Let me ease your beautiful mind and let you know I have had my cosmetology license since 2008! I have worked traveling the country with high-profile clientele and in my home state of Wisconsin working at various Salons. I wanted to write this article to break down the facts and myths of dying your hair darker.
I know the ins, outs, and all the roundabouts when it comes to beauty. But, I’m no Joe Schmoe, just writing an article based on an interview I did with someone at a hair salon for five minutes, and now thinking I am an expert writing an article. Not to throw other sites shade, but…
You may want to take your locks to a darker hue due to numerous things such as a breakup, the season, or perhaps you are into a new Netflix show, and you want to look just like Mandy Moore.
Whatever the reason for wanting to go darker, you need to consider all of the myths vs. facts of taking the plunge. So let me help you sort through a few FAQs below, so you know what dying your hair darker fully entails.
MYTH: Dying Your Hair Darker Will Make It Shinier
FACT: Dying Your Hair Darker Can Make It Shinier
Yes, coloring your hair will typically make it appear to shine more. However, that will be dependant on a few different things.
If you are coloring it yourself at home, odds are it won’t turn out shiny and will turn out mucky, muddy, and an odd dark brown/black, green color. Why is this, you ask? If you are going light to dark, you will need a filler color before applying your final dark shade.
You can’t go brown to blonde without being red in between, and you shouldn’t go blonde to brown without depositing a red filler color in-between.
It is, for this reason, why a professional stylist will first fill your lighter color with either a warm or cool red shade and then apply the final dark shade.
Rule of thumb: if you want healthy dark hair and currently have a lighter shade, go to a professional to do the coloring.
The shine level will also depend on the current condition of your hair. For example, if you have overall healthy hair, then coloring it darker will appear shinier, vs. if you already have damaged hair, it’ll appear dull no matter what color you are.
Rule of thumb: healthy hair is shiny hair – Damaged hair is dull hair
No matter what color you dye your hair, it will appear dull because it’s unhealthy due to damage, breakage, or frizz.
Cosmetologist Suggestion: This pertains to color choice- if you currently have healthy brown hair and want to go a shade or two darker, you won’t have to worry too much about turning a muck color. Just don’t go more than three shades darker than your natural roots, or it might not go with your skin tone.
If you want to color your hair at home, proceed with caution and take your time!
MYTH: Dying Your Hair Darker Makes It Healthy
FACT: Dying Your Hair Darker Makes It LOOK Healthy And Full
Dying your hair darker isn’t a miracle and won’t automatically fix your hair troubles. Nothing on this planet we call earth will fix your hair by just applying something on top of it. Whoever can figure that out will be richer than the owner of Amazon or Mark Zuckerburg.
Appearing Healthy Vs Actual Hair Health
While dying your hair doesn’t fix your hair problems and make it healthy again, it can appear healthy. This is because when you dye your hair dark, the color deposits into all the holes and cracks throughout your hair strands, thus making your hair appear thick and healthy. It is similar to getting a cavity filled. The dentist deposits hard material into the holes in your teeth, making them seem whole, but it’s just a fake product filing it, and it’s not your actual tooth material. So just because something seems healthy doesn’t mean it is healthy.
Still, doesn’t make sense to you? Think of it as the pothole problem in the midwest. When there are potholes in the road, the state fills it with asphalt to fill the hole, cover up the problem and allow cars to drive bump-free. Of course, the potholes themselves aren’t fixed, but the problem has a band-aid for the time being.
Eventually, the asphalt will loosen and move. Next thing you know, BAM, welcome back potholes. This is precisely what coloring your hair darker does. It fixes the outward appearance of it but doesn’t fix the issue at hand.
The only way to make light hair healthy and full is to keep up on conditioning treatments and trims. Conditioning treatments will keep protein in your hair, keeping it healthy and allowing it to grow correctly. Your stylist can do a conditioning treatment, or you can purchase conditioning treatments to do yourself at home. Depending on the severity of your unhealthy hair, you may want to do this 1-3 times per week.
My Professional Suggestion For Conditioning Treatments
|Olaplex Hair Perfector No 3 Repairing Treatment
Olaplex No 6 Bond Smoother
|BLONDME Keratin Restore Bonding Mask for All Blondes
|Best Natural Pick
|Pureology -Strength Cure Superfood Treatment Hair Mask
|Kerastase Resistance Masque Force Architecte Reconstructing Masque
Another critical thing for blondes or those with light hair to do is to keep up with trims. Trims cut off split ends which prevent breakage, thus making hair full.
Damage is more apparent on blondes because light-colored hair allows more light to bounce off of it, vs. dark hair absorbs light which helps hide more damage, such as split ends.
MYTH: Dying Your Hair Darker At Home Is The Safest
FACT: Dying Your Hair Darker At Home Can Turn Out To Be A Disaster
Like I mentioned above, you need a filler color when going darker. However, you wouldn’t know the proper red to use as a filler unless you went to cosmetology school.
Red isn’t just read. Like we learned in kindergarten, you can have a warm red, a cool red, or a neutral red. Going to a stylist will ensure you get the final dark result you want because they will know the proper filler color to use.
The Truth About Coloring Your Hair At Home
Coloring your hair at home is never a full-proof guarantee. The color on the box won’t necessarily match the color you wish to put on your head.
You don’t know what color is in the box until it’s already fully processed, for starters. You can’t look at the color in the bowl and determine if it’s the right shade that matches the box. Someone at the factory could have messed up and put the wrong tone in the wrong box, or even worse, kids at the store could mess the boxes up by playing around with them.
Trust me, I know. You wouldn’t believe how many color corrections I’ve done because someone got a different color than the box promised.
Box colors try to be a one size fits all type of product, and those never end up working out for anyone.
Everyone has hair that starts at a different level of health, so a box can’t give everyone the same result.
Age, medicine, grey hair, length, density, and hair structure will factor in the product used and how the hair will accept the deposited color. Even a simple problem like thick hair is going to require more product than one box can offer.
Specific colors need to be put with certain developers to achieve the correct tone, and the developer is going to be situational to the person’s hair characteristics. Small things such as a few grey hairs will change the developer a stylist will need to use.
Once again, I stress, hair color isn’t one-size-fits-all. Example: Two people can come in with different hair color starting points, use the same tube of color with various developers, and end with the same result.
Box color uses a stronger version of ammonia, which will leave your hair looking dead if mishandled. So you can take healthy hair and ruin it with one lousy box color in a matter of 30 min.
High ammonia is very unsafe to use by those not trained and isn’t necessary for everyone. However, a professional stylist may suggest you color your hair darker with a semi or demi-permanent color vs. a permanent one if they know your hair can achieve the same result.
Healthy hair is better off using a lower ammonia product whenever possible.
At the same time, if you go into a bad stylist, they can damage your hair by using poor coloring techniques.
Check reviews, check Yelp and ask your friends for stylish suggestions.
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MYTH: It Doesn’t Matter What Brand You Use When You Go Dark
FACT: Not All Hair Color Brands Are The Same, Even If You Are Just Going Dark
Hair coloring brands, professional and drugstore lines spend years formulating hair colors that will be different and stand above their competitors. While that is great for the consumer, some hair color lines will look great on you at the end of the day, and some will look like shit. It’s not you; it’s them.
Hair color is all science. Cosmetologists have to take chemistry in school for a reason. So yes, I know, my family was shocked too when I told them I actually had to take a full 8 hours of curriculum for a year straight to graduate; and didn’t just play with my friend’s hair all day long.
There are several factors why some hair color lines work well with the makeup of your hair and why some don’t seem to take well and look like garbage. A few of these factors include:
- Health conditions
If a line doesn’t give you satisfactory results the first time, it won’t be any different the second time around (unless it was a stylish application error – like they didn’t leave it on for a long enough time or left it on for too long).
Have no fear, there are a million other hair coloring lines out there, and one of those will give you the results you desire.
Example: My hair DOES NOT work with Aveda hair color, I’ve tried multiple colors with multiple techniques, and it is just never going to work.
The Genius Of Test Strands
Test strands are essential in hair coloring for a few reasons. First, if you are coloring your hair at home or are coloring your hair at a salon, make sure a test strand is done. Second, a test strand is a key to keeping your hair healthy at its finest.
What is a test strand? A test strand is a pinch of hair typically cut out somewhere in the back of your hair to test the color.
The hair strand is generally put in a piece of foil that is then colored, washed, and dried. Whatever the result on the test strand is will be the result on all of your hair.
An additional hair color test can be done on your actual skin to make sure you are not allergic to the hair color itself.
This can be done by merely taking a dot of hair color and putting it on the back of your neck or your arm. If you are a person who is nervous or knows they have odd allergies, I would strongly suggest doing a test strand.
MYTH: Coloring your Hair Dark Is Cheaper
FACT: Coloring Your Hair Dark Is Cheaper If You Stay The Same Color
Most people tend to change their hair color with the seasons. The style rule of thumb is to have light hair for summer and dark hair for winter. It is typically cheaper to go dark because you only need to deposit color, which requires less time and less product. On the other hand, when you are going lighter, it takes more time, more product, and more steps, thus making it more expensive and harder on your hair.
The Reality of Going Dark to Light to Dark to Light
While your dark hair appointment will be cheaper than when you lighten your hair, it can cost you more money in the long run. This is because if you want to go back lighter or even change it to a different dark shade, you will be dishing out some big bucks. Why? Because you will be paying for the bleaching process, which is necessary to go from dark back to light, you will be paying for the coloring process on top of your stylists’ time.
If you want to go dark for winter, choosing a demi-permanent or semi-permanent color vs. a permanent one will be best. This is because a demi or semi color will fade better and require less work to make lights again vs. a permanent color.
If you are indecisive, it is best not to go more than a few shades darker than what you currently have. This will save you money when you want to go back lighter in a few weeks. However, if you are over being a lighter shade and know you will want to be darker for a few months, or possibly even forever, then yes, dying your hair darker will end up saving you money.
The Reality Of Corrective Color Charge And Dark Hair
Coloring your hair darker will definitely not be cheaper if you decide to do it yourself at home! Stylist WILL know if you did a box color at home; it is the same as spotting an authentic coach purse vs. a knock-off one, you know. When they spot this, you will automatically be charged for corrective color.
Stylists love the corrective color because it is the biggest moneymaker, and it takes up a lot of their time, product, and brainpower.
Corrective color to a stylist is pretty much the same as building a house from scratch; they need to figure out how to correct the color to a healthy state and then match what you want for a final result.
From a professional to a non-professional, go to a stylist to do a darker color; it will save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Just like anything in life, doing something correctly the first time is always a better idea than trying to cheat it by doing it half-assed. It is a fact corrective color prices are at least twice as much as standard coloring costs.
Additionally, stylists charge so much for a corrective color to help prevent people from trying to do their own hair at home. It saves everyone time and effort if you go to a salon for any hair coloring needs right off the bat.
At the same time, if you go to one stylist and want another stylist to fix the color, you might also be charged for a corrective color.
If you get color done and don’t like how it turned out, you need to speak up and say something right away or the next day. In almost all cases, the original stylist who colored your hair will change the tone for free or charge you the bare minimum for a product charge.
Call the salon and ask to speak to the manager if you feel uncomfortable talking directly to your stylist at the time.
Unless you pushed for that dark black gothic color (most stylists won’t go that dark because many people can’t pull off such a harsh tone), and in that case, you asked for it, you will get charged to fix it.