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Friday, 22 October 2010

Colour By Numbers

About every couple of months, I decide I've had enough of my current hairstyle and grab one of two Boots hairdressing scissors to re-cut a fringe (my life is either spent with a fringe or growing one out) or an at-home hair colourant. As my hair is annoyingly dark, when it comes to the DIY dye market, I'm limited to chocolates, mahoganys and blacks, and more often than not end up with monotone, lifeless colour. Needless to say, I was really excited to be invited to an at-home colouring masterclass with Schwarzkopf Professional Colour Ambassador, Anita Cox-McMillan. Here is the twice-crowned British Colourist of the Year, introducing Schwarzkopf's new colourant launch, Palette.
As Anita took me and my fellow bloggers through the new range, she began with a few simple at-home colouring rules...
1. Don't always believe the bottle. It might say semi-permanent but according to Anita, 'if you have to mix two things together, it's not going to wash out.'
2. 'Artificial colour will not lighten artificial colour already in the hair. Instead it will simply add tone. Artificial colour will only lighten virgin, uncoloured hair.'
3. 'If you're darkening your hair, you need to put warmth into that colour, otherwise it will look flat. When blonde hair is darkened, it eats up the warmth.'

The lovely thing about Palette is the use of hair-loving Macadamia Nut Oil. I can tell you, first-hand, that my hair feels in better condition now than before I coloured it. Currently, there are 12 shades in the range but there are plans to add 3 more gothic-inspired colours early next year. But what shade will suit you? Here Anita talks about getting the right shade for your skintone.
Using a model, Anita showed us how to prep for the colour. Follow her tips for fuss-free colouring -

*Instead of muckying a towel (my mum has about three dye-stained towels at the bottom of the airing cupboard), Anita suggests tying a bin bag around your shoulders. The great thing about this is you can just throw it away once you're done.

*Give your hair a really good brush through before you colour - this will make it easier to section and coat each strand.

*Protect your hairline, neck and ears with a bit of moisturiser. Vaseline will work as well but be sure not to take it on to the hair, as it acts as a barrier to the colour.

*Section the hair 4-ways, parting down the centre, and then from ear-to-ear. Work on one section at a time, using bulldog clips to hold the other sections.

*When mixing your colour and developing lotion in the applicator bottle don't shake straightaway, as this can cause the colour to become trapped in the nozzle. Instead begin by swirling the bottle, then shake.

*If you want your colour to be more intense, there's no harm in leaving it on for longer. For grey hair, which is naturally resistant to colour, you should definitely leave your colour on for at least 30 minutes.
On the model, Anita showed us how you could actually mix two at home colourants together to achieve a unique shade. If, for example, you wanted to go slightly darker but wanted to add a warm tone, you could mix a dark brown with a mahogany shade. Simply pour all your ingredients into a mixing bowl, stir together, then pour back into your applicator bottle using a funnel or measuring jug. It's like having your very own custom-made colour.

For my own colour experience, Anita suggested I use Palette Colour in 800 Dark Brown on my roots to colour over the virgin hair, then apply the 872 Dark Bordeaux, £3.49 each, to the lengths, before blending over the roots. I left my colour on for 20 minutes (I didn't want a Cheryl Cole radioactive red) and rinsed. The result was a super-glossy plummy shade. I'm still amazed you can be this creative with at-home colourant. I would never have dared to mix 2 colours together or have thought to apply a brighter colour on the top section, a darker one underneath. I'll definitely be experimenting in my bathroom! Thanks Palette! Sx

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