shades and leave those drastic changes to a professional! 

7. the color turned out too brassy 

When going lighter, there’s a possibility that your hair color result will produce some naturally occurring warm tones – reds/oranges/yellows. If you like warm tones – great! However, it can be a surprising result if you aren’t expecting it.  

As we mentioned earlier, by performing a color strand test prior to coloring all of your hair, you’ll find out if you need to mix your chosen color with another color to tone down, or sometimes alleviate, a warmer result. 

8. the box of hair color didn’t cover the gray at all or for very long 

Everyone has a different level of resistance when coloring grays/whites. Surprisingly, it doesn’t depend on age or how much gray/white you have. The amount of gray hair as opposed to white hair doesn’t always matter either, so, for the sake of fewer words, we’ll refer to both as gray hair. Some women have 15 – 20% gray and have very resistant grays while other women who are 70 – 100% gray take color surprisingly well. The hairs framing our face are usually the most reluctant to absorbing color.  

Yes, Naturtint is great at gray coverage, but sometimes you need to tweak your mixture just a little in order to get a better color deposit for those grays. If the results from your color strand test show a lack of gray coverage, that’s when you’ll use the tips that we outline in Pro Tips for Coloring Gray Hair at Home

9. the color is too flat, doesn’t have enough dimension, or there’s not enough color 

Some people want more dimension in their strands. You can add dimension by lightening a little, adding warm tones, and sometimes by adding cool tones. If you’re coloring grays/whites, you may need to mix two colors to get the dimension you’re looking for. Mixing two colors together may seem daunting, but we outline easy mixing tips that will help you produce consistent results in How to Mix Hair Colors Together and Get Great Results! If you still have questions you can always contact our color specialists.  

Just keep coloring  

One of the best things about coloring? Even though it’s possible to make hair coloring mistakes, they’re usually fixable. And, you have many options when it comes to at-home hair colors so you can achieve your ideal look! Just make sure to wait a couple weeks in between coloring sessions so you don’t overdo it. 

So now that you know the common hair coloring mistakes to avoid, it’s time to find your color match and get the hair of your dreams! You’ve got this!  

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