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For Hair Color to Dye For, Seek Professional Help

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RALEIGH — You may remember the slogan'only her hair dresser knows for sure.'

Whether it's natural-looking highlights or an all-over dye, more people are coloring their hair these days than ever before. Many people are also ending up disappointed when the color doesn't turn out right. But as WRAL's Laurie Clowers found out, there is a way to get good results,ifyou're willing to pay for it.

In the 1960s, the question was does she or doesn't she? Nowadays, more and more the answer is yes, she does... color her hair, that is.

But as a record number of people are buying over-the-counter hair dyes,Consumer Reportsfound many aren't getting the results they want.

"This says dark ash brown and this may be dark brown, but it's not this dark brown," says tester Sally Soto.

Warren Scott is a Master Hair Colorist. Before opening his salon in Raleigh, he taught hair coloring for some of the major hair color manufacturers.

Scott says a lot of his clients have come to him after unsuccessfully dying their hair at home.

This hair color expert says many people have problems with over-the-counter hair dyes because they don't understand how they work. He says it's hard to achieve the color that's on the front of the box, because of two overriding factors -- pigment and porousity.

Since our natural pigments are different, the dye will react differently on each of us. And the older and more damaged our hair is, the more porous it will be. And that will affect color, too.

"All hair color is made basically with three major pigments -- red, yellow and blue. Those are the primary colors that make all color and when your hair is porous, it soaks up blue. And that's what turns hair green. Consumer Reportsdid test several of the leading home hair color kits and gave Clairol Hydrience, which costs about $6 to $7, its top rating. But if you want to make a drastic change, or add several tones to your hair, experts say you need to see a professional.

After an extensive consultation with client Stephanie McGee, Scott mixes up the formula he'll use to give her the natural-looking highlights she desires. It takes a mixture of four permanent colors and a semi-permanent highlight to create an all-over luster at the end.

"I'm alternating the four colors and one thing I'm thinking about is the final result and we want certain colors in certain spots."

A professional formula and a professional application provide the professional results Scott compares to a gourmet meal.

"I like to use the analogy of cooking and recipes and so forth. We all have flour, sugar and salt at home, but sometimes we like to have a fine dining experience and we go to the restaurant."

Stephanie McGee got the natural-looking highlights she was dying for, but just like a fine-dining experience at a restaurant, it didn't come cheap. She had to fork over $110 to get it.

As you probably know, all hair salons are not created equal. Experts say it's best to get a recommendation from someone whose hair color looks good.

If you do want to do-it-yourself, you might want to test the dye first on a small lock of hair that won't show. That way, you can be sure of getting the shade you desire.


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