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    Salon Color Treatments continued...

    Keller likes the balayage technique for the most natural look. It involves “painting” highlights and lowlights onto the hair instead of separating the hair to be highlighted with foils. The result is more free form and you can go about a month longer between treatments, he says.

    Single-process color -- one color over your entire head -- is the least costly way to go. When you add highlights, the price goes up. Balayage can cost up to $250 in some cities because of the skill and labor involved.

    Home Color Treatments

    For DIY coloring, Keller recommends choosing an ammonia-free color treatment, which is less damaging to hair. Choose a shade that closely matches your natural color. And buy up to three boxes if you have thick hair -- you may need them all.

    “Going too dark is one of the biggest mistakes women and men make when coloring gray hair themselves," Keller says.

    Follow the directions on the box carefully. "Don’t leave it on longer, because it will keep getting darker," Greller says.

    When the roots start growing out, Greller suggests applying color only to the visible gray -- don't pull it all the way through the rest of your hair. “All-over color may look great at first, but after 9 months, you’ll have color buildup on the ends," she says. "Applying new color over existing color makes hair even darker."

    Salon Tips to Make Color Last

    Whether you color your hair in a salon or at home, it can cause dryness or damage. Try these tips to maintain healthy hair and stretch the time between treatments:

    • Wash your hair only as often as you need to with a sulfate-free shampoo and follow with a conditioner with silicone. Keller says violet-based shampoos work well for removing dull, yellow tones.
    • Keller suggests using a boar bristle brush to distribute natural oils throughout the hair shaft. "Shiny hair looks more youthful," he says. But be careful: Dermatologists caution that boar bristles can damage hair.
    • For quick root camouflage, part your hair differently. “Move it 1 inch to the left or right, and you might find there’s no gray," Greller says.

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