Help me get Debra Messing's color-please advise me!

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I have always loved her hair color, but really love it in Smash! I had a similar color a couple of years ago when I had my hair colored at the salon. Started doing it myself about a year ago using boxed kits and have never achieved the color since.
Was thinking about trying color from Sally's. My hair now is darker than my avatar pic, kind of a dark auburn but too brownish and not enough red. Have a lot of gray (roots only), so the roots always come out redder and the length just keeps getting dark with what I've used in the past. Any advice is appreciated!
I am trying to attach a pic, hopefully it works
Attached Thumbnails
Help me get Debra Messing's color-please advise me!-debra-messing-celebs-costume-institute-benefit-yvfwk3hx4y8l.jpg   Help me get Debra Messing's color-please advise me!-debra-messing-evita-opening-night-new-star-td1iwvkce9al.jpg   Help me get Debra Messing's color-please advise me!-debra-messing-5th-annual-joyful-revolution-67dcy4b08kdl.jpg   Help me get Debra Messing's color-please advise me!-debra-messing-opening-night-peter-starcatcher-rqs_i3iemj5l.jpg  
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious
No advice for me?? I will be going to Sally's in a few hours and was really hoping to have some idea going in of what I want

Sent from my LG-P509 using CurlTalk App
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious
I know, her color is gorgeous, and likely the result of several shades woven together for extra dimension and brilliance!
First a few questions:
What color was your natural, non-grey hair color?
What brands of box kits did you try?
Were you mixing any shades within the brand and product type?
Were you using semi/demi, or permanent color?
It sounds like your hair overall has just gone too dark, and you might have been applying color all over your head each time too. Are you using semi or demi-permanent color by any chance? That can be notorious for building up to a darker color, as it doesn't lift - it merely DEPOSITS color, thereby darkening the hair. If you're using permanent color, you might have to go to a higher-lift color(available at Sally's) to brighten it all up and get the red you want. Hopefully they will have good advice for you.
A lot of the drugstore box kits reds aren't all that vivid, save for the L'Oreal Feria line, but I've heard that's very drying so I never tried it myself. Also, one often has to mix shades to get a decent red. I know I have to - I mix 3 shades of the Revlon Colorsilk to get my reddish-brown color that looks a lot more red when out in the sun. I'm looking at switching to the Ion colors available at Sally Beauty Supply myself - they have some beautiful, saturated reds that are not available at the drugstore.
Another possibility to think about is going back to the colorist and having the darkness corrected to the color you want, and following recommendations as to what to do on your own.
Best of luck at Sally Beauty Supply - let us know what they recommended for you.
Caramix, thanks so much for replying!
To answer some of your questions, my orig hair color is dark brown. I've tried Nice N Easy, Naturtint, Loreal, Garnier I think is all i've tried; no mixing anything. Have only used permanent color. The few times I've stuck with the same shade, I've only colored the roots. When I've changed brands/colors, I'll do roots then pull color to the ends for the last 5 minutes.
I am also toying with using Colorsilk instead of trying Sallys. What colors do you mix and what is your end result? Anything close to my pics?
You mentioned you might try Ion. Any reason you would try Ion over not Wella Color Charm? Those seem to be the most popular brands at Sally's.
If I go to Sally's, any idea what developer I should get? 20 or higher? I have a problem with my hair breaking/falling out so I want to be as gentle as i can with my hair. Thanks again!!
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious
Hi there!
Like you, my natural hair color was very dark, in fact the very last shade of brown before a true black(but it would photograph black). I have quite a bit of grey now, so when I color my hair with the shades I use, it's lighter. I use Colorsilk medium auburn, bright auburn, and medium golden brown. I have a very exacting mix, and have to use the equivalent of 2 whole boxes because even though my hair is not that long at all, it's very thick. The medium golden brown makes up about a quarter of the mixture, and half plus an eighth makes up the medium auburn, and just an eighth makes up the bright auburn. I mix the colors themselves in a separate bottle before adding them to other bottle(8oz. one from Sally's)with developer in it. The Colorsilk has no ammonia in it, making it a bit gentler than some of the other kits. Before that I was using L'Oreal Preference for years - I might still go back to it as their colors are better in many respects than the Colorsilk. I still have to make up my mind though. Other people love Garnier Nutrisse though, so it's very much YMMV.
Again, I will say that once one has grey hair, if using a warm or bright shade, one usually does have to mix a bit of a brown shade in there, depending on the amount of grey one has and what one is going for. Otherwise, one doesn't get that great of grey coverage, since brown, of whatever level and tone, is the missing pigment altogether from grey or white hair. Usually one adds 1 part of the brown shade to 3 parts of whatever else.
Often, if one calls a box kit help hotline, they will tell you that their colors are not formulated for mixing. That's because they don't want to be hit with complaints if a mix doesn't come out right. But meanwhile, mixing is the secret of pros. I'm an artist, so mixing doesn't bother me at all. Plus I've had good advice from hair people along the way. In fact, my present cutter gives me great marks for my color. And he'd be the first one to tell one that whatever one is doing isn't working for one LOL!
I would say my hair is redder than yours. If I can dig up a recent pic I'll post it(my husband has most of the pix of me on his computer and I can't get to them often.)
I don't know anything about the Wella colors - I thought they were more old-school and less exciting for shades the last time I looked(years ago).
Lastly, did you get to Sally's yet?
Hope this helps!

Last edited by caramix3a; 05-18-2012 at 03:48 PM.
Hi Caramix, all of your info is so helpful! Yes, I went to Sally's earlier this afternoon (before I read your last post) & ion definately has better reds than the wella. I ended up getting 4R, medium red brown. I wanted to mix it with another color (just bc that is what my stylist always did) but I was just too overwhelmed just picking out one color! If u can find the ion color chart, will u look at that color and tell me if u think I should go back tomorrow and get a brown maybe, like u mentioned? Remember the pics I posted that I'm working towards thanks so much for al of ur help!

Sent from my LG-P509 using CurlTalk App
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious
Oh and the lady told me to use the 20 developer. U think that is ok?

Sent from my LG-P509 using CurlTalk App
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious
20-volume is fine - any lower and it would be a demi-permanent way of doing things, as demi-permanent usually uses 10-volume, and then you'd have to get the specific demi-permanent color formula anyway. But do get the permanent color and go with the 20-volume. Higher-volume developers lift more - good for either very vivid, or taking hair several levels lighter than virgin hair, like getting to blondes from brown virgin hair. The higher-volumes are stronger too, more damaging so if one does this one REALLY has to do major treatments regularly to keep the hair halfway healthy and even then it can be dicey. But you don't have to worry about that LOL with the 20-volume!
Yes, the Ion definitely has beautiful reds! Actually, the medium red brown was the color I was looking at too. Still trying to decide if I need to mix a medium golden brown with that or not. If I did, it would be just one part of that to 3 parts of the red shade. But that medium red brown color is gorgeous, and much more saturated than the drugstore colors. It might cover the grey OK by itself.
One last question, what shades were you using in the drugstore colors(NOT the brands)?
Just read this ion color has wheat protein and I dont think my hair likes wheat protein..and it has a couple if cones. Wonder if I should return it?

Sent from my LG-P509 using CurlTalk App
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious
I was using med auburns in the drugstore shades. That's funny u were looking at that same color
Now im unsure about the wheat protein and cones. What do u think?

Sent from my LG-P509 using CurlTalk App
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious
The developer has a cone too, simethicone..ugh.

Sent from my LG-P509 using CurlTalk App
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious
Although I'm very strict about not using 'cones in my hair products(conditioners, shampoos, styler), I never paid any attention to them in colors, so I'm not sure. Not familiar with wheat protein either. I only do a protein treatment once a month before coloring(along with the DT)since my hair needs more moisture than protein.
Why not give it a go and see how your hair behaves? Just follow up with all your good stuff anyway! Best of luck, and please post a pic when you've done your hair
mrsgp101310 likes this.
Yep, guess I'll try it tomorrow and see what happens. On the instructions, it says to mix 2 oz of the color w/2 oz of the developer. So I'll get multiple uses out of both? I just assumed I use all of both but I guess not It says processing time 30-45 minutes. Would you recommend I pull it to the ends the last 10 minutes or so since it's a new color? I will let you know how it goes and I appreciate all the help you've given me
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious
You'll get a couple of uses out of the developer if you bought the 4-oz. size(smallest one they have), and more if you got the bigger bottle. As far as the tubes of color, one use per tube, as I think they're 2-oz. ones, unless your hair needs more than one tube of color - I know mine does even though it's not that long at all - it's just very thick. If you need to use more than one tube of color, be sure to adjust the amount of developer accordingly, as in 2 tubes of color, 4-oz. of developer. I have the 8-oz. mixing bottle so it's big enough to hold all that for myself.
As far as pulling the color out to the ends, I wouldn't go as long as 10 minutes myself - you're still doing a retouch job like you would with any other color. Just try for 5 minutes or so. As you continue to color with the new redder shade, it will become more so with subsequent colorings and the older browner shade should diminish. Best of luck!
You are correct, the color is 2.05 oz (guess I read it wrong),and the developer is 4 oz. I have longer hair than in my pics (those r probably a yr old) and its very thick. I hope 1 tube of color is enough since thats all I bought! Thanks again for your advice! No telling how my hair would've turned out without it!

Sent from my LG-P509 using CurlTalk App
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious
I think you're likely going to need another tube of color, myself, even if it's just using half of it, plus the corresponding amount of developer. Nothing's worse than coloring one's hair, and finding one doesn't have enough mixture to finish the job, leaving one stuck with hair that's only 2/3 of the way colored! Hold OFF until you get that other tube.
Well crap...Definately don't want to run out of color, that would be a disaster! So if I'm going to Sally's anyway, do you think I should pick up a brown to mix in too? My hairdresser always mixed in a little bit of N something or other when she did my hair similar to this color.
You mentioned you use an applicator bottle; I have always used a bowl/brush. Do you prefer using the applicator over the brush? Sorry so many questions, but If I'm going to Sallys shortly, I want to be sure to get what I need
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious

Last edited by mrsgp101310; 05-20-2012 at 09:06 AM.
I never tried the brush and bowl method myself - it just seems easier for me to just use a bottle. I do, however have a brush for neatening things up around the hairline from drips etc.
Yes, you might want to get a brown shade of equal level. Don't use any more than 1/4th of it for your formula though. If you're using 2 full tubes of color over all, this would look like using 1 1/2 of the medium red brown, plus 1/2 of the tube of brown. I'd say you could go with a medium golden brown - that will keep the color warm but still help with grey coverage. Hope this helps!
Well, I've got the color on now. We'll see shortly how it turns out! I went to Sallys before you replied, so I didn't get the brown. I did get some Gray Magic though. Have you tried it? I'll see how it turns out just using the 4R and adjust next time if needed I'll let you know how i like it in a while Thanks again!
Cyndi ~ TX CG since 11/10
3a, medium texture, normal porosity & elasticity, medium density, color-treated, frizz-prone

Currently using:
Co-wash: KMF Whenever Cond; Suave Naturals Coco; AIA Coconut cowash
Cleansing: CJ DF
RO: CJ Smoothing,GVP CB
LI: CJ Smoothing Lotion, AIA leave in
Stylers: SCE Okra Gel; SCE CC; SSCEJ, SSFHG, AIA Curl Jelly; BRHG; JC Spiralicious
Best of luck - please post pix when your hair is dry, and in good light(NOT bathroom lighting, as that's notorious for usually being lousy), preferably daylight - thanks!

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