Dyeing your hair at home can be a fun and easy way to change up your look, save money, and avoid salon appointments. But it can also be intimidating, messy, and risky if you don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t want to end up with uneven color, damaged hair, or stained skin and clothes.
Luckily, with some preparation, guidance, and practice, you can learn how to dye your hair at home like a professional and get salon-quality results. Whether you want to cover your grays, touch up your roots, or try a new color, we have you covered with this step-by-step guide on how to dye your hair at home.
What You’ll Need
Before you start dyeing your hair at home, make sure you have everything you need to do it right. Here’s a list of the essentials:
- A box of hair dye that matches your desired color and suits your hair type and condition. Read the instructions carefully and check the expiration date. If you’re not sure what color to choose, consult a color chart or ask a professional for advice.
- A developer that activates the hair dye and helps it penetrate your hair. Most box dyes come with a developer, but if not, you’ll need to buy one separately. The strength of the developer depends on how much you want to lighten or darken your hair. Generally, 10 volume lifts one level, 20 volume lifts two levels, 30 volume lifts three levels, and 40 volume lifts four levels.
- A disposable bowl and an applicator brush or a squeeze bottle to mix and apply the hair dye. Using an applicator brush and bowl will give you more control and precision than a squeeze bottle.
- A pair of disposable gloves to protect your hands from the dye.
- A plastic cape or an old towel to protect your clothes from the dye.
- A comb or a clip to section your hair for even application.
- A timer to keep track of the processing time.
- A shampoo and a conditioner formulated for color-treated hair to wash and condition your hair after dyeing.
- A petroleum jelly or a barrier cream to prevent staining your skin along the hairline.
- Some cotton pads or wet wipes to clean up any spills or drips.
How to Dye Your Hair at Home
Once you have everything you need, you’re ready to dye your hair at home like a professional. Follow these steps for best results:
- Do a patch test 48 hours before dyeing your hair to make sure you’re not allergic to the dye. Apply a small amount of the dye mixture on a discreet area of your skin, such as behind your ear or on your inner elbow. Wait for 48 hours and check for any signs of irritation, such as redness, itching, burning, or swelling. If you experience any of these symptoms, do not use the dye.
- Do a strand test 24 hours before dyeing your hair to see how the color will turn out on your hair. Cut a small section of your hair from an inconspicuous area, such as the nape of your neck or behind your ear. Apply some of the dye mixture on the strand and wait for the recommended processing time. Rinse and dry the strand and check the color. If you’re happy with it, proceed with dyeing your hair. If not, adjust the color or the processing time accordingly.
- Prepare your work area by covering it with newspapers or plastic sheets to avoid staining it with the dye. Make sure you have good lighting and ventilation. Gather all your tools and materials near you for easy access.
- Put on an old shirt or a plastic cape to protect your clothes from the dye. Wear disposable gloves to protect your hands from the dye.
- Apply petroleum jelly or barrier cream along your hairline, ears, neck, and any other areas where you don’t want the dye to stain your skin.
- Mix together hair dye and developer in a disposable bowl according to the instructions that come with your kit. Stir well until there are no lumps or bubbles.
- Comb your hair thoroughly to remove any tangles or knots. Divide your hair into four sections: from ear to ear across the top of your head, and from the center of your forehead to the nape of your neck. Clip or tie each section to keep it separate.
- Start with the section at the back of your head, as it usually takes longer to process than the front. Unclip the section and divide it into smaller subsections, about half an inch thick. Apply the dye mixture to each subsection, starting from the roots and working your way down to the ends. Use the applicator brush or the squeeze bottle to apply the dye evenly and thoroughly. Make sure you saturate every strand with the dye. Repeat with the other sections, working from back to front.
- Massage your hair gently to distribute the dye evenly and ensure full coverage. Pile your hair on top of your head and secure it with a clip or a plastic cap.
- Set a timer for the recommended processing time, usually between 20 to 45 minutes, depending on your hair type, condition, and desired color. Do not leave the dye on longer than instructed, as it can damage your hair or cause unwanted results.
- Rinse your hair with lukewarm water until the water runs clear. Shampoo and condition your hair with products designed for color-treated hair. Dry and style your hair as usual and admire your new color.
How to Maintain Your Hair Color
To keep your hair color looking fresh and vibrant, follow these tips:
- Avoid heat styling tools as much as possible, as they can damage and dry out your hair. If you do use them, apply a heat protectant spray beforehand and use a low temperature setting.
- Protect your hair from sun exposure by wearing a hat or using a UV protectant spray. The sun can bleach and fade your hair color over time.
- Apply a deep conditioning mask or a color gloss once a week to hydrate and enhance your hair color.
- Touch up your roots every four to six weeks or as needed. You can use the same dye you used for your whole head or a root touch-up kit that matches your color.
Dyeing your hair at home can be a fun and rewarding experience if you follow the right steps and use the right products. You can achieve professional-looking results without spending a fortune or risking damage to your hair. Just remember to do a patch test and a strand test before dyeing your hair, follow the instructions carefully, and take good care of your hair after dyeing. With some practice and patience, you can master the art of dyeing your hair at home like a professional.