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Home hair colouring

By Milly Nolan

Having DIY doubts? All you need 
is a little know-how to achieve 
professional hair colour at home, MiNDFOOD reports.

Fearing that I could end up with a purple crop instead of 
the intended blonde shade, the thought of colouring my hair at home has always given me reason to visit a hair salon. Entrusting a professional with highlighting what 
is increasingly becoming a mousy head of hair (I prefer to call it “dark blonde”) has always seemed to me to be the safest and easiest option. Until now.

Recently, I attended the launch of Excell 10’, a permanent hair colorant from L’Oréal Paris that takes only 10 minutes. Even to a DIY novice like me, this short amount of time seemed unbelievable at first – I can hardly order and drink a cup of coffee in 10 minutes, let alone change or enhance my hair colour, as the traditional hair colorant takes about 30 minutes to develop.

The latest home hair colours, with their technically advanced formulas, are easier than ever to use and provide better care for your tresses, so there’s no longer any reason why you can’t give your hair 
a professional colour treatment at home.


Before you begin colouring your hair yourself it’s important to know the difference between the four types of hair colorants (permanent, tone-on-tone, semi-permanent and temporary) and to know what result you want, whether it be enhanced natural colour, a dramatic change, grey coverage or additional tones.

1. Permanent Colour

• Gives a permanent colour result and does not wash out with shampooing.

• Requires a retouch application between four and eight weeks when new hair growth becomes visible at the roots.

• Can colour the hair in a lighter shade, same shade or darker shade or add reflects.

• Can lighten natural hair colour by 
two shades.

• Requires a bleaching product to be 
applied to the hair before colouring if you want a shade that is two shades lighter than your natural hair colour.

• Can’t lighten an existing shade applied to your hair. To achieve a lighter shade a bleaching product must be used to remove excess darker colorant before applying the lighter shade.

• Can create a buildup of colour that will make your hair darker if you apply the dye repeatedly over existing colour.

• Will cover up to 100 per cent grey hair.

2. Tone-on-Tone colour

• Enhances and adds colour to the existing shade.

• Can colour the hair in the same or slightly darker shades or add tones.

• Can’t lighten the hair.

• Fades and washes out with shampooing over six weeks. There is no visible regrowth except for grey hair.

• Can blend away up to 50 per cent 
of grey hair if evenly distributed.

3. Semi-permanent colour

• Adds colour to the existing shade and progressively washes out with shampooing (about six to eight shampoos).

• Can colour the hair in the same tone 
or slightly darker or add reflects.

• Can’t lighten the hair.

• Can blend away 30 per cent of grey 
hair if well distributed.

4. Temporary Colour

• Colours hair of the same tone.

• Deposits colour on the surface of 
the hair, which washes out with the 
first shampooing.

• Doesn’t blend or cover grey hair.

• Can be used on hair that is already coloured to enhance the colour.


Following nature’s lead is always best. Everyone has a natural hair colour, or base shade. Knowing your base shade 
is the secret to successful hair colouring. The L’Oréal International Numbering System, for example, is used in more 
than 150 countries, which makes selecting a hair colour easy. A scale from one to 10 is used to measure the depth of colour from black (one) to very light blonde (10). If your hair is already coloured you need to look closely at the roots to find the perfect match for your natural base shade.


• If your hair is longer than shoulder length or is very thick, use two boxes of colorant to achieve an even result.

• Do a strand test before colouring your hair. Mix a quarter of the colorant with 
a quarter of the developer and apply it 
to a 1cm-wide group of strands from root to tip. Let the colour develop for the recommended time. Check the colour. 
If you’re happy with it, mix the remaining colorant and developer and apply it to the rest of your hair.

• Always do a skin allergy patch test 
48 hours before a colour application. Don’t use the product if you experience itching, redness or other irritation.

• Once the colorant and developer have been mixed together the mixture must 
be used immediately; it cannot be stored.

• Don’t use hair dye on your eyebrows 
or eyelashes.

• Always follow the recommended development time on the pack. 
Don’t shorten or lengthen the time.


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