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Everything You Need To Know Before Coloring Virgin Hair

photo of woman after coloring virgin hair

If you have virgin hair—defined as chemically unprocessed human hair—you may be stumped on what to expect the first time you update your dark brown hair. Don’t worry, that’s what we’re here for! We tapped Breck Csicsai, Matrix artist and brand ambassador, who breaks down everything you need to know before coloring virgin hair, including if you can dye virgin hair and where you start when dying hair. 

Whether you’re looking to edge into blonde or a full-on fantasy hair color, keep scrolling for everything you need to know. 

Shop The Best Products For Coloring Virgin Hair

What you should expect once virgin hair is colored

Whether you’re ditching your naturally light locks for a darker hue or opting for a vibrant fashion color, you should expect your hair to go through changes in texture and appearance once it’s colored. Csicsai says your choice of color plays a major role in how much your hair will be affected by the change. 

“The changes in hair care, behavior, and appearance someone should expect depends on how dramatic of a change they initially want,” Csicsai explains. “Lightening your locks will need more care and attention. The hair will go through a bigger change chemically, so treatments in the salon and regularly using strengthening and moisturizing conditioners and shampoos will help [maintain] the integrity and health of the hair.”

Every hue has its own set of hair care rules, but one thing is for certain: A salon-quality product routine is a must-have for any head of colored hair. 

“Using the proper shampoo and conditioner for the specific color of the hair is a must,” Csicsai says, recommending the Matrix Total Results Color Obsessed Volumizing Shampoo and Shine-Enhancing Conditioner system to help protect against fading and extend the life of color vibrancy. 

Between hair color and the damaging effects of bleach, regular color sessions can take a serious toll on the look and feel of your strands. There’s no way to prevent the damage from happening, but the right products can help restore the look and feel of your mane’s moisture and softness. Csicsai suggests incorporating a leave-in treatment like the Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator Repairing Nourishing Leave-in Conditioner into your hair care routine. 

As for products to avoid, Csicsai says to be wary of products that are not recommended by salon professionals.

“Avoid aggressive sulfates that can be found in non salon quality products. These products can strip away the hair color, and leave your hair feeling dry, frizzy, and damaged,” Csicsai says.

All set to head to the salon? Before you do, Csicsai offers his top three tips everyone should know before committing to a new hair color. 

Be prepared for the upkeep

Let’s face it: As much as we love the idea of a fresh touch-up every four to six weeks, it can be a serious bank-breaker. Before signing up for a new color, Csicsai recommends making sure that consistent trips to the salon fit your lifestyle and hair care budget. 

For first-timers, consider gradually changing your color before committing to a major change. A shade that doesn’t stray too far from your natural color will be much easier to maintain. If you’re itching for something totally new, opt for a balayage or ombre to avoid constant root touch-ups. 

Expect to spend more time at the salon

It’s a common misconception that stylists can take you from chocolate brown to platinum blonde in one appointment. However, Csicsai advises that new clients should expect to hit the salon more than once for drastic color changes. Stylists can only lift the color so far in one appointment to protect the integrity of your hair. 

Inspired to officially trade in your virgin hair color? Keep scrolling for nine of our favorite subtle hair color changes that make transitioning into salon color a total breeze. 

Bring inspiration photos to the salon.

When it comes to changing your hair color, a picture is worth a thousand words to a stylist. Stylists are pros at turning our hair color dreams into a reality, but Csicsai insists that having a few inspiration photos is the most efficient way of knowing you will leave the salon satisfied with your fresh new ‘do. 

“Look up inspiration photos! Find some that you like and dislike and think about what’s best for your own hair, and complexion,” Csicsai says. 

The Best Subtle Hair Color Changes For Virgin Hair 

Good hair day by @jleighwebdoeshair.

Money Piece

They say money can’t buy happiness, but the money piece technique comes pretty close. The money piece technique involves highlighting the strands framing your face to subtly lighten and brighten your all over color. 

Good hair day by @constancerobbins.

Partial Blonde Highlights

For those with virgin hair, a full head of highlights may be a lot to commit to—that’s why we love partial highlights. Your colorist will only place highlights on certain sections of your hair, focusing on the strands around your face. 

Good hair day by @gabrielleroccuzzo.


Think of strandlights as the subtle younger sister of traditional highlights. Your colorist will apply foils to baby fine segments of hair that blend seamlessly into your base color. 

Dirty Blonde

Dirty blonde hair is a timeless soft and subtle way for virgin-haired girls to transition to salon blonde. 

Dark Brown

Take your naturally brunette strands a shade or two deeper and opt for a sultry dark brown hair color. 

Good hair day by @pink_nouveau.

Pastel Ends

If you’re feeling brave, take on pastel as your first major hair color change. Add a pop of pastel color to your ends to test the waters without committing to a full-on look. 

Good hair day by @kimsandeehair.

Ash Brown Highlights

When it comes to hair color in 2019, the ashier the hue, the more we love it! If you want a lowkey color change that’s super on-trend, ask your colorist for ash brown highlights. 

Good hair day by @christinezamora_hair.

Chocolate Brown Balayage

Chocolate is never a bad idea! If you’re looking to slightly warm up your brunette hair, indulge in a rich, chocolate brown shade. We recommend using the Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo and Conditioner system to keep your lightened brown hair brass-free. 

Good hair day by @arie_arieharry.

Muted Mahogany

You’re a color newbie, so you may need a bit of warming up before going too far into red hair territory. If you’re looking to edge into red hair color without making a drastic change, this muted mahogany look is perfect for you!

Interested in more expert tips for coloring virgin hair? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you. 

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