How To: Do The Perfect Strand Test

How To: Do The Perfect Strand Test

How To: Do The Perfect Strand Test

Trying out a new colour for the first time can be exciting! We want to get stuck in, make the change, and come out with glorious new tresses.

But when trying a new colour, whether it’s just to have a different look, or for 

It's Pure Chestnut Henna Hair Colour

blending greys, it’s critical to strand test first - so you know exactly what kind of colour you’re likely to get (and if you haven’t achieved it, what to do next!)

Henna based hair colouring, such as our It’s Pure hair dyes, can be affected by your hair  chemistry, and this is exactly why it is key to strand test. Everything from how stubborn your greys are, how dark your hair is, or the products you’ve used on your hair, can affect the outcome - so doing a strand test not only helps you predict what the outcome is likely to be, but what you might need to do to get the optimal colour result on your hair.

Seven Steps To The Perfect Strand Test:

So you’re hoping to strand test, and you have a colour outcome in mind. First things first, I’d advise using one of our 10g sample sizes in the colour (or colours!) of your choice. 10g is just the right amount for a strand test - if you have already purchased a full size box this is about a tablespoon and a half worth of the powder.

Step One:

Make sure your hair is clean and dry before applying any colour to it. If your hair is

Our 10g Sample Sizes Are Perfect For Strand or Patch Testing

unwashed, or is still wet, this may prevent the henna from bonding to the hair.

Step Two:

Find a discrete piece of hair to test on - or if possible, cut a strand off to do a test with!  You need to use a strand that’s at least an inch wide to get a true picture of the colour.

The perfect strand test really is only for that - strands - rather than certain areas of hair. Don’t test just your roots or a patch of greys.

You need to make sure you do the test from root to tip with your hair, so that any sections of hair that differ in colour show their true outcome. If your hair is grey at the roots, but has much darker lengths, the colour will show up differently on each part of your hair.

Step Three:

Mix the colour up according to the instructions provided! All our kits come with full instructions, and different colours require different timings.

Following the instructions exactly will mean your strand test is much more accurate to the colour you’ll get if you use it all over.

Step Four:

Apply the colour to the strand you’ve chosen. Make sure the strand is fully covered, and that the paste is quite thick on your hair! For henna and other herbal colours to bond correctly, the paste needs to fully saturate the hair, and if it is too thin the colour could be quite diluted.

Step Five:

Once your strand is covered, from root to tip, wrap it in clingfilm and leave it for the same amount of time as it would be if you were covering your whole hair.

Our hair colours usually take 90 minutes to 180 minutes to develop on the hair (follow the enclosed instructions), and for the darkest shades, the longest times are the best as these help the colour to deepen.

Step Six:

Rinse the colour out of the strand. We usually advocate just using water to rinse out, as shampoo can fade the colour more quickly - but this is entirely up to you.

Step Seven:

Once the colour is rinsed out of your hair and your hair is dried, we advise waiting up to 48 hours to see the true colour!

Henna-based colour can take time to oxidise on the hair, and sometimes has a green tinge after the initial application. Indigo can also take time to deepen on the hair; so some of the darker shades, such as our Very Dark Brown, might darken after a couple of days.


What if you don’t get the colour you want from your strand test?

Below are some helpful tips:

What To Do When: Your Strand Test Shows No Colour

It can be so frustrating when you’ve followed all our steps for the perfect strand test and yet - there’s no colour change!

This can be down to a number of factors:

  • Many shampoos, conditioners, or styling treatments contain silicones which
    Our It's Pure Clarifying Treatment
    affect how well henna-based colour bonds to the hair. The first thing to try if you notice there’s no colour from a strand test is to use an organic clarifier, like our own It’s Pure Clarifying Treatment. This is gentle on your hair, but helps to remove any build-up, or silicones, that are bonded to your strands, preventing colour from taking.
  • What colour your hair is before dying is crucial to the outcome of herbal dye. Have you perhaps chosen a shade that was too light for you, or are you a natural dark haired beauty hoping to add some vibrancy to your colour? Using one of our more red based dyes, such as the Henna Red, on very dark or black hair, might give you some beautiful red undertones in the light (but these won’t lighten your hair!).
  • How stubborn your greys are may also affect the outcome. If you have particularly tricky, or stubborn greys, then you might find you need two applications of herbal dye to get a good colour, or if you’re aiming for a brown shade, you might need to choose the next, darker shade to get a rich colour.

  • Leaving the test on for a longer time also guarantees a good, dark shade - so if you opted to only test the strand for 90 minutes, it’s possible you needed to leave the dye on for the full 180 minutes to get a really good outcome.


What To Do When: Your Strand Test Is The Wrong Colour

Finding out that the shade you’ve chosen isn’t right for you is exactly why you should strand test! 

  • If your colour has come up too light, then it may be that you need to leave the colour for a longer time - Indigo takes time to fully develop on the hair, so leaving it for more time gives it a chance to properly bond.
  • If your colour has come up too dark this might be due to the colour of your hair before dying. If you used a brown shade, on top of naturally dark or brown hair, then it’s natural to notice these be darkened further. If you noticed a good shade on your roots but it is too dark on the lengths, perhaps consider only covering the roots, rather than the whole head, when you dye your hair.
  • If you have got a strange colour, such as blue or green, this could be down to having previously used a chemical colour or lightening agent on your hair! It can be particularly finicky to cover over highlighted or bleached hair, so if you notice blue, we’d suggest waiting to use our dyes until the highlighted or bleached areas have grown out


What To Do When: You’re Searching For Colour Inspiration

So you’ve read all the above and you know exactly how to get the perfect strand test, but you don’t know what kind of colour you’re hoping for - don’t worry. 

Our It's Pure Colour Finder Helps You Find Your Perfect Shade

Our blogs are full of colour inspiration, with vibrant colour trends like pumpkin spice and wine red, to classic shades such as rich brunettes.

Or if you have some ideas but you’re not sure which tester to try, take our
colour quiz for some product recommendations.

For more information about strand testing, achieving perfect colour and all things hair, contact our experts here!

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