We have dyed our hair for thousands of years. The Egyptians used deadly lead; in ancient Rome they used crushed, pickled leeches...
Today, the steps we take to cover our greys feel almost as extreme, but nothing beats a freshly dyed do – even when you’re running from play dates to school gates. That is why we asked colourist Bianca Crane, from London’s leading hair colourist salon, Four London, to give her tips on making that freshly dyed feeling last longer and look better. Image: Sam McKnight at Chanel
What is the biggest mistake women make when it comes to dying their hair?
When women start to go grey, they tend to panic and throw a box-colour all over. All that does is enhance the greys when the colour grows out and makes the overall look too dark. If there is only the odd silver strand, and you’re otherwise happy with the base colour, a smudge gently blends away the grey. You could also try ‘Reverse Lights’ to diffuse grey hairs so they grow through softer with less of a demarcation line. That way you can get away with visiting the salon less – maybe every eight-to-12 weeks depending on how grey you are.
What is the secret to colour you can manage, especially as a busy mum?
The most important thing is to have a really thorough consultation to discuss your maintenance expectations and find the best technique. Let the colourist know your lifestyle and budget – big colour changes require a lot more upkeep than subtle ones.
How can you make your colour last longer?
Bespoke at-home touch-up kits are a great way – ours are mixed to your shade. Vegetable dyes will also refresh and enrich your colour, making it nice and glossy for in-between times and always protect your hair against heat damage as heat fades colour. Leave your hair to dry naturally where possible and use a good product like Kerastase L’Huile Rose Elixir Ultime oil when drying. It smoothes, enhances the colour and controls frizz – all with high heat protection up to 230 degrees.
Do you have any tips for long hair and maintaining the overall condition?
The colourist shouldn’t take the colour right through to the ends each time. It is important not to over-colour long hair so it doesn’t become over-processed. And you need to care for it in between – after all, you invest a lot of time and money in colouring your hair. Use a good colour-protection shampoo and conditioner and choose one that is sulphate-free (the Kerastase Reflection range is great). All colour fades but you have to protect it with the right products. Keep your hair hydrated throughout the winter by using a weekly hair mask and book in for a more intensive in-salon treatment like Olaplex to keep the internal bonds of the hair strong. Grey hair is naturally more coarse and has less shine. And hair that has been coloured is more porous. When hair is wet it stretches and damages, so you have to repair and smooth the hair shaft every time you wash it.
And finally, who is your current hairspiration?
I probably get most pictures of Jennifer Lopez. She has depth to the base and keeps it light framing the face. It’s brunette but has a lightness and you’ve not got the maintenance of highlights on the parting. For blonde – I love Tess Daly’s hair colour (especially as we do it here!).