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Important Things to Do When Coloring Your Own Hair

by Jennifer Blair, studioD

Although a new hair color can definitely freshen up your look, a trip to the salon for professional coloring can take a big chunk out of your wallet. Coloring your own hair can certainly save money, but it presents its own challenges. Since it's easy for at-home dyeing to go wrong, there are a few important things you should do if you want to wind up with flattering color.

Do Choose the Right Dye

The trickiest part of coloring your own hair is choosing the right formula and shade. Start by deciding how much of a commitment you’re willing to make to the new color. A semi-permanent shade washes away in approximately 10 shampoos, while a demi-permanent color can last up to 25 washes. If you want your color to really last until it grows out or you cut it, opt for a permanent dye that uses peroxide and ammonia. When it comes to choosing a color, stick to one that’s within three shades of your natural color. If you’re in doubt about the shade, go with a lighter option since it’s easier to go darker than it is to take color away.

Do a Strand Test

Before you cover your entire head with dye, do a strand test to make sure you like the color and to determine how long you should leave the dye on your hair. Take a section of hair about one-fourth inch wide from just above your ear so you can see how the shade looks against your skin – but opt for a section that’s beneath the lop layer so you can hide it if you don’t like the color. Apply the dye according to the instructions, but wipe it off with a damp cloth about halfway through the designated dyeing time. Place the dyed section against a white towel or piece of paper and examine it in natural light to get a true idea of the color. If you like the shade, you know how long to leave on the dye. If you want a deeper look, reapply the dye and let it sit for the rest of the designated time so you can see if you like the color better.

Do Prep Work

When you’re ready to apply the color to your entire head, prep work is key. Read all of the package’s instructions carefully. Slip on the supplied gloves and lay a plastic trash bag on the floor to catch any drips. Before applying the color, spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly along your hairline and neckline from ear to ear to prevent the color from staining your skin. You should also lightly spray the ends of your hair with water – they are usually drier than the rest of your hair, so they can absorb more color and create an uneven look.

Do Section Your Hair

To get the most even, natural shade, color your hair in section to ensure the dye is properly distributed and you don’t miss a spot. Part your dry hair down the middle and divide the halves into two sections for a total of four. Clip up those you’re not working on and apply the dye to one section at a time. Spread the color from the roots to the ends, working the dye into your hair.

About the Author

Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on BobVila.com, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Photo Credits

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