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Secrets Of Red Hair: Red Hair Rules


Suzanne De Laurentiis 9th Annual Flaunt Magazine Toy Drive & Anniversary Bash 12-06-07

Celebrities and their high paid staff of hairstylists and publicists know that changing a celeb's hair color or style can instantly generate major media and fan buzz.

Not only does coloring your hair offer a fabulous way to instantly jazz up your look, it allows you the option to change the way others perceive you. It can also set you apart, which is why some celebrities will go against the main stream.

Although Madonna is probably one of the most famous stars who changes her hair color on a constant basis, Britney, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore and Christina Aguilera have all toyed with switching from blonde to brunette.

Only Mandy chose to keep her brunette locks for an extended period after ditching her baby blondes. Ultimately even Mandy returned to the blonde and beautiful fold.

Whenever possible, it is always best to work with a hair color professional to create the safest and best hair color for you.

Types of Hair Color

Although there is a dizzying array of hair color companies that cater to either the professional or home hair colorist, there are some basics about hair color that apply to both the pros and the do-it-yourselfers (DIYs).

There are two basic types of hair color:

1. Permanent

Sharon Lawrence Los Angeles Premiere of "Atonement" 12-06-07

Permanent hair color is always mixed with some type of chemically based lifting agent that literally blows open the hair cuticle so that the current color can be "lifted" and the desired color can penetrate the cortex of the hair to create the final result.

If you go to a professional colorist you may see them mixing powders and/or liquids in a special bowl before they apply it to your strands with a special brush.

Permanent hair color does not wash it. The reason it is called permanent is because it remains on your tresses until it grows out, which causes root lines.

Permanent hair color can be touched up at the roots, can be cut off as the hair grows or can be altered through other chemical applications.

2. Non-permanent

Semi-Permanent Color

Kathy Griffin 2007 GQ Men Of The Year Celebration 12-05-07

Also known as semi-perm, this category of color may contain a lesser form of chemicals than the permanent color in order to slightly open the hair cuticle. When a mild form of chemical is used to deposit color, it will not lift the current shade but the chemicals and/or peroxide (usually less than 5% concentration) will help the semi-permanent color to penetrate deeper and thus will last longer in the shampoo cycle.

Most semi-permanent colors will last up to 25 shampoos. You can stretch the lift of semi-perms by shampooing less often, using shampoos designed for colored hair and using lukewarm water.

One professional colorist told me that is you can shampoo just 1-2x a week and use a non-sulfate shampoo or a light conditioner instead of a harsher shampoo, you can stretch demi-color to last a lot longer than predicted by the color manufacturer.

Mary McDonnell An Evening With Battlestar Galactica 06-06-07

Demi-Permanent Color

The demi-permanent family of hair color is designed to have a much shorter lifespan than the semi-perm colors. Most of the demi perms are designed to shampoo out after 6-8 washes. This category is also known as a vegetable color.

Basically the color, which is usually has a natural base with minimal if any chemicals, will simply coat the outer layer of the hair. It is not henna, although it does coat like henna does. Demi is designed to add shine and shimmer to pre-existing color or highlights.

Mary McDonnell "An Evening with Battlestar Galactica" 06-06-07

Hair Coloring Rules

Mary McDonnell World Premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean" At World's End" 05-19-07

With any type of product you put on your hair there can be rare circumstances that can cause unexpected problems. One complication can be when semi or demi-perm color are applied to hair that is extremely damaged and thus porous.

Even through the hair color is designed to slowly wash out over time, it may seep deeply into the cortex and permanently stain it. Which means that the color then becomes permanent.

Keep in mind that the reason there are different types of hair color is because no one method works best for all types of people and their hair.

Hair color professionals generally agree on the following rules:

1. Consider skin and eye coloring when selecting hair color hues. It is generally suggested that you stay within two shades of your natural hair color. Extremes in hair color can drain natural color from the eyes and skin.

2. Weigh the cost and time factors in the upkeep.

3. Evaluate how complicated the process may be.

Listed below are the most common hair color questions.

What's better for my hair, semi-permanent or permanent color?

Phoebe Price Nicola Bertti Launch Party And Fashion Show 11-29-07

Semi-permanent color give your hair a higher shine and enhance condition, but they won't lift natural hair color. Also, a semi-permanent tint will not cover large amount of grey hair (more than 50%).

If a permanent tint is used correctly, you will always achieve a beautiful effect and semi-permanent tints can be used to maintain these permanent treatments, adding condition.

Can hair be damaged by hair coloring?

Mandy Moore InStyle Golden Globes Party 01-19-03

Only if the wrong level of peroxide is used or you are over-processing (too many permanent colors are applied) your hair. If you constantly change your hair color , especially if you go from blonde to brown and back to blonde, you must regularly use deep conditioning treatments.

Why does colored hair sometimes lack shine and look dull?

Over-processing is the biggest reason. If your hair is starting to look dull, use semi-permanent colors where the pigments sit on top of the hair adding plenty of tone and shine.


Mandy Moore A Walk To Remember Premiere 01-23-02

If you would love to be blonde, talk the process through with your colorist (or stylist) before you go for it. It should be relatively painless on virgin dark brown hair, but if your hair has been permanently tinted then the process will become a long saga.

Never attempt this kind of dye job on your own for the first time.

Ruby Red Tresses

Mandy Moore Seventeen Magazine VIP Pary 06-14-2001

Red is the ultimate sexy shade, for color that cries out for attention. Hair holds on to red-toned pigments well, so going copper-top can be easy for most people. But be warned - if you are blonde you will usually have to go two or three shades darker than your natural color to achieve a rich red (brunette), and it's not easy to reverse it.


Brunette is always a safe choice as it suits nearly every girl in town. Varying the shade with highlights can achieve a huge range of looks. From chocolate brown and bronze shades to honey or dark blonde, combinations of natural tones gives incredible shine as darker-pigmented tints add condition to your hair.

Blue Black This is by far the easiest color to accomplish because the molecules in black tints are larger and will cover all hair types very effectively.

Caution is needed when using black as it only tends to look good on people with darker and olive skin tones. it's great for getting the goth look, but definitely not for your granny.

If you want to talk more about this or other hair care articles on or anywhere else, please post a message on's Hair Talk Forums.

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