At-Home Hair Coloring: Think Out of the Box

By Mandy Hendrix

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Fernando Milani

Brown Boo-Boos

Landing that perfect shade of brown isn't as easy it seems. If you stick to "cool" hues like chestnut and chocolate -- and avoid those labeled "warm" -- you'll steer clear of the unflattering red tones that often plague brunettes.

Issue: Your ends are darker than your roots. While blondes struggle with too-bright roots, brunettes face the opposite problem: dark, inky ends. (Older growth is more porous and sucks up more color.) Excess dye will fade after a few washings, but next time, concentrate color on the roots, then as the final step work the solution through the rest of your hair. Try this: Mist the bottom half of your hair with water before coloring it, so it won't absorb as much dye, says Jason Backe, Clairol color director.

Issue: The color is so dark it makes your skin look washed out. Pick a color that's one shade lighter than your initial choice to give yourself more leeway in case you don't like the result. It's much easier to apply a second, darker color than it is to go lighter.

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