My past self always left coloring my hair to the pros. My naturally dark brown hair went through multiple iterations of blondes, strawberry pink tips, and even streaks of purple. Balayage became my go-to request, a technique that left my roots naturally dark while adding lighter pieces to my ends. I truthfully had no idea how to dye my hair at home, but since my color didn’t require too much upkeep (just a salon visit every 4-6 months), it was easy enough to maintain. Then it happened. Strands of white hairs began making their appearance. What started as one turned to many, and going to the salon become a pricier ordeal. Around the same time, I started to want to go back to my darker roots, so I decided to finally learn how to dye my hair at home. I couldn't believe how easy it was (or how much money I was saving). Here are some of the tips I’ve learned to get the most seamless all-over hair color application right at home.
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CHOOSE A HAIR DYE THAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU
I’ve come to love a few drugstore options, but the one I’m currently using is Revlon’s Total Color Permanent Hair Color in Dark Brown. It's a clean and vegan hair dye (no sulfates or ammonia!) that's so amazing with covering grays, even my mom uses it. What I like the most about this formula in particular is how gentle it is on my scalp, thanks to an infusion of nourishing cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil. Plus, it comes with a botanical-based gloss (which I’ll get to) that's great for upkeep. It’s also so easy to use. Just mix the Color Developer with the Cream Colorant — both are clearly marked with a “1” and “2” — and you’re ready to go.
ASSIGN AN OLD SHIRT AS YOUR DESIGNATED "HAIR DYE SHIRT"
Dye marks are almost impossible to remove, so my best advice is to reserve an old shirt or robe just for the purposes of wearing while coloring your hair. No matter how careful you are, it’s so easy for a sprinkle (or glob) of dye to land on your clothes. My preference is one with front buttons that’s easy and mess-free to remove. Pro tip: Make sure to also protect any surfaces of your dyeing area. I usually cover my bathroom sink with an old towel to protect it from any stubborn dye stains.
PROTECT THE SKIN AROUND YOUR HAIRLINE
Before I start coloring, I usually apply a balm around my hairline to protect my skin from the dye. I like Lanolips Superbalm, but you can just as easily use something less pricey, like Vaseline, instead. Lightly coat your hairline and ears — if any dye lands in those areas, it can then be easily wiped off.
LINE UP THE RIGHT TOOLS
First, gently brush out any tangles before going in with the dye (I learned that one the hard way). I use my Tangle Teezer, which helps undo knots without pulling at my hair. I also personally like to use a hair color brush. Mine has a rat-tail end that makes it easy to part my hair as I go, and I use the brush side to apply dye straight to my roots before doing an all-over color. Also keep some clips nearby to hold sections of hair in place as you work your way around your head.
APPLY IN SECTIONS
I always part my hair in the middle to start and work in 1/2-inch sections (this is where the rat-tail comb comes in handy). The Revlon bottle has a pointy tip, which makes it easy to evenly dispense dye along the parts. Then, I use my hair color brush to blend throughout my roots. If you don't have a brush, you can also just use your fingers to spread the color. Once you're done with your roots, you can coat the rest of your hair before clipping it all up and off your neck. If you’re using the Revlon Total Color hair dye, you only have to wait 25 minutes (or 30 for stubborn grays) before it’s time to rinse out.
MAINTAIN COLOR WITH GLOSS
Sealing your color with a gloss is the key to keeping it vibrant. The one included in the Total Color set contains camellia oil and shade-specific ingredients (like sesame oil for my brunette hue). Keep it in the shower and use every couple of weeks to maintain that fresh-from-the-salon effect.
All photos courtesy of writer.