With a do-it-yourself hair color kit, you can change your hair color for a fraction of the salon price with amazing results.
By Leah Fletcher
Deciding to change your hair color invariably invites the following questions: “Will it be flattering? “Will it fry my hair?” “What happens if I hate it?”…
If you factor in fragile curls, relaxers and the naturally dark shades that come with African American hair, the difficulty quotient for coloring your hair at home rises sharply. If you decide to take that route, you need to know which products to select and what they costs.
Once you decide on a new hair color, and that you want to do it at home, be sure to follow these cardinal do-it-yourself coloring rules:
• Have Vaseline or a face cream handy to prevent staining skin around your hair line;
• Conduct a hair strand test before you color your entire head;
• Recruit a friend to help you get those hard-to-reach places;
• After you’re done, remember to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
I’ve done some research on do-it-yourself hair color and have identified what I consider to be the best at-home color kits for African American hair. These kits can help you change your hair color without paying as much as $150.
For those interested in slightly lightening your hair:
Dark and Lovely Go Intense
This line of vibrant permanent hair color allows dark-haired women to lighten their hair without having to resort to bleaching it. Dark and Lovely’s Go Intense line features seven highly pigmented shades that work with the undertones of dark hair for reflective, saturated color. You can follow up your hair color with the brand’s complementary products, like temporary glosses for relaxed hair and creams that keep curls from shrinking.
For those for whom hair breakage is a problem:
Clairol Textures and Tones
This Clairol color is specially formulated for women of color with fragile hair seeking a permanent color change without losing their hair. It’s packed with natural moisture-infusing ingredients like jojoba oil and reconstructing natural wheat protein to prevent breakage. Additionally, it’s free of harsh ammonia and comes in 14 shades designed to complement darker skin tones.
For those hoping to protect and maintain curl patterns:
Shea Moisture Rich Ammonia-Free Hair Color System
The ingredients in most hair dyes can destroy curl patterns, leaving them stretched and limp. However, Shea Moisture’s color system ensures curls keep their bounce. It contains natural ingredients like organic shea butter for moisture, soy protein for strength, flaxseed oil for shine and organic glycerin for moisture retention. Because the product is ammonia- and sulfate-free, the 12 available shades have a natural finish. Therefore, you’re advised to use a color that is two shades lighter or darker than the color on the box.
For those hesitant to give up relaxing their hair:
Clairol Jazzing Temporary Hair Color
Relaxers leave hair extremely porous. By adding color you risk dryness and breakage. Clairol’s temporary hair color allows you to have it all. This line of color comes in 15 bold and vibrant shades ranging from conservative colors like ebony and coffee bean to more colorful shades like Cherry Cola and Jet Grape. Because it’s free of ammonia and peroxide, this color can be applied to relaxed, permed and previously colored hair without the worry. Use without heat for fleeting color you can remove on your next wash or apply heat to make it a semi-permanent.
For those looking to camouflage their gray roots:
John Frieda Precision Foam Colour
This foam formula allows you to pinpoint areas, like bothersome gray roots, or textured, voluminous hair with ease. For the best coverage, make sure your hair is free of product build-up, and after applying the foam to your roots, try using your fingers, which should be in gloves, to gently massage the area to create more foam and erase the gray. Many pros in the industry often apply John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss after coloring to add shine and depth to the hair. It also extends the life of your color and infuses the hair with a shiny softness that lasts for weeks post-treatment.