Hair and beauty with Imogen Thorpe: Avoiding home hair DIY disasters

Imogen gives tips on how to avoid those DIY hair disasters
Imogen gives tips on how to avoid those DIY hair disasters

Being a hairdresser it’s something I dread hearing about, but when I do get told about home hair do-it-yourself disasters, it’s far too often a case of me having to put something right.

In an attempt to save money, home dyes and quick trims often result in having to spend more at the hairdressers.

Despite my recommendations to just go straight to the professionals, it’s something you guys continue to do on a regular basis, but here’s what you should know.

1. Lighter roots, but the ends are still dark?

In the world of hairdressing we use the term “tint doesn’t lift tint!”

Unless your hair has no remaining hair dye through it, you’re not going to get a perfect result when trying to lighten your hair with home dye.

We’ve all seen the girl who’s roots are a lighter/brighter shade than the ends of her hair. This is the perfect example! In order to get a lighter colour you need to a) use bleach or b) use a colour removal kit. Which leads us to number two...

2. The truth about colour correction kits.

Non bleaching colour strippers promise results of stripping all hair dye out of your hair and taking it back to your natural hair colour. That’s debatable.

In hair dye, the colour molecules that change your hair colour start off teeny weeny. Once you mix the two parts in the kits together, they react and start to expand.

So when it’s applied onto the hair, it squeezes its way into the hair and its expansion locks it into place and creates the colour you’re left with.

When we use a colour stripper, the chemical in it shrinks back down the colour molecules so that when we rinse and wash the hair after the application and processing time, the colour simply just washes out. You still with me?

The complications to this could mean that because the molecules are so tiny some may stay trapped in the hair. Applying another colour straight after the stripping process will involve using more “oxidiser”, meaning any leftover colour molecules from the previous colour will expand again, leaving you with that old colour coming back to haunt you.

Really scrub your hair when washing out the stripper. Washing it five or six times will help get as much of the colour out as possible.

3. Fringe trimming gone wrong?

I’m a nightmare for trimming my own fringe, But let’s face it, I know what I’m doing!

Visiting your hairdresser for a fringe trim should be quick and easy. But if you really must, here’s a quick guide.

Section your fringe off from the rest of your hair by clipping or tying back the bits you don’t want to cut. Taking 1cm sections at a time, pull your hair down through two fingers until you meet the bridge of your nose.

Use your fingers as a guide to cut a each section as straight as possible. The tighter you pull the hair the more it’s going to spring up when you let go. Try keep a loose grip.

If you’re a client of mine you know I’ll slap your hand if you do this. Most hairdressers offer a free fringe trim service so there’s no need for you to get scissor happy!

4. Going from blonde to brown?

It’s the science part in hairdressing, the reason why in training there’s an advanced learning stage in hairdressing.

The result of a box dye on chemically lightened hair? It goes that slightly grey/wishy washy colour.

Long story short, it looks rubbish and the condition of your hair is far worse that what it was before. I’d always advice you to leave jobs like this to the hairdresser!

But, like I promised, here’s my advice to those of you who are just going to do it anyway!

You’re not going to get your natural hair colour back with a hair dye at home. Chemicals that lighten hair will remove your natural pigment (red, yellow and blue).

Every hair colour has all these colour pigments, some being stronger than others and resulting in your natural shade. Artificial colour on the other hand will only have two, in some cases only one.

Box dyes sometimes don’t tell you their shades at all, they just name the shade, ie. ash blonde. Staying away from a wishy washy colour is going be difficult when doing home hair DIY but in case of an emergency, try colouring your hair with a warmer tone. i.e, chocolate brown.