The DIY home hair colour anyone can do

Zoe (photoshopped image)

What do you think about “mousse” hair dye? Are they better than DIY home hair colour? – Rowena

It’s very subjective: just like some people prefer compact over liquid foundation, or saying ‘aubergine’ over ‘eggplant’, or eating spaghetti with a chopstick rather than a fork, some prefer mousse over traditional crème hair dye.

My opinion is that when something appears to be easier and work better than its predecessor, well, it’s usually worth trying.

Mousses, for the record (or CD or MP3) are definitely the Big Thing in at-home colouring at the moment, for those who have missed the many magazine pages and sandwich boards and blimps advertising them.

And why? Possibly because they are SO FOOLPROOF TO APPLY. And herein lies the main advantage of mousse hair colour over traditional dyes – it is almost impossible to mess up, which is not a term I usually associate with home hair colour. Any dingus can do it! Even me dingus!

John Frieda's Precision Foam Colour

You just apply it like you would your shampoo and then, with your magical mousse mittens, massage it through all over. The result is thorough coverage; it’s non-patchy and spreads super evenly, so application is crazy easy. Plus, it’s non-drip, and therefore non-bathroom/clothes ruin. It basically behaves like a stain on your hair, and is a very smart way to maintain colour, or refresh between salon visits for very few clams.

(Fun tip: Try not to dye your hair more than two shades darker than your natural colour. Won’t flatter your eyes and skin.)

Two permanent mousses on the market that are supposed to be great (I use semi-permo, not permo so I haven’t tried them personally) are John Frieda’s Precision Foam Colour (there are 26 shades – here’s a helpful guide – I gave mum the 8N and she is incredibly smitten with the colour and the application. Look, anything that gets her off her Sun-In is good, but this was an unprecedented result) and also L’Oreal’s Sublime Mousse Colour, which, from all accounts, offers a very impressive, (“shimmering”) finish in 12 shades. Delicious Light Brown would be top of my list.

They are both excellent for grey coverage, before you ask. And no, they are not edible, before you ask that. That’s another kind of mousse.



I am now brunette, even though just weeks ago, I told you rascals I was going to grow my blonde hair out and do a Rihanna and blend in the extremely obvious line with balayage. But I lied. I’m not proud of my lie, but boy am I happy being brunette again! It feels lazier and easier already.

I realised that I wasn’t cool enough for that brand of two-tone hair. I like balayage when it is subtle and looks like it was sun-inflicted; I’m not one for dip-dye or blunt ombre. So, when I popped into Barney Martin for a trim, and got chatting to Clever James (the chap who did my extremely rad ARIAs fingerwaves) about doing a bit of blending balayage work, we both realised I should just fill it in, and go all over brunette again.

Goldwell Soft Color

And oh, how fast and simple it was for Clever James! I asked him to please match my roots, because I eventually want to get back to my natural ashy dark blonde mousey colour (WHO KNOWS WHY!) (I do – because I am lazy) so he simply painted on the “filler” shade, a light sort of golden auburn all over the blonde, and then did the same with an ashy brown semi. His personal opinion was that I should have gone a touch darker, but what does James know? Apart from everything. (He was right, by the way. I popped back in just before the Logies for another semi.)

But who cares about all that and my cute lie to you! What I actually wanted to say is that I use a (semi-permanent) mousse for upkeep, and have done for years (when brunette.)

It’s called Goldwell Soft Color, and is the perfect travel companion for a girl who is subtly trying to conceal the rapid fade of her new brunette hair. I love it because there is a perfect ashy, dark blonde shade (no red tones! Imagine that!) and it means I don’t have to do the whole dye-bottle-brush-paint-it-through bizzo. I leave it on for, say, five minutes after shampooing and get just the right amount of refreshment of my colour.

It’s really stopped me moussing my mind about colour fade, you guys.

Zoe is an author, columnist and porridge fan. Her books include the beauty bible Amazing Face, dating and relationship guide Textbook Romance, and three novels, Air Kisses, Playing The Field and The Younger Man. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.

Please understand that Zoë cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Do you colour your hair? How do you do it?