What to Know Before You Color Your Hair For The First Time

What to Know Before You Color Your Hair For The First Time

Getting your hair colored for the first time? We totally understand that it can be daunting! You’re committing several months to a color that you theoretically think will look good. To assuage any potential concerns you may have (and to make sure you don’t end up with a color you hate), we turned to the experts. We asked Cutler colorist Gaby Bowen and celebrity hairstylist--and NatureLab. TOKYO brand ambassador--Andrew Fitzsimons for all their tips and tricks to getting your hair colored for the first time.

Scroll down to see what they had to say below.

Start off easy
Unless you’re one hundred percent sure that you want that drastic change, Fitzsimons suggests starting off with a color that’s easy to maintain, “If it's your first time, you don't want to experiment with vibrant colors yet as they do fade the quickest,” he says. He also says highlights are way to dip your toe into the world of hair color because you can see how your strands react.

Talk it out with your colorist
It’s important to talk out exactly what you want with your colorist to minimize mistakes. Fitzsimons suggests printing out pictures or having a Pinterest board handy on your phone to give your colorist a clear visual reference. Bowen likes to talk about how changing hair fits into her clients daily beauty routine to figure out the best option. “I ask my clients how long have they been wanting this color; was it a thought out decision or a spontaneous color craving?,” she says. “I also ask how much time they set aside to do their hair each week/day (as some colors require a little more maintenance), how often do they wash their hair, what their hair care regimen is, and the pros and cons of specific colors.”  

It’s painless (unless you’re going bleach blonde)
Most dyes are gentle, so coloring your hair is painless. The only exception is if you’re going super bleach blonde, as the colorist puts bleach on the scalp, which Bowen says can sting or burn a little. (A few of us on the NatureLab. team can confirm!)

Every color takes a different amount of time
Your colorist can give you an exact or a rough estimate of the time requirement according to what color you choose. Fitzsimons says that if you’re getting something small like a root touch up, that can take about 45 minutes. Changing from one shade to another can take a few hours. Bowen suggests bringing a lunch or a book to keep yourself occupied.

You can fix any color mistake
Good news: you can fix a bad dye job. Fitzsimons says just wait a week before coloring your hair again to avoid further compromising damaged hair, but many mistakes can be fixed with toners and glosses.

Do not overwash
Bowen says to only wash two times a week at most. She also says to avoid using super hot water to prevent opening up hair follicles and pores. Using a color protectant spray before using heat or being out in the sun will help lock color in. You can also ask your colorist to recommend a customized regimen.

Use the right products
Speaking of your new wash regimen, it’s all about using the right products. Fitzsimons says to invest in shampoos and conditioners that will prevent color fade and keep the color as vibrant as possible. If you bleached your hair, he says to start using a hair mask like the Perfect Repair Treatment Masque once a week.
With these tips in mind, we’re sure your first — and definitely not last — time is going to great and stress free.