How to Do a Test Strand

Testing your color on a strand of hair can help prevent a faux pas.
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It's thrilling to find the hair dye color of your dreams on the drug store shelf, but looks can be deceiving. After washing out the dye and conditioner, you might find yourself sporting a completely different color than you expected, sending you to the salon or back to the drug store. Performing a strand test prior to applying the permanent or semipermanent dye to your hair allows you to test drive the color.

Cut away a quarter inch section of hair with a pair of small scissors. Choose a spot that isn't visible, such as near the nape of your neck or behind the ear. Pay attention that you clip as near to the scalp as possible to get the roots.

Set the hair aside, slip on the plastic or rubber gloves provided in the kit and open the developer and hair color bottles. Pour 1 teaspoon hair color and 1-and-a-half teaspoon of the developer into a small glass or plastic bowl. Stir the ingredients together with a plastic (not metal) spoon. Submerge the hair sample in the mixture.

Close the bottles of developer and hair color immediately and set them aside. Allow the hair sample to develop according to the package directions.

Grab the hair sample with your gloved hand and rinse it under a lukewarm tap until the water runs clear. Dry the strands with a blow dryer or allow the sample to air dry completely before examining the results. If you're satisfied, mix and apply the dye to your hair within 24 hours. If you don't like the color, throw the entire kit away.

  • Perform the strand test and dye your hair in a well-ventilated area.

Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.