What’s your home hair coloring IQ?

by Bionic Beauty on 30.May.2010 · 14 comments

In preparation for my upcoming 4-part article series on at-home hair color, I thought we’d start with this quiz from Total Beauty. It basically asks you questions to “test” your knowledge about coloring your hair at home.

There are a few nebulous questions, such as how soon you can color after a perm or other chemical process. I would agree that you should always err on the side of caution, especially if you inexperienced with coloring your hair; however, the time frames given could be too long in my opinion, for someone who has many years of experience. In any case, the quiz did it’s job. I didn’t pay too much attention to the brands they recommended since it’s “sponsored” content, but like I said, it helps you understand your at-home hair color “IQ”.

How Much Do You Know About At-Home Hair Color?

Test your skills by taking this quiz

How Much Do You Know About At-Home Hair Color?

This is a TotalBeauty.com hair care article

Should you condition before you color? Leave color on longer than the recommended time on the box? If you know the answers to these questions, you might just be an at-home hair color guru.

Take the quiz

Share your results in the comments below! And don’t forget to check back for my DIY hair coloring, preparation, highlighting and after-care tips!


1 Tashi May 30, 2010 at 6:33 pm

I can’t view the quiz, for some reason, on my cell phone, so I’ll have to wait to reach a computer. So, I don’t know if what I’m going to say jives with what they say. That said, I think I know a fair amount about hair coloring, due in part to the comments, experiences, tips, and such from others — thanks to reading, to my hairstylists, friends, Jami, et al! 🙂 Whenever I color at home (or when I was able to afford the salon), I always, always wait two days before I shampoo for the first time after the process. I did that too whenever I used to get a perm, way back in the day. And only recently, have I committed to using a color-safe shampoo. It really helps!!

2 Tashi June 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Heh-heh…. I’m an at-home coloring queen! I do think, however, that the questions aren’t broad enough. Seems the answer multiple choices are very narrow. And I’m sticking with my Ion Brilliance permanent hair colors!!!! NO more store-bought for ME. (God Bless Sally’s!) 😀

3 Melissa Kellow June 3, 2010 at 9:51 pm

As a long time professional, there are certain things you can easily achieve at home, and other stuff YOU SHOULD NEVER ATTEMPT.Changing from one shade lighter than natural or especially darker is almost foolproof. Ditto for a simple semipermanent to brighten your natural shade. Any highlighting or drastic change should be handled professionally.

4 Mary B. June 22, 2010 at 7:15 am

I’ve been coloring my hair for years now. One important thing I’ve learned is always do the allergy patch test–or you can get in serious trouble. Even if you think you tried the same haircolor before and everything was fine, you still would be wise to do the test. You can get allergic to a hairdye at any time. My big problems are with the MORE NATURAL haircolors like Natural Instincts.

5 Mary B. June 22, 2010 at 7:17 am

I always use a clarifying shampoo followed by a deep conditioning treatment 48 hours BEFORE coloring my hair to get my hair in the best shape to handle the chemical process.

6 Denise July 1, 2010 at 10:47 am

Hi there!

I got an error when I tried to follow the link to the quiz.

Me and My hair color experience:
I am naturally a dark(ish) blonde (level 7?) I have successfully highlighted (with frost/cap kit) several times when I was much younger.

And I have also used box kits with no bad results.

My complaints with lightening is that my hair likes to revert to a goldish color very quickly (after just a couple weeks), even when using violet toner shampoos, etc.

For the last 6 months I have been keeping a medium red brown color which I think looks really good with my green eyes. I use Sally’s products (L’Oreal or Ion) and mix my color with 20 volume developer, apply to the roots and then add more color and 10 volume to coat the rest of my hair to the ends. I find this works well to touch up the roots and refresh the color all over. I think my hair is in pretty good condition.

1. is it ok to use a plastic cap to deepen color while processing? or could this cause “hot roots”?
2. would I get good results if I used Color Prisms (blue or violet) to highlight my hair?

7 Bionic Beauty July 1, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Hi Denise, Thank you for letting me know about the 404 error on Total Beauty’s website. I have an email in to my contact at TB to see if they can get the issue fixed.

For the rest of your questions, I’ll have answers back to you very shortly. 🙂 Thanks for commenting here at Bionic Beauty and for being a reader!
I’ll comment back soon,
All my best,

8 Bionic Beauty July 2, 2010 at 2:10 am

Hey Denise,
I bet that medium red brown color does look gorgeous with your eyes! I am also currently a medium red brown using Ion’s products from Sally’s. I use their Light Red Brown mixed with Medium Copper Brown and follow pretty much the same method you outlined. Ion color holds so well, even the red tones, that I rarely have to touch up my ends- just my roots every 3-4 weeks.

For your questions:
1. I would not suggest using a plastic cap with chemical hair dyes. In my experience it causes too much heat build up and can up your chance of damaging your hair. Plus yes, you could end up with “hot roots” especially when red tones are involved. How long are you leaving the color on for? With Ion, I can leave mine on up to 35 minutes for deeper results. If you are not close to that time, try increasing your processing time by 5 minutes the next time you color. Note the results, and if your hair is okay (Ion is very gentle) then you can increase by 5 minutes at the next touchup. I always suggest trying things in increments to stay on the safe side. Better to be safe, than sorry and cause damage.
2. For highlights, I think using the Color Prisms bleach could work, however it IS bleach, so be very cautious. I would actually recommend trying this first- pick something along the lines of Ion’s medium copper blonde and applying that where you want the highlights.

For the gold problems you mentioned- are you still having that problem even with your now darker hair? Have you tried using the anti-brass additive at Sally’s? It’s usually on the shelf above the highlight foils and mixing bowls and next to the Gray Solution Additive. There are “single-serve” small tubes you can buy for less than a dollar, or you can buy a small bottle that has enough for 30 or so uses. I would try one of the sample sizes first to see if that helps keep the brassiness/gold down.
Another option would be to mix in some neutral color to your mixture. You could mix in some Medium Neutral Brown to help balance out the red. Think of it like the color wheel we all learned back in grade school- anything on the warm side (golds or reds) can pull towards the brassy or gold tones.

I hope this helps some. Feel free to comment back with more questions or info!

9 Bionic Beauty July 2, 2010 at 1:23 am

@Tashi, What a coinky-dink! I got the “at-home coloring queen” results too. And I agree, Ion is the way to go! I must admit, I think of you every time I go in to buy a new tube of color. It’s like having our own little club!

@Melissa, I totally agree that any drastic changes should be handled by a professional. I do my own bleaching but that’s only because I have taken extensive courses in cosmetology. I’ve seen friends who wouldn’t go to the salon (and refused my help at-home) actually break their hair to the roots by attempting bleach or relaxers or perms at home. Granted, hair grows back, but some people do not consider the potential for blisters or scalp burns (Which are not comfortable! Ouch!).
I want to thank you for your professional advice Melissa. I really do appreciate you sharing it and helping to educate all us Bionic Beauties!

@Mary B, Another excellent tip! I do plan to cover how important the allergy test is when I launch the at-home hair color articles. Formulas can change, or like you said- your reactions can change!

I also like your tip about the prep treatment. I use a deep conditioner treatment twice a week and wait 48 hours after shampooing before I color my hair. In addition to helping “prep” your hair, waiting 48 hours before coloring lets your scalp’s natural oils help protect you from the chemicals in the dye. Another benefit to those oils is that they act as a natural barrier to prevent your scalp from getting as stained during the color process! 😉 Not usually a big deal with blonde, brunette, or other natural colors- but pinks, blues, and purples CLING to your scalp and ears and every other place it can wriggle its way into your skin. Trust me. Ha ha!

@Everyone, Total Beauty has informed me that this Quiz is no longer available. Since it was sponsored content, it’s been removed from their website. However, they are working on the link so that it will take you to their “Hair How-To’s” section of the website. That should be fixed pretty quick. In the meantime, I’ll be launching Bionic’s At-home Hair Coloring series by mid-July. Woot!
Cheers to all,

10 Tashi August 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Jami, awww, thanks!! 🙂 I’m all stocked up on Ion color tubes, but I *do* think of ya every time I color my hair — every 4 to 9 weeks (nothing personal, LOL — it just varies greatly when I color). Ion should have a “frequent fliers” club. We should start one! 😉 Their products restored my confidence in home coloring, they’re SO awesome. Thank goodness, I live close to a Sally’s, where I get my Ion goodies (and other coloring supplies).

11 Denise July 2, 2010 at 6:31 pm

thanks for responding Jami! it’s so nice to chat about ME and my hair color. lol — I enjoy reading about others’ hair color and tips too!!! I sure notice there are a lot of us sporting red/brown hair these days. Guess we have good taste. 😉

I don’t have the gold problem now that I’m dark. It’s only when I go lighter. (thank goodness)

so do you believe in using 20 volume at the roots is the way to go? I’ve read that if you’re going darker you can use 10 volume, but I personally think it just washes out if I don’t lift the virgin hair any. –what are you thoughts?

and will using a lighter color actually produce highlights on hair that is already colored darker than my natural? I’ve always heard you can’t go lighter by using a lighter color on hair that is already colored a darker shade. ???

Other notes: I color every 4 weeks because the dull dark blonde roots look like gray coming in against the darker brown/red. (yuk!) I use clarifying shampoo 2 days prior to coloring. And every second month I spray neutral filler and let sit for 20 minutes before coloring. I also added the argan oil into my hair color mix one time too. Not entirely sure it was a miracle, but it didn’t hurt any. 🙂 I follow up with Ion After-Color Treatment (in the purple bottle) and wash my hair every other day instead of every day, and don’t use hot water. I color a bit darker than my goal and it is perfect after 2 washes and stays pretty true until I’m ready to color again.

thanks for hosting such a fun site!

12 Bionic Beauty July 3, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Hi Denise,
You can chat on here about your hair color any time you’d like or anything for else for that matter. 🙂

Personally, I haven’t had much luck with 10 volume developer, as like you my blonde roots (who am I kidding, their gray at this point- they’ve been gray since I was 16. LOL!) show through very quickly with anything less than 20 volume. My VERY resistant grays are the reason I found Ion color, I was on a desperate hunt to find something that would work better than the drugstore colors and last longer.

As for your highlights… it’s probably going to depend on your personal hair. If I could warp through the screen to take a look at your hair, I could guide you a bit better, but my first suggestion would be to try a lighter Ion color with 20 volume (or possibly even 30 vol) developer. If it doesn’t work, you can use up that extra bit of Ion color by mixing it into your next few batches of hair color & it’s not too expensive. Another option would be to use a drugstore highlighting kit which are going to be gentler than bleaching.

All that being said, the Color Prisms bleach is the gentlest I have found. it’s AMAZING! I use it whenever I’m adding streaks or chunks to my hair. I’m really having the crazing to add some purple or blue streaks back into my hair, and since I’m red/brown currently (by the way, yes we DO have good taste!), I will use the Violet Prisms to counteract the red tones in my hair to get a more neutral very light blonde before adding the blue or purple overtop. Getting a neutral blonde is VERY important when adding purple or blue… think of if I bleached to a golden blonde and then added blue on top- results = icky green. NOT pretty. 😉 It’s not quite that important with natural colors, but the violet or blue Prisms will help counteract any of that brassy or gold undertones your hair has. With bleaching, I always suggest doing a strand test first. That way you’ll know exactly how long to leave the bleach on to reach your desired shade. Always check it often. Very often. And leave it off your scalp until the last 5 minutes of processing to avoid unnaturally light roots (the heat makes the bleach work faster, just like the “hot roots” we’ve discussed before with red or other natural colors).

It sounds like you are following an excellent upkeep regimen on your hair. The only suggestion I would add is using a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner if you aren’t doing that already. I love L’Oreal’s EverPure Sulfate Free or AG Hair Cosmetics Colour Savour. Some people really like Pureology but it turns my hair to straw.
Here’s my EverPure review: http://bionic-beauty.com/review-loreal-everpure-sulfate-free/
And my review of AG’s Colour Savour: http://bionic-beauty.com/ag-color-savour-hair-care/

I also add a 20 drops of the Gray solution additive from Sally’s to my color mix; plus two sprays of White Sand’s Porosity The Fix (LOVE, love, love that stuff!! review: http://bionic-beauty.com/review-porosity-for-hair/)

Hope this helps! Happy 3rd of July (hee hee, that’s me trying to be funny). Okay, I’m off to work on the big anniversary kickoff articles for tomorrow!

13 Denise July 15, 2010 at 3:37 pm

hi Jami, how’s your foot doing these days???

I’m getting more serious about doing the highlights in my brown/red dyed hair. I’ve used levels 5 and 6 to go darker from my level 7 (maybe 8) hair, and I’ve used various mixings of dyes with gold, copper, red, and violet bases.

the question: I’m think of doing level 8 Ion blonde highlights. should I use one that is neutral, ash, gold, violet, or copper based? (if I had to decide on my own I would probably pick up the 8N blonde neutral).

14 Bionic Beauty July 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Hi Denise, I can’t write for long due to my health, but I’ll go into details on my snakebit in a full article soon. If you’re at a 5-6 currently then go for a 8 and that should be perfect to try. I can’t guarantee results and you may need to bleach the highlights in for drastic results, but I think it’s best to try the gentle route first.

Since you are prone to gold/brassiness- I would pick the neutral blonde color. But a Copper Blonde (I think they make 7-8BC in the Ion) would be very pretty!!
Let me know how things go!

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