07/01/2011 14:52 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Hair Colour 101: Things To Do Before You Dye

Blonde brunette From blonde to black there's a hue for you. Photo:

From the rise of the redhead (thanks to A-list ambassadors, Christina Hendricks and scarlet-haired Rihanna) to the introduction of grown-out grunge roots (yes, now you can be fashionably late for your hair colour appointment), autumn/winter 2010 is officially the season to transform your hair colour.

But as famous namesakes, Cheryl Cole and Lily Cole recently demonstrated, choosing the right hair colour to suit you is not always as simple as it looks.

So before you head to the salon to demand 'Rihanna red', here are a few things to bear in mind...

Blondes are more high-maintenance than brunettes, so if you're thinking of going lighter, weigh up whether you can afford more trips to the salon before you take the plunge – home highlighting kits are not for the faint-hearted.

Be patient.
If you're a natural brunette, be prepared to go lighter gradually. It may not be possible to achieve the colour you want in one session.

Condition, condition, condition... The peroxide used in lightening products can be drying on your hair – particularly if it's already damaged or prone to dryness. Be prepared to up the ante on your moisturising regime by using a leave-in conditioner every day and a deep conditioning treatment twice a week.

Going blonde is a long-term commitment. While semi-permanent colours will enhance your natural hue and add shine only permanent colours will lighten.

Follow the two-shade rule.
To achieve a natural result and avoid looking washed-out, don't go more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural colour. If in doubt, stick to having your hair coloured in a salon where the colourist can advise you on the range of shades that will work with your skin tone.

Take your skin tone into account. Bear in mind that your complexion becomes naturally lighter as you get older. Just because you suited black hair in your teen-goth days, doesn't mean to say you'll suit dark hair now.

Experiment with semi-permanent colour. If you're not sure whether dark hair will suit you, ask your colourist for a gloss colour that will wash out after a few weeks, allowing you to experiment with colour without the commitment

Makeover your makeup bag. A new hair colour will have an impact on your skin tone so remember to update your makeup bag accordingly. Brunettes look great in warm, earthy tones such as taupe, chocolate, copper, bronze and gold while blondes and redheads suit cool tones such as pinkish hues and mauves.

Give your hair a holiday. Feel like your hair loses its life in the winter? For natural-looking sunkissed highlights all year round, try lighter shades around the face and on top of your head where your hair is naturally more fair and catches the sun.

Give fine hair a volume boost by asking for chunky highlights or lowlights in different hues that will add depth and texture to the hair.Turning up to the salon with a picture of Cheryl Cole and saying, "I want to look like that" is not the way to get the right colour for you. The end result is hugely dependent on your hair's natural tones as well as your skin tone. Go armed with a selection of pictures you like so your colourist can talk through the colours that will work with you.

Protect red hair from fading. Red hair colours tend to fade more quickly than other colours because of the chemical makeup of the colour pigment so it's essential to invest in haircare and styling products that are specially designed to lock in colour. Marie Robinson, US celebrity hair colourist and new Pantene Pro-V Ambassador, explains:

"Colour care products are formulated to help seal the hair surface and reduce the porosity caused by colouring hair while helping to lock in colour vibrancy. They also help to look after the hair's long term condition as well as its immediate shine and vibrancy. Women often skip using specific colour care products because they want a certain style, like more volume, for example. With the Pantene Pro-V Colour Protect collection you don't have to choose any more!"

Three hot hair trends for a/w 2010
Whether you want to go blonde, brunette or redhead this season there's a hot new trend to suit you.

Hot trend for blondes: Two-tone roots
There's more to achieving this season's grown-out grunge roots trend than simply missing your hair colour appointment. For a look that's glam as well as grunge, it's all about asking for the right technique.

If in doubt, head to your local Toni & Guy and book in for a Diamond Crest technique (from £99). Here a dark colour is used at the roots and filters through the hair getting lighter towards the ends.

Hot trend for redheads: Fiery red
Ever since Christina Hendricks burst onto our screens as Mad Men's Joan Holloway, women the world over have been booking in to have their hair coloured red (or toying with the idea, at least). To avoid looking like you're wearing a red wig, ask your stylist to blend a varitey of different red tones through the hair to blend with your natural colour.

If you have medium, olive or black skin, opt for burgundy, claret and ruby tones. To complement a porcelain or freckled complexion, ask for copper, paprika or chilli-red tones.

Hot trend for brunettes: Premium brunette
"Think Demi Moore, Angelina Jolie and Rachel Bilson," says Wella Professionals Global Creative Director, Josh Wood. "They all have lighter shades through their hair that makes hair appear thicker and full of life - almost three-dimensional thanks to subtle differences in depth and tone with fantastic shine giving hair richness and altogether that premium brunette look."

"The Premium Brunette colour is about working with infusions of different brunette tones including truffle, deep leather and tobacco hues. A favourite on the catwalk, this technique works by applying a darker tone on the root area and blending this through to lighter tones on the mid-lengths and end such as camel, tea rose and pale wood shades. Sported by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Fearne Cotton, this look is soft, feminine and beautifully delicate. To get the ultimate depth and shine quality in your brunette locks, opt for a semi permanent product such as Wella Professionals Colour Touch or Colour Fresh service. Not only delivering you on trend colour, this product is ideal for bestowing lustrous and nourished tresses."