Read these tips before you even head to the store to buy a box of hair dye.
Hair color sold to consumers is intended to be as user-friendly as possible. Thanks to clear instructions and all the supplies you need in one kit, most people are able to use the products with ease. But are you really getting the best results out of your at-home hair color? You don’t have to be a professional colorist to dye your hair — just a few simple tips can help keep your hair healthy-looking and give you salon-worthy results from an at-home color job.
TIPS BEFORE YOU DYE YOUR HAIR AT HOME
1. Choosing Your Shade
Consider your natural hair color as a starting point when choosing a shade. It will both help you predict what the final result will look like — that’s what those before/after pictures on the side panel of the carton are you — and help you choose the most flattering shade for your skin tone. In general, it’s healthier for your hair to color it a darker shade, as going lighter may mean you have to use peroxide [see Source 1].
2. Do a Skin-Allergy Test
Remember how your teachers would sometimes quiz you on major test topics before the exam to make sure you were ready? You can do the same thing with your hair dye by performing a skin-allergy test. Instructions for this simple test will likely come with your dye kit, but we’ll quickly break it down. First, clean a small area of skin, like the bend of your elbow or back of your hand. Then place a quarter-sized amount of dye on the inner elbow area, and leave it for 48 hours. Examine the area periodically over the next two days. If you don’t experience a skin reaction or any of the signs or symptoms mentioned in the insert, you are probably good to go with coloring your hair.
3. Guard Your Skin
DIY colorists often worry about coloring outside the lines, or accidentally catching some skin with your new color. According to Patricia Slattery, Assistant Vice President of Hair Color Education, Training & Testing at L’Oreal, a basic hack assures you’ll only get color where you need it. “You can help avoid any potential staining of your skin by applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly along your hairline and to the tops of your ears,” says Slattery. “If you end up getting some color on your skin anyway, grab a damp towel and wipe it off quickly so that it does not set.”
4. Prep Your Hair
Each kit will have instructions to let you know how to apply it for best results, but in general, you’ll want to color hair that is completely dry and prepare by refraining from washing it for a day or two before coloring.
5. Dress for the Occasion
Before you break out the hair dye, put on clothes that you don’t mind getting stained, and wear the gloves provided in the kit. A black T-shirt is great at concealing any stains!
Always apply your dye in a well ventilated area over a surface that is easy to clean, such as your bathtub or a tiled linoleum floor. Find an old towel that is OK to get stained (we recommend one that is a dark color or that is already stained) to pat your hair dry after rinsing out the dye.
6. Lay Out What You Need
After you start coloring your hair, it might be difficult to run around and get any supplies you need in the moment. Lay out everything you’ll need for the coloring ahead of time. That includes all of the products that came in the box, your gloves, a towel to drape over your clothes, and the instructions to follow once you begin.