Strand Test and What If…?

Strand Test and What if….?

Not sure what your beautiful Herbatint hair colour may yield? Not a problem. A simple strand test can allow you to:

1) Gauge grey hair coverage. Any hair colour can be used if you have only 20% grey hair. However if you have more than 20% grey or particularly white or grey resistant hair you may like to see the coverage you can expect from any chosen colour. If not enough you may require mixing with the appropriate N natural colour to achieve full coverage.
2) Going significantly darker – this is easily achieved but you may like to see if going a darker shade of brown is really right for you.
3) Going lighter – Herbatint contains only 3% Hydrogen Peroxide so can only lift by at most 2 shades above your natural shade. Lifting however always aggravates the red pigments in the hair so can often give a very warm result. This may not be to your liking. Highlighting is best left to the professionals but if you want to go a little lighter the strand test allows you t see just how much.

1. Following a skin test, pop on your gloves from the packet
2. Using the measure cup from the tinting kit pour out 5ml of chosen colour and 5ml of developer into a bowl
3. Mix to a gel like consistency
4. Section off a 1cm wide strand of hair (incorporating grey if you have any)
5. Apply the colour mix to the length of the hair using the brush from the kit provided
6. Leave to develop for 40 minutes
7. Rinse in warm water then dry.
8. Ok with the colour result? Great proceed to colour the rest of your hair.
9. Not ok with the colour result? Ok let’s see how we can solve this.

If Strand test is:

Too dark throughout the hair.

  • If your hair is in good condition, simply select a lighter shade and re-test on a new strand of your hair.
  • If your hair is not in good condition, wash with the Herbatint Normalising Shampoo and Royal Cream Regenerating Conditioner to help restore good hair condition.

Colour is too light.

  • Choose a darker shade and re-test on a new strand of your hair.

Colour is too warm, red or yellow.

  • This may be because you have chosen a red tone/shade or that you are trying to lift your hair colour.

Ash colours are green based tones to counteract such a problem.

  • Simply mix your Natural shade with the corresponding Ash shade.

For example 7N mixed with 7C in equal to counteract red tones.

Colour hasn’t covered the grey.

  • Up to 20% grey and any shade from the Herbatint range can cover grey. More than 20% grey and you may need to mix the right base shade and tone to achieve the colour result you want. For example:

4N Chestnut applied to more than 20% grey will achieve total grey cover and a Chestnut shade overall.

4N Chestnut mixed with 4R Copper Chestnut applied to more than 20% grey will achieve total grey cover and a Copper Chestnut tone overall.

Grey hair is stubborn and resistant.

  • So you have used a Natural colour or a mix of a Natural and a tone but it still hasn’t given complete cover on the grey. This may be because grey hair is particularly resistant. To encourage colour uptake either after applying the hair colour wrap the hair in clingfilm or a shower cap and leave on for the full colour development time.


  • Use your hair dryer on a gentle heat setting and for the first 5-10 minutes of development time run over the areas particularly around the hair line where stubborn grey hairs may be found.

Either of these methods will allow heat to encourage the hair cuticle to open to encourage colour uptake of the pigments in the hair to cover the grey.

What if…?

General points to consider when colouring your hair:

I have a lot of grey cover
The amount of grey and whether it is dry and resistant can affect colour uptake and coverage as explained above.

I have bleached hair
Herbatint can return hair to its natural tone but remember to mix a Gold shade with a Natural shade if your target shade is 6N or above. Mix a Gold or Copperish shade with a Natural shade if your target shade is 5N or below.  Bleached hair can make the hair extra porous.  You may like to apply Herbatint as a semi permanent help achieve greater colour uptake and longevity if this is the case.

I am concerned about the general condition of my hair
If your hair is excessively dry or damaged from styling, bleaching or previous colour treatments this can affect the colour uptake.
Treating your hair with the Herbatint Aloe Vera Conditioner initially for a few washes can help restore the condition of your hair before colouring.
Applying Herbatint as a semi permanent hair colourant can also help combat damaged hair conditions and achieve colour uptake. More details on how in our How to mix Herbatint as a semi permanent.

I have previously used Henna
Henna coats the hair shaft very well and can prevent hair dyes such as Herbatint getting through. You can use Herbatint on top of existing Henna. Strand testing can help gauge coverage initially.

I have permed hair
Do not colour your hair just after a perm. We recommend you wait two weeks, shorten the processing time by 10 minutes and choose a shade lighter than your target shade.

I am on medication, undergoing treatment, pregnant or breastfeeding
Medication or treatment for conditions will manifest in the hair and will affect colour uptake (chemotherapy, HRT, thyroid treatments for example).

The safest thing is not to colour your hair at all whether pregnant, breastfeeding, taking medication or otherwise.

We recommend waiting 3-6 months after completing treatments (for example chemotherapy) before using hair colour again.

Ultimately it is your decision as and when you colour your hair. Always skin test and strand test prior to use whatever the circumstances.

Still not sure? Call our UK HERBATINT FREEPHONE 0800 594 7706 for colour advice or email