Manhattan's most sought-after color experts (grudgingly) reveal their secrets for getting $800 results—from minor tone tweaks to platinum makeovers—at home.More
To save money and time, Ted Gibson's master colorist Jason Backe recommends spacing pricy salon splurges out every few months and using a DIY single process (one coat of color with no highlights, lowlights, or other frills) in between visits.
"Pro highlights can blend out any of your amateur mistakes," he says. But if you're really devoted to DIY, try painting thin streaks on the hair just beneath your part and a quarter of an inch from the hairline (to hide any obvious lines of demarcation). "You'll get beautiful dimension and lightness, and no eyesores."
Revlon Colorsilk Beautiful Color, $3; walgreens.com.
A single process is simple to do yourself, as long as you're not going for a dramatic transformation. How to find the right shade?
"My rule of thumb is only go two shades lighter or darker than your natural hair," says Brad Johns, national color director for Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas. "To choose the right box at the store, check the chart on the side of the package. If you don't see your natural tone on the chart, the formula's probably not right for you."
For a Level 3 hair color kit that will last for weeks at a time, opt for a moisturizing formula like L'Oréal Paris Excellence Crème, $9; ulta.com.