Beauty Treatments: DIY or See an Expert?

Find out when it’s worth it to take skin care and makeup into your own hands, and when you’d be better off consulting a pro.

by: Grace Gold

Hair Color

Most professional colorists warn against box color because so much can go wrong: Shade selection can be tricky; applying color evenly can be a challenge to a newbie; and damage is a real risk for anyone inexperienced in using the formulas.

The trick is to know which color jobs are easy to attempt at home. If you’re looking to stay within a shade or two of your roots, following the directions on a box should give you great results. The same holds true if you’re touching up gray roots or applying a sheer or clear glaze. Even ombré can be handled in your bathroom, thanks to a new kit from L’Oréal — Féria Wild Ombre ($12.99).

If you’re going for a bold look or experimenting with a blonde or red that’s several shades away from your natural color, that’s best left to the pros. “Your home isn’t the place for a dramatic color change,” explains Jet Rhys, a San Diego stylist and salon owner. “Blondes can turn brassy in a New York second, and reds can look as bright as a stoplight.”

Highlights are also best achieved with expert help, since natural-looking results are dependent on staggered placement that is nearly impossible to manage with your own hands.