If you’ve seen how long it takes us to pick out a nail polish shade, you can only imagine the amount of thought that goes into coloring our hair. Here at MDC we’ve been known to rip pages out of every magazine, stop strangers on the street to inquire about their colorist, and even bring pictures of our childhood strands to appointments in pursuit of that perfect-for-us salon color. To help us clarify the questions we should really be asking ourselves, we caught up with L'Oréal Professionnel Artist and co-owner of Ted Gibson Salons, Jason Backe for his professional take on the most important things to consider before color.

hair color questions  

Color Category

First things first, clarify exactly what you want. “Be clear if you want your girlfriends to describe you as a blonde, a brunette, or a redhead when you leave the room,” Backe says. “That sounds like something really basic, but you would be surprised how many women come into that salon and they can’t answer that question.”


“Another thing to be really clear about is how much money you want to spend,” Backe says. “Tell your colorist, for instance, ‘this is what I want to have, but I don’t want to spend more than $200—how can I do that?’ Keep the expectations really clear and simple because there’s nothing worse for a woman who’s trying to stick to her budget, than being surprised when it’s time to check out,” Backe explains.


You should also ask yourself “how often you want to be in the salon. Do you want to be in the salon every two weeks? Or are you the kind of woman who wants to get your hair colored two or three times a year? For example if you’re doing a single process color that’s dramatically different from your natural color, you’re going to have to be in the salon very regularly.

But if you’re doing highlights that are not near your hairline or part, then you could probably do that two or three times a year and it would be really easy maintenance for you,” Backe says. “As a general rule, if you’re doing single process with hair color, you should get your hair colored every four weeks. If you’re only highlighting, with no base color, you can probably get away with every eight weeks.”

Hair Health

Since color can be hard on your strands, it’s also important to think about your hair’s health before a dye job. “Your colorist should be able to let you know if your expectation is realistic based on the health of your hair,” Backe says. “Also, I love doing everything that I can, ammonia-free because I can get much higher quality, more expensive-looking color.

I love using L'Oréal Professionnel INOA, because you’re not compromising the health of the hair as much,” Backe says. “If you already have hair that’s compromised, that’s when your colorist may say, ‘listen I know you want to do x-y-z, but before we can do that we need to restore the health of your hair.’”

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