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$ave Lots Of Green On Hair Coloring

Lauren shows off her salon-worthy hair color to dye for, thanks to some great tips for do-it-yourself color from Elizabeth Blake, Senior Style Editor at "All You" magazine.
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The tough economy have you cutting back on hair salon visits?

That's still no excuse for unsightly roots.

But The Early Show Saturday Edition's "Bargainista" has wonderful, inexpensive alternatives.

Co-anchor Erica Hill was joined by AllYou magazine Senior Style Editor Elizabeth Blake, who explained how to color like a pro at home, for much less than a salon costs.

It is, Blake says, color to dye for!

WHAT'S THE FIRST THING YOU NEED TO CONSIDER WHEN YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT COLORING YOUR HAIR AT HOME?

Find the perfect hue. Unless you're covering up gray, stay within two shades, lighter or darker, of your natural hue. Remember that the farther you stray, the more professional care and maintenance you'll need. If you're blond, go light-to-medium brown, or medium-to-light blond. Then decide what you want. If you're looking to add highlights, you want to complement your complexion. If you're pale and have light eyes, your best shades have cooler undertones, champagne blondes, ash brown, darker reds. If you have darker coloring, go with golden blondes, honey browns and coppery reds. If you want to go red, be warned, red is the trickiest hue to maintain, especially if your hair is dry or damaged. To keep your mane healthy and vibrant, don't wash it as often, and lay off the heated appliances. To protect you hair from the sun's rays, apply styling products that contain UV filters. If you're going brunette, you might want to go for more caramel tones. If you're going through a heartbreak, lighten up to feel flirty and sexy. But if you're interviewing for a new job, opt for darker hues to channel your responsible side.

Products: L'Oreal Feria Hair Color, Clairol Perfect 10 Color, Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Color Creme

IF YOU'RE GOING TO BECOME YOUR OWN COLORIST, YOU NEED TO HAVE AN AT-HOME COLOR KIT AT THE READY

Here's everything you'll need that's not included in the box: a wide-tooth come, which you can use to distribute dye and after-color conditioner evenly from root to tips. A tub of petroleum jelly, to smooth along your hairline and on your ears to prevent dye from staining your skin. Newspapers or a drop cloth, to line your floors, counter tops and other surfaces to protect them from spills and splatters. A kitchen timer to keep track of the minutes to avoid processing your hair too long. A hand-held mirror, or you can ask a friend for an extra hand to avoid missing spots. Bath towels, and use clean, old towels that you don't mind getting stained. Reuse them each time. An extra box of color, if your hair is very thick or past the shoulders, one box is probably not enough. Stock up just in case you run out. Finally, butterfly clips. For ease, use these to section off your hair. They're also great for securing a towel around your neck.

ONCE YOU'VE PICKED YOUR COLOR, WHERE DO YOU START?

Prepare your hair. You want to start with a great cut, and when you have that cut, you can place the color to emphasize the shape of the new do. Next, you want to prep your scalp. If you're using permanent dye, don't wash your hair for a day or two, the natural oils act as a buffer against chemicals in the dye. But for semi-permanent formulas, definitely wash beforehand.

WHEN IT COMES TO COLOR, GUESSING IS BAD

Don't be fooled by the model's hair color on the box, or descriptive adjectives such as "caramel" or "chocolate." They're misleading. Instead, follow the shade guide on the side of the box. You also want to choose a more accurate color. Women always think they're hair is darker than it really is. Pick up the box you are most attracted to, then put it back and grab the next lighter one.

ONCE IT'S TIME TI APPLY, HOW DO WE GET GOING?

First, do a patch test. To save yourself from post-color anguish, test a penny-sized section on the nape of your neck before you start coloring.

WHEN YOU'RE DYING YOUR HAIR, TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Leave the formula in only as long as the directions indicate. Letting it sit for longer won't improve coverage, and the color will come out dull and flat. Set the timer as soon as you start applying the dye, not when you finish. And you want to get even coverage. Your ends soak up more color because they're drier, so they tend to turn out darker or lighter than the top. To prevent this, apply dye to roots first, then to mid-length hair. As for the tips, mist with water before coloring. This will keep ends from processing too long.

WHEN YOU'RE DONE WITH THE DYE JOB, IT'S NOT THE END OF YOUR WORK

You want to protect your investment and make it look good for as long as you can. So, shampoo wisely. Wait a full day until you wash, since it takes 24-hours for pigments to settle in to the hair shaft. Regularly cleanse and condition with products specifically designed for color treated hair. Gentle, moisturizing formulas won't strip away color. And condition, condition, condition. Just as green grass turns into dry, yellow straw without water, dehydration zaps the color from color-treated hair. To maintain your vibrant hue, keep your locks well hydrated. Once a week, apply a deep conditioner formulated for color-treated hair.