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Everything You Need To Know About Hair Color

Your complete guide to hair dyes is here.
PHOTO: (LEFT) Instagram/santiagoraymond, (RIGHT) Instagram/paulnebres

Before you dive into the wonderful world of hair color, educate yourself with Cosmo.ph's ultimate guide. We have ~everything~ you need to know about it, from color ideas to proper care. 

If you're searching for the perfect shade, we detailed ~all~ the flattering colors for the Filipina skin tone and the level of difficulty to achieve and maintain each hue. We disclosed all the facts, so you'll know what to expect when you sit on the salon chair or when you decide to do it by yourself. As for care and maintenance, we also listed down the important products that should always be in your bathroom. More importantly, we revealed the items you should never use to keep the dye job vibrant and your locks healthy + strong. 

So whether you're into conservative hues or you're a wild, rainbow-loving child, read on to get schooled:

Hair Color Trends

Your hair is your playground, so you can actually do *anything* with it. From basic browns to pretty pastels, these shades are begging to be tried:

Espresso and chocolate brown

The gateway hair color to try is espresso and chocolate brown. These deep hues grant a subtle shade change—ideal if you want a conservative option.

Golden brown

A universally flattering shade for Pinays because the warm undertones bring out the morena skin tone pretty well! To get you more convinced: This dye job makes your skin glow!

Bronde

A cross between brown and blonde and three shades brighter than golden brown. It's best for Pinays who want to try blonde locks, but are scared to have 100 percent gold and bleached tresses.

Ash brown

While this may look ~normal~, achieving a cool-toned brown hair color calls for bleaching the hair to two levels of brightness. More importantly, a purple or green toner is applied to get rid of reddish undertones present in the Asian's hair DNA.

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Burgundy

When mixed with brunette hair, burgundy strikes as a sophisticated hue. It's a refreshing choice if you're used to dyeing your hair dark brown.

Blonde

Going blonde requires strong follicles, extreme commitment, and a fat budget. First, to get bright, golden tresses, you'd need to undergo bleaching. The lighter the shade you want compared to your natural hue, the more bowls of bleach are needed. Second, you'd need to have the roots retouched every six weeks at the most. Lastly, you are expected to overhaul your hair care routine (purple shampoo, hair masks, sulfate-free shampoo, dry shampoo, etc.) and to save up for treatments and color touch-ups.

Rose gold

An Insta-worthy shade for all seasons would be rose gold. How else can you go wrong with a pink-based blonde color? You can achieve this by bleaching the locks (no surprise here) and adding a temporary pink dye as a finishing touch.

Gray

If you're not into flirty pinks, another shade you can experiment with is gray. What's great about choosing this cool-toned hue is it prolongs the non-brassy appearance of bleached locks. And oh, it's just edgy AF!

Pastel + Rainbow

Sorbet and bold hues are definitely eye-catching, but they come with a price. Because their base color is blonde, they're high-maintenance. The hues can fade easily, so expect the color to wash out every time you shampoo. You can always retouch it on your own, though. There are several temporary ~wild~ and ~pastel~ hair dyes in the market that you can just apply like a hair mask!

Hair Colors for Different Skin Tones

Before you get a hair color makeover, you must consider whether your desired shade will complement your skin tone.

Fair

Ladies with a lighter complexion can go for cool-toned hues. Look for the word "ash" in the hair color chart or simply ask the stylist for the gray and deep green-based shades. Alternatively, creamy shades—think pastel and milky blonde—will flatter your skin tone.

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Medium

You can never go wrong with golden hues and those with neutral undertones. Dark brown, bronde, and caramel blonde are your best options.

Morenas

For brown shades, you can turn to chocolate brown, burgundy, and bronde to brighten up your complexion. If you want to go blonde, you can experiment with sun-kissed highlights and retain dark brown as your base shade. This way, there won't be a stark contrast to your amber complexion and your bleached locks. You'll even naturally ~contour~ your facial features, too!

Hair Color Products

To maintain the hair color's vibrancy, it is essential to add color-safe haircare products to one's routine. Look for items without sulfate or those that provide anti-fading protection. Here are the most common color-protecting products that should be in your arsenal:

Sulfate-free shampoo

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is a common surfactant ingredient found in commercial shampoos. This washes out the hair color, so it's important to lather your color-treated locks with a product that's SLS-free. Thankfully, the Philippine market offers lots of options now, from drugstore to salon-grade items.

Purple shampoo

Asian hair naturally has reddish and orange undertones, so whatever hair color you apply, it has a high tendency to go brassy or have a rusty color. You can prevent this by toning the locks with a purple shampoo once a week. This product is recommended for those with bleached tresses.

Conditioner and hair mask

The key factor to keeping color-treated tresses healthy is to always hydrate them. Conditioners can be used for daily nourishment. For intensive care, a weekly hair mask treatment should be done. Incorporating these items into one's routine will ensure soft, bouncy locks.

Heat protectant

Heat-styling can damage the follicles so it's vital that you coat each strand with a heat protectant before blow-drying, straightening, or curling your hair. 

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Dry shampoo

When the strands have undergone bleaching, daily washing isn't recommended. Water can strip out the tone fast—expect your ash blonde locks to look yellowish after shampooing it consecutively for 14 days. What you can do to keep the odor and grease at bay is to spritz on dry shampoo on no-wash days.

Hair Color Styles

There are various hair color application techniques you can choose from. The key here is to make the whole dye job as seamless as possible, no matter how many shades were painted on the strands.

Single-process

Based on its name, a single-process dye job is applying one shade on the whole head. This is the most basic out of all the techniques: It has the cheapest salon service fee, can easily be DIY-ed, and is the most low-maintenance. Depending on your hair length, this treatment can be done within one to two hours only. 

Ombré

Ombré hair is when dark roots seamlessly transition to a lighter color on the ends. This style is great for girls who aren't into lightening their whole head completely. The stylist needs to be careful not create an obvious border between the dark and lighter sections of the hair. Expect to sit in the salon chair for three hours if you'd like to try this style.

Balayage

The term balayage directly translates to "to sweep" in French. It's the way the stylist uses the brush; he paints on the tresses vertically with swift and sweeping motions, creating sun-kissed highlights on the surface of the hair. It may also leave some of the tips dark (with a subtle transition, of course) to emphasize the face's natural contours. A layered haircut is the best partner for this style.

Balayage calls for expert "painting" skills; the stylist should know how to prevent the highlights from appearing too chunky or fake. It may involve bleaching and toning for the lighter streaks, too. As this is the most complicated out of all the styles, its service starts at P6,000 and up, depending on one's hair length and thickness.

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At-home hair color

A rule of thumb is to leave the more complicated dye jobs to the professionals. This includes anything that has to do with bleach, highlighting, and ombré techniques. READ: The single-process hair color style is the safest to DIY.

Here are the SOPs of at-home hair color:

Always read the instructions on the box.

If it says to leave it on for 20 minutes, don't exceed it. You aren't making the color vibrant by letting your locks soak in it for a longer period. Instead, you're risking chemically damaged tresses. Always follow the instructions on the box to avoid a disaster!

Tackle the roots last.

The roots are most probably virgin hair, so they can absorb the colorants faster. Start with the rest of your hair and apply dye on the roots last. This technique promotes even color application.

The thicker/longer, the more boxes you need.

Obviously, more strands require more hair dye. You'll need one box for short to chin-length hair; two boxes for shoulder-length hair; and three boxes or more for long hair.

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