A Step-by-Step Guide to At-Home Coloring Your Hair

Should You or Shouldn’t You?

You’ve been eyeing the boxes for a while now when you walk down the aisle to grab your favorite shampoo – boxes with shimmering, vibrant hair glossing the front, promising a better style is just a quick rinse and wash away. But you wonder, is dyeing your hair at home really safe? Will it really work?Colored hair
We’re often told that we should reserve our haircare needs to professional hands.

However, dropping a minimum of forty dollars for a stylist to color your own hair can be a bit daunting especially when you’re on a budget.

Doing an at-home dye job can be a welcome and affordable alternative to the salon when you crave a change or need to cover up some unwanted gray hairs.

Surprisingly, the process is less intimidating than you would expect and the results, if the process is executed properly, are comparable to professional standards for more than half the price.

How often should you dye your hair?

The frequency of touch-ups often depends on the color you choose for your hair. The more drastic the color change from your natural color, the more frequently you will need to color.

Additionally, if the dye you choose has even the slightest tint of red, you must also dye more frequently to avoid a brassy hue that can quickly develop.

A quick rule of thumb is that if you are going lighter and/or redder, you should plan to recolor your hair every four weeks. If you’re going darker and there is no red in the color, you can wait as long as eight weeks between coloring.

Use your own judgment as to whether you should only touch up the roots or color your whole head when it comes time to redo the dye job.

If you’re going darker and there is no red in the color, you can wait as long as eight weeks between coloring.

Step-by-step Guide

1. Select your hair color.

If this is your first time coloring your hair, consider going for a more subtle change until you get the hang of dyeing at home and have found a favorite brand of dye. Also consider whether you want a permanent color or a semi-permanent, which usually washes completely out within four to six weeks.

2. Prepare

Set up your station with plenty of old towels, an old T-shirt that you don’t mind getting stained, petroleum jelly to rub around your hairline to keep your skin clear and hair clips to keep your hair in place while you wait for the color to set.

Make sure that you wait twenty-four hours or more between washing your hair and applying the dye as your strands develop protective oils that reduce damage and breaking from the chemicals.

3. Perform a strand test

Most home hair coloring kits recommend doing what is called a “strand test” before fully committing to a full coloring to make sure you don’t have any allergic reactions to the dye.

All this means is following the same process as you would for a complete dye job, but only coloring an inconspicuous section of your hair, about one inch in diameter, on the underside of your hair. After rinsing and drying from the strand test and waiting approximately six to twelve hours without any reaction, you should be safe to do a full color.

4. Dyeing

Your at-home kit should come with a developer and the color. First, put on the provided gloves, then mix the color into the developer bottle and shake it well until it’s mixed, your finger covering the applicator tip to avoid splattering dye. Some kits also come with an additional fragrance to add to the mixture, but not always.

After mixing, divide your hair into manageable sections and clip them apart.

Then begin applying the dye, beginning at the root of the hair and working your way down, massaging the dye into your hair with your fingers as you work your way towards the tips.

The reason you begin at the roots is that often the ends of your hair are much drier than the roots and therefore will soak up more dye than the roots, causing an uneven look if you aren’t careful.

Continue working your way from root to tip on every section, clipping each finished section up into a loose twist to keep it off your neck.

Once you are done with the application process, remove the gloves and set the timer. Depending on if you’re doing a touch-up or a full coverage will be the determining factor for how long you leave the color on your hair, but usually, it’s between twenty-five to forty-five minutes of wait time.

Use this time to pamper yourself, read a book or watch your favorite short television program. Just make sure you don’t lose track of time!

5. Rinsing

Once your timer has gone off, carefully remove the clips and begin rinsing the dye out with cooler water to ensure the strands hold the dye.

Keep rinsing and massaging the color out of your hair until the water running from your hair is completely clear. Most kits also include a good quality conditioner that you should apply immediately after coloring. Leave the conditioner in for at least three minutes and then rinse again.

This second rinse also doubles as a second check to make sure you have no dye left in your hair that will get left on your clothes or you pillow later on. Once the conditioner is rinsed out, style your hair as you normally would. For optimal results, do not wash your hair for at least twenty-four hours after coloring.

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Although it may seem intimidating the first time around, the process of using at-home hair coloring kits is so simple that you’ll sport shinier, luscious locks regularly without having to wait on salon appointments and pay salon prices.