At-Home Hair Color Secrets from Harry Josh


You walk down the beauty aisle, look at all of the boxes with exotic names like “Dark Cool Espresso Brown,” and yet in the end, your hair doesn’t seem to turn out right. It’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out, or more realistically, hide it under a hat.

After recently previewing John Frieda’s upcoming Color Refreshing Gloss – which is infused with pigments to not only add shine but vibrancy as a weekly treatment between touchups – we caught up with celebrity stylist Harry Josh to get to the bottom of your hair dye dilemmas. Never fear hitting the (dye) bottle again by keeping these tips in mind.

Coloring Doesn’t Come Easy – Just because you watched a few how-tos on YouTube doesn’t mean your strands can leap ten shade levels in a single bound. At-home hair color is only strong enough to lighten or darken by two levels, so maintain reasonable expectations. “The only product that is available at mass to the consumer only has the capacity to go two shades lighter or two shades darker,” he explained, “But you can easily go from blonde to black, but it won’t have the rich tones.”

Mind Your Tones – Just like every skin shade has undertones, so do your strands. Dyes with lyrical names tend to have more tones formulated in to create dimensional, more natural looking color. “Colors that sound exciting like gold, mahogany, and chestnut – those are the rich tones that you should know about,” he recommended.

Counteract Past Pigment Problems – Practice, practice, practice. Some colors that look lovely on the box can contain tones that don’t complement your complexion, and Josh advised choosing a contrasting tone to balance it. “Good tip: if you’ve colored your hair in the past and you ended up with unwanted red tones, pick an ash color,” he recommended. “Although the box doesn’t look flattering on your skin tone when it’s rinsed.”

Seek Professional Help – If you’re doing more than tweaking a few grays or minor shade shift, a chat with a colorist can be the difference between a cool hair hue and a dye disaster. If you’re looking to correct what damage another colorist might have caused, don’t take matters into your own hands, you’ll make the situation worse. “Sometimes it’s not always fixable; sometimes they have to wait,” he disclosed. “You can give it a Band-Aid; you can say, ‘I’m going to put this over it so you can walk around.’ But it’s not going to be the color you really want.”

His best advice? He offered: “Save your pennies, and go get it done well. “