Want to revamp your hair color in the comfort of your own home? Believe it or not, but it’s actually possible to flawlessly transform your color at home if you know how to dye your hair the right way.
Whether you’re going blonde or purple, there’s one hair color rule that always remains the same: Always follow the directions on the dye box. Not doing so is one of the main reasons why women end up at the salon looking for a pricey fix. So, read the back of the box, and study up on our additional tips for how to apply hair color yourself in the following goof-proof guide.
Step 1: Don’t wash hair for two days before you plan on dying it – you want your scalp’s natural oils to act as a barrier against irritation. IF your skin is sensitive, add a packet of Sweet’N Low to the dye to prevent the drying effects of ammonia.
Step 2: Do a strand test first by applying color on a small section. This will help you to work out your timing. Your hair texture will need to be factored in here – the finer it is, the faster it’ll lighten. You might need 5-10 minutes less than the box says.
Step 3: read, reread, and follow the box’s instructions to a T. (Exception: Don’t apply color from roots to ends in one go; see step 4).
Step 4: This tip helps get even color every time when you’re dying your whole head: First, apply the dye half an inch away from your scalp and work toward the ends. Then, halfway through the processing time, go back and cover your roots. When applying the dye, use a color brush to get more professional, precise results.
How to Highlight Your Hair
Step 1: Once you have done a strand test and read the instructions (see All-Over Color, steps 1-3), blow-dry, style, and part your hair how you normally would. This will help emphasize which pieces are to be highlighted.
Step 2: Here’s where you’ll want to ignore the directions slightly. Instead of pulling out random strands, do this: Starting at the front and working back toward your crown, section out 10 quarter-inch-wide pieces a quarter of an inch apart. Don’t space them out evenly though as the most natural-looking highlights are asymmetrical.
Step 3: Use a toothbrush to apply the solution from the roots to the ends. To prevent the color from bleeding, prop each piece up away from your head with a cotton ball.
Step 4: Let the dye sit for the amount of time indicated on the box. Wash and finish with a clear gloss treatment to help seal the color and boost shine.
Step 1: Before doing anything, follow the first three steps listed in the All-Over Color section. Then, starting at the back of your head and moving forward, apply the solution, keeping it one inch away from your roots. Massage the color in so that every strand is covered.
Step 2: Let it sit for 20-30 minutes, but check the progress every 5-10 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if you see a tinge of red as hair exposes in stages as it lightens.
Step 3: After 30 minutes have passed, apply the rest of the solution onto your roots for an additional 10-30 minutes, depending on how light you’re going.
Step 4: Rinse a strand above your ear and gently pull on it to make sure it doesn’t break. If it does, rinse your hair immediately and follow with a protein mask. If your hair still has a golden tint, leave the dye on for 10 more minutes. If the color looks good to you, rinse with warm water, then shampoo your hair and condition.
What to Do if You Hate Your New Hair Color
If Your Hair is Too Dark
If it’s far too dark for your liking, mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a clarifying shampoo and let it sit on the wet hair for five minutes. Or, you can apply olive oil to your damp hair, wrap it in a shower cap, and place a hot towel over it. The heat will open up the cuticle just enough to let some dye molecules slip out.
If It’s Too Light
You’re going to have to add more dye. For hair that’s just a little to pale, choose the next shade darker than the one you started with, and apply it only on the areas that you think are too faint. Leave the color on for half the time indicated on the box, and keep checking to make sure it doesn’t go too far.
If It’s Brassy
You’ll need to tone down your hair’s warm tint. If you used semi-permanent dye, try a lavender-based shampoo for the next couple of days. If you went with a permanent formula, paint a shade that’s two tones darker on the orangey spots.
Use the Right Products
Treat your hair the same way you’d treat your skin. Use a sulfate-free, color-preserving shampoo and conditioner, and stick with alcohol-free stylers that won’t dry your hair out.
Shampoo Less Often
Water is hair color’s worst enemy, so when you can, avoid washing your hair altogether and blast the roots with dry shampoo. On the days you need to wash your hair, use as little shampoo as possible, or better yet, rinse with warm water and use a conditioner.
Commit to using a deep conditioner once a week to keep your hair hydrated and soft. Let your hair air dry if possible.
Protect Against UV Rays
Wear a broad-rimmed hat to prevent the sun from bleaching the color. When this isn’t possible, spritz your hair with a UV protectant 30 minutes before heading outside.