It's not ideal, but if you intend to colour your hair at home, here are tips from a colourist


You may have been eagerly awaiting day 21 so you can go to your favourite hair salon to get your roots touched up or maybe you’ve added a bold new hair colour as your next lockdown self-care treat.

Either way, the president having extended the lockdown period doesn’t mean your beauty treatments need to stop.

When it comes to hair, the trick is that colouring it at home with store-bought colour can be complicated and many risks come with it.

But, we’ve spoken to a trusted colourist who provides tips and tricks to ensure your hair not only stays on your head but comes out looking just as you had planned.

READ MORE: Natural or relaxed - Here are 5 quick and easy hairstyles you can do at home 

We spoke to hair stylist & colourist Tracey Serfontein and here’s what you need to know before you even start.

Pay attention to the current health of your hair. If your hair is already damaged, Tracey advises to not attempt to colour it at home.

She says the formula in box dye colour and salon dye are different. Salon dye has a specific formula for certain hair types. This is not necessarily the case with store-bought ones so you need to take note of what’s in the box you get. If it’s your first time colouring your hair, Tracey suggests you don’t use permanent colour and ensure you read the instructions properly.

Colouring your hair is not a job to be rushed but you also need to pay special attention to time. You cannot afford to leave the colour on for too long. No more than 45 minutes, Tracey says.

READ MORE: I almost got admitted into hospital after trying to change my hair colour 

Maybe lockdown has you feeling more adventurous with your colour and perhaps you want to try out the trendy platinum blonde look.

Does this mean you can bleach your hair at home? The short answer is, no. Read and digest this: Don’t try to bleach or highlight your own hair. That will damage it.

So you’ve gone through all the safety checks and are ready to elevate your look with some colour, these are the tools you’ll need:

  • A tint bowl for the colour
  • Tint brush to apply
  • A comb and hair jaws for sectioning
  • Gloves to protect your hands
  • Old towels

After washing your hair, Tracey says you’ll need to towel dry it (remember to use an old towel) and always use a deep moisturising mask that has coconut oil in it and cling wrap your hair for 30-40 minutes in the sun.

READ MORE: 5 hair care mistakes to avoid when you have braids

A note for the curly hair squad: when you colour your hair your curls may loosen. Tracey says if you’re wanting to go lighter with the colour, curls will drop and they could lose their elasticity too.  

“So the best is to either colour [your hair] darker to add some life into it and use ammonia-free colour or a colour mousse,” she says.

If your hair is relaxed remember this: Don't consider going lighter if you’re doing the colour yourself.

Tracey recommends that you call a hairstylist for advise.

READ MORE: Is your hair breaking all your combs? Careful, you may be risking hair breakage too - key tips from a hair expert

Perhaps you want to stick to natural colour

There are things you have to consider with this option as well.

Henna is one of the popular natural colours but it has its pros and cons. “Henna is safer than commercial hair dye but we don’t get 100% henna,” says Tracey.

“It also stains your hair, therefore, you won’t be able to go lighter in future. If you are going to go lighter in future and you’ve done henna you are going to experience damaged hair,” she adds.

Tracey says another point to note is that a lot of natural methods, or vegan colours don’t last long – it all depends on your hair texture.

“If your hair is porous it can washout in two to three washes. Everybody’s hair technique is different and it also depends on what kind of shampoo you use. If you use sulphate-free shampoo natural colour can last longer and if you use sulphate it will strip the colour out immediately,” she says.

Sulphate-free shampoo and sulphate-free conditioner will be your best friend in this instance.

As a final note all-round, Tracey says ensure not to wash your hair more than twice a week when it's coloured because washing your hair every day dries it out and will strip the colour.

Have you ever coloured your hair yourself? Share what you learnt with us here.

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