Blonde women should be particularly careful because colour shampoo will not wash out. It stains fair hair.

Read instructions carefully and always do a patch test as directed. Colour shampoos not only stain blonde hair, but some of the reds and plum colours go pink on grey hair.

Remember, if you are instructed to mix two things together, you've bought a permanent colour. One component is the peroxide.

Wannabe blondes often use peroxide without mixing it with bleach, which comes out orange. Peroxide activates the ammonia in a tint or bleach, so you need to use the two together.

Home highlighters

The mistake a lot of women make when using home highlighting kits is not getting the consistency of the mix right. After pulling strands of hair through the highlighting cap, they apply the mixture correctly, but if it's too runny, it goes through the holes and stains the root area in big spots.

If you rinse highlighter off too soon, your hair will be orange. To the untrained eye, the white of the bleach could easily make you think the hair is ready to be rinsed. The darker your hair, the longer it takes to bleach.

Relaxers and straighteners

Many women straighten their hair, but when they want to touch up the roots a few months later, they comb the relaxing agent through the ends again, instead of sticking to the root area. This weakens the hair, causing it to break.

If straightener is not rinsed off properly, or is not neutralised, it will act as a hair remover.

Your basic hair tool-kit

Curly hair

Good, warm hairdryer; boar-bristle brush to help with the smoothing of hair; clip to hold hair up while you start styling the bottom layers; antifrizz product to use before and after styling; mousse or wax to smooth curls; paddle brush to loosen hair; big brush curlers that pull tightly on hair to smooth out frizz.

Straight hair

Hairdryer; round, metal brush; velcro curlers; volumising mousse, hairspray.

Keep the airflow of your hairdryer blowing from the top downward. If you dry from below, the frizzy bits turn up and it's hard to smooth them down again.

Tip: Rough-dry hair until damp, then apply mousse before you start styling your hair. For maximum volume, blow-dry while holding your head upside-down.

Using curlers

Velcro curlers are not suitable for curly hair because there's not enough pull on the hair to straighten the root area. They are great for creating fashionable curls in straight hair, though.

For the best finish and longer-lasting curls, use a curling tong when you remove curlers. Before removing curlers, make sure the hair is completely dry and the curlers are cold.

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