The quick way to change your look

 If you’re scared of getting the chop – your hairdo getting the chop that is – there is another, less drastic, way to change your look.

Changing the colour of your hair gets attention and can make you feel like a new woman or man. An estimated 65 to 75 per cent of women do it and men are also joining in this fast-growing beauty trend.

However, there are many different decisions to make when you decide to change your hair colour, from colour choice to dye type to full colour or highlights.

Colour choice
Make sure you take your skin tone into consideration when deciding whether to go lighter or darker – it’s best not to go too light if you are very dark skinned and vice versa, as dark hair on very light skin can make you look even more washed out.

Try not to stray too far from your original hair colour if it’s your first time, especially because bleaching hair is damaging and the lighter you go, the greater the damage.

The variety of types of hair dye can cause confusion as well. It is always advisable to visit a hair salon for your dye job, whether it is your first or one hundredth time. The professionals know what they’re doing, and if anything goes wrong, they have the tools to correct it, as well. However, it is always worth knowing what you want before you visit the salon.

Permanent hair dye works by stripping your hair of its colour and then adding the new hue. The advantage of permanent hair dye is that when new hair grows in, dye only needs to be applied to the hair’s roots in order to refresh the colour. It is also the best option if you want to go a lot lighter than your natural hair shade. Remember that environmental elements such as sun and chlorine can affect the shade and cause it to go dull.

Semi-permanent hair dye is the most popular option today. It causes less damage to the hair due to the fact that it does not penetrate the hair shaft as deeply as permanent hair dye. It only lasts between eight and 20 washes, but there are products available which can help to lengthen the life of the dye. Many people also feel more comfortable using at-home kits for semi-permanent colour, though it is always recommended to visit a professional.

For those nervous about changing their hair colour, whether it is the first time doing so or because they want to try a new shade, temporary hair dye is the way to go. They work by coating the surface of the hair, and come in a variety of forms, from mousses to sprays, gels to rinses. Generally, these last just one to three shampoos, so are a good way of trying out a hair colour before moving on to a semi-permanent or permanent option if the colour suits. Also, they cause less damage to the hair due to the fact that they do not strip the hair of its colour or penetrate the hair shaft at all.

Highlights and lowlights have become extremely popular due to the multi-tonal colour they offer hair. This can cause a great deal of damage to the hair if you are highlighting hair that has already been treated in some way, whether chemically for straightening or curling, or if the hair has already been coloured.

However, if you are concerned about the damage that permanent hair dye causes hair, highlights are a good alternative because they only colour parts of the hair.

Highlighting is a popular option for those going blonde, because it can create the same effect that the sun would by lightening parts of the hair the sun would naturally hit. At-home kits are available for highlights but foils and lowlights should be done in a salon. Lowlights are the opposite of highlights in that, while highlights lighten hair, lowlights deepen the hair colour, adding complimentary shades such as reds, plums and auburns as opposed to the gold and blonde tones highlights add.

Gradual or progressive dyes have proven popular with men, as they contain a lead acetate that darkens hair, making it a popular option for covering up greys. With repeated dye jobs, the hair will turn darker.

Of course, dying is not the only way to change your hair colour. Recently, human hairpieces have improved greatly in quality and now are often worn without detection. ShopSmart Hair and Beauty Products on Shedden Road brings in a range of wigs and human hairpieces from companies such as Sensationnel.

Owner Louise Christine Burke-Richardson says: “Imagine being able to wear the hairstyle you have dreamed of using human hair without colouring or relaxing your natural hair.

“You can make instant changes in your appearance without making permanent changes to your hair [by using wigs]. Go curly, wavy or straight with no chemical processing, give damaged or overworked hair a rest or just have fun with an exciting new look,” she added.