How to Dye Hair at Home (Coloring Tips & Tricks)
How to Dye Hair
Dyeing your own hair can give you a brand-new look without having to make an expensive trip to the salon. It may seem intimidating at first, but dyeing hair is simple once you know what to do.
Wash your hair 24 to 48 hours before dyeing.Doing this allows the natural oils in your hair to develop which in turn allows the dye to bind to your hair more easily. The dye will blend more naturally with your hair, and that tends to make it last longer.
- If possible, avoid conditioner when you wash your hair the day before dyeing it. Conditioner eliminates your natural oils, which you need for the dye to set in more easily.
- If your hair is extremely dry, condition it every night for at least five minutes in a hot shower for a week before you plan to dye your hair. Then, do not condition your hair the night before dyeing. This will keep your hair from drying out after you dye it.
Pick a color that you really like.It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of shades you can choose from. If this is your first time dyeing your hair, its best to stick to a hair dye that is no more than two shades darker or lighter than your own natural hair color.
- If you are new to dyeing, you can also try dyeing your hair with a temporary or semi-permanent dye first. Using one of these types of dyes ensure that if you mess up, you won’t have live with your mistake for long. Keep in mind that you have to apply semi-permanent dye to damp hair.
- Temporary dyes, such as chalk and mousse, usually wash out after 1 to 2 shampoos. Semi-permanent dyes will rinse out after 20 to 26 shampoos. Permanent dyes are permanent. The color may fade after 6-8 weeks, but will need to grow out.
Protect your home and yourself from dye stains.While you want to stain your hair, you do not want weird blotches of cherry red all over your carpet and favorite shirt. Cover any surface around you that might get dye on it and put newspapers on the floor. Have paper towels nearby to deal with spills. Wear a ratty old shirt you do not like, preferably one you are ready to throw away. It is very easy to get dye on whatever shirt you are wearing.
Put a towel or color cape around your shoulders.The towel or cape will catch any dye that may drip off of your hair during the dyeing process. You can purchase a color cape at a beauty supply store. If you decide to use a towel, use one that is a dark color to avoid visibly staining the towel. Secure the towel in the front of your neck with a safety pin or clip.
Brush your hair well.Make sure that there are no tangles left in your hair. This step will make applying the dye easier, but it will also help you to make sure that your hair will be evenly dyed.
Coat your hairline, ears and neck before applying dye to your hair.You can use Vaseline, lip balm or the conditioner included in the kit (if one is provided). This step is optional, but applying this coating will make it easier to rinse off any dye that gets on your skin.
Put on your gloves.Gloves generally come with a dye kit, but if they don’t, you can simply use normal rubber, vinyl, or latex gloves. Remember that it is imperative to wear gloves when dyeing your hair. If you do not, you will end up dyeing your hands as well.
Use the supplied bottle or a bowl to mix the dye.Follow the directions provided on the box. Most box kits include bottles that you use for mixing the dye. Follow the instructions to combine the dye ingredients into the bottle provided. Then, shake the solution until the ingredients are well combined. If your dye does not include these items, then you will need to purchase a bowl to mix the dye in.
- If your hair dye does not come with a paint brush, you can buy one at your local beauty supply store or just use your gloved fingers to apply the dye.
Mix your dye with a developer.This only applies to some dyes - the box your dye came in will have instructions regarding developer. The developer is generally included in the kit. If it is not, you can purchase it at your local drugstore.
- If you need to purchase your own developer, choose a 20% developer.
Dyeing Your Hair
Use a comb to separate your hair into four different sections.Use large, plastic salon clips (found at your local drugstore) to hold the sections apart. Separating your hair into these sections will ensure that you don’t miss a patch of hair.
Apply the dye to your hair in sections.Break each section of hair up into smaller 1/4"-1/2” subsections as you work (this will just make your dye job more even.) Use the applicator bottle or brush to dispense the dye onto your hair. Use your gloved fingers to work the dye into your hair.Whether to begin applying the dye will depend on whether or not you have ever dyed your hair before.
- For virgin (first time dyeing) hair, start applying dye about 1 inch from your roots.
- For touch-ups, start applying dye about ½ inch from your roots.
- Work the dye into your hair well so that you do more than simply color the top layer of your hair.
- The thicker your hair is, the smaller you should make your sections so that the dye can saturate the hair fully.
Set a timer for how long you need to leave the dye in your hair.Follow the instructions on the box. Do not rinse the dye out before the minimum time or leave the dye in past the maximum time. Make sure to follow the directions exactly. If you have a lot of grey hair, it’s best to leave the dye in for the maximum amount of time. It may help to sit under a heated dryer, as well.
- Never leave hair dye in overnight. Leaving it in overnight will dry out your hair and it may cause severe skin irritation as well.
Rinsing Your Hair
Wipe excess dye off of your neck and forehead with a paper towel or wet cloth.Do not disturb the dye in your hair. If you want, you can put a shower cap on your hair to keep the dye from going everywhere.
- Once you have put a shower cap on, you can wrap your head in a towel so that the cap retains the heat of your head. This will speed up the dyeing process.
Wait until the process time is up to rinse your hair.After your time is up, either get into the shower or use a sink to rinse your hair out. Use warm water to rinse the dye out of your hair. Rinse your hair until the water runs clear.
- Don't panic if you see the color run in the shower - this is totally natural and does not mean you’ve messed up the dyeing process. Keep in mind that if the dye is temporary, the dye will continue to run each time you wash it until it is completely gone.
Shampoo and condition your hair.Wait at least an hour before shampooing your hair. Waiting to wash allows the dye to more thoroughly penetrate your hair shaft. After you have shampooed your hair, use the conditioner that came with the dye kit. Rub it thoroughly into all of your hair.
- Almost every kit comes with conditioner, but if yours did not you can just use what you have at home.
Dry your hair and style as usual.You can either blow dry your hair or let it air dry. After your hair is dry, style it as you normally would and show off your new hair color! If you are unhappy with your results, you may want to see a hair stylist for color correction. It is also a good idea to wait at least two weeks to color your hair again.
QuestionHow long does it take to get your hair done?
Licensed CosmetologistLicensed CosmetologistExpert AnswerThis depends on the texture, thickness, and length of your hair. However, it will take about an hour to apply hair dye, let it process, and rinse it out. Styling your hair will take up additional time.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you mix hair dye and developer?
Licensed CosmetologistLicensed CosmetologistExpert AnswerRefer to the packaging for specific instructions, as it could be a 1:1 ratio, 1:2 ratio, etc. if you purchased a kit, usually all you have to do is mix the two together in a color bowl or applicator bottle.Thanks!
QuestionHow much does it cost to get your hair colored?
Licensed CosmetologistLicensed CosmetologistExpert AnswerPricing varies by where you live. On average, it would range from -0 at a salon. The type of color service will impact the price as well, whether you’re getting a single process, highlights, balayage, etc.Thanks!
QuestionShould the hairdresser put dye throughout all the hair or just on the roots?
Licensed CosmetologistLicensed CosmetologistExpert AnswerIt's up to you. Whatever the client wants, it's the hairdresser's job to achieve that look for you.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I mix up a blonde hair dye?
Licensed CosmetologistLicensed CosmetologistExpert AnswerYou don't have to make a blonde hair dye. You can purchase one from your local beauty supply store.Thanks!
QuestionDo you dye your hair or cut your hair first?wikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerMany stylists cut first, while others dye first. It’s your preference. In my opinion , if you perform the haircut first, that will prevent you from wasting hair dye. If you dye the hair first and then cut, you’d be wasting dye.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I am a boy and I want to dye my hair?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe instructions are the same for people of all genders.Thanks!
QuestionWhat happens if you sit in the sun with dye in your hair?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHair dye may fade in the sun, leading to a lighter or uneven color. Hair weakened by dyeing may frizz or break more easily from prolonged sun damage.Thanks!
QuestionWhat happens if the hair dye gets in my eyes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAlways read the instructions on the dye packaging first and know what is needed to be done in such an emergency. Usually it will ask you to rinse your eyes very quickly but that depends on the dye. Take all necessary precautions to prevent this from happening. For the sake of your eyesight, call an ambulance or see a doctor immediately if the solution suggested by the dye packaging for removing dye from the eyes does not work.Thanks!
QuestionHow long would it take to get permanent hair dye out?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPermanent hair dye can only be removed by a professional hair stylist. The amount of time needed to remove permanent hair dye varies, so it's best to consult a professional.Thanks!
Does hair dye damage if it is your first time?
Can relaxed hair still be dyed with permanent hair color?
- When taking a shower (and rinsing your hair) use cold water! It helps the color stay longer and it is also good for your hair.
- Buy color care shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for dyed hair. They contain less harsh detergents and will help your color last.
- Put color swatches up against your face and hair to determine a complementary tone of dye for your coloring.
- Do not rinse with warm water as it aids the color into fading away faster.
- If you are using permanent dye to prepare your hair for an event or vacation and you want your hair to look natural and healthy, dye your hair at least a week in advance. This will allow your hair (and scalp) time to go through a few post-dye wash/condition cycles. Hair that was dyed yesterday tends to look a little artificial. Hair that was dyed a week ago is much less obviously dyed.
- When you permanently dye your hair, don't shampoo your hair after applying the dye unless the instructions say to! Shampooing the hair will make the dye fade faster. Also, if you use vegan (made of fruits and vegetables) hair dye, the longer you leave it in, the longer the dye will last.
- If you experience any burning or itching while the dye is in, make sure you rinse the dye out right away.
- Some dyes use a chemical called paraphenylenediamine, which can cause some people to have an allergic reaction. If the dye you use contains this ingredient, it is best to do a "patch test" on a small area of skin before applying it to your hair. Put some dye directly on your skin, generally behind your ear or in the fold of your arm, leave it on for around 20 minutes then rinse it out and wait at least 24 hours for an allergic reaction.
- Never attempt to dye your eyebrows or eyelashes. You could seriously hurt your eyes or even cause blindness.
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of How to Dye Hair was reviewed by on July 24, 2019.
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Video: How To Color Your Hair At Home | Quick & Effortless
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