Rules are meant to be broken—especially when it comes to beauty. But in some cases, following a certain set of guidelines can help you protect your best assets.
Take hair color, for example. We give you the green light for having fun and experimenting with different hues, tints and highlights. But, if you want to preserve the shine, health and texture of your strands, you should follow a few basic guidelines. Goldwell celebrity colorist Rona O'Conner shares 10 rules to ensure you can go from strawberry blonde to brunette to blonde again without harming a hair on your head.
Rule #1: If you want to transition from one color to another, "don't try doing it yourself if you want stand-out results," says O'Conner. It's best to see a pro first, and then you can consider maintaining it at home.
Rule #2: The easiest color transition to make is to go from a dark blonde to a light blonde. If you have your stylist add highlights or balayage the crown, you can quickly lighten hair for a natural finish. The most difficult change? Going from dark to light.
Rule #3: If you're planning to go from one color to another, "start conditioning your hair with weekly masques a month before," says O'Conner. Try Pureology Hydrate Hydra Whip.
Rule #4: If you have dark hair and want to go light, "lighten it gradually in multiple visits," says O'Connor. "I think this is a great opportunity for someone to try different color looks on the way," she adds. You can try reds, honey tones and then end up blonde. Doing a dramatic color change like this can take up to six months, but it would be the least damaging way to transition.
Rule #5: If you want to go from brunette to red, you will have to lift your current color in order for the red to be vibrant. This can be done by either bleaching your current color or by using a color remover to breakdown the brunette color molecules. If you have to bleach your strands, make sure your stylist conditions your hair after the color removal process and before adding the new red hue in order to counteract damage, says O'Connor.
Rule #6: If you're taking your hair from light to dark, use a semi-permanent (deposit-only) color to protect your hair. "It's a great way to fill the hair with color and shine, but without ammonia," says O'Connor.
Rule #7: "Never change your color before a big event," says O'Connor.
Rule #8: While transitioning your color, be cautious when it comes to blow dryer use. If your hair is brittle, use a lower heat setting, urges O'Connor.
Rule #9: If your hair was previously colored and you want to lighten it (or if you had an at-home hair color mishap), your colorist will likely use a color remover. And, contrary to popular belief, these aren't all super damaging to hair. But, to make color removal even gentler, start the color removal process at home by washing strands with baby shampoo one to two weeks before your salon appointment. "It is not compatible with protecting color because of the pH level, so it will fade it," says O'Connor. Another option: "Add dishwashing liquid mixed into your shampoo," she adds. Always follow these washes with a conditioning masque like Kerastase Masque Chroma Riche. Leave it on for 10 minutes and once out of the shower, use a leave-in conditioner (try Redken All Soft Supple Touch) to keep hair soft and shiny.
Rule #10: When it comes to deciding on a change, "consider what you can maintain with your lifestyle and budget," says O'Connor. "That way, your hair will always look great," she says.
Are you itching for a color change? Tell us about it!