Hair Coloring

Hair Coloring

Tips Before Getting Hair Coloring

A fresh hair coloring doesn’t only elevate your look, but also boosts your mood, confidence, and, hell, even the ferocity of your head toss. And then there’s the lackluster dye job, which can make you feel like crawling under the covers and never emerging (“But it’s not just hair!” you wail as you curse Pinterest for not reminding you that strawberry-red only works on a select few—and by a select few, we mean Emma Stone).

Because no one wants to leave the hair salon filled with regret or, worse yet, horror, we’ve put together a little guide to help ensure that your color appointments always go according to plan. And who better to consult than Lorri Goddard of Goddard + Bragg salon, the colorist who took Kim K from raven to platinum in just one sitting? Keep scrolling to read the seven rules of getting your hair colored, and never regret a coloring appointment again!

Rule #2: Thou Shalt NOT Shampoo

In the same vein, Goddard recommends that you shampoo your hair at least 24 to 48 hours before your coloring session—never right before— for the same reason as the above: You want there to be a natural protective oil layer on your scalp to act as a barrier against the chemicals in the hair dye.

Rule #3: Thou Shalt Shape Thy Hair

Before your appointment, lay off the heat tools and leave your hair freshly shaped, “like a topiary tree,” Goddard says. We imagine this means leaving your hair in its most natural state. “When the shape of your hair is changed, the light and shadow are reflected different,” she explains. “A fresh, natural shape will allow your colorist to maximize the look.”

Rule #4: Thou Shalt Bring Inspiration

Whether or not you’re picky about your hair, it’s always good to bring inspiration, so you and your colorist are on the same page. After all, “beachy blond” to you might mean Gisele Bundchen, while your colorist might be picturing Candice Swanepoel. “I love inspiration photos,” Goddard says. “A picture is worth a thousand words!” And don’t worry about what’s realistic—your colorist will be able to tell you if the desired hue is do-able, how many sittings it will take, and if it will be flattering on your skin tone. “I think we can have a fantasy color for everyone, and a reality check for what’s possible and what will actually enhance them the best,” Goddard says.

Rule #5: Thou Shalt Be Patient

Here’s the thing—that silvery-gray color you’ve been dying to try is possible on your chocolate strands, but it will most likely take more than one session (which also means you may need to factor in extra costs, depending on your hair salon). Even though Goddard did Kim Kardashian’s hair in one sitting (one very long sitting), she says you absolutely need to expect two to three sessions for “wiggle room” if you’re going from dark to super-light. Your hairstylist should be able to tell you right from the get-go how many sessions it will take, how damaging the shade will be, and if it’s even possible to achieve the color. In the end, it’s important to trust your hairdresser—if he or she says going bleach-blond will absolutely ruin your hair, you should believe them and discuss other options.

Rule #7: Thou Shalt Be Mindful About Maintenance

The amount of time you go between your color appointments can vary. If it’s ombré or balayage, you can go months without needing a touch-up. If you’ve gone from dark to light, you may need to go back every couple of weeks. “It’s a personal choice,” Goddard says. “It could be every two weeks for continuity, or four weeks, or never again depending on what you want your color to look like.” Ask your colorist about upkeep before you take the plunge—it’s important to factor this into your decision, as it can affect your budget (are you ready to drop a money every month to hide your roots?).

If you’re going from light to dark, you have a little bit more leeway, but Goddard does say you should make sure your colorist keeps “a little bit of movement at the ends,” with a few strands half a shade lighter towards the bottom.