8 must-know hair color tips from a celebrity colorist

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By: The Beauty Experts at L'Oréal Paris

Changing up your hair color is a great way to upgrade your beauty look from season to season, and no one knows this better than celebrity colorist Kari Hill. We caught up with Hill and asked her for the inside scoop on everything from tinting your tresses to preserving your shade. Here's what this glam squad guru had to say:

1. Slow Down and Read the Directions

Hill's number-one tip for at-home colorists: Take your time! "Most people think that you mix bottle one and bottle two and put it on -- without reading the directions," says Hill. Because not every at-home kit is the same, taking a moment to prep your space, section your strands and educate yourself with the process before you mix your color will help you achieve the best results.

2. Rescue Oversaturated Strands With a Wet Washcloth

If you're going the at-home route for your hair color and particularly when experimenting with bold, trendy shades like pastel pink or smoky blue, Hill advises keeping a wet washcloth on hand as an emergency color corrector. If you accidentally add color in the wrong spot, quickly wipe away the excess solution with the damp cloth.

3. Use Leave-In Heat Spray to Prevent Color Fading

You might know that curling and straightening irons can damage and dry out your strands, but they can also cause color to fade prematurely, especially if your hair is freshly dyed. Because sometimes using hot tools is unavoidable, Hill recommends using a heat-protection spray to help fight the fade. Look for a leave-in formula that conditions as it protects.

4. Apply Color in Small Sections

Hill suggests applying color to your strands in one-inch sections regardless of whether you're attempting a full-coverage dye job, a subtle ombre or a simple peek-a-boo application. It doesn't matter if you're a first-time DIYer or an at-home guru, sectioning will mean less mess and more control.

5. Try a Fresh Perspective

Hill's secret for coloring those hard-to-reach strands at the back of your head? Simply pull them to the front to apply color! Just don't forget to drape a towel over your shoulders to avoid staining your clothes.

6. Stay Current With Ombre Hair Color

"This dark-to-light treatment isn't going anywhere," says Hill, explaining that "it's almost what your hair naturally looks like on the strand if you don't color your hair." Ombre is a great option for first-time dyers because it still looks great as it grows out -- if you let your natural shade grow in, the result is just a softer root.

7. There Isn't a Color Prescription for Older Women

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to go lighter with your hair color as you age. There isn't a miracle color that looks great on everyone, but one piece of advice that will work for all women is to stay neutral. In other words, don't go too trendy, too dark or too light -- stick with a natural tone.

8. Choose Spray-On Shades to Extend the Life of Your Color

"I have empathy for people who color their hair at home because I have to do it so much -- I color my roots every two to three weeks," Hill says. A root-cover-up spray is a quick fix for passing the time between salon visits or a fresh at-home color. The key to making it look natural: Don't just spray your roots. Spritz the shade partly through the length of your hair for a subtler blend.
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