Every now and then, we all get struck with the age old question — should I dye my hair? And with it comes the millions of other questions about upkeep, which shade to choose, and whether or not we can pull it off. It may not seem like a big deal, but dyeing one's hair can feel like quite the reawakening.
That's because, as a society, we've placed a lot of meaning on hair color. If you go darker, you'll suddenly be viewed as mysterious. And going lighter will obviously guarantee you'll have more fun. It's almost like you're choosing a new personality for yourself, and thus it can feel like quite the major life decision.
I'm mostly joking, but only slightly. Because whether we fall for stereotypes or not, changing the way you look does have a psychological effect. Anyone who's gone through a breakup and dyed their hair, or changed their hue for a new job, can attest to the magical powers of a new look.
That's precisely why hair dye can be so fun. But what's not so fun? The upkeep, the price, and all the other maintenance woes that come along with it. So even if you gone through the process of deciding on the perfect shade, it's still possible to be met with indecision.
If you've found yourself on the fence, then here are few things to keep in mind before dyeing your hair.
1. It Requires Quite A Bit Of Upkeep
If you've had natural hair all your life, or it's been a while since your last dye job, then you're likely unaware of what a chore dyed hair can be. Monthly salon visits, touching up your roots — it can all be a bit much.
So upkeep is something to keep in mind, especially as you choose a shade. As Alle Connell noted on DailyMakeover.com, "If you’re just going slightly darker than your natural color, maintenance will likely be really easy. If it’s a more dramatic change, prepare yourself for visible roots. You’ll need to re-up your color every three to four weeks to keep your color fresh and your roots concealed..." If that's something that bothers you, opt for a less dramatic change.
2. That Upkeep Can Get Hella Expensive
Sure, a box dye is what, seven bucks? That's not so bad. But if you've gone and gotten yourself some expensive highlights, or you're trying a shade far off from your natural hue, then expect lots of pricey salon visits to keep it all looking fresh.
3. You'll Need All New Shampoos & Conditioners
Forget your cheapo drugstore shampoo. Colored hair demands a lot of TLC, which often means dropping cash on some decidedly expensive products. According to Lila Glick and Kelly Searle on TotalBeauty.com, "It makes no sense to spend a fortune on coloring your hair at a salon only to use hair care products that strip the color at home. So stocking up on proper hair care products post-treatment is an absolute must." This will likely include color-safe shampoos and conditioners, as well as styling products, that help maintain color and prevent fading. It's not the biggest deal ever, but it's something to consider.
4. The Prettier The Pastel, The Faster It Fades
Those pastel hair colors are so beautiful, and yet they require a bit more upkeep than your average shade. That's because these light colors aren't exactly known for their staying power. Plus, you'll probably have to bleach your hair, which can be quite the process (and leave you with roots for days).
However, it is possible to keep pinks and lavenders looking good — it'll just require a little work. As Marianne Mychaskiw noted InStyle.com, "Crayola shades tend to fade faster than their natural-looking counterparts, so to keep your ... hair fresh, you'll need to remove any conditioners or shampoos that contain sulfates from your routine, as they could strip the color. In between salon visits ... use a color-depositing conditioner every other time you shower." It'll take some considerable work, but the results will probably be worth it.
5. It Can Damage Your Hair
Dyeing your hair one or two shades different isn't the worst thing ever. But going super light with bleach can be pretty damaging, as can going really dark. According to Connell, "Dark dye is a commitment ... going from dyed dark to light again is very hard. Not only is it technically difficult ... it’s incredibly rough on your hair." If you're going for either of these extremes, plan on sticking with it for quite a while.
6. The Color On The Box Might Not Be All It's Cracked Up To Be
If you're going for the drugstore boxed dye, don't rely on the photos if you want an accurate idea of what color you'll end up with. As Christina Heiser noted EverydayHealth.com, it's common to go by the model on the box, but unfortunately this isn't always a surefire way to figure out the exact shade you'll get. That's because the model may have had a different base color than you, which means you'll end up with a totally different shade.
To prevent being disappointed, skip the photo and pay attention to the numbered shade scales. One is the darkest, and ten is the lightest. And then take a look at the letters — A means ash, G means gold, C is copper, and N is neutral, Heiser pointed out. This will be a better barometer to judge the color by.
7. Take Your Skin & Eye Color Into Account
If you're going for a natural look (which I understand is not always the case), you'll want to take your own coloring into account when choosing a hair dye. According to Heiser,, "If you have a lot of pink in your skin, avoid warmth in a hair color because it will make you look flushed. Those who have olive skin tones should opt for gold tones, which bring warmth to the face and make skin look less green. If your skin tone is neutral ... with no pink or green, you can wear either warm or cool blonde shades."
8. Your Makeup Preferences May Change
One of the best things about dyeing your hair is that it truly demands a whole new you. I'm talking new clothes, new makeup — the whole thing. That's because your old color palette will likely clash with your new 'do, so some changes may be in order. As Connell noted, "The makeup that looked good with lighter hair may look too severe (or not severe enough) with darker dyed locks ... Be open to experimentation..." And a few fun trips down the makeup aisle.
If you're OK with all of the above, then happy dyeing!