Before You Dye Your Hair a Bright Color, Read These Expert Tips From a Colorist

October 26, 2022 logo
By: | by L'Oréal
person with red hair wearing pastel blue eyeshadow
Dyeing your hair a bold, vibrant color is a fun way to change up your look. Whether you decide to fully commit and dye your hair multiple bright colors or choose to start with a soft pastel look, it’s an exciting way to refresh your beauty vibe. But, before you take the plunge, there are some tips and tricks you should know. Here, Min Kim, a master colorist at Butterfly Studio Salon in NYC, shares how to prep for a colorful dye job, how to care for it and more.

What to Know Before You Dye Your Hair 

Most Bright Hair Dyes Are Temporary

There are two types of hair dye that you can try when transitioning to a bright hair color. There are semi-permanent formulas and permanent formulas. “Most formulas are designed to fade with each shampoo,” says Kim.  That means your color will last a few weeks if you don’t properly maintain your hair with a color-preserving hair-care routine. 

Certain Colors Work Better on Light Hair 

“Soft pastel shades (such as pink, lavender or baby blue) won’t show well unless hair is lifted to a pale blonde first”, says Kim. “You can apply these shades to virgin hair, but you’ll get more vibrant color on hair that’s already been bleached or highlighted.” If you’re looking for some at-home box dyes that offer bright colors for dark hair, check out the L’Oréal Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Teal and Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color in Dark Violet.

Some Colors Fade Faster Than Others

While your starting color and porosity (how damaged your hair is) plays a role in how long your color will last, Kim says you can expect lighter pastels to fade the fastest, while vivid shades like deep blue tend to linger the longest. 

Do a Test Run

“My best tip is to do a test strand before committing completely,” says Kim. Test the dye on an inconspicuous streak of hair on the back of your head for a few weeks before you apply it to your whole head. “This way you can test the color and see how long it takes to go away,” she says. 

Still not ready to commit to a full dye-job? Try a washable hair color spray for a day, like the L’Oreal Paris Colorista 1-Day Washable Temporary Hair Color Spray.  

You’ll Need Supplies 

Dyeing your hair at home can get a tad messy. “Wear gloves, a smock and stay away from your scalp,” Kim suggests. These intense colors will stain your skin. To prevent that from happening, apply a layer of Vaseline or lip balm to the skin surrounding your hairline.

How to Make Your Hair Color Last 

Seal it In

“Hairspray doesn’t only tame flyaways and lock in your style, but it can also help make your bold color last longer by creating a shield around it,” says Kim. Try the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray, which is formulated for color-treated hair.

Skip the Hair Oils

“Oils in products will break down your color faster,” says Kim. “Skip your oil-based serum while your hair is dyed one of these vibrant shades.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Skip Washes

The more you wash, the faster your color will fade. Try to lengthen the time in between washing sessions. If you tend to get greasy roots, reach for a dry shampoo like the Redken Invisible Dry Shampoo.

Use Color-Care Products

Even with temporary color, you want to swap out traditional shampoos for those made for color-treated hair. These tend to be gentler, formulated without harsh detergents that strip color and include UV filters to protect against sun fade. You can try the Kérastase Bain Riche Chroma Respect Shampoo and Chroma Filler Mask. Or if you’re looking for a drugstore duo, we recommend the L’Oréal Paris Color Vibrancy Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner.
L’Oréal Paris Color Vibrancy Intensive Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner

How to Find a Shade That Complements Your Skin Tone

Bold Hair Colors for Fair Skin Tones: Pastels

If you have a light complexion, consider pastels like pink, coral, lilac or soft blue. Try L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color in 200 Pink or Feria in Smokey Pink or Smokey Lavender.

Bold Hair Colors for Medium Skin Tones: Rich Metallic Hues

Medium skin tones will also look great with pastel colors, but Kim says you can also experiment with rich metallic hues, like the Garnier Olia Bold Permanent Hair Color in Royal Amethyst or L’Oréal Paris Feria in Power Copper

Bold Hair Colors for Olive Skin Tones: Bright Neons

Kim recommends super bright shades on olive skin tones, like magenta, purple, blue and even neon shades. Try Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color in Ultra Bold Denim or L’Oréal Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Purple.

Bold Hair Colors for Dark/Deep Skin Tones: Deep, Bold Hues

Vivid shades of red, violet, cobalt blue and yellow will pop against darker complexions, says Kim. Try Dark & Lovely Ultra Vibrant Permanent Hair Color in Spicy Red.

Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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