now read this

I apologize whizkid but I am here to set the record straight.

Dyes work in a totally different way than hair color. so let's leave the dying for Easter eggs and textiles. Permanent hair color, AKA analine derivative tint, does penetrate into the hair strand. A hair strand is commonly made up of 2, and sometimes 3 layers:

cuticle layer exterior of the hair strand, resembles shingles on a roof
cortex layer inner spongy center of the hair strand (this is where pigment is contained)
medulla spine of the hair strand, generally found in Asian, Mediterranean, and Latin hair

When a volume of developer(Hydrogen Peroxide) is mixed with an aniline derivative tint and applied to hair, the alkalinity (pH 9.8) swells the strand of hair, lifting the cuticle layer. this allows our solution to penetrate and begin its magic.

First, natural contributing pigment is affected by being destroyed, weakest to strongest. The peroxide does this thru the catalyst of the tint. Blue pigment(eumelanin) is the first to go, thereby leaving reds and yellows behind to create orange. These guys are tenacious. After lifting has occurred, the synthetic pigment molecules have room to mature inside the hair strand. You see, they had to be small enough to get inside, now they need to be trapped within. Thru oxidation, these pigment molecules grow and reveal there true nature, hopefully eradicating the natural contributing pigments that were revealed during the lifting process. 30 minutes is generally the length of time for this process to occur. After which shampooing (pH6) and conditioning (pH 4) restores the acid balance of the hair, reduces the swelling and seals the cuticle layers down.

Now, dealing with tones, please review the Color Wheel. Opposites on the wheel compliment each other. Therefore, if you have a cool(pink, blue) skin tone {which most of us do, btw}, then orange(coppers, auburns, golds) would compliment your skin by reflecting warm tones onto the skin, creating a neutralizing effect. A very nice palette to work with make-up, which should match skin tonality.

I agree with heyoka on this, please save yourself money and trauma and book a consultation with a licensed professional before doing something compulsive with an item purchased over the counter.

This has been for educational purposes only.
BTW, I am a licensed professional hair designer and color educator.

Many editorial corrections added 6/6/06.