Hair Coloring: Salon Vs DIY

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Every girl has a moment when she decides to color her hair. Maybe you were inspired by something you saw on Instagram or you were enamored by a look you saw on Pinterest. 

But when it comes to salon vs. DIY hair color, where do we draw the line? We all know certain hair trends should never be attempted at home. (Here’s looking at you, bangs!) And yet the lure of heading to the drugstore after watching one or two YouTube tutorials is so strong. 

 Hair makes a big impression. It’s one of the first things people notice about you. And you don’t want them looking for the wrong reasons. If you’re considering skipping the salon in favor of DIY hair color, you’ve come to the right place. Our guide below makes it easy to make the right choice. 

Rule #1 - lightening your hair


If you want to color your hair more than one or two shades lighter than your natural color, you’ll likely regret not going to the salon. Drugstore dyes aren’t designed to lighten hair much, if at all. You’d need to buy bleach and dye from a beauty supply store, and most likely a toner if you’re going from dark to light hair to achieve the right shade. It can be a messy business, not to mention risky if you’re not a pro. Bleach is no joke, and you can damage hair easily. It’s also possible to burn hair or scalp. To achieve lighter hair, enlist a professional stylist. It will be well worth your money...and potentially save you from tears and disappointment. If you have to save up to go to a salon, all the better. That will give you time to really consider how much you want to commit to a major change once your Instagram-lust wears off.

Our tip: For the sake of the health of your hair and your selfies, we recommend seeking professional advice and going to a salon to achieve a lighter shade. 

Rule #2 - Balayage


Balayage is an art. Hair painting is best performed by a trained colorist. Let’s face it, you really can’t see the back of your head. And just because you got an “A” in art class once upon a time, doesn’t mean you have 360 vision. This goes for highlights too. You don’t want to end up with brassy skunk stripes. 

Our tip: Don't attempt this one at home!  Definitely book an appointment with your favorite colorist to ensure best results. 

Rule # 3 - Toning


Toning can usually be done at home. For blondes, purple shampoo can tame mild brassiness, bringing you back to a cool-toned blonde. For brunettes, blue shampoo is the way to go. This is all based on the color wheel, but we won’t get into all that now. Suffice it to say, tinted shampoo can help with mild color correction, but a few sessions might be necessary.

If you suffer from green-tinted blonde hair thanks to chlorine or sun exposure, many DIY hair enthusiasts swear by red Kool-Aid and even ketchup to correct the green tone. Can’t say we’ve tried it, but it’s worth taking a peek in your pantry. 

If you have trouble achieving the right shade after attempting these home remedies, book an appointment at the nearest salon. Salon toning treatments are relatively inexpensive compared to many other coloring services. 

Our tip: Start with a toning shampoo.  If you still aren't happy with the results book an appointment at the salon and have the professionals fix the mistake!  

Rule # 4 - colour too dark


Did your hair dye came out too dark? If you opted for a drugstore dye and want to lighten it up, this can be tackled safely at home. There are many ways to lighten or strip hair in the privacy of your own bathroom. The safest, cheapest, and most effective way is crushing up some vitamin C tablets. Mix the powder with a strong shampoo like Head and Shoulders, and apply to hair. Don a shower cap and let sit for two hours. The mixture rinses clean and your hair will be a shade lighter since it removes a bit of the dye. 

The next best choice is a simple shampoo mask. Choose a strong, clarifying shampoo and apply to damp hair for at least 1-1/2 hours. Follow up with a shower cap to keep things tidy. Head and Shoulders and even Dawn dish soap clarify and help strip dark dye from hair. Don’t expect miracles, though. This will only lift the dye color slightly. 



Color Oops is a popular hair color remover to fully strip dye from colored hair. Keep in mind it will not return hair to its natural color. Instead, it will strip the dye, revealing the processed, pigment-free hair beneath. Once dyed, hair’s chemical structure has been altered. Expect to see yellow or even orange-tinted hair when you’re done. Pick a low key weekend to try this, and obviously don’t do it right before any big events. Once color has been removed, apply an intensive protein hair mask, followed by the hair color of your choice for five minutes maximum, as per the instructions. 

There are a few reasons store-bought color stripping products aren’t our favorite option. First, the smell is noxious. The process is time consuming, and it requires you to buy three products: color stripper, a protein mask, and your choice of hair dye. There’s also no guarantee you’ll get the exact results you envision. Drugstore dye is a fickle thing. If you can’t take any chances, head to your nearest salon for color correction instead of attempting this yourself. 

Our tip: Give the DIY solutions a try, but if you still aren't happy with the results leave it to the professionals to lighten up the color 

Whether you choose to color your hair at home or leave it to the professionals, one thing is certain - coloring can and will damage your hair.  The Somerfield hair mask cap for color treated hair is guaranteed to moisturize, repair and strengthen your hair.  

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