Are you ready to go to the dark side? For many of us, that leap into the unknown is not an easy one. Is it really as simple as it sounds? What if it goes wrong? How ‘permanent’ is permanent? We understand there's an element of trepidation behind every hair colouring decision to go from blonde to brunette, and that's why the Garnier experts created the Nutrisse home hair colour range to take the worry, hassle and most of the expense out of the process.

Trust us, there is nothing to fear; we've been doing this for a long time. Millions of people across the globe have coloured their hair successfully at home with Garnier. Very, very rarely do we get negative comments, and, if we do, it's usually because the person hasn't followed our advice - so that's our first tip: learn from the experts.


THE BASICS

What is permanent hair colour? Well, it's a dye that penetrates the hair shaft and deposits colour directly onto the hair cortex. Permanent colour is bolder, more vibrant and better at covering those silver hairs than temporary hair dye.

It will last longer, too, but not forever, so it's not permanent in that sense. It lasts until it grows out, essentially. It won't fade after washing, but you may need to retouch your roots after 4 to 6 weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows. Very dark hair dye, even if it is permanent, is prone to fade when exposed to environmental 'aggressors', so bear that in mind if you go on holiday as sea, sun and salt are definitely not your friends (nor are chlorinated swimming pools).


CHOOSE YOUR DARK

When going from blonde to brunette – choosing a shade is crucial. The good news is that you're heading in the right direction. Going from light to dark is much easier than the other way around. Think of it like colouring in or decorating; it's always easier to darken a colour than to lighten it.

Traditional wisdom has it that when colouring hair at home you should change by no more than two shades from your natural colour. By and large, that's pretty good advice, but hair colour technology has improved massively in recent years, so if you are desperate to go straight from blonde to black hair, it may only take a couple of home hair colour sessions. One of our favourite brunette shades is Nutrisse Shade 4.3, our Dark Golden brown hair colour worn by Davina McCall. Or, even if you fancy going even darker try our Nutrisse Shade 1, our favourite black permanent hair dye.


IT'S ALL ABOUT SKIN TONE

Whenever you choose hair colour, it's really important to consider your skin tones. If you have 'cool' skin with underlying hints of green, then a dark shade tinged with blue is probably your best option. This colour creates a striking contrast with your complexion and should complement the cool tones in your skin (think Snow White, without the dwarves).

On the other hand, if you have warm skin tones with pinky hues you should consider a shade with a bit of red, like Garnier Nutrisse 3.6 Deep Reddish Brown – sultry but warm.

Picking a shade is not always as easy as it sounds though, which is why we have developed an online shade selector tool as well as the Nutrisse Shade Finder App that will even take into account whether your hair is already dyed blonde.


THE ALL IMPORTANT STRAND TEST

Once you're happy with the shade, and you've opted for permanent colour, make sure you do an allergy alert strand test 24 hours before dyeing your hair to make sure you aren't allergic to any chemicals and you're happy with the colour. We understand you're keen to get going and make that change, but patience is a virtue! If you’re not sure about how to apply an allergy alert test – watch our video to find out more.


DON'T COMPROMISE ON QUALITY

Not all hair colour is made the same; changing blonde hair to black hair carries the risk of a greenish end result, which is less than desirable, so only use trustworthy permanent hair dyes like Garnier's that ensure long-lasting colour.


DOUBLE UP

Another common mistake is to underestimate the amount of dye you'll need. There's nothing more annoying than running out halfway through the job, especially if you have long, thick hair that absorbs a lot of pigment. You really don't want to end up with blotchy colour or a half-hearted version of what you were hoping to achieve, so why not buy an extra pack just in case. If you don't use it, it'll always come in handy when you’re re-touching your roots.


SHINE LIKE YOU WANT TO

It's also worth remembering that dyed dark hair doesn't have the natural shine of naturally dark hair. Even with the highest quality dyes, such as ours, whether you like it or not, introduce chemicals that can dehydrate your hair. So, if you want the wow-factor of deep, lustrous shine and vitality, you need to replenish your hair’s moisture and retain as many nutrients as you can. With permanent colour, it's absolutely essential to provide extra ‘TLC’ for your lovely locks. Look for sulphate-free products and deep intense conditioners like the ones in the Ultimate Blends Argan Oil range, developed specifically for keeping coloured hair in ‘tip-top’, healthy-looking condition. Plant-based oils such as argan will nourish your hair and help to reverse your hair’s tendency towards roughness and dullness.

Finally, read the instructions; it might seem obvious but plenty of people don't.

So, here ends your first complete lesson in permanent colour; now, it's over to you to have a go at going from blonde to brunette, or blonde to black hair. Colour with confidence, choose well, follow our expert advice and enjoy your amazing new look. Oh, and get a friend to help; a second opinion is always good and it makes it more fun!