First Time Colour: Hair Dye 101

Colouring hair for the first time can be daunting. So can haircare.

How do you know which hair colour to choose? What colour should I dye my hair? What hair shade and colour should I choose? Temporary, semi or permanent hair colour? How long do I want my hair colour to last? And how can I ensure the new hair colour stays bright and healthy-looking for as long as possible? Don’t panic, these are all questions that you may have and we have all the answers to any concerns you might have about colouring hair for the first time…

The hardest part is where to start. So, before you take the leap and are in the salon chair, and wanting some inspiration on your next hair colour idea, why not experiment with our virtual 3D hair colour app, Style My Hair. This is a hair colour app that will allow you to try out different hair colour shades, discover what colour to dye your hair and help give you a flavour of what you may look like if you were to venture from a dark to a lighter blonde,  if you were to upgrade your balayage to a lighter blonde balayage result, a light brown or delve into a dark blonde. Style My Hair, is the hair colour app that will not only enlighten you with what hair colour to dye your hair for when you are next sat in the chair but give you plenty of hair colour inspiration as well! Give it a go by downloading the Style My Hair hair colour app today on the Google Play or App Stores.

First time colour: what shade to choose

Not everyone chooses to colour their hair for the same reasons. Some enjoy playing with different hair colours almost like they do with make-up, trying new shades each season, or testing out a new hair colour trend. Or it could be a question of wanting to boost your natural hair colour. Many people are prompted to dye their hair by the discovery of their first grey hair. The reason behind your decision to colour your hair can help you choose the right shade.

Boost hair colour (and hide greys)

Love your hair colour, but want it to look richer and healthier? You’ll probably want your first time colour to be discreet yet impactful, especially if you have spotted your first grey hair!

The key to choosing the right shade is a one-on-one consultation with a professional colourist, whose expertise will help diagnose the different tones to your hair in order to find the most complimentary colour. There is a difference, for example, between naturally cool-toned blonde hair and warm shades of caramel. Likewise, a brunette with ashy undertones requires a different hair dye formula to one with rich auburn hues.

Daring Colour Chameleons

If you are not afraid of stepping outside the box, why not make a real statement when it comes to your first hair colour? To ensure that everyone notices your hair transformation, ask your salon about the variety of surfaces offered by L’Oréal Professionnel. Multi-coloured shades including electric blue, iced mint and sunset coral, can be used alone or together to create totally unique colour combinations!

If you would rather stick with to a more natural colour spectrum, but still want to make an impact, think about playing with multiple shades and types of application. For example: a balayage, where colour is painted onto certain sections of the hair, can give instant brightness, and an ombre technique creates a flowing flush of colour down the lengths.

First time colour: from temporary to permanent, what are your options

Temporary hair colour

If you are colouring your hair for the first time, it might be sensible to try a temporary hair dye before taking the plunge. Temporary colour washes right out, making it perfect for trying a new shade. Remember, however, that you can only go darker with temporary hair colour – to lighten your hair you will need to use a semi-permanent or permanent dye.


Semi-permanent hair colour offers the advantage of longer-lasting colour without the permanency, making it great for first time colour. It is ideal for those wanting to subtly boost their natural hair colour and/or cover their first grey hair. The Dia semi-permanent collection from L’Oréal Professionnel offers tone-on-tone hair colour that also conditions the hair during a quick colouring process.


Permanent hair dye works by lifting the cuticles along the hair shaft and depositing the colour underneath onto the core of the fibre itself. This means the colour lasts for far longer, but it’s important to use the right haircare to avoid brassiness, dry hair, split ends and flyaways – especially for hair that has been lightened.

Botanea is a 100% herbal hair colour and a great option for anyone colouring their hair for the first time. Three herbal ingredients – Cassia, Henna & Indigo, when mixed with hot water, create an infinite palette of natural shades, tailored to each person.

First time colour: how to care for coloured hair

Coloured your hair for the first time? You will need to know the best ways to ensure it stays glossy, voluminous, and the colour you intended it to be!

Whether you have lightened your hair or gone for a darker, richer shade of brunette, a classic concern post-colouring is the development of unwanted brassy or reddish undertones.

For all shades of light-coloured or blonde hair, introduce a silver shampoo or purple shampoo to your haircare routine to neutralise orange hues and retain your perfect shade. For coloured hair that is brown, red, black (and everything in between), try the Vitamino Color haircare range by Serie Expert, to protect coloured hair, enhance shine and reduce colour fade. 

Ensure your first time colour looks its best and healthiest with the right colour and haircare from L’Oréal Professionnel!