11 Things to Know Before Dyeing Your Own Hair
There's no denying it: DIY hair dyes can be tricky. Theoretically, you should be able to pick up a thing of box hair color at Target and emerge out of your bathroom with a brand new (and flawless) hair color, but there's definitely room for error. You have to follow the correct after-care regimen to actually maintain your look, not to mention sometimes the directions on the back of the hair dye box are confusing as hell.
To help you out, we enlisted the help of several celebrity hair colorists who are dishing on how to dye hair at home... the right way.
Click through our gallery to see 11 tips you need to know before heading to the drugstore or your local beauty supply store to pick up a box of at-home hair dye.
Ask Your Colorist for Advice on Color Levels
If you are preparing to color your own hair or if you need to color your hair in a pinch, celebrity hair colorist Patrice Vinci — of the eponymous Patrice Vinci Salon in Boston — recommends speaking with your colorist to determine the color level they would recommend.
"This is valuable information that dedicated beauty supply stores, such as Sally’s, will use to guide you to the proper color for your needs," Vinci says.
Assess Your Regrowth
"Rather than going by the color on the box, or the ends of your hair, focus on your regrowth (roots) as the guide in selecting a color by the box," Vinci says. "How much gray do you need to cover? This is key for application, as you should only cover the gray area, leaving the remainder of your hair untouched until the final 10 minutes of the process time."
Vinci says this will also help avoid color build-up on hair and give a more professional look to your at-home color.
Opt for Semi-Permanent When Coloring Gray Hair
If you are looking to add color to gray hair, then Patricio Jardines, a hair colorist at Eliut Salon, recommends choosing a semi-permanent color instead of a permanent dye. "This will blend hair with minimal damage, especially since it needs to be treated more frequently," Jardines says.
Add Artificial Sweetener
"No matter the shade or hue, if you're dyeing at home and have severely sensitive skin, add one packet of Sweet 'N Low sugar to the dye to alleviate the drying effects of any ammonia in the boxed dye," she says. "The acids in the Sweet 'N Low help neutralize the pH level, alleviating dryness and skin irritation."
Go a Shade Lighter
Jardines says that when you are choosing a box color, make sure you pick a shade lighter or half a shade lighter than your natural hair color. "This plays it safe so you don’t end up with a color that doesn’t match your natural color," he says.
Avoid Excessive Use of Heat Styling Tools
If you are about to try dyeing your hair at home, Wright recommends you stop using hot tools at least a week before giving it a go.
"The heat from straighteners, curling irons, and blow dryers cause brittle, dry, and damaged strands, which will not result in vibrant color," Wright says. "If your hair already suffers from significant heat damage, consider getting it professionally cut before your new dye job. This will ensure that the damaged hair is gone before applying color."
Don't Forget to Check Out Your Local Beauty Store
While you might hit up Target for your usual essentials, Vinci says to consider visiting a beauty supply store, like Sally's Beauty Supply, if you are going to try dyeing hair at home.
"Most beauty supply stores employ hair professionals or hair students and they have a better understanding of the complicated world of hair color," she says. "Armed with a color level and any other details a hair colorist has shared with you or going it solo, beauty supply store representatives can focus on products to make solid recommendations in meeting your color needs."
Bonus? Vinci says the products these stores sell are generally salon grade.
Invest in a Purple Shampoo
If you haven't yet hard of purple shampoo to keep your color looking fresh, then you'll want to listen up to this tip from Danielle Lint, an expert hair colorist at Warren Tricomi Salons.
"This keeps blonde hair brighter when it starts to turn the unwanted yellow or brassy color," she says. Try Clariol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo.
Lint says that while she doesn't recommend clients try box colors or bleach at home, she is a fan of temporary color or solid upkeep products, like color-safe shampoo. “[It’s] the absolute best way to maintain color and look your best until your next visit," she says.
Try Root Touch-Up Products
If you don't want to dye your hair at home but wouldn't mind masking some of the grays until you can hit the salon, then Lint recommends picking up a temporary hair color spray that covers the gray. Lint says she loves L'oreal's Paris Magic Root Cover Up Spray.
Use Vaseline to Avoid Stains
Want to avoid color stains on your skin? Celebrity hair colorist Cindy Lopez recommends putting Vaseline around your hairline to keep stains at bay.
Apply Color in Sections
Lopez says that while she doesn't recommend applying color at home, if you are strapped for a quick fix, then you'll want to be sure you part your hair in sections before applying color.
"This makes the application process easier and helps to distribute the color evenly," she says.