Colouring Your Hair For The First Time: What to Consider

Woman with shiny, long, wavy brunette hair and nude soft-glam makeup gazing into the camera.

Questions and hesitations can arise when colouring your hair for the first time. There are a world of possibilities which allow you to stand out, breathe new life and shine to your hair and as exciting as it is to venture down a new path, it is necessary to do everything with great care and attention.

Colouring your hair shouldn’t be something scary, and it doesn’t have to be if you follow each step of the process with professional guidance.

Feel free to go bold with a vibrant colour or keep it lowkey and touch up some grey hairs. The most important thing is that you know the steps of each process and align it with your lifestyle.

What happens when I dye my hair for the first time?

Hairdresser with tint brush working colour through a section of client

The process may take longer than you expect. You may need to attend multiple salon visits to achieve your perfect shade. Certain treatments require more maintenance and care than others. But, you don’t have to be afraid to take risks.

Aiming to feel secure in the process? Always listen to what your colourist has to say. They will be able to indicate what is best for your hair, routine and characteristics according to what you want.

Don’t be surprised if your colourist has a different definition of blonde than yours. Colours vary from person to person, you can’t expect the same result from colouring applied to a celebrity. Because each hair type processes colour differently.

Factors such as the condition of the hair, the initial colour and other chemical processes already carried out interfere a lot.

Hair colour tip: There is an initial/result colour chart on the colour package that helps you get an idea of ​​how the colour will look on your hair and the strand test is another important indicator.

The average time to retouch the roots is usually four to six weeks, even if you take good care of the hair, it grows about 1.5 cm a month and with that, it starts to fade.

In addition to other factors that interfere, learn how to keep your hair colour longer in Hair Colouring: How To Make It Last.

Colouring your hair: What shade should I choose for my first time?

Client comparing an Instagram picture to swatches in a hairdresser

Colouring your hair is a great opportunity to boost your self-esteem and explore new versions of yourself. A makeover is a perfect way to express to the world how you feel.

No matter how discreet the change, you feel bold and refreshed.

Before colouring your hair for the first time remember:

  • Keep references in mind but remain mindful that these are not copies to be reproduced. 
  • Keep in mind your skin tone and natural colour palette.
  • The nature and type of your hair will guide you in the final decision.
  • Always be realistic.
  • The reason behind your decision to colour your hair.

Have you ever noticed how people have a different perception of colours? 

If you’ve ever had to attend an event where there was a colour theme, you must have noticed how many different variations are presented.

Skin tone, natural hair colour and hair texture create a new effect and a different interpretation in your colour.

When choosing a colour, choose the one that best matches your skin tone and eyes. Luckily for you, we already have a guide on  How To Find The Best Hair Colour For Your Skin Tone.

Warmer hair colours will suit people with more pigmented skin. Cool tones look good on people with green and blue eyes. Think about highlighting your strengths and be mindful of the contrast between your hair colour and your eyebrows.

Why do you want to colour your hair for the first time?

With the answer to this question you will be able to find the best hair colour for your current moment. You will know which shade to choose, which is the most appropriate application technique, whether to use a permanent or semi permanent colour, among other issues.

The reasons for colouring your hair can be varied. Some people like to play around with different shades for each season; others like to keep their hair tone closer to their natural shade and emphasise a healthy appearance. Some want to radically change their hair, while others just touch up the roots.

Model with long rainbow coloured hair blowing in the wind

Did you find your first grey hair, but love your hair colour? 

A professional colourist will know how to find the colour that that suits you best and is most complementary to your natural hair tones, while still making an impact. The hair dye formula will be different for each shade.

If you want a change without losing the natural look, you can still explore other shades and types of application. Maybe opt for balayage or an ombré with a flow of colour throughout your hair.

The right way to explain what colour you want

Swatch sample of ginger hair colour

Do your research and show pictures to your colourist

Seek different types of inspiration for the desired colour, so that the colourist understands what you want and can match your expectations. Also, be open to a different direction if they point out that the colour isn’t compatible with your specific characteristics (skin tone and eye colour etc).

Never compare yourself to the models, you are your own blueprint so it’s important to keep the focus on the best look that can be created for you. The photos serve only as a source of inspiration and reference.

Take the opportunity to use photos from within the colourist’s Instagram during your consultation, this way, your vision can be easily understood. Also, bring pictures of what you don’t want.

The language of colours can translate in entirely different ways from one hair stylist to another so, by having pictures on hand, you reduce the risk of undesirable results.

Choose something that coincides with your style

When you choose a photo, look for someone with a style and hair texture close to yours. The hair colour will look different on straight hair and curly hair.

The reference is important for the colourist to understand more about what you want, but the end result will be defined by your style and characteristics. 

We recommend that you also take a photo of how you usually wear your hair.

Be sure about what you really want

Some procedures like dyeing and bleaching can change the texture and volume of your hair. Therefore, a consultation with your colourist is vital in order to align expectations.

Dark hair, for example, will require several sessions to achieve a lighter shade. This process will allow your colourist to work through all of the hairs underlying tones until it reaches the desired level without compromising its integrity.

Hair needs time to prepare, so you can’t make a sudden change from dark brown to blonde overnight.

After defining the desired look understand:

  • How many applications will be needed to achieve your specific goal; 
  • How many times you will need to go to the salon;
  • How much dye will be used;
  • What the care routine will be to maintain the colour.

As stated earlier, it is very important to discuss your lifestyle with your colourist. It’s no use choosing a tone that needs to be renewed in 3 to 4 weeks, if you don’t have that availability to go to the hair salon.

Regularity in colour maintenance has more advantages than waiting for the colour to wear fully and booking a touch-up.

Unfortunately, hair cannot always be intact, beautiful and healthy without maintenance. The ends of the hair are the first to age and the roots show signs of renewal. Include regular cuts and treatments within your care routine.

Temporary, semi – permanent or permanent colour. What is the best option?


This is a great option for someone who is colouring their hair for the first time because it can be changed right away. 

This type of dye is perfect for trying out a new shade and for darkening your hair. But to clarify, its use is not indicated.

Semi – permanent

This type of dye is great for subtly enhancing your natural hair colour and/or covering the first grey strands. It requires low maintenance and less of a long-term commitment.

It is lasts longer than temporary colour and its process is not definitive.


Permanent colour works by interfering with the hair’s natural pigment to change the hair’s structure.

This type of dye has more potent chemical elements in its composition compared to the others. It penetrates the strands better but ends up coming out as the roots grow.

It works by opening the hair cuticle and staying on longer. Because of this, some people are afraid of their damage. But with proper preparation and care, it’s okay to opt for it.

The coverage of grey hair is greater, it has a wide variety of shades and it is indicated to make hair lighter.

Is permanent hair dye really permanent?

Without proper care, the colour can still fade in a few weeks. Hair dyes are water soluble. When the hair is rinsed, the dye molecules dissolve.

Colours like red tend to fade faster, as they dissolve faster in water.

The duration is 4 to 6 weeks depending on the speed of hair growth.

How to take care of dyed hair

Woman with soft natural makeup and long brown hair wearing a white robe smiling and stretching in a white aesthetic bathroom.

Before dyeing your hair, you should prepare your “arsenal” to keep it well hydrated, voluminous, shiny and maintain the intensity of the chosen colour..

A very common post-colouring concern is the appearance of unwanted undertones. If you’ve lightened your hair or opted for a darker shade, you don’t want to find some reddish or coppery strands. So, you should make use of the most suitable shampoos for your hair tone.

The ideal shampoo for hair with light or blonde tones is silver and purple. They neutralise orange tones and maintain the perfect tone.

Purple shampoos are miracle products, they are great for blondes or brunettes with highlights.

You can alternate use with a daily shampoo for colour-treated hair if you don’t want it to look “over-toned” or “smoky”.

It’s time to change your regular shampoo and conditioner

Coloured hair requires differentiated care, due to the effects of chemical change and longevity of the colour.

After any colouring procedure, the hair will become more porous and dry. The hair cuticle, when opened, is exposed to chemicals and depending on its composition, its structure may change.

Shampoos packed with hair-building proteins such as keratin and conditioners packed with ultra-nourishing oils will be great allies to maintain hair colour and shine.

Always protect your hair

After colouring, it is recommended to avoid heated styling tools, however, if you need to use a hairdryer, flat iron or Babyliss, don’t forget to apply a heat protectant if you really want to preserve your new tone.

Conditioning treatments before every colour session are a great preventative measure to build up the strength of your hair, consider those with nourishing ingredients such as marula and argan oil.

Adding treatments to your colour service such as bond protectants will repair and protect the hair from bleach and colour and maintain healthy, strong and glossy hair. 

Preparation is the key

Red glass tub filled with cream on a wooden table next to a half coconut and sage leaves

You must perform an allergy test by applying a little of the product on the forearm or behind the ear 48 hours before to ensure that the product will not cause irritation during or after dyeing the hair.

In addition to this test, you will need to do a strand test. Through it, it is possible to check if the hair will resist colouring and have a preview of how the colour will look. 

This test is essential for people with other chemicals in their hair because it will present any issues and assess the state of the hair before processing.

Top tip: Invest in a hair schedule to strengthen strands before colouring

A capillary schedule is a specific care routine that ensures nutrition and resistance to the thread, this routine combines hydration, nutrition and reconstruction for four weeks. It’s a great investment to keep your hair healthy and vibrant for longer.

When hair is prepared in this way, it remains healthy and produces more beautiful results. It doesn’t suffer as much from chemistry. This technique also brings incredible results when repeated in post-colouring, with a focus on reconstruction, it is possible to restore the proteins and mass of the hair fibre.

Click here to book an online consultation with Izabella

How to dye hair with a sensitive scalp

Is your scalp sensitive? So before dyeing your hair you should take some precautions:

  1. Add argan oil to the colour. Colourists mix a bespoke oil in with tints to prevent irritation or discomfort. Also, coconut oil on your scalp the night before helps nourish your skin and is ideal for anyone who is going to bleach their hair.
  1. You can also opt for an ammonia-free colour, highlights or lowlights. These options require less maintenance and the dyes don’t even touch the scalp.

Should I wash my hair before dyeing it?

When you dye your hair don’t make the mistake of going with it freshly washed either. Clean hair can interfere with colour adherence as it is too slippery. It is recommended to go to the salon with unwashed hair (at least 24 or 48 hours).

How to keep the vibrant colour hair 

  • Wait 24 to 48 hours after colouring to wash your hair.
  • Avoid washing your hair daily and use cold water when you do.
  • Do not swim in chlorinated pool water – opt for swimming pools with water treated with salts and protect your hair.
  • Do not use shampoo with sulfate, alcohol and detergents.
  • Protect your hair from the heat of the sun with a hat and products with UV.

Know all the care to preserve your hair colour with the article Hair Colouring: How To Make It Last.

What do I need to know before I dye my hair for the first time?

Hairdresser comparing smiling client

If you follow the steps you can feel more certain that problems will be avoided.

Trusting your colourist is the key throughout the process, because it’s not just about applying any shade to your hair.

The right technique, care in preparation, and post-staining are integral. The right shade is the one that suits you, your features, your eye colour, your skin tone and your lifestyle.

When consulting your hairdresser, you should ask how many sessions will be needed, if your hair is able to take on that colour, how you can avoid possible problems and what care you should take in your routine.

Be honest about what you want and what you don’t want, assume your reality and understand when you have a different direction than you expected. A colour can be beautiful on a model, but it can cause a huge disaster on their hair.

The amount of time will vary, an ombré or balayage can take months before you need a touch up. A dark-to-light transformation may require you to go back after two to four weeks. It all depends on how you want the colour to be.

Now you can start changing your look without fear! Click here to book an online consultation with Izabella


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