This is how to colour your own hair at home - according to a hairdresser

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With the current lockdown set to continue for the foreseeable future, many of us are wondering how to deal with our hair - whether it's an at-home cut, colour, or something more drastic.

Here, hairdresser Michael Van Clarke shares tips for colouring hair at home, as he launches virtual colour clinics.

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Michael says, "We all know that our hair will carry on growing happily at the roots, but many of us are not happy about going back to out natural colour, especially if that means showing the world our grey roots - even though for now it will only be on FaceTime or Zoom.

"Here are some options of colour you can try yourself at home in order of commitment but please don’t try to do your highlights at home, I would also stay away from a semi permanent dye and would much rather recommend a vegetable colour, something you’ll apply direct without mixing. It’s more gentle, but will mostly still do the job. At least for now."

Shampoos and conditioners

If you want to make your colour last, try LifeSaver Prewash Treatment as it will extend the life of the colour. Combine it with our Cashmere Protein UV Protective Shampoo and Conditioner to retain colour vibrancy and extend the life between tints.

Colour shampoo should gently enhance colour. This will just sit on the surface of the hair and last you until your next shampoo.

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Vegetable colour or colour conditioner

This is a single product (no mixing) that you apply directly from the tube or bottle which also sits on the surface, but goes that bit deeper. It will wash off entirely in about six to 12 washes.

Semi-permanent colour

If you need to mix two products then that is not a temporary effect. Semi-permanent is a marketing term that’s been abused over the years to lure people in that just want to dabble, thinking that it’s low commitment.

In truth, the benefit disappears but not the effects on the hair, which last until it’s cut off. Often, semi-permanent is actually closer to permanent. It’s essentially a weak tint, which means it will affect the structure and colour of your hair for the length of the hair, which can be three to four years on long hair.

It’s a great way to colour hair with less commitment than a permanent tint, or if you want the colour to fade away as it grows so as not to have a hard regrowth line.

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But, if you want a quick in-and-out of colour and no further maintenance, bear in mind that long after the colour benefit has gone, your long hair will still be prone to stronger colour changes in the sun. If you weren’t planning to keep colouring your hair, choose vegetable colour or colour conditioner instead.

Be very careful about buying some of the hair dyes available on the retail market. If we are colour-correcting in the salon, we'll be familiar with the ingredients in a professional product.

Retail products can be harder to colour-correct in the salon afterwards. They’re often full of heavy metals and odd elements, which are more aggressive on the hair.

Don’t rush to the chemist to buy semi-permanent hair dye straightaway. Try using a touch-up pencil for your roots. You can get different tones, and they are very good to tide people over.

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Otherwise, I’d really recommend a vegetable colour - something you’ll apply direct without mixing. It’s more gentle, but will mostly still do the job. At least for now.

Permanent colour or tint

If you won’t accept anything less than full coverage of those white or dark hairs, then it has to be a tint. If you have a centre parting, move it to the side and slant the line back up towards the crown. This can extend the need for a full head tint another few weeks. When you’ve gone as long as possible, start only with the hairline and parting. This will give you a few weeks more.


Finally, don’t attempt to highlight your hair at home. It is probably the most skilled process of a hair technician. But if you’ve had your highlights done recently enough, I’d say you can push it for two to three months with some novel styling techniques. You could also claim it’s a deliberate ombre effect.

Michael Van Clarke has launched a Virtual Colour Clinic via Zoom. Personalised Colour Packs will then be sent out including tint brush, gloves and protective cape. Find out more here

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