Everything That You Need To Know Before Coloring Your Hair

I, like everyone else in the world, have always had a love-hate relationship with my hair. I’ve never really been happy with it, and I’ve always wanted to color it. However, my parents made a rule that I couldn’t dye my hair until I was both eighteen and able to pay for it myself. So, on July 20th, eight days after my eighteenth birthday, and twelve hours after I came back to the US, I booked an appointment to have my hair colored.

Most people don’t know much about hair coloring before they go get it done, which is a mistake. You can find information about it everywhere, but if you’re too lazy to search through websites to find all of the information you need, I’ll just compile the important stuff here.

The Lingo

‘Virgin’ Hair- Hair that has never colored before. If you plan to donate your hair, you can usually only donate Virgin hair. This is your hair before you dye it.

Highlights- A dyeing process that involves isolating certain pieces of hair and lightening them, which can add dimension to your hair. A really good way to start out dyeing your hair, as it often looks extremely natural and grows out easily.

Glaze- A glaze involves a semi-permanent color to often enhance the color of your hair. Your colorist will almost always if you want a glaze or not, and if you have more questions about it you can always talk it over with your stylist to see if it’s worth it or not.

Lowlights- Pretty much exactly what it sounds like, it’s similar to the highlight process except instead of lightening certain strands, you darken them.

Tone- A word you would use to describe the type of color you want to do.

Ombre- A process that involves gradually lightening your hair at the ends and darkening it at the top, with a seamless change.

Balayage- Just a more gradual form of Ombre. (It’s what I tend to do when I lighten my hair).

Before Your Appointment

  1. Make sure that you use a colorist that you’re comfortable with and you know has good results. If you’ve used the same two stylists for years like I have, pick one of them. If you go to a salon and they recommend their best colorist, go for them. No matter what, don’t blindly pick the salon or colorist before you book your appointment.
  2. Have some ideas and pictures of what color you want to dye your hair. Make a Pinterest board of hair that you would like to duplicate, and pin as many as you want. If you find that you have wildly different colors on the board, take some time to decide what you’re leaning towards. Narrow it down to about three similar pictures, and show them to the stylist.


At Your Appointment

  1. Bring a magazine. You’ll have to sit for a little while as the color sits in, and it’s a lot easier if you have something to read while you do it.
  2. Listen to your stylist. Before they pull out the dye, talk over exactly what you want out of a color with them, so you can’t get disappointed. It costs a lot of money to get your hair dyed and to get it fixed if you don’t like what they did, so make sure you get what you want when you get there.
  3. Get a healthy trim during your appointment. Dyeing can be a trying process on the hair, and for its sake, you should cut just a little bit off it off. It’ll grow back. I promise.
  4. Start small. If you’re new to hair coloring, don’t dye all your hair red on the first try. Do what I did, and try something like balayage, which is an easy process, looks natural, and doesn’t look awful when it grows out. Ease yourself into color. Get comfortable with it before doing something big.


  1. Invest in a sulfate-free, color safe shampoo and conditioner after your appointment. If the product doesn’t state that it’s safe for colored hair, don’t get it. Sometimes the products can be more expensive, but it’s worth it if you want to keep your hair looking great.


Best of luck!




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