How to Safely Color Your Hair at Home

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JLP Staff

Beauty Tips /


Dying your hair can be an exciting adventure as you transform your look and revitalize your color. But it can also be nerve-wracking if you're not quite sure how to do it properly. Make sure you're dying your hair safely and correctly for the best possible results and no mishaps. Here's our guide on how to do a dynamite dye job at home.

Choosing the Best Color

While it can be thrilling to go from luscious brunette to bombshell blonde, it can be healthier to resist the urge to drastically transform your hair color. Dramatic changes often require harsh chemical treatments like bleach or color stripper, which can leave your hair brittle and damaged.

Gradually changing your hair color will be easier on your hair and ensure the color lasts longer. It is best to choose a color no more than three shades lighter or darker than your current color. If you need to dye your hair again to achieve your desired color, wait at least six weeks before bumping it up to the next step.

Safety First

First, make sure you're in a well-ventilated room. Hair dye fumes can be intense and may bother people with chronic headaches, asthma, allergies, or other respiratory problems. Next, grab a pack of gloves to keep on hand while you're dying your hair. You may need to take your gloves off at some point and you don't want to worry about trying to get dirty gloves back onto clean hands. Instead, toss your gloves as needed and grab a new pair.

Also, make sure you have a couple towels that you don't mind staining. These will be used to cover your neck and shoulders and to wipe away any drips from your skin. Next, keep a bottle of alcohol-based toner on hand to get rid of hair dye from skin and surfaces as soon as possible. This will prevent any adverse reactions or staining. Lastly, do a strand test before applying the dye to your whole head. Make sure the test strip is the color you want and doesn't react badly to create an odd hue.

Ask for Help

Dying your hair can be cumbersome and requires a bit of stamina to do a thorough job. If you're not sure you'll be able to reach your scalp from all angles, ask a friend to help you. With a friend's help, you can keep your eyes closed while they apply the dye. This decreases the chances of getting dye into your eyes while simultaneously ensuring a thorough application.

Select the Right Tools

Most boxed dye kits come with all the tools you need, but if you're mixing your own die you will need a few additional key items. First, you'll need a bowl and a stir stick to mix the dye. Next, you'll need a two-inch wide, soft-bristle paint brush, a comb, and hair clips to apply the dye, distribute it evenly through the hair, and hold back sections, respectively.

Lastly, you'll need a kitchen timer. Be sure to time your hair dye session and only leave the dye on for as long as the instructions indicate. Going over time could fry your hair while going under may not give you the desired effect.

Proper Technique

Start at the top of your head and clip the top sections out of the way as you move down your scalp. Be sure to apply the dye first to the roots of your hair. Your roots are denser and require more processing time. Once your scalp is saturated, comb the dye through the length of your hair. Apply more dye as needed until you have an even coat. During the wait time, put a shower cap over your hair so you can move around worry-free while your hair absorbs the color.

Clean Up

Should some dye happen to drip on a surface that you don't want stained, use an alcohol-based toner or mild cleanser to remove the spots. The alcohol will break apart the dye and prevent any permanent marks. Try to clean up the drips as soon as they occur to prevent the color from setting in.

Care & Maintenance

To make your color last, avoid swimming in chlorinated water for at least two weeks after dying. The chlorine destroys the hair cuticle and can alter your color. Similarly, switch to sulfate-free shampoos. Sulfates can prematurely strip the color from your hair. Always condition your hair to keep it hydrated, which helps maintain color. After six weeks, you can dye your hair again with the next shade or do a maintenance touch-up on your roots.

Now that you're a DIY hair dying pro, we can't wait to see your new look! Revel in your luscious locks and let your personality shine.

Categories: Beauty Tips
About The Author
Screen shot 2016 08 11 at 1.30.46 pm

Joan Lunden’s in-house research and writing team works with Joan to create content that complements her focuses and the interests of her fans. The team is dedicated to creating a thriving community through content and conversations, and hopes their work, like Joan’s, can make a difference in the lives of her readers everywhere.

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