Our Beauty Editor Tried To Dye Her Own Hair And Here's What Happened

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by: Madeleine Spencer
28 Dec 2017

I’ve historically had pretty bad luck when dying my own hair. Captivated by the chameleon aspect of changing my colour, between the ages of 16 and 30, my hair morphed from platinum blonde to chocolate brown to deep red to warm caramel to raven black before finally swinging back to something approximating my own chestnut brown. 

Fun though playing with my appearance was, I spent oodles of money doing it; colouring hair at a hairdresser is pretty expensive. Every attempt to save cash by going the DIY route had disastrous results. There was the time I bought a box of bleach at school and my friend Shireen applied the dye in from one ear across to the other, and we realised halfway through that half my head of hair had turned a rather lurid yellow. There was the ‘home highlight’ kit that the Portuguese sun ended up frying into my hair, resulting in a drastic and unflattering cut. Most memorably, there was the attempt to go from white blonde to black in a single over-the-bath rinse, which ended up turning my hair green the night before a date.

Once I’d accepted that the easiest route would be to have a few buttery blonde highlights with a long, brown root, life became easier. Labouring over my hair was a thing of the past, and my bi-annual balayage sessions serviced my colour sufficiently. That is, until greys started to sprout. I’ve previously written about how I’d embrace full grey, and I stand by that – only the wiry, odd grey hair is annoying and really looks quite odd nestled in the glossy brown I tint my roots.

To combat them, I’ve upped my colour sessions to quarterly, but can’t bring myself to do more – both because I find sitting in a hairdresser’s chair waiting for colour to develop mindbogglingly boring, and also because I’d prefer not to allot so much time to doing so. 

Encouraged by a friend, I decided to try customised hair colour set to conceal errant greys between visits to the hairdresser, as she’d had some success by using their bespoke colour kits (£18 for a one off, £14 if a regular subscription) and was impressed by the meticulous instructions and by the access to a colourist she’d been granted by phone.

My experience was similarly good. After filling out the form on the eSalon website detailing my natural colour, my desired colour, skin colour, and other particulars, I was encouraged to upload a picture so that my colourist, Tamara, could custom blend the right shade. A week later, my kit arrived complete with gloves, a mini ‘Colour Safe’ shampoo and conditioner, stain guards, and stain removers. I followed the instructions to the letter, painting the colour onto my roots only, waiting for it to develop, and then washing off.

Thankfully, the results were delightfully inconspicuous – no green, no yellow, nothing unexpected. In fact, Tamara had done such a remarkable job of matching the colour achieved by my hairdresser, that my greys were covered without any disruption to the colour I’ve come to call my own. 


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