5 must-know tips for changing up your hair color

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By: The Beauty Experts at L'Oréal Paris

Whether you're trying to keep up with the latest trends or simply bored with your current coif, a hair color change might be your ticket to an exciting new look. Here are five tips that will help make your shade shift a major success.

1.Go Back to Basics

Before you embark on your transformative journey, you should know what happens when you color your hair:

With Permanent Hair Color
Most permanent hair color kits work by using a developer crème plus ammonia to open the outer layer of the hair shaft. Then, once the shaft is open, the color mixture lightens your natural color and simultaneously deposits and develops the new shade. With permanent color, you have the choice to go lighter or darker.

With Bleach Kits
Bleach kits work by combining a developer crème with bleach powder packs and a bleach lightener. With one of these kits, you can generally achieve pretty great lightening results -- the norm is about four levels. Some kits lift even further: Féria Absolute Platinum in Extreme Platinum, for instance, can lift up to seven levels. Plus, it includes an amazing anti-brass conditioner to help keep your blond bright.

2. Take a Test Drive

We love the concept of going to a wig store to get a better idea of what you might look like with freshly colored strands. Of course, when color is applied to your natural hair, you'll see far more dimension than what a wig might have. But trying on wigs is a great way to get a sense of what shades give you the warm and fuzzies. It will also allow you a glimpse into how the rest of your look might change. With a new hair hue, you can have fun tweaking your makeup and wardrobe, as well.

3. Know Your Color Cues

If you're starting with natural hair, which means you've never put chemicals in it (like permanent or semipermanent dyes, bleaches, relaxers or highlights), you should have an easier time lightening or darkening. If you've previously colored your hair, going darker is simple and pretty straightforward. Lightening color-treated hair means a bit less predictability with the results.

4. Follow a Touch-Up Timeline

With any hair color change, regardless of whether you color at home or in a salon, you can expect to see a little fading, so it's a good idea to stock up on color-vibrancy shampoo and minimize your use of hot tools. But one of the key ways to make sure your strands always look fresh and glossy is with a maintenance schedule -- every four to five weeks is a good benchmark.

5. Own It

Whether you go for a subtle shade or a bold new hue, wear it like you mean it. Try a trendy haircut, flirt with new makeup looks, or test a fresh hairstyle. The great thing about changing your hair color is that if you aren't completely in love with it the first time, you can do it over and over again.
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