I use Wella Color Fresh on my hair, a very gentle semi-permanent colourant, which doesn't contain ammonia, alcohol or PPD. This product, which improves the condition of the hair as it colours, is used professionally in salons and is not sold in normal retail chemists or supermarkets. I buy it from Sally at 394 North End Road, near Fulham Broadway, London SW6 1LU but there are many branches both in the UK and internationally. (You can check your nearest stockist at www.sallybeauty.com.
Shade No. 5/4, Light Red Brown, gives a lovely chestnut tone to brown hair and adds shine. It will cover grey hairs, picking them up in a lighter red than the darker hair, resulting in an attractive variation.
However, because of its gentle properties, for a successful result, this semi-permanent needs to be applied with a certain amount of care and expertise.
Step 1 Have everything ready in one easy-to-reach place.
Step 2 Shampoo hair normally and towel dry to avoid drips.
Step 3 Put on thin polythene gloves.
Step 4 Take a comb and work across the head from ear to ear, making partings and applying the dye straight from the bottle to the roots at each parting. Massage the dye well into the roots. Go round the hair line at the front and apply carefully to those roots. Apply some dye to the crown and the back of the head, distributing evenly. Lift up longer hair and apply some dye underneath, then bring ends up to crown and apply dye to ends. Distribute once with smooth upward strokes of the hands.
Step 5 Put on a thin plastic shower cap. Check the time. Wipe off any drips on face, ears and neck with a facecloth. Don't forget the back of the neck.
Step 6 Leave the dye on for 30 minutes and continually pass a warm hairdryer over the head. Heat makes the dye absorb more successfully. Meanwhile, have a good cup of coffee.
Step 7 Emulsify the hair with warm water and rinse thoroughly.
Step 8 Apply a good conditioner or masque. Rinse off.
The hair is now ready to be dried and styled as usual. I find the colour lasts well for a month/5 weeks, by which time the roots will have grown out anyway.