6 Insider Secrets for Darkening Your Hair

dark hairI recently colored my hair a skosh darker. Actually, I've colored my hair a skosh darker the past three times I've dyed it, so technically, I'm currently three hues darker than I was a year or so ago. Cool story. It isn't a drastic change necessarily, especially since it's been gradual, but it's noticeable to me. And I like it.

I'm naturally a brunette, but I just like my locks a bit lighter than they are. I feel like I look less drab and more, I don't know, friendly, if that makes any sense. However, I definitely think I probably went a bit overboard with the lightening over the years, and the color I'm at now seems to be just right.

But, despite my recent appointment as president of the Dark Haired Fan Club, there are some rules one ought to follow if one is going to go dark(ish).

Here are 6 tips for darkening your hair from someone who's been there, done that.


1. Go a little bit at a time. Like I said, when I darkened my hair, I didn't go three shades darker in one fell swoop. It was a graaaadual change. And I whole-heartedly think that's the way to go. I never left the salon in a state of shock or feeling remorseful. I dipped my toe into Lake Dark Hair instead of diving in, head-first.

2. Go to a professional. Whenever you're making a "big" change to your hair, please, don't do it yourself. I know the desire to save money, really I do. But odds are, you're going to wind up in a professional's chair after you mess your hair up with your DIY job. 

3. Try highlights. If you want to go darker but just can't get the balls to do it, try highlights instead (full disclosure, this is what I've done). Ask your stylist to give you a mix of high and low lights in shades close to your natural color. It won't be as jarring to you.

4. Remember, you're not Kate Middleton. Sometimes, we see a celebrity hairstyle and color, and we want it so badly. But what we forget is: The celebrity face doesn't come with it. Ask your stylist what works for you. Kate Middleton has a very fair complexion (but she tans easily). If this isn't you, her hair color may not look good on you. (Sorry.)

5. Darken your hair when you have a tan. I know, the world thinks that fall is the best time to darken your hair, but I actually disagree. I feel like dark hair can be a bit jarring against pale skin. I've always "started" going darker in the summer months, because, I don't know, I just feel prettier with a tan. Then, come fall, the change doesn't feel as drastic.

6. Don't cut your hair at the same time. Walking out of the salon with a different hair color can be shocking enough. No need to up the ante with a new haircut, too.

Have you ever darkened your hair?


Image via Hillary Boles/Flickr

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