If you’ve been covering up gray at home, chances are the box color you’ve been using comes pre-mixed or with peroxide right in the kit. But did you know that too-strong peroxide or developer can over-expose the undertones in your hair, making it look red which shows contrasting roots too soon? For better grow-out and more long-lasting color, use this trick, which American Board Certified Colorist Deborah McCann uses at McCann & Company, Inc. in Dublin, OH.
“I use a permanent color product and 10 volume peroxide,” says McCann. “This creates a long-lasting ‘stain’ that appears softer next to roots as hair grows out. Also, the lower volume of developer does not expose too much undertone in the hair.”
Ideally, pair the color with a few soft highlights on top, and roots will look even softer as they grow out. Unless you’re proficient with highlighting kits, talk to your colorist about the concept. If you’re ready to try it on your own, get the color and peroxide at a beauty supply store, where you can ask for a shade recommendation and ask about timing. Then mix the developer and color in equal parts and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes, or as long as was recommended. Add highlights later, or not.
If your hair is dry, damaged or has already undergone a chemical treatment, always ask a professional to do the job. Another caveat: It only works if less than 50% of your hair is gray. Any more than that and the stain won’t cover well.