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coloring your hair

5 Things To Know Before Coloring Your Hair

Whether you’re refreshing your highlights for the summer or going all out with colored dip-dye, there are a few things you need to know before going under the foils. We talked to celebrity hairstylist Mitch Stone (whose chi-chi clients include Jennifer Lopez and Kristin Davis) to get the cardinal rules of hair coloring.

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Going Lighter is More Damaging Than Going Darker

If you’re interested in making a change, but aren’t sure which way to go, consider going darker, especially if you already have dry or damaged hair. Stone says, “When you are coloring darker, you are actually depositing color as opposed to stripping it out of the cortex. This is a much harsher procedure and it takes a harsher chemical: bleach.” While we love our blond highlights, we’ll be considering some caramel or cocoa shades next time we head to the salon.

"Virgin Hair" is Best For Coloring

The healthier your hair, the better your color will look. “The less you have colored it, the easier it is for your stylist to make your new color look great,” says Stone. Use regular deep conditioning treatments in the weeks leading up to your appointment to get your hair in the best shape. We’re partial to Number 4 Lumiere d’hiver Reconstructive Masque.

Don’t Wash Your Hair Ahead of Time

Don’t be embarrassed to see your stylist with dirty hair. In fact, Stone says it’s best if you don’t wash ahead of time. “A good rule of thumb before you get your hair colored is ‘do nothing.’ If you get your hair colored after a shampoo or stimulation it can burn your scalp.” Yikes!

Don’t Condition as Soon as You Leave the Salon

Stone recommends waiting a few days to give your hair a deep conditioning treatment because they can cause your color to fade. “Unless you’ve bleached—then condition as soon as you like! Depending on hair type and dryness, once a week is a good regimen.” If hair is really damaged, feel free to deep condition every day and consider a professional treatment at a salon. Still confused? Follow this timeline for maintaining your hair color.

Color-Protective Products Really Are Important

Do all those shampoos, conditioners, and styling aids that claim to protect your color actually do anything? Happily, yes! Stone says, “They are more gentle and often have essential fatty acids that help to avoid stripping hair color. Often times they don’t have surfactants or sulphates that might strip color or sebum.” We’re fans of Kérastase Bain Chroma Captive- Cleanse, Kérastase Fondant Chroma Captive - Treat. The salon-grade products have UV protectors to protect color from fading. In addition, Stone recommends using a sunscreen specifically designed for hair, like Rene Furterer’s Protective Summer Oil.

Not sure which shade to try? Check out our guide to finding the best hair color for your skin tone.

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