There’s nothing quite as transformative as a shiny new hair color. But taking matters into your own hands can be tricky territory. That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of top colorists, who’ve worked on the locks of everyone from Beyoncé to Emma Stone, for some insider secrets. Turn your bathroom into your own personal salon with these pro tips.
Consider Your Skin Tone
When choosing a color, always try to stay within two shades of your natural hair color, colorist Marie Robinson advises. To find your best shade, determine your skin tone first. “A great way to figure out what colors look best is whether gold jewelry, silver jewelry or both look good on you,” she says. “If you wear a lot of gold, warm colors such as golden blondes and reds will probably work best. If you wear mostly silver, you'll want to lean towards cool colors such as ash.”
Find the Right Formula
Liquid or crème formulas are great for full coverage, says Robinson. But if you’re a beginner, mousse and foam consistencies are easier to apply.
Shop the hair color kits (above, from left): Clairol Nice 'N Easy Permanent Hair Color ($7; ulta.com). L'Oréal Superior Preference Mousse Absolue ($15; ulta.com). John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Color ($13; ulta.com).
Stock Up on Your Shade
Because who wants to run out mid-dye? “Don’t be afraid to use a lot of color," colorist Rita Hazan says. “Saturate the hair. Buy two boxes just in case you need more.”
Think Outside the Box
In addition to your at-home coloring kit, you’ll want to keep a few supplies within arm’s reach. Before applying any color, protect your hairline with lotion or Vaseline, Hazan says. Also have “an extra pair of gloves, a dark towel that you don't mind getting stained, and clips to keep hair sectioned out of the way,” Robinson adds. Don’t forget to set a timer to avoid leaving the product on for too long.
Lock in Moisture
Unfortunately, any chemical treatment can lead to some damage. Invest in a weekly hair mask like Hazan’s Weekly Remedy, ($42; ulta.com) to replenish fragile strands with moisture and shine. “You should use it the first time you wash your hair after coloring,” Hazan suggests. “Then I would wait two to three days until washing again.”
To extend the life of your new hair color, switch to a shampoo and conditioner that are made specifically for color-treated hair. We recommend Oribe Shampoo and Conditioner for Beautiful Color ($39-$42; oribe.com), which are free of sulfates and defend against UV fading.
Revive Color with a Gloss
Continue to maintain color with an at-home gloss, Hazan adds. Treat your strands to a product like Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Masque ($65; sephora.com) as often as once a week for healthy-looking shine.