How to Color and Dye Your Own Hair and Save Money
Advantages of Coloring Your Own Hair
There are several advantages to dyeing your own hair.
- You save money since it is much cheaper than going to a salon.
- You don't have to wait for an opening in the schedule for a hair appointment.
- You don't have to plan your day around the appointment.
- You can dye your hair anytime you want. (This is especially useful if you have young children at home. You can dye your hair while they are sleeping without having to make arrangements for their care.)
Best of all, do it right and nobody has to know you dye your hair!
Buying the Hair Dye
The first step in coloring your hair is buying the hair dye. There are many different brands to choose from, such as L'Oreal, Revlon, Clairol, and Garnier, but the brand-name ones all basically do the same thing. Find one at a price you like that has the color you like.
I have tried many different brands, and they all have their pros and cons. None of them stood out significantly from the others.
Types of Hair Dye
There are several different kinds of hair dye. There are temporary products that will let you color your hair for a short time, but will wash out in the first wash. This is great if you want your hair to be some wild color for a party.
The other kind is semi-permanent. This kind lasts about twelve shampoos, which means it will wash out before you can see noticeable roots. Most experts recommend this type for general coloring. It has fewer harsh chemicals since it doesn't lighten your hair. It covers the old color with a different color, so it is best when you are darkening your hair color.
The last kind is permanent. It stays on permanently. This does mean that your roots will wind up a different color as they grow out. You can touch up the roots if you want though. It works better if you want to lighten your hair. Hair dye, particularly the permanent kind, is really not good for your hair, so you may want to find a product that does not use ammonia.
Choosing a Color
It is best to get a hair color that is one or two shades lighter or darker than your original hair color. While some people are able to make drastic changes and look just fine, others have found that their hair turned purple or orange or some other shade they were not expecting. It might be best to let a salon handle bigger changes.
The color of the hair dye will vary depending on the color of your hair. The color of the hair of the woman on the front of the package may not be the color you will get when you buy that box. Look on the side of the box, that shows you the before and after results, so you can be sure you are getting the shade you want.
Getting the Necessary Supplies
Be sure to read the label of the box to see what it includes. If you buy a box like Revlon or Clairol, they generally have everything you need to dye your hair. If you buy it at a salon or a store that sells salon products, you may need to purchase a developing cream separately. If you have long hair, you may want to buy two boxes to make sure you have enough for all of your hair.
Take the Tests Before Coloring Day
You may think that once you have purchased the hair color, you can start coloring your hair. The directions tell you to take two tests first.
One is a skin-allergy test to make sure you are not allergic to the product. There have been people who have developed allergies and had serious effects even if they had used the product without issue previously. That's why the salon makes you sign a waiver before they will dye your hair.
The other is the strand test to see how long you need to leave the hair color in to get the results you want.
Coloring Day Preparation
In addition to completing the allergy test and the strand test, there are a few steps to complete before taking on your new do.
Detangle Hair, But Don't Wash It
On coloring day, you do not want to wash your hair first. The color actually latch on to the dirt and oils, making coloring better. Simply brush out the tangles, and your hair is ready to go.
Prep Your Coloring Space
Choose where you will color your hair. You want a well-ventilated space, since the chemicals usually have a very strong smell, even if they are masked with some perfume.
You may also want to spread out some newspapers on the floor and on any surfaces, which will absorb the color. I know the lady in the picture on the box is wearing white and has a white bathroom, but she is obviously an actress. Coloring your own hair isn't an extremely messy job, but sometimes the tip of the nozzle squirts the dye in weird directions, and you may not notice a fine spray.
Put on Clothes You Don't Care About
The other thing I would highly recommend is to put on your grungiest clothes. Coloring your hair is not cheaper than a salon if you stain your clothes and have to get new ones. I have an outfit I have reserved for painting the house and dyeing my hair. I also use a grungy towel.
Protect Your Hairline
You may also want to spread a little bit of oil on your skin around your hairline to protect your face from absorbing any of the color.
Find a Helper (Optional)
It helps to have a helper, since you can't see the back of your head, but it is not necessary. Just use a mirror and feel for dry spots.
How to Dye Your Own Hair
- Put on the gloves that have been provided (they are stuck to the directions so they might be hard to see).
- Mix the product according to the directions. (In the video below, Nutrisse has a fruit extract that other products don't, so don't be surprised if you have just a color and a cream developer to mix together.)
- Cover your hair thoroughly. Make sure you get the sideburns and any gray spots. You don't want blobs of color in your hair, so I try to color groups of hair at a time, vertically instead of horizontally. That way, if I miss any, it looks more natural. There is a special brush you can use, but my gloved hands work just fine.
- Be sure to clean up any spills right away. My tile and marble surfaces clean up easily, even if I don't see the spot right away, but the curtains, linoleum floor and bath mat absorb the color right away.
- Wait the time period—generally 25 minutes. This could be more or less depending on your strand test. I highly recommend setting a timer. For me, the first few minutes go really slowly and the last few minutes go by really quickly.
- Jump in the shower. It is so much easier to wash in the shower than the sink. Add a little bit of water to your hair and mix it in. There is some soap in the product that will wash your hair. Then rinse it all out. And rinse and rinse to make sure you get all of the dye.
- Add lots of conditioner. This is no time to skimp. Your hair has been damaged and conditioner will help repair it. Plus it leaves your hair really soft.
- Style as usual.
Tips to Help Dyed Hair Retain Its Color
To retain the color, you may want to avoid washing your hair the next day just to make sure your hair has time to absorb all the dye. There are also shampoos on the market that are gentler on hair color and help retain the color longer.
Coloring Your Own Hair
Coloring your own hair is more convenient than going to a salon, and is much less expensive. If the young women in the photos can do it, so can you.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2012 Shasta Matova