Does it feel like you’re buying a PowerBall lottery ticket when playing with the contents of those home coloring kits?
Has an attempt at home coloring ever ended in tears and panic?
If so you’re not alone.
Yes, coloring your hair at home can go exquisitely right or disastrously wrong. No news there.
Still box dyes are extremely popular.
Go into any drugstore chain, Target or Walmart and you will find a ginormous selection of the stuff. It wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t selling.
And the kits sell because most would give anything to get natural looking color at home.
Actually it’s never been easier to get rich, radiant, flawless color all without stepping foot into a salon.
But not if you do this.
A friend called in a panic the other day.
She had tried to color her hair herself. Hoping for fabulous the color she got instead was more like freaky. Yes she wanted a change but not something like this. Actually, she tearfully confessed, she was looking for something MUCH closer to natural color than she ended up with.
Hmmmm. What did she do wrong?
Seems she violated many of the unwritten rules for hair coloring at home. Had she heeded any of those little known, yet common sense hair color ideas, she may not be frantically trying to get an emergency appointment with a pricy colorist to fix the mess she created.
Not familiar with those ideas I just hinted at?
Well let’s see if we can’t help to start to set you straight and straight on the way to lovely color at home.
DIY Hair Color Tips
Start Small: For example it’s always wise to start out small. By that I mean start out with a semi permanent color. Even henna might be better than going the completely chemical route that leaves you nowhere to turn should things go wrong other than pulling out your credit card and trying not to cry when you see what it’s going to cost you. Sure the result may not be hair that’s lightened for long. But it’s much easier to fix should things take a turn for the worse.
Instructions Please: Always, always, always read the instructions inside the box and follow them to the letter. If it says leave it on for 20 minutes, or whatever, then do that. Set an egg timer, if need be, to make sure you do. And remember if you pay attention to any articles about hairstyles for fine hair you may have read, then you know that hair type is more fragile to begin with. So take extra caution.
Easy Does It: Don’t go drastic yourself. Absolutely it helps to know our limitations. And when it comes to hair coloring you’re apt to have a more satisfactory outcome at home if you stick to a shade or two of the color you were born with. You can always lighten or darken over time. But once you’ve gone from honey blonde to midnight black, we’ll there’s no easy way out. And shaving your head isn’t easy.
Your hair isn’t called your crowning glory for nothing.
So treat it as such.
Don’t do anything rash.
Learn the skill of coloring your hair slowly by taking baby steps.
Doing so will keep you from any heartbreak or bank breaking situation of at home coloring job gone wrong.
To help with that here’s a great little video that walks you through the steps of bathroom coloring.
Thought it was well done so included it because a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, yeah, in this case it’s a video but you get the idea.
Obviously this video demonstrates one way to use box dye.
How you do it may vary based on your experience, your hair, and the reason for coloring.
So please take this demonstration video as one girl’s story.
But still pay attention. Oh and as she CLEARLY points out the more dramatic the change in color, especially going lighter, the more you should consider leaving it to a professional.
Just remember you’ve been warned to proceed at your own risk. LOL
How to Easily Dye Your Hair at Home Using Drugstore Hair Dye
Here’s What You’ll Need
- Box of drugstore hair coloring (two if your hair is longer)
- Hair elastics or clips
- Throwaway top or T-shirt
- Plastic shopping bag or shower cap
- Vaseline to run along your hair line to protect against staining your skin
- Mixing bowl
- Coloring brush
- Wide tooth comb
- Optional: Nitrile (latex) gloves that are somewhat hypo allergenic
What Color Is Best?
Those venturing into at home coloring would be smart to stick to nothing more extreme than two shades lighter or darker than your natural hair color.
Also if you are unwilling to commit to a color try something from the more semi permanent collection. It should last maybe a month before washing out. That way you are not stuck with a color you hate.
Prep Is Important
It’s important that you work with properly prepped hair.
That means your mane should be 100% totally dry.
Plus it should have last come in contact with shampoo at least a day ago.
The point about second day hair is mentioned since that offers a token of scalp protection from the chemicals involved. The built up oil and whatever acts like a shield to fend off irritation. So let the grease take over.
That said, you can’t expect to color your strands without irritating your scalp some.
Next, section your mane into four more or less equal parts. Doing so is especially vital if you have longish hair.
You’re doing this this to reduce the chances you’ll miss a spot with the coloring. You really want to do all you can to insure even color coverage.
So split your hair in half. Then split each half into an upper and lower section.
As you divide and conquer twist and roll up each section and secure with your favorite style of hair clip.
Are We Ready Now?
You want to be jewelry free since the magic potion involved might do damage.
Petroleum jelly applied along the hair line will prevent the dye from staining your skin. Oh and don’t forget to apply some to your ears too.
Also at home hair coloring can be a VERY messy proposition. So you want to cover anything you don’t wish to be stained.
For example one way to protect your bathroom floor is to slit open a big plastic garbage bag and lay that on the floor. Maybe even taping it down with masking tape to hold it in place if you’re super klutzy.
It’s also a good idea to take up any of those cute little accent rugs you’ve got in the bathroom too to keep them out of harm’s way.
What’s In The Box?
Most home coloring kits are pretty much the same.
Typically you’ll find
- your color in one form or another
- a bottle of developer
- some sort of post coloring conditioner
There is also likely a pair of gloves and detailed instructions.
Take a sec to see what is what with the contents of the box you bought.
Then I have to ask if you actually bothered to read the instructions? Extra credit to be passed out to those who do.
Even if you’ve done this a gazillion time before humor me and at least glance at the instructions.
They are included – often multiple times – for a reason. That is to insure you get the best possible outcome. So don’t outsmart yourself.
Also note any 800 number listed for use if you run into problems. You don’t want to be scrambling to find this should the coloring train jump the track unexpectedly.
But then it’s your hair.
Patch test? What patch test?
This wasn’t covered in the video so I’ll bring it up now.
Don’t be so excited to get started that you neglect to do the patch test.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Tell it to the hand. It’s for your own good so stop your whining.
Because there is nothing worse than discovering AFTER you’ve slathered your head with the chemical concoction you are reacting to the coloring and NOT in a good way.
Just do the patch test, please? (That linked to site is very helpful and goes into detail about possible reactions.)
At least now you can’t way I didn’t go out of my way to warn you! I promise that’s the last one.
FINALLY it’s time to mix the ingredients.
Pour the developer into your little mixing bowl. You do have one don’t you? If no these are readily available at your local beauty supply store.
After breaking the seal on the coloring squeeze the contents into the developer.
Now It’s Time For The Main Event
Saturate your coloring brush with, in this case, the semi-permanent solution.
Focusing on the hair line work from the front to the area around the nape of your neck in the back.
Here’s what you want – Total. Even. Coverage.
All the more critical if you are partial to ponytails since your hairline will be readily visible when you pull your hair back.
The video does a good job of explaining the application process.
Once your strands are saturated use your comb to evenly distribute the product throughout.
Once you are satisfied, twist your hair back up into a little bun and clip up and out of the way.
Repeat with all the sections of hair.
After all is colored release all the clipped up hair and gently massage your scalp. Just one more thing to do to insure – Total. Even. Coverage.
The heat off your head also helps the process along.
To capture that heat, now is the time to wrap your head in a plastic grocery bag. Or cover things with a shower cap.
You may need to give the chemical time to work – however long that may be with your product because we KNOW you read the instructions.
In addition to retaining the heat covering your hair like this prevents getting coloring solution on furniture or carpeting.
After the recommended time spelled out in the instructions, wash your hair and apply the conditioner provided.
Viola. You’re done.
Just remember that most any DIY hair coloring can be damaging to your locks.
One solution of course is to deep condition.
A better solution would be not color your hair because prevention is better than cure.
But again who am I kidding? We all do it. Enjoy.