So you want to change your wedding day hair colour? Don’t leave it to the last minute…this could take a while!

Ahhhh….the patient joys of colouring… Everyone’s doing it! Are you? Yes, colouring your hair is rampant these days – the constantly changing heads of hair on the catwalks, fashion mags and all those celebs – it seems their hair colour changes almost every other day!  So should you consider changing or lightening your hair colour for your big day?  And, if so, is it really as easy as they make it look….?  The short answer is “no”….but….if you have patience, time and a great colourist you can most definitely achieve success.  

It’s more than likely that you started experimenting with colours when you were at school. From there, you probably tried a few different colours, with varying degrees of success. So, lets start with a few key points about the colour process and how it will affect your hair.

Firstly, everyone has different undertones or reflects in their hair.  For example: if you have black, dark brown, or medium brown hair, you will have a undertone of red.  If you have light brown, dark blonde, medium blonde, you will have a undertone of orange.  And If you have light blonde to pale blonde, you will have a undertone of yellow.  This means if you colour your hair lighter or lift your hair colour in anyway your natural undertone is always going to show through.  So, the more you strip back or lighten a colour the more of the undertone or reflection you will see through.  For this reason the process to change or lighten your hair colour can be a long and slow one depending on how far you want to go with your colour, and of course this can be a costly process requiring multiple trips to your colourist. It can be very difficult to find a real cheap option to achieve the colour you want whilst keeping your hair healthy at the same time.  Of course adding a darker colour over your existing hair colour is a much simpler and cheaper process but do keep in mind that dark, solid colours may not show an intricate bridal hair style as well as hair that is either lighter or has highlights and lowlights through it.  

To understand what is involved before you begin let’s take you through the steps to colour or lighten your hair.  Essentially colouring is a two-step process…and repeat…and repeat.

To start the process your colourist will bleach or lift your hair to the palest colour you can reasonably achieve – be patient, the first few times it may not be as light as you wanted! It’s also worth remembering that when you lift or strip your hair you are not only stripping colour pigment out of your hair, but also moisture so you can expect some damage of some kind.

Then your colourist will tone your hair with a colour toner: green to cancel red, blue to cancel orange, and violet to cancel yellow. (Sometimes this makes the hair muddy looking, or a little tinged to a blue, green, or even a violet colour.  

Also a toner will only lasts 4-6 weeks, after that the undertone or reflect is back to its natural undertones. So you need to keep on top of your toner or use a specific toning shampoo. Your colourist should be able to give you the best treatment for your hair. This may also mean going back to the colourist every few weeks.

You will need to balance your hair with a pH conditioner, so it keeps your hair’s condition at its best (this will also help your colour and your toner will last longer and look shinier and healthier). 

So how far out from your wedding day should you look at changing your hair colour?  This will most definitely depend on the colour you are starting with and the colour you want to go with…so please start discussing this with your hairdresser or colourist at least 6 months out from your wedding day and be guided by them.  Similarly, if you are considering to go darker – don’t leave this to the day before the wedding either.  Some hair dye can remain on the skin for a few days so discuss having your dark hair colouring done perhaps a week prior to the big day.

So, while it may look like celebrities change their hair overnight, that’s simply not the case. Good colour takes time and lots and lots of patience…but the results are well worth it. Happy – patient – colouring!

Written by Carly Standley – Hair 4 Brides