Helpful hints on how to color your own hair

Not all of us have the time or additional finances to treat ourselves to a salon day, but, that doesn’t mean we can’t help ourselves look and feel fabulous. To ensure that no tinting mishaps happen along the way, we have created a list of helpful hints to ensure a smooth home hair-coloring process.

Selecting the dye

When choosing the box of hair dye to color the whole head, be sure to use a section of hair as a reference and select a color that is a tone or half-tone lighter. This is a safer move and will ensure that the new color is not too far off from our original color. If our hearts are set on going darker, then one or two tones darker is recommended.

We strongly suggest that those wanting to have a bold change, such as brunette to blonde, to not try it at home. There is a long process involved in changing the color and professionals will be able to do so with as little damage as possible.


For those with thick shoulder-length hair or longer, it is advised to buy two boxes of dye to make sure that the dye doesn’t run out halfway through. When choosing dye to touch-up regrowth, buy a semi-permanent dye to minimize damage since this hair section will be colored more frequently.

Stop the stains

Before the color process begins, we suggest placing Vaseline around the hairline and on the ears to prevent any unsightly skin stains. Don’t forget to stock up on rubber gloves and if anyone is very new to coloring their hair, why not put Vaseline on the forearms too – just in case! For those sneaky splatters, keep make-up remover wipes on hand to take care of them immediately.

Wear a robe or button-down shirt to save any clothes from stains. Cover the sink, counters, and even the floor with newspaper or garbage bags. This way, the clean up is quick and easy as the stained items can be thrown away.


Once the hair has been completely dyed, place a disposable shower cap over the hair to prevent the dye from dripping.

General coloring tips

For those of us with sensitive scalps, a trick of the trade is to add a sachet of artificial sweetener to the color mix. The sugar neutralizes the ammonia’s basic properties, therefore, reducing the drying effects and potential irritation.

Professionals also recommend that the use of hot styling tools like hairdryers, curlers, and straighteners are eliminated up to a week before dying hair. This includes chemical relaxers and perms too! This way, we can prevent additional damage and ensure that the dye will result in a more vibrant color.

Other tips include using a bowl and brush for more precision and combing the dye through the hair after application to ensure its all the way through. For highlights, a toothbrush works wonders!


If we are only looking to cover up regrowth, the roots should have the dye on it for the majority of the coloring time, leaving the remaining hair untouched until the last 10 minutes to ensure a consistent color job. This method also prevents dye build up on the hair, which can lead to excess drying out.

Maintenance best practices

How we care for our hair after the coloring process can make all the difference. Using specialized color-friendly shampoos and hair masks will deeply condition the hair and keep the color looking radiant. For those who have gone blonde, we highly recommend using purple shampoo to prevent the hair from turning brassy yellow.


For darker dye jobs, we suggest staying out of the sun or wearing a hat to prevent the sun’s rays from lightening the hair color and breaking down the additional pigment. The chemicals in water like chlorine, salt, and other minerals are also known to fade the color. We suggest installing a filter in the shower, applying a color-safe conditioner after swimming, and limiting washes by using dry shampoo.

Everyone deserves to feel comfortable and confident with their hair, even if we can’t make it to the salon!

More about Jamie Levi

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