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Changing your Hair Colour

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If your hair is already coloured and you are thinking about a change, it is important to know a few facts before you go any further. The same goes for those of you that have been directed to this section if you are playing with colour in your hair for the first time. Not to put you off, far from it, you are getting advice here from a colour addict. There are limits to what is possible though, and it is important to know the facts to avoid you and your hair parting company after you have become a victim of the "chemical haircut"!

What is often not known is that your hair has a limit to how many times it can have a chemical process repeated over the top of another chemical process (this includes bleach, colour/tint, perm, highlights and lowlights in any combination). If your hair is short then it is cut away before you have the opportunity to have too many chemical processes. But if your hair is longer you have to think more deeply about the possibility of damage. To put the record straight, your hair is not damaged by peroxide or bleach, it is however damaged by the over use of these products on the same piece of hair or too strong a mix of these products when used by the inexperienced. As always at VirtualHairCare we recommend a professional consultation before any colour change.

Depending on what your hair is like now and what you want to change it to different points need to be considered:

  • You want to be darker than you are now: How to darken hair color: this can be relatively easy on your hair condition as you can use a semi-permanent colour to do the job. These are conditioner based so good for your hair. Although easy on hair condition, there are any number of pitfalls if you try this yourself. You will need to find a hairdresser to do the job, as you may find your old colour will effect the result of the new colour: Just to scare you:
  • If your old colour is red then the new colour may still look red no matter what colour you intended it to be.
  • If you are a blonde looking to go red you can end up with pink instead if care is not taken.
  • If you are a blonde looking to go brown you could end up a little green!

Check out picking a Colour to Suit You and read on in case you change your mind later.

  • You want to be lighter than you are now: O.K, things here can get a little tricky, but let's start with the easy cures:
    • If you have a non-permanent colour that has been recently done, shampoo your hair over and over with and appropriate product. Your hair won't feel that great at first but that's only because of the number of shampoos. Give it a week and the condition will return to what it was before, and your hair should be lighter.
    • If the colour you have right now is less than 8 weeks old (and that means all the applications that maybe beneath it) then a hairdresser can use a special non-damaging colour reducer to remove the colour. These often have to be followed up a week after first application to even out the colour but are well worth the time as your hair will not suffer condition wise. Get quotes and a consultation before from your hairdresser as this can start to get a little pricey.
    • If your "too dark a colour" is over 8 weeks old or there are many color applications underneath this one you are now in the market for a second mortgage and a day in the salon with a colour specialist. Maybe this is exaggerating a bit but you will need to have a one-on-one consultation as no amount of internet advice can provide you with a solution. The solution may be as simple as having some highlights applied to give the effect of a lighter look or you may need to have the whole head of colour removed and a new base colour created. Be prepared to have any already damaged hair cut away as you are getting a chemical treatment over a chemical treatment which can mean damage to your hair. The trick at the end of the day is to get it right in the first place, negating the need for this process.
  • You have highlights and are thinking of an all-over colour: even if you have so many highlights that you think you may as well have an all over colour the effect is very different. In the case of someone with blonde highlights it can end up looking a lot more gold than you are used to. Also the re-growth on a solid colour is a lot more noticeable than that experienced from highlights. If the colour you want to change to is darker than the highlights you can experience the same problems as mentioned in the section about going darker. The only difference is that this time you may get green stands rather than an all over green hue! Now that we have put you off there are some real advantages in that it takes a lot less time to do and solid colour as opposed to highlights will make your hair look thicker. A consultation with your hairdresser to discuss your particular needs, will help you make up your mind as to whether this is the way to go.
  • You have an all over colour and would like highlights: these two forms of colouring often work really well together to give texture to the hair. Damage is caused when overlapping the colours, so it is advisable to only have the highlights done every second or third time you do the rest of the colour to give the hair a break. The all-over colour will blend the re-growth sufficiently for your colour to look fresh. See types of colouring if you don't understand some of this.

If you spend large amounts of time swimming or in the sun I would regard this as a chemical process on your hair and allow for it when adding colour to your look or changing colour. See sun and chlorine protection for more information.


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