You know what you're getting into when you color your hair—damaged cuticles and straw-like strands come to mind. But it's not that cut and dry when it comes to dye jobs. In fact, there are some things that your stylist probably won't think to tell you. (That's why we're here.) We caught up with Laura Estroff, Head Colorist at Kennaland, to get the dirty deets:
1. You could straight up be allergic to dye—and you might not know until after your hair appointment.
File this under Too Real For Real Life. "Color allergies and sensitivities can develop overnight," says Estroff. "Luckily, if you feel you have a growing sensitivity or are concerned about the future possibility of developing one, companies such as Wella (with their line Innosense), are developing new lines catered to people with color sensitivities." Estroff recommends scheduling a patch test with your colorist if you're at all concerned, and waiting 48 hours before going through with the whole appointment.
2. There are things your colorist can do to actually repair your hair while it's being processed.
"If you are planning to lighten your hair, try adding Olaplex to your lifting agent AKA the chemicals used to lift color from your hair," says Estroff. "It's a cool treatment that repairs damage to your hair by fixing itself to the broken bonds. When you add the molecule to bleach, it actually prevents breakage." Talk to your stylist to see if the treatment is right for the color you want.
3. That sand-art color and pastel hair trend? Make sure to go to a professional—for more reasons than one.
"You won't always know the most suitable color for your complexion, which is why you should always consult a colorist, especially if you are venturing into pastel colors," says Estroff. "A colorist will be able to choose a complimentary color for your skin tone."
If you're thinking of colors already (or won't heed this advice and are planning to do at home), as a general rule of thumb, light goes with light and dark goes with dark. "If you have lighter eyes opt for natural, light hair colors and if you have a darker complexion, choose darker shades."
And make sure to pay attention to your skin's undertones. "If you have traces of pink in your skin, you should avoid warm colors because it will make you look rosy," says Estroff. "Women with olive skin should choose gold colors, which tone down to green in your skin and bring warmth to your complexion. If your skin tone is neutral, with no traces of pink or green, you should go for warm or cool blonde shades."
4. Don't ever go from super dark hair to blonde at home. Just don't.
"Many people like to dye their hair themselves because it is convenient and it saves money," says Estroff. "Which is cool. But! If you're looking to do a 180, you should seek a professional. If bleaching isn't done properly, you can severely damage your hair or turn it orange."