Secrets to the Best Hair Color at Home or in the Salon!

Airdate: 3/24/11

Learn all about the top hair dye DOs and DON'Ts from hair color expert Ashley Mecham, and discover how to achieve your ideal hair color whether you're at the salon or home.

Bryan Barron: Good evening everyone. You are listening to "Be Beautifully Informed" with Paula Begoun and the Paula's Choice team. My name is Bryan Barron and I work with Paula, I have worked with her for the past 11 years on research and writing and books and newsletters. And you are not hearing Paula's voice this evening because she is currently traveling for business and is probably cruising along at about 34,000 feet right now.
00:00:32 So, she will be back on the show next week. We have a great topic for tonight. It is the "Secrets to the best hair color at home or in the salon." And I am here with our producer Desiree Stordahl. Hello Desiree.
Desiree Stordahl: Hello Bryan. I am so excited for tonight's topic and for our special guest.
Bryan Barron: You know, I can't believe that we have been doing this radio show for over a year and haven't had one yet that is dedicated to the topic of dying your hair.
00:01:00 So, many people do it. I am thrilled that we have Ashley Meacham who is a hair stylist. She does my color. She is just an amazingly talented woman. We will get to her in a few minutes. I will tell you a little bit more about her background.
But Ashley is going to be taking caller questions later in the show about different hair dye problems or questions you may have in terms of how to get it right or mistakes.
00:01:30 And Desiree and I were talking before the show, like we usually do, and both of us have colored our hair for years. I started as a teenager just to be a bit experimental. And my mother hated it and to this day she was just in town a few weeks ago and the first thing she said to me when we picked them up at the airport was, "Oh, you changed your hair color again."
00:02:00 If it were up to my mother I would embrace my mousy brown hair which is now about 30% grey and just deal with what god gave me. And I always say to her, but mom, you have been coloring your hair since you were in your early 20s and she never has a good reason for that other than the fact that she doesn't like her grays. And so now that I have gray hair of my own I can finally say, "Well, mom, I am coloring my hair for the same reason you do. So, now we are even."
Desiree Stordahl: You know what my tell-tale sign was of when my hair dye job wasn't good? I mean besides the fact that I could tell myself, but when I would come home or I would go upstairs and my dad would see me. Instead of saying, "Oh, that looks good," he would say, "oh that looks different." And now that I am married I think I am getting the same reaction from my husband when the hair dye, he doesn't tend to like it when I change it up too much or if I go darker.
Bryan Barron: Isn't that funny. It's like they are trying not to hurt your feelings.
00:03:00 Because hair in general is an incredibly personal and sensitive issue for men and women. And where as women tend to be more concerned about hair color and hairstyle and do they have the right layers and the smartest cut for their face, men tend to be more concerned about holding on to whatever hair they can. And then the hairstyle and the color is secondary. But, yes, I mean when they say, "Oh, it's different, it is almost like a backhanded compliment but I think they are just trying to spare your feelings rather than just saying --
Desiree Stordahl: Yeah, but I always know what they mean. I know what they mean.
Bryan Barron: Exactly. Exactly. So, Desiree and I are going to be learning right along with our listeners tonight. Again, we are talking about how to get the best hair color, whether you are doing it yourself at home or at the salon. So, without further ado I am going to introduce Ashley. A little bit more background first – Ashley works at the Stan Parente Salon in Maple Valley, Washington.
00:04:02 So, any of our Seattle area listeners, the Stan Parente Salon I honestly can't say enough good things about it. Their entire staff is great. I have been going there for at least the past three years and just consistently good service there. And whether you go see Ashley for color or one of their other stylists for a haircut, they are offering facials now. Very, very nice salon. And Maple Valley is kind of a small town. You don't expect a salon of that caliber in that area.
00:04:33 Ashley has been in the industry for a little over 11 years. She specializes in color and I can personally attest to how good she is at it and one of the things I love about dealing with Ashley for color is that she has a very good eye for color, for what is going to work with your skin tone and for how to blend different shades together so that you really get the results that you want.
00:04:57 Ashley runs an advanced color training program and she has actually done education for top color lines as well. It seems like every time I am in Ashley's chair she is telling me, "I just got back from Las Vegas. I just got back from LA. We did this show." Oh, she is a very, very busy woman. She is a new mother. She is a new wife. Hello Ashley.
Ashley Meacham: Hello.
Bryan Barron: Welcome to BlogTalkRadio.
Ashley Meacham: Well, thank you for having me.
Bryan Barron: Yay! So, Ashley, is there anything that you wanted to add to your little bio other than the fact that I know that you are passionate about hair and educating others about hair?
Ashley Meacham: Definitely I love seeing new people. I have old clients as well. And we actually just recently opened a third salon in the Bellevue area as well, which is –
Bryan Barron: Oh, that's right.
Ashley Meacham: Yeah, a little closer to the Seattle area.
Bryan Barron: Right, and Stan Parente has a location in Federal Way, too, correct?
Ashley Meacham: Correct.
Bryan Barron: Alright, excuse us for a moment why we appease the local listeners who might be curious about this salon. So, Ashley, I am going to start right in with the questions, and I know we have callers that have questions for you, but we have lined some up ahead of time.
Ashley Meacham: Sure.
Bryan Barron: Before I get to my list though, I know Desiree had a couple to run by you and I don't want to forget those, so Desiree why don't you go ahead and get us started.
Desiree Stordahl: So, Ashley, I have naturally dark blonde hair and I am always highlighting it or doing different treatments to it, but lately I have been so tempted to go platinum and I know how bad that is for your hair.
00:06:38 But I have seen it look so cute on stars like Michelle Williams and Emma Stone just went platinum, and it just looked so stunning next to their fair skin. So, I need you to give me the honest truth and for all of those women out there who want to go lighter like I do, is it really worth the damage? Is it going to be too much upkeep? What is your gut instinct?
Ashley Meacham: Well, you are talking to a blonde, so…what I say is it worth it? Of course it is! My view on going platinum, if you are going to do it, you need to do it professionally. It takes quite a few steps to get there. There are a couple of methods you can do either heavy foiling, or you can do like an on-the-scalp bleach.
00:07:29 I would suggest more of the foiling. You are going to still get more depth into your hair. Which also helps with your grow out. The upkeep, depending on how fast your hair grows, is a little bit more than your average appointment. On the other hand, though, grow out is really in right now. So, it kind of just depends – if you are going to get it professionally done though you are going to look at having to come in every four to five weeks compared to –
Bryan Barron: Which, Ashley, price-wise, is it a reduced cost for someone that goes platinum when they are just coming in every four weeks or so for a root touchup, or is it essentially the same color service all over again so the price doesn't change?
Ashley Meacham: It all depends within your stylist. If you are coming in every three weeks, some stylists will give you a break and kind of divide up your service in half.
00:08:32 That is something that you would have to clarify with your personal stylist. But usually if it is shorter than normal, a lot of stylists tend to do that. Another option if you have really high maintenance hair is you can always contact your favorite salon and see if they have a model list. And they usually always do advanced color training and those usually are complimentary.
Bryan Barron: Oh, okay, so you are essentially donating your…you are getting a free service in exchange for helping someone learn?
Ashley Meacham: Exactly. And with these advanced training centers, everybody is licensed under Washington State Cosmetology. And they are under the supervision of an educated stylist that has massive credits under their name. So, it is not like you are just walking into your local beauty school.
Desiree Stordahl: Right, so you were talking about how the grow-out trend is in right now which I have seen a lot of. I know it is as [balliage] but it can be called a lot of different names. So, besides that trend is there any new hip/happening/hot color trends you are noticing lately?
Ashley Meacham: With color we have been seeing the same thing for the last couple of seasons. It is all very one-shade which has to do with kind of the economy –
00:10:04 Not really high maintenance hair and kind of tone on tone looks.
Desiree Stordahl: Okay, and then another quick question for you, just today in my email inbox I had gotten an email with Clairol's new Color Blend Foam product. Have you ever worked with any sort of foam dyes before and if so what is the advantage or disadvantage of them?
Ashley Meacham: I have. The ones that I have worked with were just temporary colors so they would rinse out between washes. If it is in that category they are great for up-keeping your color on a weekly basis, so you can still have the vibrancy. As a permanent line it kind of scares me considering that hair is…it is porous in different spots on your head with it being the environment drying it out.
00:11:03 With it being because of chemical services and so I don't know how consistent the color would be from root to end.
Desiree Stordahl: Okay, Bryan I am done with my questions if you want to go ahead and take yours and I will be looking over our caller's questions.
Bryan Barron: Oh, of course. So, Ashley, hello.
Ashley Meacham: Hello.
Bryan Barron: I have a mix of questions concerning getting hair dyed at the salon and then trying to do it yourself at home.
00:11:34 But real quick, just for our listeners, just wanted to quickly go over the pros and cons of dying your hair at home and at the salon. So, probably the main pro for dying the hair at home is that you can do it on your schedule and it is much less expensive than going to a salon to have somebody else do it. Going to a salon, a major pro is what I just said, somebody else does it.
00:12:00 You essentially just sit there and process and then somebody else does all of the work and handles the mess. Personally that is one of the things I love. A con of going to the salon is that it does cost more. You can get a box of permanent hair color at the drug store for $8 to $10. Color service at the salon, especially in a larger area, it probably starts around $100 and goes up from there. Am I right, Ashley?
Ashley Meacham: You are.
Bryan Barron: But, it cannot be stressed enough how finding that right colorist, especially someone like Ashley who can blend different colors together, a major pro of getting your hair dyed at the salon, other than the convenience of it and the no mess is that you have…there is a much greater level of customization that a colorist can do versus a consumer standing in a drugstore aisle looking at a bunch of pretty pictures of styled hair on boxes. And not knowing what is the difference between light reddish-brown and light auburn-brown and what does ash mean and what does golden undertone mean and is my hair really going to look like this?
00:13:13 Dying your hair, there is an element of it being a crapshoot no matter what, but your odds are better going to a salon. However, the dyes that are available for use at home are for the most part quite good and a lot of women have great luck with that.
00:13:30 But Ashley my first question for you, what is the number one mistake that women make when they are dying their hair at home?
Ashley Meacham: I think the number one mistake is that kind of exactly what you said, they go to the store and they look at the pretty picture on the box and they expect those exact same results. And they need to understand that those ladies on the box, they have foils in their hair, they are under special lighting.
00:14:02 That is definitely not the result that they are going to get. And really the kind of target guide on the back that kind of says if you have this color of hair, this is what you can expect to get – it is so generalized that most likely it is not going to turn out that way.
00:14:27 And then I think another problem is if you decide to do too much of a drastic change.
Bryan Barron: Right, for example, you know my natural hair color is a medium brown, it has some natural red in there. There is no way that I could walk into Rite Aid and go home and half an hour later I am blond.
Ashley Meacham: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: It just isn't going to happen. And on the other hand I have had experiences before where I try to take my hair darker and it ends up looking very inky, almost like just that shoe polish opacity where it doesn't even look like hair anymore.
Ashley Meacham: Pretty flat.
Bryan Barron: And I don't quite know…yes, it is flat and just kind of drab. Okay, so given the limitations for shopping for a hair dye at the store, just how difficult it is, there are a lot of choices, what do you tell women who say, "Look, Ashley, you are great for color but honestly I can't afford to see you as often as I would like. I am going to need to buy a hair dye kit in between. What tips can you give me so I can assure that I will get as close to a great result as possible with a hair dye at the drug store?"
Ashley Meacham: You know I do have a couple of clients that actually say this to me. And which is the key word. I always suggest if you are going to get a color done, first go professional and then ask them what to get.
00:16:05 And they definitely can recommend something to upkeep your color and give you the key wording to look for on the box. Something, especially if you are having to cover gray, always ask, you always want to look for something that just says natural.
You want to either stick with either going one shade lighter or one shade darker. So, you never want to jump more than that.
Bryan Barron: Okay, as a general rule for those women who are natural redheads, is that probably the trickiest natural color to dye, whether at home or the salon?
Ashley Meacham: Yes, regardless, I think hair stylists alone find it very difficult to make a natural redhead.
Bryan Barron: But what about someone who has naturally red hair or strawberry blonde and they are thinking of experimenting. Like Lindsay Lohan is a good example of someone who is a natural redhead and she just never seems to get her color right. Whenever she goes blonde it looks mustardy or too gold or…I know she gets bashed a lot, and I am not trying to add to that, but she just popped into my head as a great example that a lot of people would know from all of the pictures.
Ashley Meacham: There is so much natural pigment that goes into red hair that there is a lot of color formulating that you have to do to counteract those tones.
00:17:39 I would definitely try to leave it up to the professional. Unless if you want to deepen your natural red color. If you want to richen it or if you want to brighten it just by a level that is where you could definitely try to do it on your own, but to go within like a blonde or a brown, I would definitely leave up to a salon.
Bryan Barron: Makes sense. So, once I have that box of dye from the drug store, I have followed your advice, I have only gone one shared lighter, one shade darker, I'm not relying on the pretty picture on the box as much as I used to, so now I am at home and about ready to dye my hair, do you have a couple of tips you can share with our listeners as far as don't forget to do this or nobody ever tells you to do this but they should?
Ashley Meacham: Well, depending on the hair, your hair when it is dry, if it is damaged you might want to spray some leave-in conditioner in it before you start. It always helps if you have a friend help you just because they can see the back of your head.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Ashley Meacham: If you are going to do like a retouch color, we always suggest just doing your retouch.
Bryan Barron: So, the new growth, the roots?
Ashley Meacham: Yes. Most likely permanent hair color in the store has a lot of ammonia in it, so if you do it from roots to ends, you are going to get inconsistency in the color and it is going to really damage the hair. And that is where people tend to run into their hair looking too red or brassy.
Desiree Stordahl: So, actually, if you are going to be doing your own touchups do you need to buy a special touchup kit, or can you just buy the regular, whatever dye it is and just use that?
Ashley Meacham: You know, all you basically really need is either a tube and your fingers or a bowl and a brush. I mean what comes in the kit pretty much I think is geared for doing it yourself.
Bryan Barron: Yeah, and they sell those, I know exactly the brushes you are talking about Ashley. They sell them at Sally Beauty Supply. You can get the cheaper kind with the stiffer bristles. It is really all about using something to target that dye to the roots so that when you are parting your hair and putting the dye on the new growth it is just, it is a much cleaner way to do it. I think it is one of the reasons when you get your hair highlighted at the salon that the colorists typically will brush on the color, she is not scooping it out with her fingers and massaging it in.
Ashley Meacham: Exactly. And it makes the color more consistent through the hair, especially if you are using color to cover gray. It is best to do with a bowl and a brush.
Bryan Barron: Okay, and not a metal bowl.
Ashley Meacham: No, no, you want to use glass or plastic.
Bryan Barron: Right, because the ingredients in the dye can cross react with the metal and really skew the results is what I have read.
Ashley Meacham: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: So, when going to the salon for color, when clients are coming to see you, how can they best communicate the color they want to you. Are pictures the best example? And if so, how detailed should the picture be?
Ashley Meacham: Pictures are great. Hairstylists are visual people. So, they are kind of a good driving point. To completely rely on them I wouldn't suggest because you and the person in the picture could have completely different hair types, colors, textures. And so it is kind of just a good way to see what direction you are wanting to go towards.
00:21:41 When you feel confident with your stylist you should definitely feel open for suggestions on what the professional thinks would be great for your skin color, your hair texture, and your maintenance level.
I think just by having a really good consultation from the beginning is going to be your best bet.
Bryan Barron: Right. Like what we do when you pull out the swatches and we talk about what we are going to do this time and I don't sit down in your chair and say, "Okay, I just want to do blond."
Ashley Meacham: Exactly. And if that is what is happening then you should get up and leave. I mean hair is your number one accessory that you have to wear every day and you want to feel confident that the person that is providing the service can give you definitely what you are looking for.
00:22:36 And if it is just too general and you are kind of not feeling confident and you are kind of iffy about what he or she is doing, then that tells you that you might be in a bad situation.
There shouldn't be any questions before the service gets started. You should feel like you have all of your answers met.
00:23:00 Bryan Barron: So, as a stylist, it most likely makes you more nervous or anxious when you are dealing with a client that isn't speaking up?
Ashley Meacham: Exactly. And a lot of times it is probably just because they are not quite sure and that is where pictures do come into play because you can kind of get an idea of what they like, what they don't like, and that is another thing, too. If you have no idea what you want to do but you know you want to do something, tell the stylist what you don't want.
Bryan Barron: That's a good idea.
Ashley Meacham: Usually from there you can kind of go down the process of elimination and figure out something that is going to work.
Desiree Stordahl: And Ashley as a hair-colorist is that like a hair colorist's dream to get a client who lets you do whatever? Or is that more of a nightmare because you have no idea what they really want and what they really think?
Ashley Meacham: To me, it is a dream. For some people…
Desiree Stordahl: I think I am going to come to you.
Ashley Meacham: To some people it could be kind of intimidating. But I personally think within my own clientele I have quite a few people that actually sit in my chair and say, "You know what, do whatever you want."
00:24:07 And those clients --
Bryan Barron: That's trust.
Ashley Meacham: They usually end up with the best results. But if you are not a seasoned experienced stylist and you do that you might run into the risk of having –
Bryan Barron: I mean I think we have all had experiences where we have sat in the chair and you can tell – when you are sitting there it is all done and styled and it looks a certain way when it is wet.
00:24:38 And you are thinking, "Oh, I hope that looks better when it is dry." And then it doesn't. And you can tell that the stylist is basically trying to BS their way through the rest of the service just so you will leave because they know it doesn't look good and they are trying to convince you that it does.
Ashley Meacham: Yeah, or –
Bryan Barron: That is just…in fact I actually stopped going to a person in the past who had previously given me fairly consistent results with color.
00:25:04 And I thought we had a rapport and they went off on their own direction, and it was just…it was bad. It was like one of those, a week later I was just doing it myself to try to make it look somewhat more normal.
Ashley Meacham: Well, and that is the thing, too. If you develop a sense of trust with that person, so when it is just trying to get smoothed over instead of fixing the result, it is just really frustrating.
00:25:30 And also if you are going to a really well reputable salon, your service should always be guaranteed. And if it is not the result you are looking for they should fix it for no additional cost.
Bryan Barron: Yes, I agree. So, what do you think about at-home highlighting kits? Don't do it? Is highlighting something where you just have to go to the salon?
Ashley Meacham: As a stylist, I say go for it because I will be fixing it. But –
Bryan Barron: As much as I know about hair dye and how it works and what not, I would never highlight my hair at home. And I wouldn't trust anybody else to do it. I mean I could have a friend say, "Oh, sure, how hard can it be? It's aluminum foil and a brush and die." No, I wouldn't.
Ashley Meacham: It is a horrible, horrible mess. And I would say a big portion of our corrective colors come from doing it yourself boxes of highlighting kits.
Bryan Barron: Sun-In.
Ashley Meacham: Kind of a rule, most people that are going to try to highlight their hair themselves have previous color on their hair. And the bleach that comes in those kits, the developer isn't strong enough to get them past that really brassy yellowy blonde color.
Bryan Barron: So, you are referring to lifting, right?
Ashley Meacham: Lifting, yes.
00:27:02 Anytime, if you want to lowlight, if you want to highlight, if you are trying to pick out certain pieces, I would just suggest going to a stylist. If there is somebody that cuts your hair, ask them if they do mini foils. That could be anywhere between $30 and $60. That is kind of an add-on to your haircut.
Or again, see if they have a model program. That is going to save you [money].
Bryan Barron: Oh, absolutely. Your mention of the mini foils during a haircut service prompted another question which is how important is a haircut for emphasizing color?
Ashley Meacham: It's really important, especially if – what basically, colors give you shine and they give you movement. If you are wanting something that has a lot of depth or if it has foils or highlights or lowlights, those highlights and those lowlights are going to put the movement through the haircut.
00:28:09 And sometimes if you don't have the correct haircut to go with your color, it is just going to end up looking unfinished or your hair could actually look more damaged.
Bryan Barron: So, any tips on how consumers can make their color last between treatments. I know stores sell the shine glazes, you can go to the salon for a color refresh.
00:28:35 But generally when your clients are done and they are like, gosh, I love this color Ashley but I am nervous that I am not going to be able to make it last, and regardless, color will fade. It is always going to look its best those first few days. With exposure to sunlight, shampooing, it does fade with time. Even though it is called permanent dye, you are not going to get those permanent results of that first day color throughout the whole process. So, what are your tips? How can consumers make their color last between treatments?
Ashley Meacham: Well, the number one thing that makes hair fade is water. Water has a higher pH than hair color.
Bryan Barron: I'm so glad that you said that.
Ashley Meacham: So, when we really say try not to wash every day, that is why. The best way to keep your color fresh is to try to go multiple days between washing.
00:29:33 Or at least shampooing. So, we definitely suggest showering every day and conditioning every day, but trying to limit the time you hair is in the water is the best way. Color refresheners at the salon, color shampoos help. They have a little bit of tint in them that wash out between shampoos.
Bryan Barron: Do you think that the color enhancing conditioners work a bit better though?
Ashley Meacham: Usually there is more pigment within the shampoos or sometimes some lines you are required to use the shampoos and the conditioners together to get the results. And you know, if you are going to be out in the sun, try to wear a hat. Another tip, if you are just going to go out sunbathing, and you don't really care what your hair looks like, spray some waterproof sun-block in your hair. That helps.
00:30:30 Bryan Barron: I've actually done that in the past. And I was a greasy mess but –
Ashley Meacham: But it works. It protects your investment. And try to stay out of tanning beds.
Bryan Barron: Okay, alright. So, one last question before we get to callers, and it is kind of two-pronged. How do you handle the issue of clients with stubborn or resistant gray hair? And then as an offshoot from that, a co-worker who is growing out a beard, he is concerned because his beard hair is coming in gray, but he is not that gray with the hair on his head.
00:31:09 So, he was asking about what he could use to color those grays to make it look more natural. And he was a little bit leery about the men's hair dyes because of some of the warnings involved with those. So, kind of a two-parter there.
Ashley Meacham: The men's hair dyes are fine as long as it is a wash-out color.
00:31:30 That is the whole ticket to make it match the hair on his head. You don't want to use anything that is permanent, just a semi-permanent twelve washes or six washes.
Bryan Barron: So, it doesn't necessarily have to be a men's dye. Like he could use one of the level two semi-permanents or?
Ashley Meacham: Yes, yes. As long as it is something that is semi-permanent. What that will do is it will actually color some but it will just stain some.
00:32:02 So, it will blend the process a lot more so it won't be such a contrast.
Bryan Barron; Do they have to leave it on as long as you would the hair on your head?
Ashley Meacham: Yes. Any time you are going to use a box at-home, no matter what, just follow the directions. If it says to stay on for thirty minutes, but it looks really dark, keep it on for thirty minutes.
Bryan Barron: Alright, and what about just the general issue of client's with stubborn or resistant gray hair?
Ashley Meacham: So, if you are going to do your hair at home and you are trying to cover really resistant gray hair, obviously that is going to be where you are going to start the application of color. You might need to just cover the gray and let it sit for 15 minutes extra and then proceed with the rest of the process. If it is very, very resistant and you have tried everything and it just won't cover, usually in the box there is a tube of color and there is a bottle that has peroxide in it.
00:33:10 If you first, without mixing the two together, just put the bottle of the peroxide on the gray, and let it sit, then you mix the two together, and you cover it like you were going to do a regular retouch application. That helps swell the cuticle to really get the dye in the gray hair.
Bryan Barron: Oh, that is a really good tip and I was a little concerned at first because the peroxide might make the area too light. But then you are following with the dye and –
Ashley Meacham: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: It should all balance out.
Ashley Meacham: That's what we do at a salon as well.
Bryan Barron: Okay.
Ashley Meacham: And that way it ensures that you don't have to go with a super dark hair color to get the coverage you are looking for. And then you don't run into those really flat opaque looks.
Bryan Barron: Okay, one more question to sneak in. Why does red hair dye fade the fastest?
Ashley Meacham: Red hair dye has the biggest color molecules out of any color and so they have a hard time going into the cuticle. They mainly just stain the cuticle. A little bit will get in but not as much as more natural colors. So, when you layer the colors on, it's just stain over stain over stain.
00:34:33 That's why it is also the hardest color to get out of the hair when you are trying to get away from reds. It takes multiple processes to really get that color to stick.
Desiree Stordahl: So, Ashley are you ready to take some caller questions?
Ashley Meacham: Sure.
Desiree Stordahl: Alright, let's go to Kit in California.
Kit: Hi.
Bryan Barron: Hi Kit. What's going on tonight?
Kit: I'm good, thanks, how are you guys doing.
Bryan Barron: We are doing good.
00:35:02 We are having fun talking to Ashley; I hope you are liking the show so far.
Kit: Very much. But you know what, I think you already answered my question. my original question was I have very dark hair and now that I am older I am thinking about maybe just going a half a shade lighter or doing some maybe dark caramel highlights around my face. And my question was can I do that myself? And no it's like I wouldn't even try to do that myself.
00:35:26 I will end up with like Bozo hair going to my hair stylist going, "I should have listened to the radio show."
Ashley Meacham: Well, this is the thing, too. If you have been dying your hair on your own or professionally and you want to lighten it maybe a level yourself, one general rule is color does not lift color. So, if you put a lighter shade on your hair, your grow-out would lift a level lighter but your ends would remain the same.
Bryan Barron: Or they can get darker.
Kit: Well, see I don't have a lot of gray hair, even at my advanced age; I actually have very little gray hair which is around my face. And I thought, what if I just buy a lighter brown, like a lighter medium brown and put it on and it won't darken my hair but it will darken the grays, right? Am I a genius?
Ashley Meacham: Yeah.
Kit: Really?
Ashley Meacham: Yeah, or you know what, try doing a semi-permanent color.
Kit: That's what I use. Semi-permanent.
Ashley Meacham: If you use semi-permanent, then definitely around where your more concentrated grays, go up a level lighter.
Kit: And so I can just paint that on and it will just go into the grays then?
Ashley Meacham: Yes. It is not going to change anything else. If it is a semi-permanent it doesn't have the power to lift. So, it will just, where your grays are, it will just deposit onto that lighter than the rest of your hair.
Kit: That is good, because sometimes when I put the semi-permanent and the dark brown all over my hair I get that effect that you guys were just talking about where it looks like my whole head was dipped in an inkwell.
00:37:10 Even though the box looks like it is my same color, it comes out kind of dark and flat and all of the sparkly stuff is gone.
Ashley Meacham: Yeah. It kind of loses the shine.
Kit: Okay, well I am going to try that then.
Bryan Barron: Alright, Kit, before you go since we took your call and every call we take you get free Paula's Choice products –
Kit: Oh my gosh, I'm a huge Paula's Choice fan.
Bryan Barron: You are using, okay. What products do you use?
Kit: I use, well I am out of your cleansers and just to save money I have kind of gone with the Gentle Olay Foaming Wash, but I use all of her sunscreens. I use her serum, the antioxidant Skin Recovery serums, I use the Resist Advance Replenishing Toner that you guys are out of right now. I use the Barrier Repair.
Bryan Barron: I have a feeling, yes, we are very disappointed to be out of that toner. Oh my gosh.
Kit: I know. And I got the email recently that you guys didn't expect as much of the fantastic response that you got. And I hear it is April until it is back, right?
Bryan Barron: Yeah, for that and for our Weekly Resurfacing Treatment in the Resist line. What cleanser of ours were you using Kit? Skin Balancing, Skin Recovery?
Kit: I have tried all of them and I honestly don't remember. I like them all. Now my skin is just perfectly normal expect I sometimes get breakouts around my mouth so I use your 2% salicylic acid also.
Bryan Barron: You know what, I will send you a bottle of our Clear Normalizing Cleanser.
Kit: Okay, it won't dry the rest of my skin out?
Bryan Barron: No, no, no. It is a very gentle cleanser. I mean if for some reason you are not happy with it let us know and we will get you another cleanser.
Kit: Well, I have never been disappointed yet. So.
Bryan Barron: Yeah, you should love this and I will have Desiree send you a bottle of our Smooth Finish Conditioner as well so you can experiment with that.
Kit: Oh, thank you so much.
Bryan Barron: Thanks for calling Kit.
Kit: You bet, have a great day.
Bryan Barron: Thank you. Desiree, who is up next for Ashley?
Desiree Stordahl: Our next caller is Karen from New York.
Bryan Barron: Hi Karen.
Karen: Hi, how are you?
Bryan Barron: Good, did you have a hair dying, hair color question for Ashley?
Karen: Well, I have been starting to get gray when I was about 27 years old. And I am 52 and I have to color my hair every three weeks.
00:39:34 I get, it's like a raccoon. The gray is very gray. And what I am finding and what I wanted to ask, is what I do to save some money is I do it myself three times, and then I go to a professional to get it done like every three months. And my color, I wanted to ask you, I think from coloring the gray it sometimes looks like I have highlights because the gray is lighter than the other part of the hair.
00:40:08 So, that is my one question: Do you think I should continue to do it like that and the other question is how do I get the shine back to my hair. It seems like I have to use so many products because I think it has been colored for so many years it is losing luster.
Ashley Meacham: Well, when you do have gray in your hair it tends to be coarse and it doesn't reflect light so you lose the shine.
00:40:34 And by doing the color yourself, if it gives you kind of that highlighted appearance, that is going to be kind of the benefit and it won't make your actual grow-out so stark. It won't be such a heavy contrast. One way that I suggest that is great for anybody that wants to put extra shine in your hair, you can go to your local beauty supply store and you can get a semi-permanent clear gloss.
00:41:08 It is a color, but it is just clear. It has no pigment in it. And what that is going to do is it is going to put a layer of shine on your hair which kind of looks like glass and it will last for anywhere between 3 to 4 weeks.
Karen: Oh really? You can guy that in a drug store or not?
Ashley Meacham: You can't find it in the drug store.
00:41:30 But you can find it at local beauty supplies.
Desiree Stordahl: In order to shop at one of those beauty supplies do you have to have any sort of license, or can anyone go in and buy that glaze?
Ashley Meacham: There are some that you have to have a professional license, but there are some that are definitely open to the public. I'm sure about the East side, but there is like a Sally's Beauty Supply, there is Ed Wyse. You can even…
Karen: How about online, I was just going to say. A clear gloss it is called?
Ashley Meacham: It is a semi-permanent color and it is clear.
Karen: Any particular brand you recommend.
Ashley Meacham: Any brand is completely fine.
Karen: Semi-permanent color, clear. Okay.
Ashley Meacham: Yes. You can find them in multiple brands. There is no pigment in them so you won't get any weird results or anything.
00:42:27 And it is actually also a deep conditioning treatment as well because it helps the cuticle lay flat and so it will really smooth your cuticle down if you have curly or wavy or frizzy hair which sometimes happens with gray hair.
Karen: I was just going to ask you my next question is the Keratin working with the color, how does that preserve color? I had that treatment done once. Because I live in New York.
Bryan Barron: Karen, are you talking about the Brazilian Blowout?
Karen: Not that one, but something like that one where you leave it in for 24 hours, yes.
00:43:03 It is not that brand, it was a different one, it wasn't Peter Coppola, it was…it was done in Manhattan at this salon. I actually bought like a Groupon for it, you know? And I just wanted to know if you think that helps preserve the color as well?
Ashley Meacham: It actually does. Any treatment that is a Keratin treatment, especially those particular types of straighteners, it is layers of protein on the cuticle and that is what color sticks to is protein.
00:43:40 So, it is going to help with your hair.
Karen: And you mentioned that water, even if it is not shampoo, takes the color away, right?
Ashley Meacham: Yes, water has a higher pH than shampoo.
Karen: What if you use conditioner to counterbalance the water like every…I don't wash my hair. I actually go three days which is good.
Ashley Meacham: That's perfect.
Karen: Yeah, I do. I am lucky with that. And I do have thick, coarse hair. I think that is probably why.
Ashley Meacham: If you mix, no matter what, obviously everybody kind of likes to get their hair wet and feel refreshed in the morning and that is fine. Just as long as you are not using extremely hot water.
00:44:29 And as long as you are not showing two to three times a day. And if you use more of a cooler temperature it is actually going to keep the cuticle closed so none of the stain can go down the drain pretty much.
Karen: Okay, one more question because I don't want to take up too much time. Using a flat iron – what does that do to the color in the hair. And I don't use it often but I wanted to know what that heat does for color treated hair.
Ashley Meacham: Well, if you don't protect the cuticle with a product that is a heat protectant, it is going to cause damage. And when you get damage on the cuticle the hair…it lifts. And when you have the cuticle lifting little, what we call split ends, if you get split ends and it makes the cuticle lift, that makes the color come out. The stain can't stay into the cuticle.
Bryan Barron: You have to think of the cuticle layer – if you see a picture of a hair strand magnified thousands of times, the cuticle layer literally looks like fish scales or shingles on a roof. And when hair is dyed those shingle layers lift up slightly due to the chemical reaction of the dye, that is how the dye gets into the hair and is able to stay there for a good amount of time.
00:45:59 That roughing up of the cuticle is also why a lot of people with fine or thin hair find that after they color it, it feels and looks thicker and fuller.
Ashley Meacham: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: Because that cuticle has been roughed up.
Ashley Meacham: And when you have a healthy cuticle it is really smooth, but when you get a lot of damage we try to explain it like it creates pot holes in the hair. And so…
Bryan Barron: Exactly. But once that hair is damaged though, products essentially can only serve as a bandage and they can help keep that damage from getting worse, but if you are continuing to style and brush the hair aggressively, use heat for extended periods of time, you just have to keep in mind that even the best products for heat protection will only go so far.
Ashley Meacham: They are preventative. They are not necessarily reparative. But you know, everybody, a lot of people do use the flat iron and that is fine.
00:47:03 Just try to give your hair a break a couple times a week or you don't necessarily have to put it on its top setting as well.
Karen: Well, that is the one thing when I got that Brazilian Keratin treatment then I didn't have to use the flat iron as well.
Ashley Meacham: Exactly. And those treatments, like I said, damaged cuticles are kind of like pot holes on the hair. That protein fills in those holes.
00:47:33 So, they are really nice and if you are using the right brand, they do help repair some of the hair.
Karen: Is there any particular brand to stay away from?
Ashley Meacham: Well, there was a lot of controversy with the Brazilian blow-out but my understanding they have reformulated it so it is now back out on the market and I guess it has even better results.
00:48:05 Other than that, I don't know any particular.
Bryan Barron: Thanks for calling Karen.
Karen: You are welcome, thank you.
Bryan Barron: Desiree, do we have another caller for Ashley?
Desiree Stordahl: We do, we have Mary Ann from Colorado.
Bryan Barron: Hello Mary Ann.
Mary Ann: Hello, good evening.
00:48:29 As we all see the famous actresses shaking their hair after they have used L'Oreal or whatever, ha, ha, ha.
Bryan Barron: Because they are worth it.
Mary Ann: Exactly. Right, because they go to a hairdresser and I use L'Oreal or whatever. My hair, when I am in the shower and you know you have rinsed your color out or what not in the kitchen sink, my hair feels like straw afterwards. And if you use their particular conditioners that they give you, well then your hair just feels like sort of a clump of maybe not straw but it just feels clumped together.
Ashley Meacham: Like mush?
Mary Ann: Yeah, I guess so. Like soft mush. So, in actuality you will get a laugh here. I use those conditioners on my horses' manes and tails and they are perfect for the horses but since my hair is not quite as icky as horse hair, I'm sort of wondering what would be your suggestion to really soften your hair out nicely afterwards but without it going limp. I guess that is what happens. If I use their conditioner, my hair is just limp.
Ashley Meacham: Their conditioner is pure wax.
Mary Ann: Oh, okay then.
Ashley Meacham: If you think about it, it could be anywhere from just wax, fragrance, there might even be some weird stuff like what you would find in body lotion.
Mary Ann: Oh, yeah, right.
Bryan Barron: Most of the conditioners that come with hair dye, you are right Ashley, they are not the most elegant formulations.
00:50:03 A lot of them are heavily perfumed and I think they do that on purpose because at least with a layer of perfume over your hair you are not going to walk around smelling like you just died your hair.
Ashley Meacham: And, too, with all of the wax if you think about it, when you light a candle and it melts it gets shiny. So, if you have that wax on your cuticle and you blow it dry and you style it with some heat style you are going to get shiny hair.
Mary Ann: Right. Well, that makes good sense. What is your suggestion?
00:50:34 Ashley Meacham: I would use a protein treatment. So, either by going to your local beauty supply or by somebody that cuts your hair if you ask them to suggest a really good protein, either a mask or a weekly conditioner, that is going to be your best bet, especially if you are going more towards the blonde tone.
Mary Ann: Well, I am a brunette so I typically…and I am so glad you said that about putting the peroxide on my temples first and then letting it sit for maybe what, five minutes or so, and then going ahead and putting the color all the way on. And for years now I haven't pulled it through because they need to tell somebody somewhere that every time you pull it through your roots…I'm sorry, your ends look horrible.
Ashley Meacham: Yeah, it is a lot of ammonia for your hair to take. And even if you are going brown, blonde, red, what not, there is the same amount of ammonia in every box. So, it is quite a bit. So, any time that you are going to do that treatment, a protein treatment is just going to help with any weak stands.
Bryan Barron: You can look for silicones, too.
Ashley Meacham: Yes.
Mary Ann: And what about Infusium. I know it used to be real popular a long time ago but is that something that you would suggest to put on your hair afterwards?
Ashley Meacham: You know I personally haven't ever used it. I don't necessarily know what is in the ingredients. Price point though I know that Potion No. 9, do you remember that product?
Bryan Barron: Yeah, that is from Sebastian.
Ashley Meacham: Yeah, I don't even know if they still retail it. I definitely know that that is a good reparative.
Bryan Barron: They do. We have that…Sebastian is one of the lines that we have reviewed on Beautypedia so you can check that out there.
Ashley Meacham: And I believe it is very similar with the price point of the other products.
Mary Ann: Okay, and that was Sebastian what please?
Ashley Meacham: Potion No. 9.
Mary Ann: Potion No. 9. Okay, well here in Colorado we live at 5,000-some feet and dryness is just a huge problem and we have had a real dry spring. And so I am really interested in whatever I can do to sort of help out my hair in addition to my skin.
00:53:06 And I'm very happy with Paula's products as far as that goes.
Bryan Barron: So, Mary Ann, for dry skin have you ever experimented with our Beautiful Body Butter?
Mary Ann: No, I have not.
Bryan Barron: Oh, we are going to send you a tube of that. It is amazing for dry skin.
Mary Ann: My other big problem is my lips.
Bryan Barron: That is next on my list. I'm going to send you or lip exfoliant. It is a really mild creamy scrub for the lips. You use it before you put on lip balm or lipstick. You will want to remove it with water or a damp wash cloth and then you can follow with our lip and body treatment balm which is a Paula's Choice staff favorite.
Mary Ann: Oh that sounds wonderful.
Bryan Barron: So, we are going to send you all three of those.
Mary Ann: Thank you.
Ashley Meacham: Something you can do at home, real quick, too.
00:53:55 If you have really dry hair and a dry scalp it, in a blender you can blend up a banana, olive oil and almost extract and you can put it on your hair and wrap a warm towel around your head for ten minutes to rinse it out. And that will definitely help as well.
Mary Ann: Oh really. Okay, that sounds really great. Thank you so much. I mean Paula's products, I have gone one whole summer without having my face sunburned, and this is the first time in my life.
00:54:27 I wish I had found Paula like 30 years ago.
Bryan Barron: Thank you so much Mary Ann.
Mary Ann: Well, it is just really, really true. And to keep my skin from being burned it has really made a huge difference so I really appreciate it.
Bryan Barron: Sun protection is a big deal and you will start seeing the benefit from that. Even if you already have sun damaged skin, which let's say that most of us day. Alright, well you enjoy those products and try that advice from Ashley and let us know how you are doing.
Mary Ann: Alright. Thank you so very much. I appreciate it.
Bryan Barron: Hey Ashley?
Ashley Meacham: Yes.
Bryan Barron: I think we have time for one more quick call. We have about four minutes left so let's see if Desiree can find us a quick one.
Desiree Stordahl: Let's go to Cherie in California.
Bryan Barron: Hi Cherie.
Cherie: Hi, how are you?
Bryan Barron: Good. What is your question for Ashley? We have to keep this moving.
Cherie: Real quick. I react really poorly to most of the hair dyes. It irritates my scalp.
00:55:30 It gets…the whole problem with braking out and irritation and redness, and I have heard that a lot of that is because of the tar-based products in the dye. Are there any type of products that you can use to avoid that or something that is easier on your head, your scalp?
Ashley Meacham: It is usually more metallic-based products which you would find in like [Syria]. I believe L'Oreal is free of metallics.
00:56:02 It just all depends. Usually if you have reactions to hair color you are going to have it within most lines. Something you can always do is take a Benadryl before you dye your hair or you can actually put a pack of Sweet'N Low in your color.
Cherie: Sweet'N Low? Really?
Bryan Barron: What does that do?
Ashley Meacham: It neutralizes the chemicals that causes the reaction on the scalp.
Cherie: But it is still accomplishes the actual dyeing of the hair?
00:56:33 Yeah, it is not going to suffer the results whatsoever. It is just going to help – it acts more like a soother.
Cherie: Now if I am doing it at a salon, because I usually go into the salon and have it done, because this just recently happened. I was fine for years and then all of a sudden it has just decided I have had enough and I am reacting. Is that something that you could talk to your stylist and they would consider doing something like that?
Ashley Meacham: For sure. If they have been using the same color it might be hormones that can play a toll. If they changed their color, it could just be the actual brand. But a lot of times if you tell them that you have been having a sensitivity to it, either they have additives that they can add to soothe your scalp, or like I said, a simple pack of Sweet'N Low will do you.
Bryan Barron: Another option, especially along the hair line and the back of the neck is to make sure that if you are going to a salon that they use some sort of a barrier cream.
Cherie: Yes, and he does do that, so I don't have a problem on my face or the back of my neck. It is actually just on my scalp.
Bryan Barron: Well, and then of course you can also consider switching from all-over hair dye to doing highlights which doesn't have as much close contact with the scalp.
Ashley Meacham: Exactly.
Cherie: Okay. Great. Well, that's helpful. I appreciate that.
Bryan Barron: Alright, well thank you so much for calling. We are going to wrap up here.
00:58:02 Ashley, I wanted to thank you so much for taking this hour to be with us. I knew that you would have some great tips and some good advice. And, hey, if you get some new Seattle-area clients out of this, all the better.
Ashley Meacham: Sure, thank you so much for having me. I had a great time.
Bryan Barron: Okay, I'm getting grow-outs so I will be seeing you soon.
Ashley Meacham: Okay.
Bryan Barron: Have a good night.
Ashley Meacham: You too. Bye-bye.
Bryan Barron: Bye. Alright, well that is the end of our show on hair dye. It is a large topic.
00:58:31 We are going to have to do it again. Maybe Ashley will be kind enough to come back. Wanted to tell you real quick about the next three week's worth of shows we have coming up. Next week Paula will be back and we are going to be talking about 5 Cosmetic Dermatology Procedures to Consider. Paula is going to talk about what she has had done. I know she has been thinking about having some more stuff done. She has kind of become her own guinea pig. And it has been really interesting to watch the process.
00:59:00 It's actually been going really well. On April 14 we are turning back to makeup and we are actually going to have a celebrity makeup artist as a special guest on the show. Michelle [Boxall] is going to be revealing celebrity makeup tips that you can do yourself and it is not as hard as you think. On April 21 we are going to be telling you all about dual-purpose cosmetics. Do more with less products. Get yourself up and ready and out the door in the morning faster than ever.
00:59:32 Again, you are listening to "Be Beautifully Informed" with Paula Begoun and the Cosmetics Cops – Paula's Choice Team. Come visit us at for Paula's Choice products, articles, all kinds of information on how you can take the best possible care of your skin. And for thousands of product reviews you can always check out which is now free for everyone, all the time. Thanks so much for listening. Good night.
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