Hair Dye DOs & DON'Ts

Airdate: 6/26/12

Find out Paula’s hair-care tips including dye DOs & DON'Ts, and the secret to concealing gray hair.

Paula Begoun: Tonight’s show as the group of us here, the Cosmetics Cop Team is keeping you beautifully informed, we’re gonna do Hair Dye Do’s and Don’ts. And actually this is the perfect night to do this topic because I dyed my hair at home last night and I missed a section. I can’t…I’m so meticulous. I am so meticulous. I use Clairol Root Touchup by the way; I combine two colors.
00:00:32 I was touching up my grey. Yes, I’m grey. I’ve been dyeing my grey roots for I can’t even tell you how many years. And I’m neurotic about my grey. I’m neurotic. I probably dye my hair far more often than anybody else I know, that’s for sure, maybe anybody else in the world because when I see like even just a quarter of an inch of grow-out I’m in a panic. And I dye my hair about every – I hate to even admit this – even I think it’s a little neurotic, every 10 days.
00:01:03 And ever since I found Clairol Root Touchup I actually think it’s one of the easier products to use. But it does take meticulous, especially when you’re doing roots, and I’ll talk about that more when we go through the Do’s and Don’ts to get it right. Hair dye, oh my, you know over 75% of adult women dye their hair. I mean that’s just, I mean, that means, you know, almost everybody you know is dyeing your hair including you.
00:01:34 And it is difficult. It is not an easy process. I’ve been doing it for a long time. The reason I stared coloring my own hair, I was actually a snob and thought I could only get it done at the salon, even though when I got it done at the salon sometimes I came out with, even expensive salons around the world, I came out with it going, well who thought this was a human hair color. I mean, I look like I’m from another planet. You can definitely get screw-ups at the salon; that salon products are better than drugstore products is just a lie.
00:02:08 We’ll talk about that more, but when I found Clairol Root Touchup – I don’t work for Clairol. There are a lot of other products. But when I used Clairol Root Touchup, and the way they developed it is really for this fast little touchup thing for right around where your grey is showing; they don’t give you enough to do it all over, although you could actually do a root touchup with just about any product. But I found the color that worked on my hair and I’ve been using it. But their recommendation is to leave it on for 10 minutes. A lot of the products, they have recommendations about how long you’re to leave it on.
00:02:44 And, you know, I knew from just getting my hair dyed at the salon all these years that it takes 35 minutes for my hair to process. 10 minutes wouldn’t cover even – it wouldn’t bring up my grey color to even, you know charcoal, I mean, it wouldn’t even make it pale grey. I mean, it takes a good 35 minutes.
00:03:05 How long it takes you to process your hair is about your hair, not a generic – 10 minutes doesn’t work for everybody. It’s really individual to your hair and we’ll talk about how you need to check your hair, to watch how it processes, not to over-process it, not to under-process it. And I’ll talk about how not to miss a section of your hair like I did last night. And because there’s so much to talk about, I’m going to have Bryan jump in and jump in with the best and worst products of the week because I don’t like leaving that one out.
00:03:41 If you have questions for us you can call in at 347-426-3783. We’re gonna be giving away products tonight from if we take your question. Bryan, let’s do this week’s best and worst. I love the worst. And actually the best is great, too. So, the best and worst products of the week, what did you come up with?
Bryan Barron: The best is a really good one. It is a concealer from Revlon. It is their Age Defying Moisturizing Concealer with SPF 25. Now finding a good with sunscreen is important because, especially if you don’t wear a foundation that has sunscreen, you want that extra sun protection around your eyes, this provides it for you.
00:04:28 SPF 25 is a great number. It includes zinc oxide for UVA protection. And this is a liquid concealer that comes in a squeeze tube. It gives you a comfortable amount of moisture, plenty of blendability, and sets to a flattering satin finish. What’s nice about this is it’s quite versatile in that if you just need a little bit of coverage it sheers out really nicely. It doesn’t get stuck in place and look chalky. It fares best for concealing under the eyes, which is pretty much how Revlon positions it, than it would be for covering blemishes.
00:05:02 It’s just not opaque enough to hide that redness. The shade selection is very impressive. It goes beyond the standard three choices of light, medium, and deep. But be careful because the deep shade is not suitable for darker skin tones.
Paula Begoun: So how many shades, what do they have about four five?
Bryan Barron: This has six shades.
Paula Begoun: Six shades. Yeah, that is a lot for a drugstore. That is unusual.
00:05:29 So, how come, I want to try this. Now you make me want to try it. And it’s cheap. It’s $8.99 and it doesn’t – and you know me, I’m the Crease Queen, the lines around the eye. It’s not gonna crease or is it gonna crease?
00:02:31 Are you going to be on the board? You should be on the board?
Bryan Barron: It does have a slight tendency to crease, but it’s one of those creamier concealers that if you dust it with a little bit of powder it shouldn’t be a problem. But, on a personal note for you, the reason I have not put this on your desk with little Post-its saying, “You gotta try this,” is that one of the sunscreen ingredients is Octinoxate.
Paula Begoun: Octinoxate. And I don’t use that around. Yeah.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:06:05 I know that bugs your skin around the eyes, so I figured why bother, she’s just gonna toss it back and say, “You burned me!”
Paula Begoun: That is one of the negatives about any of the synthetic sunscreen ingredients, particularly around the eyes, but for some people on the face, is it can cause an irritant reaction, especially when you use it that close to the eye. But for those people who it doesn’t bother, you know, a zinc oxide in part sunscreen and a good concealer; you’re right, this probably wouldn’t be for me. But it is worth a test drive.
Bryan Barron: Absolutely. And if you’re going to react to Octinoxate around your eyes you’ll know it. I mean, it will be pretty apparent right away.
Paula Begoun: Right. Right. And actually it’s like you put it on and you get an instant hit. But, yeah, it can be cumulative for some people. But, that’s a great recommendation. It’s $8.99, $9 bucks.
Bryan Barron: $8.99. Thank you for pointing out the price, yes.
Paula Begoun: And, this is the worst.
00:07:02 This was my worst. I actually chose this one. We were doing the updates for, you know, that has thousands, and thousands, and thousands of product reviews that we update. And Bryan sent me the current ones and I was going over them. And this one from H20 Plus just floored me. I mean I was choking. So, Bryan, do you want to do the H2O Plus?
Bryan Barron: I will.
00:07:28 And just as a precursor here, the H2O plus full-line review will be on Beautypedia in July for any Beautypedia subscribers listening – it’s not on the site yet. When we do write these reviews they are professionally edited before they’re posted, so there is a process. But, we couldn’t wait to tell you about how bad this product is. It is…
Paula Begoun: Argh! It’s so bad.
Bryan Barron: Sea your Results, S-E-A, so it’s a little play on words, instant eye power patches. And you get six pair of patches that are pre-moistened, you just slap it around the skin on your eyes, for $72.
Paula Begoun: Argh, I just want to scream.
Bryan Barron: And Paula edited the review slightly from what I wrote to change it so it says these eye patches are a powerful waste of time and money.
Paula Begoun: They are!
Bryan Barron: She gave me the 9% product – within two days it was gone. Gone. Not a trace of it.
00:08:16 Okay, see, I’m getting upset just sitting here listening. Okay, go on, go on. I’m sorry.
Bryan Barron: Though for $72, the formula is little more than water and the mineral potassium chloride which is a form of salt, along with glycerin and a film-forming agent which is similar to the types of ingredients you’d see in a hairspray…
Paula Begoun: And that’s it!
Bryan Barron: That’s it.
Bryan Barron: That’s it.
Paula Begoun: That’s it!
Bryan Barron: Void of beneficial ingredients. Nothing about the formula is remotely nourishing for your eyes or for wrinkles.
Paula Begoun: Oh my god. This is, okay, I’m sorry, forgive me for jumping in. This is, $72 bucks and it is water, salt, glycerin, and hairspray. Oh My Lord. I thought I would fall off.
00:09:02 I mean, a lot of products do this to me. But this one, I haven’t gotten this – it was breathtakingly bad. Just bad formula. I mean, sometimes these eye patch, they make you look like you’re wearing a mask and they say they transfer good ingredients to your skin. Sometimes at least, even though the claim is obnoxious and wrong, at least they contain good ingredients. This doesn’t contain – salt and water? I mean, gosh.
Bryan Barron: Might as well, if you live near the ocean, just dip your face in the water for a few minutes and save yourself some money.
Paula Begoun: Well, and of course, salt, we know what happens when you go swimming in the ocean. You know, your skin doesn’t feel revived and new. It feels dry and you need a moisturizer. But, okay, H2O Plus.
00:09:57 All right, so that’s the best and the worst. Sorry, say again, Bryan?
Bryan Barron: Best and worst done. Let’s get onto the hair dye.
Paula Begoun: Yes, hair dye! We’ve been talking about hair dye in the office. You probably have as many questions as we do. And problems with hair day. Now, I have to say, even though Kate I love you, my product development director who’s stepping in for my producer, Desiree, I love you and I can’t imagine working with anyone else on product development, but this is the wrong show for you because not only hasn’t Kate ever dyed her hair, but she has naturally perfect, enviable, to-die-for blonde hair.
00:10:43 She is the one in I don’t know, 3 trillion women in the universe who has a perfect, adorable, wonderful hair color. It always looks soft. Okay, I’m done. Kate, we forgive you. And you can stay as the producer regardless.
Kate Mee: Oh, thank you; don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!
Paula Begoun: Ah! I love you and you are adorable, and beautiful. So, this is such a big subject, such a big subject. The major thing that you need to know is that the models and celebrities in the ads for hair dye products and those pretty women on the boxes of the hair dye products at the drug store absolutely did not get their hair color from the product they are advertising.
00:11:34 There is no way Sarah Jessica Parker applied any, even if it was the same product, I promise you she did not apply it herself. She absolutely did not do her highlights herself. She looks adorable and beautiful because some colorist spent a very long time getting her hair color perfect. Somebody blew it out and styled it. Some photographer shot, you know, lit and took millions of pictures to get just the right lighting on the hair.
00:12:05 To use those models and celebrities on the products is a joke. Don’t do it. However, what they are helpful for on the box is giving you an idea of the color you might get when using the product. And please know that a thousand percent, expensive doesn’t mean better when it comes to hair dye products.
00:12:32 Salon brands are not better. The chemical process of changing your hair color is the same regardless of whose name is on the product. And L’Oreal sells products to drugstores and Clairol – I’m sorry – L’Oreal sells products in drugstores and to salons, so does Clairol. The difference between what a colorist can do and what you’re buying at the drugstore is the colorist mixes up different bottles of color, different amounts of peroxide.
00:13:08 You’re buying their technical skill. And that means you really want somebody who is, if you do choose to go to the hair salon, so you want somebody who has been doing it a lot time and didn’t just graduate from beauty school. The difference with drugstore products is you are getting a premix. It’s supposed to be you don’t have to think about it.
00:13:30 Now one of the things that the drugstore brands did a handful of years ago is many of them when you look at the side of the product, they have a picture of what your hair color is. And if your hair color is that particular color this is the result you should get for putting it on your hair. Absolutely take that representation seriously. So, along with the picture on the cover, and along with that picture on the side of your hair color and the way that drugstore color would look, that’s what you judge by.
00:14:07 So the models and celebrities in the ads, that’s a joke, ignore them. Expensive doesn’t mean better. Drugstore products are not inferior to salon products. Salon products, what you’re getting is the skill of the stylist. However, statistically you are not going to be any happier getting your hair done at a salon versus a drugstore because as Bryan and I can both attest, getting your hair done at a salon – and even the most expensive salon in your area, or you can fly to New York and get your hair done, you can get it screwed up with the best colorist in the business.
Bryan Barron: Absolutely. Yeah, I have paid some big bucks for some bad dye jobs going under the assumption that it’s a big city salon, they have a stellar reputation, this person does nothing but color hair, how could I go wrong?
Paula Begoun: How can you go wrong…
Bryan Barron: It can go wrong.
Paula Begoun: It can go wrong.
00:15:06 So, the truth is that dyeing hair is difficult. Doing it yourself is tricky. And getting it done at a salon is tricky. So, my strong suggestion when it comes to drugstore products is to follow that guide, the initial picture of the model n the front, but the real story is on the side where you look at your hair color and then how that hair color, if that’s your hair color, how that box of color is going to affect your hair.
Bryan Barron: Paula, I’ve noticed that one of the things that I’ve seen on L’Oreal permanent color in the stores is that they are doing a much better job of helping people decide between the warmer and the neutral and the cool tones.
Paula Begoun: Oh, yeah, that’s right.
00:15:58 That’s right.
Bryan Barron: Or, you know, for example, like if you’re looking at, if you want to dye your hair brown, it’s not as simple as just going and picking out a box of brown dye. You’ve got to decide do I want an ash, which means cool, or warm? Do I want an auburn brown? And there’s little, you know, you kind of have to read the fine print but it’s there to help you decide – and this is going to bring out golden tones in your hair; this is going to bring out softer, cooler tones in your hair, that type of thing.
Paula Begoun: Or redder tones. Right.
00:16:27 Actually, you know what’s interesting, I wonder if L’Oreal did that because one of the complaints – Bryan and I have both written a book that we mentioned last week that has been out of print now for a couple, three or four years, called Don’t Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me. And when I first wrote that book in the ‘90s I did have the opportunity to go to L’Oreal and Clairol and see how they do their – how they create their color, their research team.
00:17:01 It was actually a rare opportunity where a cosmetic company actually let me in their doors. And one of the things L’Oreal got complaints about was that their hair colors over the years was too red, that they went more red. Clairol went more ash, meaning more golden, more yellow kind of color. Think about warm tones.
00:17:30 And L’Oreal went more red. So, I wonder if in response to that now they corrected it and given you some head’s up as to what that saturation color you’re gonna get. I need to take a look at that because I am a root touchup kind of girl. So, let me explain the difference between permanent, semi-permanent, demi-permanent. And by the way, the term demi-permanent is really only used in a salon in temporary hair color.
00:18:02 What they’ll tell you in the drugstore, not so much at the salon, but what they’ll tell you on the boxes in the drugstore is it will last some number of weeks. That’s a bizarre thing to say. What permanent, semi-permanent, demi-permanent, temporary has to do with is how much coverage you’re gonna get. Because permanent, semi-permanent, demi-permanent all use the same ingredients or the same type of ingredients to saturate your hair with a particular color.
00:18:34 Permanent covers better and deeper. Semi-permanent covers less. Demi-permanent covers about the same as semi-permanent. And temporary has minimal, it has no deposit. It doesn’t really get taken up by the hair. No matter what, as your hair grows, which is about a half an inch every month, your roots are gonna go out with it and you’re gonna see a difference in color.
00:19:02 The length of your hair is unlikely to change but that’s really dependent on how porous your hair is and how well your hair holds color. So, permanent for stubborn grey hair or if you want to make a very significant change, semi-permanent if you have less grey hair and you’re not looking for such a radical change, and temporary for almost no change at all, just for a little bit of a kick to your hair.
00:19:30 By the way, in terms of claims on the boxes, I just was looking, speaking of L’Oreal, they launched a product called Healthy Look Cream Gloss Color. And they’re claims are 100% ammonia-free and nourishing cream formula, deeply conditions while you color, just 10 quick minutes, lasts 28 shampoos. Well, 28 shampoos if you don’t shampoo your hair very often can be like a year. I mean, it has nothing to do with shampooing, it has to do with hair growth, how long for your hair growth it’s permanent hair color – it’s lasts on the length of your hair, that’s number one.
00:20:09 Number two is 100% ammonia-free is meaningless. Ammonia has a high pH. That alkaline nature of the product, what it takes to make the color get into the hair shaft, it doesn’t have to be ammonia. It just has to be another high pH ingredient. Ammonia doesn’t tell you it’s more gentle. That’s just nonsense. There has to be a high pH ingredient in there to make the color work. What a – I mean, it might not contain ammonia, but that doesn’t tell you anything about how the product is working. It isn’t more gentle on your hair. What it takes to turn hair a different color is damaging.
00:20:48 All the research says it’s damaging. There is no research to the contrary. This 28 shampoo thing is nonsense. Your roots are gonna show up way before you have a chance to go through 28 washings. And the 10 quick minutes – if you’ve got stubborn grey hair like I do, or you’re going for a more radical change, it’s gonna…my hair processes in 30 to 35 minutes. If I only left it on for 10 minutes or even 20 minutes, or even 25 minutes, I’m not gonna have my grey covered up.
00:21:22 Those claims are just nonsense. So, let’s talk about strand testing. Strand testing is very important. There is no way to know – I know none of us like doing strand testing. Believe me, to buy a box of color and put it on and process it and watch how it’s changing the color at the back of your hair isn’t fun; it feels like a waste of time. Believe me, do a strand test please. It will save you misery down the road. You need to know how it’s doing. You need to know what color you’re gonna end up with or you’re gonna be an unhappy camper.
00:21:59 By the way, speaking of L’Oreal given I just gave them a hard time, in terms of application technique, has brilliant videos showing application techniques for doing an all-over color or just doing your roots. It’s brilliant. Ignore all their other claims about nourishing hair color and the cute models.
00:22:30 But their techniques of how you separate the hair, how you clip off the hair, using a bottle applicator versus a brush. I happen to like the little brush that comes with some of the kits. Particularly it comes with the Clairol Root Touchup. But some other products have a bottle. Some have this little brush applicator, or if you’re at a beauty supply store you can buy these little hair dye brush applicators. It’s a stiff, thin, small brush so you can separate your hair with a rat tail comb and just get the root area. Bottle are better for all over hair color, although some people work with them really well for just the roots.
00:23:13 But L’Oreal Paris USA did a brilliant, brilliant job. By the way, quick suggestion – how to find a good stylist, I mean a good colorist, because the best thing you can do, aside from looking at for their video technique classes…
Bryan Barron: Let me jump in real quick and let people know how to find that.
Paula Begoun: Okay.
Bryan Barron: So you go to And then click on hair color, which you’ll see along the top navigation bar. And then from there on the lower left side of your screen towards the bottom you’ll see Watch Color Application Videos. And that is what Paula is talking about. The L’Oreal site can be a bit complicated, so that’s the path that you take to get to those videos that are highly recommended.
Paula Begoun: Actually, you know, it’s kind of funny.
00:24:06 L’Oreal’s website is complicated, but this one section they have on the videos to show you how to do hair dye is just wonderful. Clairol’s website is just – their hair dye section is just, what a waste of time. So, do a strand test. is a great option. By the way, do buy an extra box. In fact, you might have to buy several boxes because the first time you do a strand test, if you don’t like the color you don’t want to – you’re not gonna jump in and put it all over. Not to mention the processing time might be, like me, 30/35 minutes and then up to 45 minutes, and given the processing time and the application, hair dye is really done and gone after 45 minutes.
00:24:51 After you mix it, you have about 45 minutes to get the color on before the oxidation, before it’s caput and the amount – you got to get it on in about a half an hour. And then you process in a half an hour. And then you’re gonna get…well, you process as long as it takes to get the color you want. I was going to mention to look for a colorist, because one of the things you can do that I recommend strongly is get your hair dyed professionally so that you can – consider it a class.
00:25:23 Splurge on the money. Go to a colorist to watch their technique. That’s the technique you want to follow when you do it. When you’re doing it at home from a drugstore product you want to follow the precautions and instructions on the sheet, but in terms of application, length of time, that you want to test. And so what you do is after you’ve applied it you wipe off some of the color and check how it looks. If your grey is covered or they dye color is looking like what you were going after, that’s when you know to take it off. It can be 10 minutes for some hair color depending on how porous, 20…somebody like me, 35 minutes. So, that you have to judge and check along the way.
00:26:11 When you’re done, whether or not you put the color – so all-over application, you put it all over. When you do the roots, just the roots, and I am just diligent about just getting the roots and not getting the color on any length of hair, because some hair color if you put the color all over every time, it just gets darker, and darker, and darker because you constantly are putting on – the color is already deposited in the hair shaft and then you’re depositing more. Don’t do that.
00:26:45 The only time you put the hair color all-over after you’ve dyed it, so when you’re just doing the roots, if you’ve had some fading, fading however is mostly a result not of shampooing – you don’t have to buy special shampoos. It’s about sun exposure.
00:27:04 Lots of research about sun exposure fading hair, not shampooing. Special shampoos aren’t going to help you. And there’s no consistency about them anyway, so one hair protecting/color protecting shampoo has nothing to do with the other. The ingredients are all over the place. Who knows what they mean by it. But it is really about sun exposure.
00:27:29 Top ten hair dyeing mistakes. Never apply dye to dirty, tangled hair. You don’t need to deep condition. Deep condition – it’s just ridiculous. Deep conditioners contain the same ingredients as your regular conditioner, you just keep it on longer depending on how damaged your hair is. That’s just a good thing to do in general. You don’t have to do it specially before you dye your hair. Hair should never be damp when applying dye. It needs to be dry. The dampness causes it to move too much so you’re not keep it on the roots. And it’s messy. It dilutes the color.
00:28:06 I already said strand testing. Wear clothing you don’t mind getting stained. Protect the floor and counter tops. Double protect it. You get some of that stuff – it doesn’t hurt porcelain sinks so much – that will wash off. But whatever top you have that’s porous – granite or whatever – not granite so much. I’m missing the names. Tiles that are porous can absolutely get stained. That’s not going to be pretty.
00:28:32 Protect your hair line. I don’t know why at the hair line it stains, but it does. It doesn’t stain the forehead, it will come right off, but at the hair line for whatever reason it does stain. Maybe it’s a saturation issue. I don’t know. But definitely put either Vaseline or a hair serum along your hair line. I do love using hair serums. I actually use my Paula’s Choice Antioxidant Concentrate – I’m getting a little bit of skincare benefit and protecting my hair from the dye. Really get it around your hair line. It really helps to reduce staining.
00:29:07 Rinsing with cold water offers no benefit. There’s nothing that locks in the hair dye from cold water. That’s just nonsense. Bryan, do you want to say the Miss [Uebele] that we had a long talk about?
Bryan Barron: Do I have to?
Paula Begoun: I’m sorry. I mean, we’ve been working together so long that you believe this is just one of those, I don’t know.
Bryan Barron: It was one of those things where I firmly believed for so long that after you have had your hair colored, you know, you go to the salon, you spend all this money, it looks great for the first couple of days, and then you gotta shampoo it.
00:29:43 And it doesn’t look quite as good. Well, you know, you’ve been outside, too. But what I kept believing is that you should wait at least a day or two after you dye your hair before you shampoo it again.
Paula Begoun: Right. So what doesn’t make sense about that is that what do they do right after they dye your hair?
Bryan Barron: They shampoo you.
Paula Begoun: They shampoo it twice! And they scrub it really well. And they rinse it really well. I mean, they get in there and they, I mean, they have to because they have to make sure they get all the dye out. And that doesn’t wreck the hair color, and that hair color is fresh.
00:30:19 So, what the truth is is that the way hair dyes work, once that color is locked in, it isn’t easy to get out. Sun damage is the worst thing that takes it out, or if you are using red dyes. Red hair dye, changing your hair to red. And chemists don’t know why. Of the cosmetic chemists I’ve interviewed, when it comes to red hair dye all of them have said if they can figure out how to get red hair dye to stay in the hair they would, they could buy the island of Tahiti. They’d make a fortune. Red hair dye for some reason doesn’t like grabbing into hair.
00:30:55 But all the other hair dyes, well, blonde hair you’re really removing color. You’re not necessarily adding that much color. But absolutely, you know, well, okay, we said enough. But, you can wash your hair afterwards. It doesn’t matter. That isn’t what’s going to take the hair color out. By the way, it doesn’t hurt if you’re eyebrows are going grey to stick a little of the extra dye that you’re using over the eyebrow. Don’t try t change your brow color; that isn’t safe.
00:31:27 The eyebrows will dye faster than your hair because it’s going over a small area, more concentrated. So, you also want to judge that. You want to wash the color. And you do not dye your eyelashes! Do not dye your eyelashes. A terrible thing to do. Ten hair dye lies. There is no such thing as gentle or natural hair dyes. If it’s changing your hair color, if it’s covering your grey, all of these herbal colors, natural, if you look at the hair care ingredients they are anything but natural.
00:32:00 If they’re working they can’t be natural. Oh god, there’s so much more to say. Bryan, what am I missing? Oh, I know, so when you dye your hair radical changes are difficult. And they are very damaging. Be very careful about that. It is probably best to do that initially with a colorist and then maintain the roots. And then every now and then go back to the colorist to touch it up.
00:32:36 In other words, when it’s a radical change you want to go between doing it yourself and having help from a professional. Hair dye – I’m sorry, Bryan, what were you gonna say?
Bryan Barron: Oh, when we were talking before the show, I think you were getting to this earlier, or getting at this earlier. I asked you, well how do you find a good colorist? How do you know who’s good? And then you mentioned talk to your friends and coworkers.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: As far as, you know, women whose hair dye job you admire.
Paula Begoun: Right. The person you are most envious of. The person who you think has the best hair color you’ve ever seen that is similar to what you’re going after, similar hair color, say, “So who do you go see for that gorgeous color?
00:33:26 And you gotta say gorgeous color, because you don’t want to just go up to a woman and say, “That dye on your hair…” you know, because women like to think nobody knows they dye their hair, so say, “That gorgeous hair color, where do you get it done? Where do you get those highlights put in? And go to that person. That is probably one of the best ways. It doesn’t mean it’s not guaranteed; everybody can screw up hair – you, the stylist, the colorist. It is a great way to find the best colorist.
00:33:56 We have carried on. We don’t have that much time for questions so I’m gonna stop now. But, please be careful when you dye your hair. I am going to put these tips up on my blog that you can get to from because there’s more things, some details on links you can have. And, of course, that video on is really something to take a look at. It’s not that they’re products are any better, but the way they put that video together is really great. Kate, we need to talk to some wonderful women who are listening. Can we start with the first question?
Kate Mee: Yes.
00:34:34 We have Lena from Florida and she has a question about sensitive scalp and hair dye.
Paula Begoun: Hi Lena.
Lena: Hello there. How are you?
Paula Begoun: I’m good. What can I do for you?
Lena: Well I have dermatitis in my scalp and on my skin. And although I do get my hair colored from a friend of mine who is a colorist and she does a great job, but it’s like $100 every other month. And I’m just wondering, this month I’m a little short on money so I might do it myself. And I just wondered do you know of any products that I could use for sensitive skin?
Paula Begoun: No, I don’t know. So you’re saying when she uses her products you don’t react?
Lena: It does burn a little bit, but I don’t…
Paula Begoun: She’s not using anything special that could be duplicated.
00:35:31 There’s nothing about a – so, are you covering grey, Lena? Is that primarily what you’re doing?
Lena: Yes. She does full process and then she puts some highlights in there.
Paula Begoun: Well don’t do your highlights yourself. You do the roots yourself. So, I am going to recommend that you consider Clairol Root Touchup. Now it’s not that it’s special for sensitive scalp. It is going to – there’s no way around it – hair dye irritates scalp.
00:36:02 And the likelihood is that that is going to happen for most women. Some women, not at all, but definitely that is one of the biggest problems with hair dyes. When you’re covering grey or you’re changing your color, those ingredients can cause scalp irritation. There’s no way around it. But to put your foot into, and I totally support you giving this a try on your own, Clairol Root Touchup is really one of the best fool-proof ways to get started. And you just do the front part; nobody’s going to see the back part.
00:36:39 That’s all I do is about from the center of my forehead forward. And they have instructions there to tell you how to do that. And, again, the L’Oreal website is great. Give that a try. But in terms of gentle, natural, not gonna cause you irritation, nobody can guarantee that. Those ingredients that make your hair colored the way you want it isn’t gentle and you might have a reaction to it. If it starts burning you wash your hair. A little bit of tingling, sometimes I get a little irritated, or I get irritated – like sometimes it gets on my ear and I have to wipe it off my ear right away. Just really pay attention to your reaction. But I support you in giving it a try, Lena.
00:37:21 So give Clairol Root Touchup a try, but take a look at L’Oreal’s website for their videos.
Bryan Barron: Paula, what about our Brow Hair Tint for Lena?
Paula Begoun: Oh, can you believe I didn’t give Lena a gift. Lena, are you still there.
Bryan Barron: That’s one of your secret weapons.
Lena: I'm here.
Paula Begoun: Oh, Lena, don’t go away. So we have a – what color is your hair, Lena?
Lena: It’s like a light brown with highlights.
Paula Begoun: All right. So what I’m gonna send you – I’m gonna send you a couple of products. So what I do when I see my grey roots peeking through because I’m neurotic about this, Paula’s Choice has a product called Brow & Hair Tint. And I use it actually on my brows, my eyebrows, as well as my roots the second they come through.
00:38:02 It’s kind of a mascara for your roots of your hair. But it’s not as heavy or sticky or building as mascara. But it’s similar – you’ll see, it’s not mascara. It’s really just a bit of a liquid that dries, that’s controlled, it doesn’t get messy. It’s a little tricky to first learn how to use it, but I’m gonna send you our fawn shade, our blonde shade, and our sable shade. And you can make a decision which one you think works best for you. But I keep one in my desk. I keep one in my car, in my purse, in my makeup bag.
00:38:41 When I see a grey hair pop up I’m all over it. And we’re also gonna send you a Paula’s Choice Smooth Finish Conditioner and All-Over Hair & Body Shampoo. Lena, thank you for your question.
Lena: Thank you. Bye-bye.
Paula Begoun: Enjoy the products. Next caller, Kate.
Kate Mee: We have Annie from Chicago, and she has a question on long-term use of hair dyes.
Paula Begoun: Hi, Annie, how are you?
Annie: Hi Paula, how are you?
Paula Begoun: I’m good. What can I do for you?
Annie: Okay. So I am starting to grey and I’m starting to use hair color to dye my hair.
00:39:18 And I am concerned about the long-term usage of hair dyes because since hair dye only lasts maybe two-to-three months so you have to dye your hair rather frequently.
Paula Begoun: Well, look at me, I dye my hair every ten days! Believe me, I know about frequency. Go on, Annie, ask your question.
Annie: What I wanted to know is if you’re aware of any long-term health-related side effect when it comes to using hair dye long-term. If the chemical could be absorbed through the scallop, you know, maybe into your system or through…
Paula Begoun: I know…
Annie: And I’ve also read possible links between hair dye and cancer. I don’t know if that’s true. I just wanted to get your take on that.
Paula Begoun: Right. Well, you know, this is a hard question.
00:40:11 So, I am aware of all of the research on this. And it’s mixed. There’s definitely mixed research. Most of the research about problems is something called epidemiological meaning you take a thousand women and you look at who dyes their hair and who doesn’t and who has the type of cancer and who doesn’t.
00:40:37 The problem with epidemiological studies if you look at who dyes their hair and whether or not they have cancer and who doesn’t dye their hair and whether or not they have cancer, the problem is it doesn’t tell you if women who dye their hair maybe also smoke or maybe go out in the sun a lot and have sun exposure, or have something else in their diet.
00:41:00 In other words, women who dye their hair might have some other aspect of their life or genetics or whatever is causing the problem. And by the way, there’s mixed epidemiological studies. Some say there is a problem. Some say there isn’t a problem. And the other studies are when you feed the stuff to mice, or some animal, and the animal gets a problem. We don’t eat the products. I don’t know of any absorption studies.
00:41:30 I mean, I could, I mean, the number of ingredients that can be in a hair dye product are numerous. I haven’t checked on absorption studies. But, is there a risk? The research is mixed. I think that the research is hardly conclusive. However, I’m not gonna say, I can’t say that there isn’t some research that looks somewhat legitimate, but I don’t know that the legitimate means that that’s proof, that there could be a problem.
00:42:04 In essence what I’m saying is that I don’t know. Nobody really knows. But the problem is that given that we don’t know, and even if you wanted to err on the side, well, if we don’t know, and it might be a problem, there is no other way to cover your grey or change your hair color without using those ingredients people suspect or are looking at that might be a problem. You would just have to go grey and not dye your hair.
00:42:32 So, that would be, I mean, believe me, I dye my hair a lot and I wonder sometimes when I see a study come out, and then of course there’s the next study that says it isn’t a problem. But, yes, the research is mixed. But I don’t like my grey. I don’t like my grey! I’m vain enough to just…
Bryan Barron: Take the risk.
Paula Begoun: Yeah, I actually think it’s a minor risk.
00:43:02 I do think it’s a minor risk. But, yeah, I just don’t know any other way to help you cover your grey.
Annie: Okay.
Paula Begoun: So, Annie, let me send you – so for those grey roots that pop up, what hair color are you?
Annie: My hair is dark brown, almost black.
Paula Begoun: Okay. So I’m gonna send you – I don’t have a blackish shade, but the dark brown I use, my hair is pretty dark, is a color called Sable. I’m going to send you our Brow & Hair Tint.
00:43:31 That when you see little grey roots pop up along the hair line, I hate that I’m more grey. You know, at the back of my hair I hardly have any grey which is just so unfair. And, of course, where I’m grey is right at the front along the hair line so as I was saying when I see a grey hair pop up I cover it with Paula’s Choice Brow & Hair Tint. So, I’m gonna send you the sable and I’m gonna send you Paula’s Choice Mousse Finish Conditioner and All-Over Hair & Body Shampoo. Thank you for calling, Annie. Kate, next question.
Kate Mee: We have Jill from New Jersey. And she has a question on high end straightening treatments.
Paula Begoun: Oh, is this about the Brazilian hair straightening stuff?
Bryan Barron: Blow outs.
Jill: Hi, Paula, yes, the keratin straightening that can be $300 a procedure that is said to help people like me with very coarse, curly hair to have straight shiny hair for four months.
Paula Begoun: So do you remember – I’m sorry, go on.
Jill: So I did not do it yet, and I’d love your take on if you know anything about it. And I know a lot of the PR I’ve seen is good, but also a lot of safety issue regarding formaldehyde and a lot of the companies are now trying to tout it as formaldehyde-fee, their version being.
Paula Begoun: Of course. Of course. So, I’m sorry, remind me your name.
Jill: That’s okay, my name is Jill.
Paula Begoun: Jill, right.
00:45:04 God, how do you forget the name, Jill? I’m being spacey. So, do you remember a handful of years ago they called it the Japanese hair straightening method? Thermal hair straightening method?
Jill: Yes.
Paula Begoun: So the Brazilian one is just a version of that. It is a specific type of permanent perm. Perms change hair shape and they do it by applying the product and then doing a heat treatment, meaning they flat iron it.
00:45:38 And then they do it again, and then they do it again, and they do it again, and the do it again until the hair is holding the structure that they’re going after. It is a lower pH than a perm that would curl your hair because they’re doing it so many times successively, it doesn’t have to be as strong the first time they do it, because they’re gonna do it again, and they’re gonna do it again. And the heat really sets in the shape.
00:46:07 It works. It works. There’s no question it works. Formaldehyde being in the product, who cares? It doesn’t really matter. All the other stuff that’s straightening your hair is pretty darn strong, too. I suspect the formaldehyde is in there mostly, I mean, it’s usually at the end of the ingredient list. It’s probably there mostly as a preservative base to hold the ingredients stable.
00:46:32 When they take formaldehyde out they’re just putting a different, I mean, they can put an ingredient in there that doesn’t say formaldehyde but is what they call a formaldehyde donor or that releases formaldehyde into the product. It doesn’t matter; it’s not there – it’s a tiny little amount. Formaldehyde isn’t hurting you. It’s in like, what, 0.01% or even less strength. It’s not a deal breaker. And you’re doing it once and then maybe again to do the root area four or five months later.
00:47:01 It works. It works. There’s no question about it; it works. What you don’t have to do is buy the product they say work with it. The shampoo and the keratin Brazilian shampoo and conditioner, whatever they call those products that they sell with it are just shampoos. They’re just shampoos. You don’t need to busy those. In fact, I’m gonna send you, I do think it’s worth splurging. Save up your money. You know, if you’ve read my book or you have a subscription to, you know you don’t have to waste money on expensive skincare products or expensive hair care products.
00:47:40 So you can save up some money because you’re not gonna waste money on an anti-wrinkle product that’s over $50, $60 bucks, but actually even that’s pricy, and waste money on expensive hair products. No hair care product really needs to be over $10, $15 bucks for a really big size. So save your money and splurge on that treatment.
00:48:03 See how it works for you. I think it’s, you know, it definitely straightens hair and it does for awhile. It’s a perm. Just a very specific treatment process style that includes heat and you have to set aside a day; I think, depending on the hair type, it can be four to six hours. And I’m also gonna send you Paula’s Choice Smooth Finish Conditioner and Hair & Body Shampoo. And do you have grey roots you’re worrying about?
Jill: I do. And that’s what makes it even frizzier, yes, as I get greyer, yes.
Paula Begoun: So what color is your hair?
Jill: I would say light to medium brown.
Paula Begoun: All right. So I’m going to send you fawn and sable, our Brow & Hair Tint so if you’re as neurotic as I am when you see grey hairs peeking up at the hair line, you can cover them up with that. You just need to experiment with the color mix so you get the color you want when you touch up. And keep it in the car because you know when you look in the rear-view mirror and you see those…
Jill: Oh, it's the worst.
Paula Begoun: I hate that! I hate that. So I keep it in my panel, the thing between the car seats in the front seat. I take it out and I quickly cover it up at the stop light. Don’t do it while you’re driving.
00:49:18 But at the stop light I go, oh my god, let’s get those roots. So, give the Brow & Hair Tint a try and see how it works for you. Thanks for calling, Jill. Kate, next caller.
Kate: We have a lot of callers this week inquiring about skin lightening and some pigmentation issues.
Paula Begoun: Oh, I don’t have time to do that. Oh my gosh, oh, that would take forever!
Kate: So maybe next week you can address that.
Paula Begoun: Okay, so what’s our show next week? You know, Bryan, I don’t have the list of shows for next week.
Bryan Barron: We really should do, I’ll see if I can find it. We really should do a skin lightening themed show.
Paula Begoun: Oh, gosh, that is such a big… so, Kate, what the callers are asking about is when they have brown discolorations or uneven skin tone?
Kate Mee: Yes.
00:50:05 We have about six callers right now.
Paula Begoun: Oh, so lovely six callers. Kate, will you make sure you and Sherry get their email addresses? It’s a big topic to discuss, but what I’m going to send those six callers who we don’t have time to take their call, let’s send them each one of our Remarkable Skin Lightening Lotion and one of our Remarkable Skin Lightening Gel. And there’s instructions on our website at so you can take a look at how to use them. But, I promise we will make sure we get a show in on Skin Lightening.
00:50:43 That is a huge , huge topic. Just huge topic. So, Kate, let’s make sure Sherry and you get those callers’ email addressed. Kate, unless we have a real quick call, do we have one more really quick question you think I can answer fast?
Kate Mee: Yes. We have Carol from New Jersey and she has a question on choosing hair color as you get older.
Paula Begoun: Hi, Carol from New Jersey. What’s your question?
Carol: Hi, Paula. So, my Bubbies and my Aunties as they got older kept dyeing their hair the same color it was when they were little girls. And it struck me that the more wrinkled the face gets, and the darker the hair is, it’s not doing any service. So I just turned 50 and I want to know when I should start moving my hair color when I was 20 and still, is kind of a milk chocolaty color…
Paula Begoun: How old are you?
Carol: I just turned 50.
Paula Begoun: Okay. So, here’s the clue…
Carol: My question is clear?
Paula Begoun: A thousand percent clear. And it’s actually a fast answer.
00:51:45 Because the easy answer is it just depends. I can’t see you, so it really just depends. But, here’s one of the best ways to do it. You go to one of those fun stores that has wigs.
Carol: Oh, what a good idea.
Paula Begoun: And you try them on and see which color looks good on you. And then you either – ask them if they’ll give you a clipping, sometimes they will, or you just take a picture of it and show it to your stylist, or take it to the drug store and try to match it. You gotta see it. There’s no way to guess it. There’s no rule. I’m 56 years old and I still have a pretty similar color, if not slightly darker, well, no it’s pretty similar, from when I was younger.
00:52:32 With a little bit of highlights. I don’t like that Sarah Jessica Parker blonde look – I so don’t like that look. But some people love it.
Carol: No, I think it’s slutty.
Paula Begoun: Some people love it. I’m not fond of it. But you try on a wig and see if you like it.
Carol: That's a great idea.
Paula Begoun: So, that’s the best I can do. Carol, let’s make sure we get you an All-Over Hair & Body Shampoo and the Smooth Finish Conditioner from Paula’s Choice. And you’ve got grey roots I bet because you said you’re 50.
Paula Begoun: And is it doing fine for you? Have you thought of trying a higher concentration or is it just doing great?
Carol: I do.
Paula Begoun: So what color is your hair?
Carol: It’s kind of a milk chocolate.
Paula Begoun: Okay, so we’re gonna send you the sable Brow & Hair Tint from Paula’s Choice. Keep one in the car! I’m telling you, you’ll see those roots. And I gotta go Jill, I mean Carol. Thank you for calling. Good luck. I can’t wait to see what wig she decides is the best color for her.
00:53:27 You know, there is so more to talk about with this. Hair color, I mean, oh geez. It’s, you know, grey is – nobody likes their own color but grey is the worst. Just, too much to talk about. So, Bryan, what are the shows for the next coming up Thursdays?
Bryan Barron: I have for the next couple of weeks. On July 1 we are going to be talking all about makeup tricks for you to look younger, healthier, and more vibrant.
Paula Begoun: Ooh, that’s my favorite.
Bryan Barron: That’s gonna be a great show. Paula and I have some great ideas for that that we’ll share with you. On Thursday July 8 we have special guest expert Dr. Jamie Schrabeck. She is a California-based manicurist, pedicurist, all around nail health expert. And she will be joining us to talk about giving yourself a wonderful manicure/pedicure at home. And as well as answering questions about any nail issues you may have. And with summer being upon us, we all have nail issues we need to talk about.
Paula Begoun: Beautiful feet.
00:54:33 We’re gonna work on the perfect pedicure, too. So, this is Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, and Bryan Barron, really he’s mostly the Cosmetics Cop. Kate Mee, product development director for who has been standing in, sitting in – you’re sitting, right, Kate?
Kate Mee: I am.
Paula Begoun: Sitting in for Desiree Stordahl, my producer and assistant who is on vacation in Hawaii, not getting tan. So, stay tuned every Thursday evening, six o’clock Seattle time, nine o’clock New York time. We are helping you stay beautifully informed every Thursday evening. Take very good care. Come visit me at Good night.
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