There’s nothing quite as transformative as a new hair shade, but if a salon appointment isn’t on your schedule (or budget), a DIY hair dye can be a wallet-friendly solution with the same effect. However, there’s many ways coloring your hair at home can go wrong real quick if you don’t know all the proper tips needed to get the job done right.
When it comes to choosing the actual color, it's all about your complexion, says Christine Thompson, color director and co-founder of N.Y.C.'s Spoke & Weal salon. If your skin has warm undertones, like yellow, gold, or red, you want to find a hair color with opposite, cooler undertones, like ash brown or black. Does your complexion have a hint of blue or green in it? A warm, rich copper or auburn will be flattering. Keep in mind that if you're looking to go lighter than sandy blonde, it's best to consult an in-salon pro. The high level of bleach in lightening dyes can cause breakage (hello, split ends).
If you do wind up with a shade that makes you dread looking in the mirror, there are easy ways of troubleshooting—just wait a few days before picking up the dye again to prevent breakage from chemical-induced breakage. For colors that are too warm, try re-dyeing hair with an ashier version of the hue you applied originally. If you went too cool, warm things up with a golden-based dye. But, if your strands turn an unnatural color, like orange, the pro recommends heading to the salon because the color correction process may require multiple steps.
As for the mess you’ve made around your hairline: since like attracts like, rub a small amount of dye over stained skin to break up the pigment that’s settled in, then wipe it away with a damp cloth. But, next time remember to coat your hairline with petroleum jelly, which will act as a barrier for the dye.
Whether you’re looking for a temporary color fix or a new forever-shade, we’ve rounded up which dyes to choose, along with pro-tips on how to use them.