Home hair colouring

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’OrĂ©al 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’OrĂ©al 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.

Award winning hair expert: Andrew Collinge

There are few areas of the hairdressing industry that have not benefited from the influence, creativity and expertise of Andrew Collinge. From a long line of hairdressers (his father and his grandfather), Andrew Collinge has become an industry spokesperson. Twice British Hairdresser of the Year (1993 & 1997), and International Hairdresser of the Year (2000) he is continuously innovating and shaping future trends.

MiNDFOOD: Has hairdressing always been a part of your family history?

Yes. My Grandfather was a hairdresser and so was my Father. He became a very successful competition hairdresser in the sixties and my Mother was a model and his muse. Together they made the business [Peter Collinge hair salon] into very much of a thriving, exciting salon group in the sixties, where the likes of George Harrison or maybe it was Ringo Starr’s girlfriend worked for us.

Did you always want to be a hairdresser?

Well I came into the industry quite late. To be perfectly honest I didn’t do particularly well at school and working in my Father’s salon was just a Saturday job until I realised that I quite liked it and that hairdressing wasn’t a dead-end job after all. My sister was in London [at the time] and I entered in a junior hairdressing competition there and got into the final and saw the bright lights and thought you know, I want to do this.

What came next?

I got a very good job at the infamous Michaeljohn hair salon [in London] and started as a trainee and ended up becoming their Artistic Director. I stayed there for six years. I worked alongside a fantastic avant-garde hairdresser called Robert Lobetta. He is now the Creative Director of Sebastian Professional. He did the most extreme creations – styles that took about six hours to create. His designs were very intricate and I’ve always taken inspiration from that.

What is your fondest memory of that time?

The first lady I shampooed as a trainee was Mrs Thatcher. She was the leader of the opposition at the time. The water had to be at the exactly right temperature and she would decide when she had enough of the shampooing. It all had to be very quick; the rollers had to be in, the hair had to be dried quickly. I think she found the whole thing a waste of time really – she just wanted to be back in Westminster.

I was washing her hair once and she asked whether I had voted, and I was holding the nozzle over her head and I told her I hadn’t been bothered and she swung around so quickly that I soaked her in the face. She said “young man, I don’t care who you vote for but you must always vote”. And it scared the life out of me so much that now I can’t stop voting – general elections, local elections, x-factor, even big brother!

When did you return to Liverpool to open your own salon?

In 1982 I returned to Liverpool. I felt it was time really. Liz and I had married by then and central London just didn’t seem like the place to start a family. I think also, the family business was calling so we went back and re-branded the salon group slowly from Peter Collinge to Andrew Collinge.

How did your Father help in terms of developing your own salon?

I have great respect for him because it can’t be easy to see your own name come off the door.  We had new ideas that we wanted to bring back into the business and I think he could see that. I still get people coming up to me and saying “your Grandfather did my hair for my wedding” or they will know someone’s whose hair had been done by him. He had been hairdressing in Liverpool since 1947.