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Published on April 18th, 2014 | by Yashodhara Ghosh

What’s hot right now?

So girls, wanna have fun? Take the cue from celebs and do it with hair colour! Get experimental this summer, give your monochrome mop that pop of colour.

Gurus may tell you to show the world your ‘True colours,’ but deep down inside, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!’ Now you don’t have to be a pop-culture geek to guess which 80s icon we’re busy worshiping right now: the legendary Cyndi Lauper, who was as much a hit for her chart-toppers as she was for her bold, bright, wacky choice of hair colour. Whether it’s yellow, pink, purple or crimson – name the colour, and the style icon has worn it on her mane. And in the true-blue Cyndi Lauper spirit of experimentation, it is heartily recommended that you try this stunt at home. But before you do, read our quick Dye-It-Yourself thumb rules. While the instructions at the back of the box will cover basics like the direction in which to apply colour and how to hold your brush, they often skip some important commandments.

Tools of the colour-trade

Before you get started, lay out the following items on your table: a paintbrush, a mixing bowl, plastic gloves, an old shirt that you can afford to part with, clips to separate your hair into sections, a rat-tail comb to distribute the hair colour evenly. Also keep a few dark towels earmarked for your colouring sessions, to drape around your shoulders and clean up drips before they leave telltale marks on your skin.

Out-of-the box tools

You’ll do yourself (and your furniture) a world of good if you keep an alcohol-based toner at hand, to quickly mop up stains on your face, the table top, or the sink. A timer will also come in handy, if you want to get just the right shade.

Testing times

Avoiding a strand test and slathering on colour without first figuring out how it works on your mane is the cardinal sin of at-home hair colouring. Pick out a small lock of hair near your ear, taking care to choose from under the surface layer of your mane. Colour the section, and leave it on for half the recommended time. Wipe it off and see if you like the hue your strands have taken on. If it’s a little too subtle for your liking, apply colour on the same lock again and keep it on for longer. The basic idea is to get a fair idea of how long you should keep the colour on to get the most flattering shade, before committing your entire mane to the colour. Perform the test in a room filled with bright natural light, because that’s the kind of light you will be seen most.

Commitment-phobe? Good!

If you’re colouring for the first time or are trying out a new shade, don’t seal the deal by using a permanent colour at the first go. Temporary colours wash off in 6-12 shampoos, so in case of a disaster, you only have to wait a while before trying again. If you get it spot on in the first trial, go for the permanent (6-8 weeks) or semi-permanent (20-25 washes) version of the same colour the next time. Semi-permanent dyes need to be applied on wet hair, while the permanent kinds need to go on dry mane.

Always ‘wax’

There is nothing more unbecoming that a stained hairline or forehead. So before colouring, dab a generous coat of paraffin wax in places (other than your hair) that your paintbrush is likely to touch. Vaseline works well.

The waiting game

Love shampoo? You have to give it a wide berth before and after colouring. Wait a day or two after washing your hair to colour it. It takes about this much time for the natural oils to form on your hair again, which in turn absorb more colour and help it settle on your hair. After colouring, rinse your hair and apply the conditioner that came with the colour. An ideal wait of 48 hours for your next shampoo is recommended if you want the colour to set well.

Go back to your roots

A few weeks after your colour fix, you’ll notice the roots resuming their earlier hue. Touch them up, applying only at the roots and using a wide toothed comb to blend in with the ends.

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