If you want to have lovely, long-lasting hair color, seeing a professional is definitely preferable to doing your own dye job from a box. But beyond that, there are other things you can do to ensure your professional color is the best one yet. Here are four tips for better professional color.

1. Be honest about your color history.

When you sit down in the stylist's chair and they ask you about your hair color history, be honest. If you accidentally dyed your hair a brassy blonde last June and then covered it up with a box of brown from your local pharmacy, don't be ashamed. Your hair's history determines how your stylist should best color your hair. The more they know, the better job they can do of choosing the perfect colors and formulas for you.

2. Show them pictures.

Your idea of a "brown with a mauve undertone" may be completely different from what your stylist visualizes when they hear these words. So, instead of just relying on verbal descriptions, show your stylist pictures of the colors you are looking for. Make sure the two of you are looking at the images in good light so there's no question as to the shade you're selecting.

3. Let your stylist remove some length.

If you visit your stylist and want just color and not a cut, be prepared for the color job to not turn out quite as fantastic. While your stylist can still do a good job, your results will be even better if you let them give you a cut -- even if it's not a drastic one -- on the same day. Cutting removes the more damaged, split ends of your hair that won't dye as well as the rest of your hair. Your finished result will be more sleek and even in tone.

4. Don't go too drastic.

Unless you are having your entire head bleached so a bright color -- like blue or purple -- can be put in, try not to be too drastic when you change your hair color. The results may be so different that you find the look a bit shocking, even if the result is technically a good dye job. For example, if you are blonde and want to transition to dark brown, start with a medium brown this time around and then get a shade darker at your next appointment.

By visiting a well-reputed beauty salon and following these tips, you shouldn't be afraid to jump in and get the hair color you want.