Normally when a fictional character in a film colours her hair, it’s a drastic change – usually involving a fun makeover montage, followed by a big reveal to the delight of her friends. As a result, we tend to think of colouring our hair as something dramatic and life-altering. But what about those of us who 'autocolour'?
Autocolourists are less about switching it up and experimenting with shades, instead staying loyal to the same hue – to the point where it becomes their trademark. Some are hiding greys, others feel like their chosen shade suits them better than their natural hair. And let's be honest, once we find a shade, or shade combination, that suits us, we’re reluctant to change it up – a bit like ordering the same dish at our favourite restaurant. Why fix what isn’t broken?
What’s more, just like a signature red lip or a flick of eyeliner, autocolouring can make a bold beauty statement that reflects our personality – whether it’s a reddish brown, platinum blonde or neon pink. With that in mind, we’ve teamed up with Schwarzkopf LIVE to find out more about why women autocolour their hair – and spoke to three who do just that. Here are their stories…
I started colouring my hair when I was a teenager. My natural hair is a plain, normal brown but I decided I wanted to colour it black (I was a little bit of a goth). It didn’t suit me at all! But my natural hair felt boring after that, so I experimented with other shades. I went from really dark brown with a blonde flash on one side to bright red. Soon after that, a certain pop singer went bright red and loads of people started copying her, which put me off! So now I’m more of an orange shade and it looks more natural, which I prefer as it fits in with the way I dress. My style is slightly 'hippie' – I love long floral dresses, '70s-style fedoras and sandals in the summer – and my hair colour is an extension of that. I’d find it really frustrating if I suddenly wasn’t able to colour my hair as it's one of the ways I express myself. I’m not a huge makeup wearer so it's the only thing that I do in terms of altering the way I look.
When my hair was black, I definitely had to colour it more frequently, as the lighter roots were more noticeable but these days I only colour it every three months. With my current shade, my roots don’t look massively different, as I have a bit of auburn in my natural brown hair anyway. I intend to stick with this shade for now, rather than switching it up. I enjoy how it looks, people are shocked to find out it’s not my natural colour!
I always colour my hair at home. I wouldn’t go to a salon as I hate people touching my head and I hate getting my hair washed! Some people see it as a luxury experience but I’m like, 'get me out of here!' (I’m getting my hair cut this afternoon for the first time in four years.)
Also, the conditioners that come in the hair colour boxes are so good! I try and make those last a long time. I usually colour my hair when it needs to be washed, but I don’t think you need to.
When choosing a shade, make sure you put some proper thought into whether the colour is going to suit you. When I coloured my hair black as a teenager, it hadn’t crossed my mind that it might not be the right shade for me. I just wanted black hair! Likewise, your hair might not be what you expected the first time you colour it – finding a shade that you’re happy with takes time. You’ll get there!
I’ve always been a bit alternative with my look. I’ve got a lot of piercings and tattoos but I found the subtlest and easiest way to express that side of myself was through my hair. The first time I coloured my hair was about 11 years ago. My mum was quite strict, so colouring my hair was quite exciting and scary. (I waited until she had left the house!)
I use a semi-permanent colour once a month. It’s blue at the front and back and purple in the middle. I was pink for a while, which was too bright, so then I changed to the blue and the purple. I needed something that wasn’t too 'in your face' but still reflected my personality. My mum’s friends influenced me growing up – they always had wacky hair colours!
I’d be gutted if I could no longer colour my hair. I’m a teacher and one of my old schools was really strict on piercings, tattoos and hair colour. Anything that wasn’t natural wasn’t allowed! I found that hard. You’re put in a box and you can’t express yourself anymore – in this day and age there’s no need for it.
I really enjoy the ritual of hair colouring. I have been to a salon a few times to have it coloured but it doesn’t last long enough to warrant paying all that money. When I do it myself I can be more creative – it’s hard to get across what I want to a colourist.
My advice to anyone thinking of colouring their hair is: follow the instructions! Also: be brave! A lot of people opt for 'safe' shades but it’s only hair colour, it’s not for life!
I was naturally fair-haired as a child – with jet black eyebrows! That always stunned people. Kids at school would ask if I had coloured my hair or my eyebrows, as they were in stark contrast to each other. I decided to colour my hair when I was a teenager; going to a salon was out of my price range, so I bought a couple of boxes of semi-permanent colour in a dark brown shade. Afterwards, I received loads of compliments at school and I remember feeling a lot more confident about the fact that my hair finally matched my brows. I've since experimented with different shades of light brown – which never really made much of a difference – and really dark brown, which was too harsh for my complexion. I've refined my colour to a warm dark brown, which I think looks as natural as possible without looking intentionally coloured. I enjoy seeing people’s shocked faces when I tell them that I actually have really light brown hair!
Most of the women in my family coloured their hair regularly at the hairdresser's, so it was something I was used to seeing. I remember finding out, to my amazement, that both of my nans coloured their hair – for years I thought they just didn't have the grey gene! Now, colouring my hair is one of those things I take for granted. My routine has become a little more sporadic in comparison to my teenage years. I tend to make sure it's done before major events like birthdays and Christmas. Since the ends of my hair still have the full colour, I usually only have to focus on my roots, which makes it much quicker.
If you ever feel tempted to colour your hair, go for it! It's definitely nice to change things up every now and again.