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How do you get your colors done?

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Getting your hair colored can be an exciting and transformative experience. Whether you’re looking to cover grays, try a bold new hue, or simply refresh your current color, a salon visit is a great way to revamp your look. However, before booking your next color appointment, it’s important to understand the process and how to get the best results.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about getting your hair colored, from choosing the right colorist to proper at-home care. Read on for tips from coloring experts on how to communicate effectively with your colorist, what to expect during the service, minimizing damage, and keeping your new hue looking fresh and vibrant. Let’s dive in!

How to Choose the Right Color and Stylist

Selecting the perfect shade and stylist is the first step to hair color success. Here are some key tips:

  • Consider your skin tone and undertones. Cool, pink-based complexions pair best with cool blondes and rich brunettes. Warm golden or olive skin looks beautiful with caramel, honey, and auburn shades.
  • Look at color swatches. Most salons have handouts or color rings to help you visualize potential hues.
  • Ask for examples of the colorist’s work. Look for stylists who regularly perform the service you want, whether that’s highlights, balayage, all-over color, vivid fashion tones, or something else.
  • Book a consultation. Quality colorists will have you come in before the actual appointment to discuss your goals and formulate a plan.
  • Be open about your history. Let the stylist know if you have color-treated hair, texture preferences, problem areas, etc.

Taking the time to consult with an experienced colorist will help ensure you get the results you want.

The Hair Coloring Process Step-By-Step

Here is an overview of the typical hair coloring service from start to finish:


This pre-appointment is essential for communicating your vision to your colorist. Come prepared with plenty of inspiration photos and be honest about your hair history, including any previous coloring, chemical treatments, or texture preferences. Your colorist will evaluate your hair’s current condition and tone to determine the technique and products needed.

Prepping the Hair

The stylist will start by thoroughly shampooing your hair to remove any buildup. For maximum coloring results, they may also perform a mild bleach bath to lift out stubborn tones and ensure the new shade adheres evenly.

Mixing and Applying Color

During this step your colorist will:

  • Custom mix dye according to the formula decided during your consultation.
  • Section your hair based on the desired coloring technique.
  • Apply color using a brush, bowl, foils, or cap.
  • Process the color for 20-45 minutes depending on desired intensity.

You’ll notice a slight chemical scent from the dye and feel mild warmth. Your stylist will monitor development and perform a strand test before rinsing.

Rinsing and Toning

Thorough rinsing is essential for removing excess dye pigments. Your colorist may also apply a gloss or toner to perfect your tone and ensure color uniformity. They will check for missed spots and reapply dye if needed.

Finishing and Styling

The last step is a blowout or styling to reveal your fresh, shiny locks! The colorist will walk you through proper maintenance to make your hue last as long as possible.

How to Care for Dyed Hair

Salon hair color looks best and lasts longer when paired with the right at-home products and maintenance routine. Follow these pro tips:

Use a Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Sulfate-laden shampoos can cause hair color to fade quickly. Opt for a gentle, sulfate-free formula to prolong vibrancy.

Rinse With Cool Water

Hot showers open the hair cuticle, allowing color molecules to escape. Rinsing with lukewarm or cool water prevents premature fading.

Apply a Weekly Mask

For extra hydration and shine, use a weekly hydrating hair mask. Coconut, shea butter, and argan oil-infused options work great.

Use Purple Shampoo for Blondes

To neutralize brassiness in blonde and gray hair, use a purple shampoo once or twice per week.

Limit Heat Styling

Allow hair to air dry when possible and avoid overdoing hot tools like curling irons and flat irons. Heat damage accelerates fading.

Touch Up Roots

When regrowth appears, book a touch up with your colorist to refresh your look. Letting roots grow out too much before retouching can be damaging.

How Often to Get a Professional Hair Color

On average, permanent and demi-permanent salon hair color will remain true for 4-6 weeks before requiring a touch up. Here are general timelines according to color type:

Color Type Lasts For When to Schedule Touch Up
Permanent 4-6 weeks Every 4-6 weeks
Demi-permanent 4-5 weeks Every 4-5 weeks
Semi-permanent 4-8 shampoos Based on fading
Temporary/Rinse 1 shampoo N/A – single use
Gloss/Toner 2-3 weeks Can supplement between coloring

Getting a touch up around every 4-6 weeks ensures your color looks vibrant and uniform. However, taking good care of your hair between appointments helps extend time between salon visits.

How to Prevent Hair Color Damaging Hair

Hair coloring opens the cuticle layer and interacts chemically with the strands, making damage a concern. Here are pro tips for keeping hair healthy:

  • Do a deep conditioning or bond-building treatment 1-2 weeks before coloring.
  • Request balayage, highlights, or root smudge foiling techniques which limit lightener to small sections.
  • Ask your colorist to incorporate Olaplex or Smartbond into the formulation to repair bonds.
  • Use the lowest volume developer possible for adequate lifting.
  • Avoid overlapping lightener or touching up roots too frequently.
  • Use a protein-enriched conditioner and gentle heat styling.
  • Get occasional trims to remove damaged ends.

Being selective about chemical processing while keeping hair conditioned and nourished is key for maintaining integrity.

What if You Don’t Like Your New Hair Color?

Don’t panic if your new ‘do didn’t turn out quite like you envisioned. Here are some remedies:

  • Wait 48-72 hours. Color can take a couple days to settle into final tones.
  • Use clarifying shampoo. This can help strip some semi-permanent color.
  • Do a bleach bath. Lightening 1-2 levels can shift the underlying pigment.
  • Tone it. Green neutralizes reds, purple counters brassiness.
  • Redye it. You may just need to go darker, lighter, redder, etc.
  • Be patient growing it out. Time and trims do wonders.

Consult your original colorist before taking drastic measures. With expert advice and some adjustments, you can usually get your color back on track.


From selecting the perfect shade to proper at-home care, there are many factors that go into achieving beautiful, healthy hair color. Working closely with a skilled colorist and following their maintenance recommendations can help you get the most from your service. With the right prep, aftercare, and touch up schedule, you’ll have head-turning, vibrant locks even months after your initial appointment.