Home Hair Dying 101

Most of us aren’t happy with our hair color. I think I look better with darker hair. How ’bout you?

Its common for those of us with hair color issues to dye it at home. It can be a lot cheaper than going to a stylist.

While home dying can be straight forward, there are some tips you won’t find on the box of hair color. Follow me on my trip from light to dark brown hair. I’ll give you home hair dying tips along the way.

homeColor01 Your hair will need to be clean to start. You should be on day two of cleanly shampooed hair. That means if you’re dying your hair on a Tuesday, the last time you washed it should be Monday. Keep all hair products out of your tresses. No hair spray or gel, ok?

My hair is naturally curly, but I straightened it for my home dying. In the end, it made the hair color go in smoother. (Also, my hair isn’t red. The lighting is just terrible in that bathroom. It’s actually light brown.)

homeColor02 Here’s the deal, it’s hard NOT to get hair dye all over the place when you’re changing your hair color. Because of this, there’s a few things you can do to prepare:

  1. Change into your dying outfit. This is an old shirt and pants that you don’t care about anymore. Save them afterward so you can use them again next time. If you’re like me and wore a tank top, wear a bra you don’t care about either.
  2. Pick up any rugs out of your bathroom. While I’ve never dropped a dot of dye on the ground before, why take chances?
  3. Wipe down the counters. Clear off all your beauty products from the bathroom counter and wipe it down.

Everything’s ready!

homeColor03 Before you start dying your hair just yet, you might want to take some preventative measures. Hopefully, you have some petroleum jelly in your bathroom (great all around beauty tool). I use Vaseline.

Vaseline is great for dying your hair. Just put this around your hairline on your skin. Be careful not to get it in your hair. This helps when you inevitably get some dye on your skin. The Vaseline prevents it from sticking and dying your skin awful colors.

Don’t forget about the back of your neck and your ears.

homeColor04 Read the directions. Read the directions. It’s so important. In fact, you should have read this the night before. Each brand of hair dye is different. Heck, even every version of hair dye from each brand is different. Don’t get cocky now. Read the directions.

For this tutorial, I’m using Clairol Perfect 10 by Nice ‘N Easy in #4 Dark Brown “Espresso on the Double”. This is permanent hair dye you can find in drug stores and other mass retailers for $13.99. You can see a picture of the box at the top of the post.

homeColor05 Wear good rubber gloves. With them, you won’t be afraid to get your hands right in there.

Most home hair dye kits come with gloves, but there are two different kinds. There are the thin plastic kind that don’t move well and break easily, and there’s the rubber kind. Choose the latter. If you got a dying kit with the bad gloves, go pick some up at a hair care store like Sally Beauty Supply. They’re cheap and you can reuse them if you wash them well enough.

Luckily, the Clairol Perfect 10 comes with good gloves.

homeColor07 Now that you’ve read the directions, its time to mix your color. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts:

  • DO use the complete amount of each tube of chemicals. Even if you’re only planning on dying your roots, mix it all.
  • DON’T mix the chemicals early and store them for later use. The chemical reactions won’t last long and it won’t work right once you use it.
  • DON’T store mixed chemicals in a closed container. It’ll explode!
  • DO use the hair dye right away once it’s mixed.

homeColor08 Now you can apply it to your hair. Start with the roots. Even if you’re dying your whole head of hair, you start with the roots and work outward.

The Clairol Perfect 10 hair dye I’m using comes with two kind of tips: the traditional point tip and the new comb tip. I decided to use the comb and it did a really good job of spreading the color evenly.

homeColor09 As you’re adding hair dye , start piling your hair on top of your head. In the end, you’ll have a mound of hair up there and you’ll be ready to wait it out as the dye sets.

How long you wait for hair dye fully depends on the brand. I’m using Clairol Perfect 10, which works in 10 minutes. By the time I was done cleaning up my mess, it was already time to wash it out. With other brands, you might have to wait as long as 45 minutes.

This is the perfect time to wipe off any drips of hair dye that landed in mysterious spots on you or on your surroundings. I got it all over my arms for some reason.

Once the timer dings, you’ll need to wash out your hair. I suggest getting in the shower. I’ve tried leaning over the sink or tub before and you’re asking for trouble. Instead, wash it out with the highest power setting on your shower head.

Once the water runs clear, use the conditioner provided with your hair dye. It’s rare that hair dye doesn’t come with conditioner these days. It’s imperative that you use it. Your hair will be a lot softer if you do.

homeColor10 Now you should be done. Style as usual and admire your handiwork. You just dyed your hair at home!

(By the way, I’m really liking my new hair color. Really, really.)


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  1. That new hair color really suits you! =)

  2. Thanks, Katie-x. I agree. From now on, I should always stick with dark hair.

  3. Thanks for the post, it’s very useful! I love the new color, I agree with katie-x, it really suits you!

  4. I’m glad you think so, Gio!

  5. this is my first time dying, and yur article just helped me ask my mom if i could die hair, i think after she relized i studied up on a few articles (this being most helpfull), she might say yes(: and i love that hair color!(:

  6. I’m so glad I could be of help, Shannon. It’s nice that you’ve asked your mom for permission, and I hope she lets you dye your hair. What color are you going for?

  7. well i have blonde hair, and i was going to do the underneath brown. (:

  8. Shannon: Oooh! That could look so good! You might want to avoid a super dark brown, though, as a subtle brown might be better. Then again, it’s up to you. Let me know how it goes.

  9. thanks, thats what i was thinking! not too to dark. (: lol anyways, yu’ve helped out alot!(:

  10. shannon–did you do it?? how did it turn out? 😀 yes, i’m nosy =)

  11. PS (i am the same poster as above)
    the color suits! but i would never dye my hair as i would have to buy a $15 box of dye every time my hair grew and you could see the roots…it’s sounds expensive! it would be cool to see how fast/much my hair grew tho….yes, i’m dumb like that 🙂

    🙁 (i just wanted to see if the thingy turned yellow and chubby like when you do a smiley face lol)

  12. (not the smae poster)

    i like that color on you, Trisha!

  13. i did do it, it turned out great! i love it, it was a nice change! (: and since its the underneath died, i think it’ll me less noticable when the roots grow out alittle bit 😀

  14. ahhhh…nice!! good point! 🙂

  15. why cant you hav gel or hairspray on your hair when you dye your hair? oh and your hair looks gawjus!!!

  16. Hi Amy! Thanks for the compliment. As to your question, when your hair has all that gunk, it covers the strands of your hair, preventing the dye from touching the strand. With clean hair, there’s nothing in the dye’s way. You’ll have a better all-over color that way.

  17. This was a very informative and fun to read presentation. I’m covering up the white stragglers you get after 30 today, and I never thought about trying vaseline for my face. I always make a mess with the black hair dye. Thanks!!!

  18. Hi i have blonde hair and have gotten my hair done now for 12 yrs I was wondering if you thought it would come out good for me to do it myself. I want to go dark my natural color is dirty blonde maybe a little golden highlight,I haven’t had it dyed in 8 months and it doesn’t look bad it blends with the plae blonde that i got colored long ago .But i’m tired of the blonde and don’t want to sit in the salon for 2 hours to get it done .Do you think i could dye it expresso or havana brown myself and it would all come out and look good at the same time lol.I’m kinda tan and have blue eyes … Please let me know . Thanks

  19. Hi Trisha your new hair color looks great on you. This advice is realy helpful. My natural haircolor is dark brown/ blackish. I want a change. Since winter is coming I want to keep it dark. I may just go for the ash brown to lighten up my hair. Any suggestions? I have looked up and it says to use “cool’ colors.

  20. Hi Trisha! Like the color and lip ring! I have one too.

  21. Thanks, yours was the best site I’ve seen so far. Simple, easy to follow, and you covered lots of stuff they don’t tell you on the box!

  22. TRISHA, this color looks very nice on you; have a nice day

  23. Well, thanks, Lewis. That’s really sweet of you.

  24. Hi Trisha, your hair colour looks REALLY nice by the way xx I was just wondering, my mum says that i cant dye my hair because shes afraid that i’ll make a mess of my bathroom, but i really want to dye it, i’ve bought the dying kit and everything!! please give me some help xxxxxxxxx 🙂

    • Hi! You should show your mom this post to prove to her that you learned ways to keep the bathroom clean. That might help!

  25. People should be more cautious when using hair dye because some chemicals used in the dyeing process are cancerous.*-;

  26. i have been dyeing my hair for a long time and used the perfect 10 a few times but this time i have had a bad reacion to it behind my ear and its heading down my neck and it is painful so just beware !!!

  27. Thanks very much, appreciated info!

  28. This hopefully will help me loads! I know it’s from last year but still..I’ve been searching around for tips. I’m dying my hair tomorrow and a friend is going to be helping me. I’m going from dark brown to a more dark red colour..hard to describe the shades but they’re quite similar
    Thank you!

  29. hi! i recently went from blonde to brunette also. best decision ive made! i used a colur called Atlantis Water Colour from an Australian brand called Original & Mineral. all you do is add water n them smack it in. so eassssyyy!!!! seriously you should try it next time. no ammonia in it either cuz it irritates my skin. nd my hair had the best shinny texture to it afterwards. thoroughly recommend it 🙂

  30. You did a great job and gave an excellent explanation! It is hard to get the exact color we are hoping for. It is even harder when dying extensions. Check out my blog http://www.sherryratay.blogspot.com/ to see videos on how to achieve a desirable color and hair tips!

  31. I like this blog and now have book-marked it. I’m going to expect to read in additional particulars on my vacation

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