Should you color your hair yourself?
If you want to dye, should you go pro or try DIY? A recent online poll of Angie’s List members who color their gray hair found that 47 percent do it themselves, with the remaining 53 percent using salon services.
There are many reasons to color your hair yourself. Poll respondents cite cost savings as a prime motivator, but there's also the convenience of not having to leave home and being able to color on your own schedule.
It's possible, of course, to get satisfactory or even great results on your own, but Angie's List members and highly rated hair stylists recommend keeping the following in mind when weighing how and where to color your gray:
Training and accountability
Perhaps it stands to reason that professional hair stylists would generally recommend against do-it-yourself hair coloring. But Bab May, owner and stylist at highly rated Bab & Company Hairdesigners in Carmel, Ind., bases her advice on decades of experience. She believes it’s important to at least consult with a licensed stylist before proceeding with hair color. “Each person has different risk factors, such as allergies or the condition of their hair,” May says. “Licensed stylists have been educated on safe ways to formulate all types of color and can recognize when extra safety precautions need to be taken.”
She says experience also makes a pro a preferred choice. “Understanding how color works is a science; you need to be properly educated on how different color works,” May says. “With do-it-yourself color, you’re looking at a picture on a box, never knowing exactly how your hair color will turn out. A professional stylist can pick out the color or colors they need to give the client consistent hair color every time.”
Ceilon Aspensen, owner and manager of Salon Simpatico in Bozeman, Mont., says she is often called in to fix DIY color jobs, especially with women trying to cover gray. “I only find out about it when they realize they've got some green hair because there’s no underlying pigment in their gray, and the off-the-shelf color did not account for this," she says.
Angie’s List member Kira Stark of Colusa, Calif., says she used to periodically color her hair blonde herself, before she had much gray, but eventually stopped. “Using a boxed product, my hair always looked a little orange,” she says. “Or if I went lighter, it stripped my hair, leaving it extremely dry and brittle.”
Karen Plant, an Angie’s List member in Oklahoma City, says she occasionally pays a friend $30 to color her hair, but she notices more uniform results when she pays her stylist $80. “The last time my friend colored my hair, it started out looking purple because she had so much red in it,” she says. “It eventually faded and looked fine.”