12 Colourist-Approved Tips For At-Home Hair Dyeing

12 Colourist-Approved Tips For At-Home Hair Dyeing

Colouring your own hair is fast-becoming an essential skill. Yet studies show only 28% of us are confident in using DIY kits. Fear no more – here, four pros tell us how to achieve salon-worthy results from home.

Leave Hair Unwashed

“There’s no hard and fast evidence that suggests freshly washed or unwashed hair is better before you dye it, but in my experience, unwashed is slightly kinder to the scalp,” says Garnier colour consultant Trevor Halls. “This is because any build-up of natural grease is protecting your scalp from harsh chemicals. Especially for blondes who use bleach.

Always Do A Strand Test

“Finding the right shade is tricky as there’s no expert advice to help guide you through,” adds expert colourist and founder of Josh Wood Colour, Josh Wood. “We recently launched a 1-1 video consultation where you can see an expert colourist who will help you find the right colour. If in doubt, always go a shade lighter, as going too dark is harder to remove. I also recommend always testing the colour – especially if it’s your first time using a new shade. Essentially, this means either cutting a small piece of hair to colour; or colour a little, inconspicuous part in the back where it won’t be visible. This will ensure you like the result before taking it over your whole head.”

Prevent A Bleed

“Colour bleeding happens when the product expands on the hair,” explains John Frieda Salons colourist Jasmine Perdisci. “Prevent this by making sure your application method is flawless. Always mix your product correctly and ensure it’s not too runny in consistency. Your sections need to be as precise as possible – this way your application will be applied neatly, which will prevent bleeding.”

Consider Your Hair Texture

“Hair texture is a very important factor,” explains Bleach co-founder Alex Brownsell. “If the hair is fine and prone to breakage, leaving colouring in the hands of a professional might be the safest option. But if you’re wanting to DIY, make sure to choose the gentlest options. It’s also worth remembering that coarse, curly or frizzy hair soaks up colour faster, so always consider going for a shade that’s warm, but a little lighter than your natural tone.”

Think Of Hot Cross Buns

“Split your hair into a ‘hot cross bun’ fashion (four section) and clip,” advises Josh. “When you begin to colour, you should endeavour to keep your sections neat, so it’s easy to keep track of what parts have been coloured and which have not. To section the hair as you go, use a wide-toothed comb, or just the tip of the colour bottle, and follow the ‘dotting method’ when applying colour. Practically, this means squeezing the bottle and dotting the colour on in a line along your section parting, then rubbing the dots into the roots for maximum coverage. Stubborn greys tend to appear around your hairline, so it’s worth paying attention to this area when you apply your colour. More is more, so pack a lot of product onto the hairline at the roots to catch every grey.”

Stock Up On Petroleum Jelly

“Afraid of tinting your forehead? This can happen, so always swipe petroleum jelly or a blob of moisturiser on the hairline,” says Trevor. “This will just make sure your strands are the only part getting a hit of colour.”

Concentrate On Grey Areas

“Always start applying the colour at the greyest point of your hair,” adds Josh. “Concentrate more where you need to cover any greys, as the ends of your hair are generally more porous and need less colour. I would always focus on condition and hydrating, as the better the condition of the hair at the start, the better colour result at the end.” 

Don’t Skip Conditioner

“Never skip the conditioning step that comes with DIY hair colour,” advises Jasmine. “Otherwise, the cuticle will be left open and the colour keeps working. It’s also key to prevent your hair drying out by investing in a good pre-and post-treatment for your strands. Olaplex is brilliant and helps to maintain the hair’s moisture, while protecting colour and helping to prevent fade.”

Treat Bleach Differently 

“Try using Bleach’s Scalp Saviour on your scalp and hairline before you use bleach,” says Alex. “Not only will it protect your skin, it will help take the sting out of the process. Wash your hair with lukewarm or cold water to help prolong and protect your colour, and use dry shampoo instead of washing hair too regularly – this will also ensure your new shade goes the distance.”

Invest In A Brush 

“Some people have been known to use toothbrushes for even application from roots to ends,” explains Trevor. “But I recommend buying a proper brush. Look for ones that are very thin as this will allow you to deposit colour evenly and not in clumps, which you risk by using a thicker brush.”

Don’t Remove It Too Early

“It all depends on what colouring process you’re doing, but as a rule, bleach can be left on for between 45 and 60 minutes without constantly checking,” explains Alex. “As for toners, you’re looking at around 20 minutes, but it’s key to do a strand test before, and every step of the way, to determine how long each section might take. This will also indicate if any damage will be sustained. Many people think leaving the dye on for a shorter time is kinder to hair, but it’s not. This just means you’re not allowing it to deposit the right tone the colour requires, so be patient and keep checking it as you go.”

*Disclaimer: Always do a patch test of your dye on your skin before you get started. This crucial step shouldn't be missed, and if you find any irritation or inflammation occurs, don't continue and consult either your GP or local pharmacist. Always read the instructions thoroughly. 

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