The Dos & Don’ts of Dyeing Your Hair at Home

Airdate: 5/2/14

Paula and Bryan shed some (high) lights on when you should and shouldn’t color your hair at home, and when going to a salon pro is a must. Both of these beauty experts have honed their techniques for dyeing hair at home, and share those tips along with advice on how to ensure you’re getting the color results you want at the salon. The tips in this can’t-miss show are to “dye” for!

Paula Begoun: Hello, I’m Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, with my co-writer and Research Director, Bryan Barron, who I love and adore. We are the best-selling authors of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. We’re here to keep you beautifully informed so you can make the best decisions about everything from skincare to makeup, hair care, Botox, cosmetic surgery. And today hair care, specifically hair dyeing. You name it, we’ll discuss it. Tell you the truth. Tell you what the research says. And take your questions on our Facebook page.
00:00:31 Today we are talking about hair dye.
Bryan Barron: The dos and don’ts.
Paula Begoun: The dos and don’ts of doing it yourself at home. And let me just be really clear that the likelihood of having a mistake at home is almost as high as having it at the salon. There are plenty of us who have walked away from a hair stylist, a hair colorist, with results that we were not thrilled about. And we have done it at home ourselves.
00:01:05 And been shocked and dismayed at what we ended up with, which is one of the reasons most major companies like L’Oreal and Clairol that sell hair dyes have an emergency hotline.
Bryan Barron: It’s literally staffed 24 hours a day.
Paula Begoun: 24 hours a day because you end up with just -
Bryan Barron: I want to be on like the graveyard shift for one of those companies, because I really want to take that call in four in the morning from a woman distraught about her roots not turning out the way she thought.
Paula Begoun: And it’s terrible. I mean, it’s terrible because the results you can get at home… -
00:01:37 Now, so, let’s just be clear. There are times that you absolutely and should without question see a brilliant hair stylist/hair colorist to dye your hair. There are things you absolutely should not even consider doing at home yourself or you will look like a - usually a very frizzy, blonde Q-tip. You will look like -
Bryan Barron: You will be calling that hotline and you will be in tears.
Paula Begoun: And there are things that you absolutely can and should be doing yourself and not wasting your money at the salon. And knowing the difference between those two things. And let me just say, and I say, you know, lord knows I have said this before: you can, if you don’t waste your money on the expensive products being sold at salons for hair care, because they couldn’t be a bigger waste of money.
00:02:33 And save that up for the best hair stylist in the are you live, the best hair colorist, that is worth your money. And you don’t have to see them all the time. I mean, I absolutely do my hair at least three times before I then go and see a hair colorist. And I’ll explain what that is.
Bryan Barron: You said do your hair, do you mean dye your hair?
Paula Begoun: Dye my hair myself. I never do my hair myself.
00:03:00 From the moment I could afford to not - my big splurge, when people start making extra money and they do all kinds of things, they buy a better car, they take a trip and go somewhere.
Bryan Barron: Break a bottle of champagne over their new boat.
Paula Begoun: Whatever they do when they start making more money, the first thing I did was I stopped blowing my hair dry and trying to flatiron it myself. I mean, I tried to avoid - I mean, I still can do it.
Bryan Barron: Sure.
Paula Begoun: But it takes forever and I try to avoid it as much as possible. That’s my splurge. I don’t put on fake nails. I don’t, I mean -
Bryan Barron: But it’s more the tedium of it than the time.
00:03:37 Because you’re really not gaining any time by going to a salon and have somebody else do it.
Paula Begoun: That’s true. Okay, you’re right. Because I can - I usually bring my laptop and I can double task.
Bryan Barron: Sure.
Paula Begoun: And when I do it at home I tend to do something mindless like watch television, which isn’t the most productive thing in the world. So, right, exactly. Exactly. Thank you for that correction.
00:04:02 It is always nicer when someone else does your hair than when you do it yourself.
Bryan Barron: And that can be true for coloring, too.
Paula Begoun: Well, the thing with coloring and the reason I choose to do it myself is because it is time consuming. For me, and especially when I’m traveling because I do travel a lot, and what I’m primarily doing is touching - neurotically touching up my roots because I hate seeing any gray peeking out from the scalp.
00:04:29 So, when you’re touching up, particularly gray, of all the things you can do at home yourself, that you can do yourself. Now, there are products that are specifically aimed and marketed towards touching up the roots, like Clairol Instant Root Touchup. However, Clairol Instant Root Touchup is not some kind of spectacular, unusual formulation. It’s just a level three permanent dye. You can use any level three permanent dye over your root area to touch it up.
00:05:05 The way Clairol markets their product is they don’t give you all that much and they say just use it on the area of the root that you see which is fine. But you can actually use any level three permanent color that looks like your hair root and get your hair dyed. You know, Clairol, actually it’s kind of interesting. When they first launched those products they actually started with just like four or five shades assuming that that matched everybody’s.
00:05:32 Of course it doesn’t. It’s a level permanent. It’s a level three. It’s a permanent dye. It’s not anything that automatically matches the shade of your hair.
Bryan Barron: So, I recently tried that. I was telling you about this before the show. We were going out of town and I did not have time to go see my usual colorist and I had some pretty significant gray coming in along the temples, which I don’t like. I know on some men it looks distinguished. I don’t like it.
Paula Begoun: I don’t like it on me, either.
Bryan Barron: So, I was in the drugstore - I was going to do just a regular dye and kind of hope for the best and then I saw that product.
00:06:05 And I was like, you know, Paula swears by this. I’m going to try the light golden brown or whatever color and I thought that the tool that they provide for it, it was quick. I thought how much gray coverage am I really going to get in ten minutes and it works pretty well.
Paula Begoun: By the way, just to be clear, it doesn’t work for me in ten minutes. For me -
Bryan Barron: I left it on for about 12 minutes, but how long - ?
Paula Begoun: 30.
00:06:29 It works for me the same amount of time as doing what it takes at the salon.
Bryan Barron: Okay.
Paula Begoun: So, that depends on how much gray you have and the density of gray you have. More stubborn and the more you have, the longer it will take for the dye to get in. But that’s just a matter of experimenting when you do it yourself, because when you get your hair dyed at the salon they’re leaving it on anywhere between 20 and 35 minutes, sometimes longer depending on how stubborn the gray is.
00:07:02 Because it’s really just a level three permanent dye.
Bryan Barron: So, let’s say in my situation that I rinsed that Root Touchup out after ten minutes and noticed that it didn’t give me quite the gray coverage I wanted. I still had some left in the container. Should I have put more on right away? Dyed my hair and started over?
Paula Begoun: So, that’s always a question as to how long the product is still - because hair dyes after about 45 minutes oxidize and their potency is bye-bye.
00:07:38 It doesn’t last forever.
Bryan Barron: I think the instructions for the Clairol Root Touchup literally said -
Paula Begoun: Mix it. Apply it.
Bryan Barron: Well, and then it said discard within one hour of mixing. Something like that.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: Just like you’re saying.
Paula Begoun: Because the efficacy is gone. Because it oxidizes. One of the way it works is that it oxidizes. Yes, absolutely, if you still saw that the timing didn’t work, and lord knows when I was first starting dyeing my hair/my roots myself I did the instructions on the Clairol Instant Root Touchup and it said ten minutes.
00:08:13 And I tried ten minutes and I thought, “What were they thinking? Ten minutes? I barely - I mean, now my hair is a strange shade of gold. That’s bizarre.” So, I did have some left and I put it on for another 20 or 25 minutes and it covered everything and I was fine. So, it really depends on the length of time from when you first mix it up to when you rinse it off whether or not you can reuse it, because you do have to apply hair dye over dry hair.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: It won’t saturate in the way it’s supposed to when your hair is wet.
Bryan Barron: Which is interesting because you often read, and actually I think this is true, but wet hair is more porous.
Paula Begoun: Yeah. But also diluted. So, in other words some of what’s happening is… -
00:08:59 Yes, absolutely wet hair is more porous.
Bryan Barron: And more prone to breakage.
Paula Begoun: Right. Exactly. But what it’s doing when hair is damp is diluting the strength of the dye. It’s not that it doesn’t - it’s not that the hair is or isn’t porous and the color will or won’t get in. You’ve diluted it and it’s slips off and it’s messy and it’s all over. It won’t stay put.
00:09:25 The big deal with hair dye, particularly root touchup products, is to get it just on the root and not all over, because if you keep dyeing the length of your hair you will dry out your hair and you will make the ends darker and the roots will be lighter. So, the idea of touching up the roots is so you don’t get strange color or the color you don’t want all over. So, it’s about the saturation of the product and not diluting it and not having it slip and slide. I can’t even imagine what a mess it would be to apply it over wet hair.
00:10:03 You also have to make sure hair is, like somebody like me who uses the Paula’s Choice Hair and Brow Tint on my hair line before I do touchup my roots with a Clairol Instant Root Touchup or any level. I keep talking about that product because it is the one I use, but there are other - any level three permanent dye that matches your roots, that matches your hair color is fine to use.
00:10:31 So, there’s many things you have to do to make sure that the process of applying color at home yourself works. One of them is to make sure if you’re like me and you use a product like Paula’s Choice Hair and Brow Tint where I’m actually applying something over my roots before I use a hair dye product to cover any little gray I see because I am obsessive about that, it has to be off. Hair dye will not get through the products like a hair and brow tint or some of the other products you see on the market that say they cosmetically cover gray.
00:11:05 So, I do wash the color out of my - the hair and brow tint out of the root area just at the front of my hair. I do dry it. And then I apply the hair dye, the Clairol Instant. Boy, Clairol should pay me for this endorsement. So, the other thing that you want to make sure that you do is really protect the area in your bathroom.
00:11:34 And I’m surprised sometimes what I don’t notice that I’ve done and I don’t even want to talk about the mistakes I’ve made along the way, but I cover my bathroom like you would think I was painting it. I mean, I put a sheet out. I put it over up along the edge of the mirror and out on the sides and on the floor and on the cabinets. I mean, I have my whole setup because it just takes a little bit of a drop.
00:12:02 And I have long hair so it can get messy.
Bryan Barron: Uh-huh.
Paula Begoun: And I protect, I move things out of the way, because I have - what do you call it? In my bathroom I have a poof, like a hassock, a cushion, and I put that out of the room. I just - I protect everything. One of the things about hair dye is it doesn’t come off any porous surface. It’ll come off of a sink. Actually, a ceramic sink, it comes off beautifully. But anything else that is vaguely porous, it’s a huge problem.
00:12:39 You’ve got to protect our things you don’t want to get stained or you will make a mess.
Bryan Barron: And that includes the clothing you wear while you’re dyeing your hair. Don’t wear your favorite blouse or even your favorite high school concert t-shirt or whatever. Wear a shirt and probably pants, too, that you just don’t if it gets stained.
Paula Begoun: Well, actually I just lock that door and I’m naked as a jaybird.
00:13:00 I just am me and myself in the mirror with all these sheets all over the place when I’m doing my hair. The other thing - I know, you don’t need that image in your head. I’m sorry. It’s just sad, isn’t it?
Bryan Barron: No, I’m just thinking - I realized for the first time what a fun reality show your life would be.
Paula Begoun: Ha! Yeah, but no one is coming in the bathroom.
Bryan Barron: Well, that would be blocked off. But then we’d cut to Harsha off camera saying, “I can’t believe she goes through all this.”
Paula Begoun: Well, he’s locked out.
00:13:31 Oh, absolutely no one is allowed in the bathroom. This is so funny. My boyfriend’s name is Harsha and Harsha will say - I’ll say I need the bathroom. You’ll have to go someplace else for the next two hours or whatever. And he always says this - I can’t believe he, I mean, we’ve been together seven years. I can’t believe he still says this. He says, “So what are you going to do?” And I say, “Girl stuff. What do you think I’m going to do?!”
00:14:00 I’m not telling him what I’m going to do. It’s none of his business. I think what women do in the bathroom is a secret and nobody should know. Men should not come in. You should lock that thing off. If you only have one bathroom they could go knock on the neighbor’s door.
Nathan Rivas: I’m just going to say that I think that if we ever do another hair care book we have the next cover.
Paula Begoun: Ha! I have no humility. So, having said that, the other thing you absolutely need is how you go about rinsing your hair, because you need… -
00:14:35 Once the hair dye is on, you’ve determined how long. You carefully apply it, just to the root area. You do not apply it at the length of the hair. And you are ready to rinse it off you need a hose attachment that allows - doing it under a regular shower head where you can’t control and you can’t get close enough to control exactly where it’s hitting your scalp, you do not want it to get in your eye, you do not want to get it in your nose, you do not want to get it in your ears.
00:15:12 You do not want to get it in your mouth. You want to be very careful how you rinse your hair, so you either get a hose attachment that you can stick on your showerhead, or on your sink or your bathtub, and you want to do it carefully and slowly. And hold that showerhead, shower extension, very close to the scalp and slowly and carefully put your head in a position that prevents the water from rolling down to your eyes or any part other than down the drain.
Bryan Barron: And that’s essentially from my own experience what happens in a salon. You’re laid back in the chair. When the color is ready to rinse your head is positioned in such a way that the color can’t run forward unless you jerk yourself up. And they hold the nozzle very close to the scalp.
Paula Begoun: Very close to the scalp.
Bryan Barron: It’s all very methodical.
Paula Begoun: What I try to do at home, because I have tried both ways of arching my head back.
00:16:13 So, what I have found, and again Nathan this is not going on the cover of the book if we ever do a hair care book again, is what I have found that works the best is I do have a handheld showerhead in my shower. I bend all the way forward. I am stooping forward and my hair is in front of me and I am in a very, like bent over in half with my head a distance - as close to the drain as possible - and I actually find that that position and being very careful, one hand protecting my eyes and my face as I’m putting the nozzle over it.
00:16:57 And I’m down so far that it doesn’t roll. And I have to be careful, keeping it close to the scalp so you don’t splash is necessary whether you arch your head back or bend over in half. But however you find that it works best for you, the major thing is you want to do it where you’re not going to be splashing, again, cover the bathroom areas that are porous like you’re painting the house, and then over - or do it in the shower.
00:17:28 And, again, bend over or arch back, whichever way works for you that keeps it out of your eyes and any other place other than down the drain.
Bryan Barron: And as a general rule you should be rinsing until the water runs clear.
Paula Begoun: Yes. You should be rinsing until the water runs clear and then you wash your hair. So, two other things we have to talk about is what you shouldn’t be doing at home. And the two major things you should not be doing yourself is making an extreme hair color change to your hair.
00:18:03 If you have dark hair trying to make it blonde, actually even doing that at the salon is something I worry about in terms of having dry, fried-out hair. And because no matter how gentle or how much - I love when I’m sitting in a salon and I hear the stylist/the colorist say, “Well, let’s do a treatment before we start or after,” as if that’s going to heal your hair.
Bryan Barron: “We have a special color mask we can apply.”
Paula Begoun: It is such a lie! It is such a lie!
00:18:35 Hair is dead. Dead. Drop dead dead. You damage it you cannot fix it. You can make hair feel healthy, but it is temporary. It is not repaired. And the more damaged your hair becomes, the more fried out, blonde you try to make your hair if you’re not a natural blonde and you have naturally dark hair, the more ridiculously dried and frizzed out your hair will be and break off.
00:19:02 And no matter how much you try to style it will look like unhealthy, raw, straw-like hair. Extreme changes to hair color, probably never something you should consider doing at home even if you consider doing it at the salon.
Bryan Barron: You know, if you have light-to-medium brown hair I would also caution against going all the way to black at home. It’s just tricky.
Paula Begoun: That’s true. I thought of it in the other direction.
00:19:31 That’s an interesting one. It really is in terms of hair color, you know, when you go to black you don’t - it might be tricky in terms of the quality of the appearance. But in terms of damage to hair -
Bryan Barron: It’s really more about appearance and how it can look more shoe-polishy.
Paula Begoun: Oh yeah.
Bryan Barron: And just muddy and opaque.
Paula Begoun: Oh yeah. Right.
00:20:03 Shoe-polishy. I like that! Actually, what television show preview did I just see with John Travolta and Kirstie Alley and he looked like he had shoe polish on his head. I swear.
Bryan Barron: She has a new show out. I’m wondering if maybe he was doing a guest star appearance. She has some new sitcom.
Paula Begoun: Oh, somebody should call him and tell him that it’s - do what Bruce Willis did.
00:20:32 Just shave that stuff. It was embarrassing. I felt bad. It looked like he put one of those fake little black wigs on, the plastic black wigs on his head. Oh my god.
Bryan Barron: Oh no! Yes. Like a Ronald Reagan wig?
Paula Begoun: Oh worse. Worse. Oh my gosh. Because it was like stuck to his head. Literally like, oh, maybe in the whole show there was something about it being a joke about his hair, but if it wasn’t a joke, oh my gosh.
00:21:05 But, what you’re saying about going from a medium brown to dark, because the process of making hair darker is very different than making hair lighter.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: You have to strip out color from hair. And to strip out dark color is very - I mean, I can’t do anything about the physiology of how damaging that is to hair, no matter how gentle they tell you the product is. They’ll tell you it’s ammonia-free.
00:21:36 Oh, let’s be very clear, and I know some of you have heard me say this before, that ammonia-free claim is one of the most garbage stupid claims in the world. You can take ammonia out of a product and that’s all fine and good and it’s not going to smell as bad, but what the ammonia ingredient does in a hair dye they just replace with a different ingredient that does the exact same thing but just doesn’t smell bad.
00:22:00 You still need the product to be a high pH to change the color of hair. The ammonia claim does not make it any more or less gentle on the hair. Nonsense. Ridiculous. Ignore that one. It’s nice when it doesn’t smell bad, but it doesn’t make it gentler for the hair.
Bryan Barron: Now, speaking of gentler colors, what about dyeing your hear with henna? Isn’t that natural and safer?
Paula Begoun: Well, definitely safer I guess because hair dye ingredients pretty much are not the safest ingredients on the planet.
00:22:38 But in terms of efficacy henna doesn’t work. You are not going to cover your grays unless you want to have a strange red color of hair. Well, for some people it might not be strange. They might think it’s beautiful. But it won’t be blonde. And it won’t be black. And it won’t be brown.
Bryan Barron: No.
Paula Begoun: Henna is the color of red.
Bryan Barron: It’s limiting.
Paula Begoun: It is a single color. It is a plant. It does have some tenacity to hair.
00:23:00 It is particularly as tenacity to hair when you’re gray because on black hair it doesn’t show up very well. The lighter color the hair, the better shows up. But it is red. It is a single color. And as the color resin builds up on the hair, hair becomes brittle. It doesn’t get soft and even -
Bryan Barron: That’s what I was thinking. I’ve known a few women in my life who were natural blondes, but kind of more of a - I guess you would say a dishwater blonde.
00:23:26 And they did the henna thing and they got actually a fairly attractive result.
Paula Begoun: Like a strawberry blonde kind of color.
Bryan Barron: Yes. Yes. But the longer they kept doing it the more their hair texture changed.
Paula Begoun: Right. Not for the better.
Bryan Barron: Not for the better. No.
Paula Begoun: Because for some women when they have fine, thin hair, particularly blondes, and they add some highlights to their hair and they’re not going extreme, or you have medium brown hair and you want to change it to a little bit more of an auburn softer, lighter color, hair dye swells hair. And if you don’t rip hair to shreds making extreme colors, for some women hair dye actually makes hair feel fuller and somewhat healthier.
00:24:08 But henna, for whatever reason, over just a few applications makes hair feel brittle and dry and not - now, it does eventually wear off because it isn’t permanent dye, but if you keep doing it you will eventually, it will just make hair brittle and start chipping off. That’s why you don’t see hennas very often on the market.
00:24:32 They’re far and few in between, mostly in “health food stores” and they don’t work very well. People don’t use them. They don’t cover gray hair. So, it’s not the best option in the least. Actually, it’s a terrible option.
Bryan Barron: On the topic of the henna color and shades of red, what’s the secret to making red hair dye last longer?
Paula Begoun: There is no secret. It just doesn’t work.
00:25:00 I mean, actually just generally to save anybody’s hair color, the best thing you do is keep it out of the sun. You wash it as infrequently as possible because -
Bryan Barron: Well, I am on the hunt for a color-safe shampoo and conditioner, Paula. What should I be buying? Which shampoos really work to keep the dye in my hair?
Paula Begoun: None. They all work equally. The ingredients in shampoos and the ingredients in conditioners don’t vary product to product.
Bryan Barron: Even the ones at the salon?
Paula Begoun: Even the ones -
00:25:32 I would only trust it if it came down from heaven. If it didn’t come down from heaven -
Bryan Barron: Ha! From God’s hand.
Paula Begoun: That would be the only one I would trust.
Nathan Rivas: That must be why the photos of God are always like white hair. Because even he gave up.
Paula Begoun: Ha! Are we going to get in trouble for that one? So, the issue is that what separates shampoos and conditioners are almost always price. There are formulary differences, but generally they’re not anything your hair is going to notice for your hair type.
00:26:08 What makes hair color leave hair is about hair being over-washed. It doesn’t matter what shampoo you’re using. The more often you wash your hair, each time that wet - when hair is wet it is more porous. Just more likely for the color to leave the hair. The sun absolutely oxidizes and causes hair to fade. No way around it.
00:26:34 It does it whether you have dyed hair or not.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. I was just going to say think about how people will say, “Oh, I let my hair bleach in the sun.” They’re not talking about dyes.
Paula Begoun: It does. It does. It damages in the sun. And the color that is even naturally in the hair will come out, but even more so if it’s dye molecules that are in the hair. They will fade faster. So, it’s how often you wash your hair. It is about sun exposure. And then it’s about styling tools. I’m not telling anyone not to wash their hair.
00:27:03 I am telling women just washes infrequently as possible. I go probably longer than is polite, or polite for company, but I do. Wear a hat. Try to cover your hair whenever you’re in the sun. There are adorable cute hats you can wear in the sun.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. Women definitely have the edge there.
Paula Begoun: We do. But baseball caps? Well, there just aren’t nice baseball caps, right?
Bryan Barron: Yeah. Yeah.
Paula Begoun: It’s still going to make you look like, yeah, you’re right.
00:27:31 Okay, for casual. For casual.
Bryan Barron: Women wear hats that look fashionable and sexy and alluring. And men, we’re either trying to cover a receding hair line or we think we’re 14.
Paula Begoun: It’s true.
Bryan Barron: Or a gangster.
Paula Begoun: It’s not my problem though. But it’s true! Yes, there are beautiful hats. Oh my god, women do have quite the array of options.
Bryan Barron: So, what is the other, you mentioned the two things you’re not supposed to do at home when it comes to dyes.
Paula Begoun: There was one more thing. High hair tools.
00:28:03 High heat blow dryers and flat irons. The less frequently you can use high heat tools…
Bryan Barron: Those tools.
Paula Begoun: …the longer your hair color will stay. So three things: sun protection; wash your hair as infrequently as possible - forget those hair dye lasting shampoo conditioners, just ridiculous; and use your styling tools, your high heat styling tools as infrequently as you can because they will cause hair to fade back. To the red dye.
00:28:36 Red dye jumps out of hair almost, actually it doesn’t really matter what you do. Just for some reason that chemists have not figured out is the way red dye goes into hair, it also wants to leave equally as fast. On the other side of the coin, black hair dye doesn’t like leaving hair at all. It is almost impossible to fade black hair dye.
00:29:04 You can sit in the sun. You can wash your hair three million times a day. You can use - well, don’t, by the way I’m just saying this rhetorically, not that this is what anybody should do.
Bryan Barron: No, you’re actually recounting one very bad week of my high school career.
Paula Begoun: What happened? What, you dyed your hair black?
Bryan Barron: I dyed my hair black.
Paula Begoun: Oh my, and you couldn’t get rid of it.
Bryan Barron: No.
Paula Begoun: It’s terrible.
Bryan Barron: I literally had to buy one of those kits that strips hair color, leaving you with a carrot orange shade, and then dye over that. And my hair was -
Paula Begoun: It’s so terrible for hair.
Bryan Barron: It was.
00:29:33 I mean, I got a very short haircut after that and vowed to never dye my hair black again.
Paula Begoun: And you look gorgeous for not doing that again. So, the issue with red dye is red dye does not like staying in hair. Again, they don’t know why that’s true. But it’s true. And all the things we just said are the same things you would do for any hair dye, whether you’re dyeing your hair blonde, or any color to protect your hair. Those are the things you would need to do.
00:30:05 But in terms of doing something special for when you dye your hair red, there isn’t anything special you can do. What some hair colorists do is they will increase the concentration of the red dye color they give you to take into consideration the fading that will eventually happen.
00:30:28 I find that a strange thing to do because then you end up looking way too red in the beginning and then you’re fading as time goes by. I don’t get that one. Or you’re touching up your roots and your roots look incredibly red and then the length of your hair doesn’t. So, I’m not particularly fond of that one. But red hair color, red hair dye is incredibly tricky to maintain and control. Not my favorite choice for women, which is why you see so few women dyeing their hair red.
00:31:02 Even celebrities, you don’t see red hair very often. They’ll do all kinds of colors, and they’ll do auburn reddish shades of hair, but to go red-red, even when you see it it looks odd, and that’s one of the reasons they rarely do it because it is so hard to control.
Bryan Barron: What is the other thing we shouldn’t do at home when we’re dyeing our hair?
Paula Begoun: Something called balayage.
Bryan Barron: Ooh.
Paula Begoun: Is probably the difficult -
Bryan Barron: Which is a highlighting and low-lighting technique?
Paula Begoun: It’s a highlighting.
00:31:30 Mostly a highlighting technique.
Bryan Barron: Just highlighting? Okay.
Paula Begoun: And so there is foiling which takes very teeny tiny strips of hair and makes hair light. I think that is incredibly difficult for someone to do at home, but some women really can nail that technique to give themselves their own highlights. If you get it done a few times at the salon, watch very carefully how they do it. There’s videos on YouTube that you can watch to see if you can get the technique down.
00:32:00 That’s not a terrible thing to try and do yourself, especially if you’re not going to try to do your whole head. But some women really can nail that technique. The problem with balayage is balayage is a hair painting technique where you’re taking huge swaths, you’re literally taking a brush and painting your hair. Have you not seen that? You’re making a face at me like you haven’t seen that done. Have you not seen that done?
Bryan Barron: No. I’ve heard the term.
00:32:30 And we recently wrote something about it for Facebook and Google Plus. But I have not seen it. I’ve seen highlights. I’ve seen the hombre stuff going on.
Paula Begoun: This is a very specific technique where you are actually painting stripes of a lighter color through your hair. Now, some people just do usually whitish or blondish shades through dark hair. It’s very extreme. The difference between highlights, where you’re foiling your hair and you’re taking thin little tiny pieces and making lighter, is it gives a more natural glow to the hair.
00:33:06 Although you can do highlighting where it’s a way of actually making your hair very blonde. But trying to do it where you don’t just have one big head of yellow or white hair, different techniques. But balayage is where you are purposely painting in big swatches of blondish or reddish or some color hair over your natural or dyed hair.
00:33:29 Mostly it’s natural hair color. It’s not easy to do over dyed hair without really damaging hair. I find that it’s not a typical fashion look. And we know it’s not typical because you never see anybody in fashion magazines doing it. Celebrities definitely rarely do it. You sometimes see it but it’s not very typical of all. And because of the way it’s done and the color that you’re trying to achieve with it, which is usually a dramatic change of hair color, like pink, or red, or blue, or white, it’s almost damaging.
00:34:04 All of those products that make hair blue, red, white and purple are more damaging because it’s a more extreme application of color, but the balayage where you’re painting these stripes onto hair are particularly damaging. Hard to control how it’s going to end up looking and getting it to go on in a way that is stylistically artistic as opposed to just strange stripes like - I was going to say skunk but I probably shouldn’t say that.
00:34:32 or the women who do have it and like it, it’s not a very typical or easy look. And colorists will say to me on the side all time, “Can you believe women still want me to do that to them?”
Bryan Barron: Oh really?
Paula Begoun: It’s not considered fashion forward. But, again, people get to make whatever decision they want. How you look and your style of fashion is very personal and intimate and your decision - whether anybody else does it has nothing to do with anything.
00:35:02 It’s up to you. Just know the pros and cons about what you end up with and how to take care of it that makes sense and doesn’t waste your money at the end of the day. Let’s take a couple questions and we’ll wrap this up unless Nathan thinks I’m missing something. Nathan’s not there so I guess I got everything in. Bryan, what do we have?
Bryan Barron: Linda says on our Facebook page, “I’m using the Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing line with the Resist C15 and Resist BHA9. If I wanted to incorporate the benzoyl peroxide 2.5% product,” which is in our Clear range, that’s our daily skin clearing treatment, “would I have to switch out something from the line or would I just add to? And then when would I apply it?”
Paula Begoun: Ooh.
00:35:47 So, and the reason I make a big sigh is because it takes some amount of experimentation when you’re using several products to figure out where it works in that is the best for your skincare routine and your skin. As a general rule, the benzoyl peroxide goes on after the exfoliant. But some people don’t use the exfoliant twice a day. They use the exfoliant during the day and then at night use the benzoyl peroxide product or vice versa. That is a very personal decision as to whether or not you want to use both twice a day, or once a day, or alternate them, or alternate them on every other day.
00:36:29 And then the placement is almost always after the exfoliant and before you put on other products. So, but again, actually, that really is the best place to put it. I was going to say you could put it on - you don’t want to put it on after you’ve already applied your serum or moisturizer. That wouldn’t be good. In terms of the C15 and the Pure Radiance, I would pretty much follow it up after the exfoliant. Let it absorb in and dry and then you can follow up with your other skincare products.
Bryan Barron: Okay.
00:37:07 Katie on our Facebook page asks, “Are the Living Proof Shampoos worth it compared to say those from Garnier? I was reading on Living Proof’s website about how great they are for color-treated hair because they don’t contain sulfites or sodium chloride.”
Paula Begoun: Ha! Sodium Chloride? I’ve never heard…salt?
Bryan Barron: Salt is the new enemy, Paula.
Paula Begoun: Who’s putting salt in their shampoos?
Bryan Barron: Oh, most shampoos have sodium chloride in them.
Paula Begoun: No!
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:37:35 It’s a viscosity modifier.
Paula Begoun: Really?
Bryan Barron: Yeah. I think we have it in ours.
Paula Begoun: No! Not that it’s bad. I’m only making a sound because, really, sodium chloride?
Bryan Barron: It’s typically used in a very low amount, but do you have any - ?
Paula Begoun: So, one is that, the amount of salt people are putting in products is kind of like worrying about the amount of preservative in a product for hair.
00:38:02 It’s so tiny. It’s such a trace amount. It doesn’t matter. Your hair won’t notice. Sulfites are no more problematic for hair than any other detergent cleansers. It is the amount of the detergent cleansing agent and it is not sulfites that are a problem for hair. That is nonsense. Insanity. The facts about it are that they are fine for hair. They clean hair very well.
00:38:29 They are gentle when used in the right amounts. They’re not a problem. However, there are other sulfate-free shampoos. If you want to focus on that, that’s fine. Other than that I cannot think of a reason. If Living Proof shampoos and conditioners are expensive then you are wasting your money. Your hair is dead. It won’t know the difference. Period. Doesn’t make a difference.
Bryan Barron: And Garnier makes some very good - Garnier is a L’Oreal company.
00:38:59 They make some very good shampoos. As does L’Oreal.
Paula Begoun: Actually, what does - do you have a Living Proof, do you have a formula I can take a look at.
Bryan Barron: You can go to Sephora’s site and check I out. Living Proof is - we reviewed it awhile back. They’ve got the anti-frizz technology that was developed at MIT. That special molecule. Jennifer Aniston is now an owner in the company.
Nathan Rivas: I’ve got to say the styling products are pretty incredible.
Paula Begoun: Incredibly good?
Bryan Barron: Nathan loves the styling products.
Nathan Rivas: They’re actually really, really good, Bryan.
00:39:30 It’s frustratingly, maddeningly good products. They don’t have much of a smell to them. They all seem to do exactly what it is that they say they’re going to do. Styling products, but conditioners and shampoos are all pretty, I mean, like you said, you can’t really make a bad one.
Paula Begoun: So, keep in mind, Nathan, that when you find a styling product that’s not necessarily because those are the only ones in the world that work. It’s just you happened to have found Living Proof’s that work for you as opposed to somebody else’s that might work as well.
00:40:07 However, I haven’t reviewed those, I mean, I don’t know their formulas, I’d have to take a look, but in looking at their shampoos they’re about as natural or healthy - I mean, it’s just bizarre. They contain - actually is sodium lauryl methyl isethionate - is that a sulfate? I don’t know.
Bryan Barron: Isethionate?
00:40:36 No, it’s not a sulfate.
Paula Begoun: It’s not a sulfate? But it’s a strong cleansing agent. So is cocoyl taurate. They have Peg-7. What is it about this formula that they get away with making you think it’s better for your hair? They have, yeah…
Bryan Barron: We’ll leave that up to Madison Avenue.
Paula Begoun: Okay. And Nathan can waste his money on it. No, I’m teasing, Nathan. Nathan already said that he doesn’t waste his money on the shampoo/conditioner.
Bryan Barron: And he saves - think of all the money he’s saving on skincare.
Paula Begoun: Oh, then okay.
00:41:03 You can splurge on Living Proof.
Bryan Barron: He’s got to rock that side part, Paula.
Paula Begoun: Okay. Isn’t he adorable? Do people go on Facebook to look at how cute he is?
Bryan Barron: I think they do. At least 20%.
Paula Begoun: So, Nathan, tell me which Living Proof hair styling product you’re using so I can look it up.
Nathan Rivas: I actually use two of them. There’s the mousse that they have which is actually this bizarre, sort of like a styling lotion and a mousse in one. It doesn’t really behave like your classic mousses do.
00:41:32 And then the other one is the Amp Styling Cream, which is really just kind of a matte finish styling cream. But they both -
Paula Begoun: I think you like this because of the fragrance. So, in looking at it, actually, you know, it’s kind of funny. The third ingredient - so it has butane, because it’s an aerosol. But the third ingredient is actually, oh, that’s - yeah, I’m wondering why you’re so nuts about this, but that’s okay.
00:42:07 I don’t think it’s a terrible product. It does have some problematic ingredients. I think the third one is a formaldehyde-releasing [cinco] polymer. It has Imidazole in it. I wonder. I’m not sure about that.
Nathan Rivas: I release formaldehyde, though.
Paula Begoun: What?
Nathan Rivas: I release formaldehyde!
Paula Begoun: You release formaldehyde just living. That’s why you’re merged with this product. Okay, so anything else - should we take one more question and get off poor Living Proof.
00:42:31 But don’t waste... - And if you want to follow Nathan, but their shampoo and conditioner. Actually, let me look up their conditioner. Now you just have me so curious.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. And then we’ll wrap up.
Paula Begoun: We’ll wrap up.
Bryan Barron: But on the topic of finding styling products that you like and that really work for you, I know Nathan and I have talked about the idiosyncrasies our hair has and dealing with different cowlicks and texture issues and stuff that’s not too heavy or not too greasy. When you find something, even when it’s a bit on the pricier side that really works, you tend to just want to stick with it.
Paula Begoun: For sure.
00:43:09 Because it’s exhausting to try to find something else. So, they use, hmm. Okay, I’m going to get off of Living Proof, but their conditioner, Behentrimonium Chloride, Fragrance, Quaternium-87, they use a form of chloride, I don’t know why they are so big on chloride being a problem.
00:43:33 Okay, whatever. So, having said that, I love - I do love talking about hair care. Okay, so, nonetheless. Should we take one more question? I don’t want to end just beating up Living Proof.
Bryan Barron: I answered this question the other day on our Facebook page. It was from a woman named Anna and she asked about our opinion on beauty tips in this article on a blog called My Fashion Sense.
00:44:03 And here’s what this blogger, I think, fashion blogger says. “Six skincare tips for your in-flight beauty routine. Load up on the water. Dehydration is the number one way to get dry, flaky skin, so drink lots of water.”
Paula Begoun: Okay. It won’t help. You can drink water till the cows come home. You can drink liters of it. That will not help your dry skin.
Bryan Barron: You’ll end up going to the bathroom a lot on the flight.
Paula Begoun: Yeah. And they won’t let you up when there’s turbulence or you’re landing.
00:44:29 So you’ll be stuck!
Bryan Barron: And when you’ve got a full bladder turbulence is just the worst!
Paula Begoun: Ha!
Bryan Barron: “Get your favorite face wash in travel size, pop in the bathroom and give your face a good in-flight wash.”
Paula Begoun: Wait. What? So washing your face, I don’t care how creamy the cleanser is, you wash your face, not only are you making a mess of somebody who when they’re landing needs to redo my makeup because I’ve got a business meeting to go to, is one of the messiest things in the world to do. But it’s drying.
00:45:00 You absolutely do not want to wash off your moisturizer and reapply it. It’s a waste of time and energy. And it’s more drying. The more often you wash your face the more it’s a problem.
Bryan Barron: Well, her other tip is moisturize. Give your face a good dose of lotion partway through the flight. But she doesn’t say to do that after washing.
Paula Begoun: Well what if you have makeup on? You’re going to put a moisturizer... - Wait, do you realize you’ve got to be on a 12-hour flight to make that make sense, because one is you’ve got to wash your face, take off your makeup, put on a moisturizer and then redo your makeup?
00:45:31 Or are you applying moisturizer over your makeup and then messing up your makeup? I just, okay, what’s number…?
Bryan Barron: There’s two more. “One is pop some vitamins because getting an added boost from essential nutrients will give your skin that healthy glow when you land.”
Paula Begoun: Like overnight? Vitamins will give you - ?
Bryan Barron: No, I’m on five and a half hour flight to New York.
Paula Begoun: And a vitamin is going to get through my body to go and somehow to…? Oh my god. Okay. Physically impossible.
Bryan Barron: The last one is the one that I came down hardest on in the response, because it’s just such an inane but very common tip. “Give your skin a hydrating spritz. Just bring a travel size spray bottle of water or fill it up with mineral water.
00:46:13 Give your face a gentle spray for total rejuvenation.”
Paula Begoun: You know, I don’t even know where to go with that. If I spray a leaf with water or a stone with water or water on my driveway it dries up. It evaporates, particularly on a dry airplane and the air and it makes things drier.
00:46:37 Your skin will not capture that water. It is a waste of time. It is a waste of energy. It just messes up your makeup. And, if anything, whatever moisturizer you had on it will dilute. Makes a problem for skin, does not help skin. It is actually going to cause dryness. It’s not going to undo it. These are, okay, all right. So, on that note -
Bryan Barron: Some good information there -
Paula Begoun: And now we’re beating up on this adorable blogger. So, on that note, I’m Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, with my co-writer and research and the brains behind the work we do, Bryan Barron. Thank you for listening to us. Come visit us on PaulasChoice.com where all of our information in a little less intense manner. Well, actually—
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