Help me with my hair color.
July 25, 2007 9:45 PM   Subscribe

Help me with my hair color.

My natural color is a flat, cool brown. I use L'Oreal Feria Brazilian brown (bronzed brown) and have been quite pleased with the results. However, I do notice that over time the ends of my hair look much lighter than the newer hair growth--even after the newer growth has been colored. The ends take on a brighter "bronzed" color than the rest of the hair, which is a subtler bronzed color. It doesn't look entirely unnatural, but I would prefer to have my hair a more consistent color from root to tip.

Hence my question--are the ends lighter because they have *faded* or are they lighter because they are porous and grab onto more color? (I have heard stylists say that because the ends are more porous the color can become "muddy"). In other words, how can I correct this? Is the solution to re-dye the ends or to leave the ends alone and just refresh the newer growth?

Also, is Feria a semipermanent color or a permanent color? How damaging is it likely to be?

Lastly, are there any rules I should follow when coloring? My hairdresser said to only apply it to the new growth, but I always feel that the rest of my hair is fading and could benefit from a color boost...however, I don't want to damage my hair by repeatedly dying it.
posted by mintchip to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Here's what you do. I am a natural blonde but for a while I was rocking super pale blonde hair. I color at home, and even if you are a natural blonde, when you go lighter than natural your roots look almost black compared to the rest of your hair.

Okay, so next time you want to color your hair, go buy that box of Feria, but also make a stop by a beauty supply store like Sally's or BeautyCo or whatever you have near you that is open to the public (some places require you have a cosmo license to make purchases).

Buy one of the plastic hair color mixing bowls and a plastic hair coloring brush. Total cost, maybe $2. Plus, you can reuse these every time you color your hair.

Go home, read the instructions for "touch up" or "root color" in the Feria box. They'll all basically say the same thing — section your hair with a comb, apply the color to the inch or so of regrowth, let sit for however long you're supposed to let it sit. The brush is really handy for this, as you can use it to both apply the color and part your hair.

Okay, now, about five minutes before you're time is up, apply the color to the rest of your hair. You can do this by either combing it through from the roots or by rubbing your hair all together like you would when shampooing or by using the brush and what remains of the mixture in the bowl. Wait five more minutes, then rinse. These extra five minutes give the rest of your hair the color "boost" you're looking for.

Alternatively, you can pay a professional to do this.

Even many people who have never colored their hair have natural highlight on the ends. It's just because the hair is older, has been through more and is dryer.

Disclaimer: I am not a stylist, but I have done this many times. Home hair color at your own risk.
posted by Brittanie at 10:05 PM on July 25, 2007 [2 favorites]

Feria is a permanent hair color. It has ammonia and peroxide, which is damaging for hair.

I believe your hairdresser is correct, that since ends tend to be more damaged and porous, that's why they end up a lighter color then the rest of your hair.

Alternatives to Feria-type dyes include Henna (which although is natural, I find dries my hair significantly), or something like L'Oreal's Natural Match, which has no ammonia, but still has peroxide, or Clairol's Natural Instincts which is semi-permanent with no ammonia, but still has peroxide, (like most hair dyes).
posted by wilde at 10:13 PM on July 25, 2007

It's because you have a hot head. The roots of your hair absorb more color due to the heat of your scalp. This happens to me all the time when I dye my hair.

It could also be that your natural color is lighter on the ends.
posted by Violet Hour at 10:14 PM on July 25, 2007

I have been using L'oreal Excellence Red Penny for most of a decade now.

*** If you have any questions regarding how to use a L'Oreal product, there is a phone number on the instruction sheet! Call it before accepting anybody else's advice, including mine!***

That being said...

I think you will find that in the instruction sheet, written by the folks who know exactly what it is supposed to do, is something to the effect of "if your color has faded, apply to the non-root sections of hair for the last 10 minutes". Not to go all RTFM on you, but I have followed the instructions in this regard for a lot of years with no adverse effects.
posted by ilsa at 10:47 PM on July 25, 2007

If your ends are brass then you could use a color correcting shampoo, a pale violet glaze will tarnish your brass back toward bronze. Red and blue are the pigments you are missing.
posted by hortense at 11:39 PM on July 25, 2007

The ends of your hair may also be lighter because they've gotten more sun exposure. Dyed hair sun bleaches just the same as undyed hair.
posted by orange swan at 11:44 PM on July 25, 2007

It could very well be sun bleaching. My partner, who hasn't dyed his hair in at least a year now, is a dark brunette, but the last few inches of his hair are golden brown. He spends a lot of time in the sun for his job.
posted by Meagan at 2:27 AM on July 26, 2007

It's probably a combination of sun, wind, and the fact that your ends have been dyed more often than the hair further up. It is damage, but it's deliberate; permanent* hair color lightens ("lift") your hair in order to deposit color that will hold. So your ends have been bleached (even for dark colors) more often than the middle. It does mean that that hair is more porous, which is why the 10-minute old-growth instructions are accurate for most people.

*Semipermanent color, by the way, is not no-lift color. It does damage your hair a little (that's the peroxide, or some products use something slightly different) in order to weakly deposit color, so the hair that has been touched by it will never be quite the same color it was before. True no-lift color is the stuff that washes out in one shampoo.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:33 AM on July 26, 2007

My "professional" hairdresser snuck in color when it was supposed to be a clear gloss - made me bergundy-brown instead of brown with lots of blonde highlights. Because he actually did not know what he was doing he then used a color remover three times(!) to "remove the semi permanent color". It all turned orange! Now there are no highlights, no lowlights, just one awful shade of orange. What can I do?
posted by orangeme at 4:26 PM on January 18, 2008

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