Ways & How

How to Dye Your Hair at Home

How to Dye Your Hair at Home

The right hair color can do wonders for your face: it can make you look younger and brighter by bringing out the natural tones of your skin. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t always play along; your natural hair may sometimes need a little tweaking. If you would rather not spend a fortune on salon visits, learning how to dye your hair at home is the perfect solution. Thanks to innovations in the home coloring industry, a DIY color job is relatively easy. There are now products that are mild enough to use without professional expertise. For a foolproof home dyeing project, follow these steps:

  • Stand in front of a mirror and evaluate your hair’s condition. Is it healthy and well-moisturized? If not, you may want to defer coloring it until you get it into a better state. Brittle, dry hair tends to take hair color poorly—you are likely to end up frying your hair. (If you have your heart set on a color change, you had better have a pro do it.) On the other hand, healthy hair can stand dyeing pretty well. It is generally recommended that you only go two tones lighter or darker than your current hair color.


    We would also suggest that you limit yourself to a one-step process (i.e. coloring your hair all in one shade) as opposed to trying something complicated like bleaching, highlighting or lowlighting the first time you dye your hair.

  1. Go out and purchase your desired hair coloring product, making sure to thoroughly read the labels. Pay attention to the side panels of the packaging, where the manufacturer posts pictures of what a certain shade would most likely look like on your hair. Note that one box of hair color is generally enough for hair that is shoulder-length or shorter; you may need two boxes if your hair is longer.

  2. Wash your hair the day before dyeing it. Do not shampoo on the same day. Hair dye is best absorbed if you have some natural oils to lubricate the scalp. You will also be applying color to dry hair, because any water will only dilute the dye.

  3. Prepare the things that you will need. Some of these may already be included in your hair-coloring kit: plastic gloves, a mixing bowl or bottle, a fine-toothed comb, hair clips, petroleum jelly, an old towel, a safety pin, some old newspapers or rags for cleanup. You will also want to change into clothes that you don’t mind getting stained in case you spill some dye on them.

  4. Set up your work area so that all the surfaces are protected and everything you need is on hand. Take the petroleum jelly and dab some along your hairline. This will keep the dye from staining your skin.

  5. Prepare your hair color according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you happen to have sensitive skin or a sensitive scalp, you may want to do an allergen test first to avoid the risk of a reaction.

  6. To dye your hair, start by combing it out to remove tangles before dividing it into sections. Leave all but one section unpinned. Take a small portion of hair from this area and apply hair color from the mixing bottle or bowl. Use the fine-toothed comb to work the product in from the roots to the tips so that the hair strands are evenly coated. Work your way through your entire head of hair. You may have some difficulty doing the back; ask someone else to do it for you if you can’t.

  7. Pile up the hair on top of your head to get it out of the way while you let the color develop. The amount of time you have to leave it in will depend on the product; check the instructions for this. Generally, the longer you leave it in, the deeper the color will be. For optimal coverage of grey hair, leave the dye in for the maximum recommended amount of time.

  8. After the recommended amount of time has elapsed, rinse your hair with cold water until it runs clear. Most hair coloring kits include a hair conditioning treatment for use after coloring. Apply this as instructed. If none has been provided, use your own conditioner as usual, but do not shampoo your hair beforehand.

  9. Let your hair air-dry after you wash off the conditioning treatment. Avoid shampooing for at least 24 hours to let the color bond more strongly to the hair shaft.

Once you know how to dye your hair at home, you no longer have an excuse for uncovered grey hair that makes you look older than you are! Recreate the salon experience by giving yourself a relaxing foot soak for the half hour or so that you have to wait before rinsing off. Every six weeks or so, roots will start showing. If you need a touch-up, just apply the color an inch or two from the scalp, where the new growth is. This will prevent your mane from becoming damaged as a result of overprocessing.


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