A colleague and I were talking about hair-woes as we scurried through the carpark in the drizzly British
summer, rain after work. “It’s going to be even more frizzy!” Becca exclaimed, referring to her lovely curly hair. It got me thinking about about how for many of us, the grass can seem greener on the other side. Poker-straight siren dreams of luscious curls, and all curly-Sue wants it not to battle with unruly tresses in place of sleek waves.
For me, around age three I lost my blonde baby curls in place of straight mousey-brown tresses. Through the years I experimented with various styles, cuts and colours and while I longed for those curls for a period, I’ve become comfortable – grateful even – for my manageable hair,which I’m happy to say can be straight or wavy with little effort. While I’m yet to perfect the perfect beehive, and the cow-lick in my fringe has once brought me close to tears – I’ve made my peace with my hair!
I learnt early that dying your hair is a quick and easy way to change a hair-style you’re happy with, without having to have a drastic cut or change and for the last five years or so I’ve been using L’Oreal Casting Crème Gloss, in Berry Red, which is a no ammonia hair colourant that gives your hair visible shimmering tones, glossy shine and, if you have them, claims to blend away grey. It’s semi-permanent and lasts around 28 washes. I love this colour and am often asked which one I use by friends and strangers too!
I’ve always done my own hair dye at home, and have learnt that practice definitely makes perfect! Make sure you read the instructions – do it in the bathroom, or even better, outside! Even now I sometimes manage to get little splashes on things. I have bed sheets, slippers and clothes all with permanent reminders if my hair colour so it’s advisable to wear an old T-shirt for this.
I took these pictures having left my hair longer than I would prefer before re-colouring it, but as you can see the colour has faded rather than stripped out in lines – which is excellent, if like me you sometimes let these things slip!
Make sure your hair is brushed through, and then get your head under the shower to dampen it down. Some say apply Vaseline to the skin nearest your hairline to avoid staining but I just make sure it’s moisturised. Towel dry your hair and then don the lovely gloves. For me, I like to have a hair tie at the ready, resting just off a surface so I know I can pick it up with hair-dye gloves still on without marking any furniture. Once I’ve mixed the colour up I work it through my roots first, as recommended in the instructions. Working front to back, making sure I massage the formula in well to avoid patches. Then I tip my head upside down and make sure the back is done – I wear my hair up high a lot so don’t want any patchy bits here.
Once you’re done on your roots, work the colour all the way through the length of your hair – this is prime dye flicking onto the wallpaper time, so watch out! It’s important not to towel dry your hair too thoroughly before applying the dye, as slightly damp hair will help the product later, avoiding missing bits.
Then grab your hair tie and swirl your hair carefully into a little my style bun, watch that wallpaper!! Use up the rest of the product to smooth any final bits, and then dispose of your gloves. Now is the time to check for any transference onto your skin. Hopefully your moisturising paid off and there’s not much dye anywhere but your hairdo, however any smudges can be removed with a cotton pad and a little water or cleanser. Don’t forget the back of your neck, and ears!
Check the instructions but you’ve now got about twenty minutes to kill. Be careful not to rest your head on anything while you’re chilling – if you’re worried you can always pop a plastic bag or cap over your head. I like to dye my hair before dinner so I can do all my prep, chopping veggies etc while my hair is up, then stick whatever creation into the oven while I’m rinsing the colour out. Be patient when washing the colour out, the water tends to run like a blood bath for a good five minutes, so just keep massaging and rinsing. The little conditioner it comes with smells really nice and fruity – I often towel dry and add the conditioner so I can leave it in as a mask for an even silkier finish, but simply using it like you’re normal conditioner is fine too. And that’s it, a beautifully rich and glossy if such which doesn’t leave hair brittle, dull or smelling like chemicals!