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Whether you’re enhancing your natural color or changing it completely, dyeing your hair is nothing short of transformative. It doesn’t just change the way you look, it changes the way you feel. Feeling confident about your hair can turn a bad day into a great day, or a great day into an excellent one. But if you color your hair yourself, you know that it comes with a whole host of problems—or it doesn’t have to be that way.
That’s right: We’ve put together our ultimate list of hair-dye tips. These brilliant hacks are going to change your color-loving life and take your hair game to the next level, guaranteed. Read on for what to avoid–and what to invest in–when it comes to coloring your own hair.
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1. Use the right developer.
You know how hair professionals are always telling you not to use box dye to make a major hair change? There’s a reason for that—and it’s because of the developer.
Developer is a totally crucial element in the hair coloring process. It comes in different strengths—usually referred to as “volumes”—which will tell you how much it can change your hair. Ten volume developer is the most gentle; it will let you deposit color only. Twenty volume developer will shift your hair one to two shades, while 30 volume developer will let you alter your hair three to four shades. You should never use anything stronger than this at home.
Box dyes come with developer and dye packaged together, but the developer is generally only 20 volume. This means that no matter what the color is on the box, you’ll only be able to make your hair one or two shades lighter (or darker) than its natural color. So if you have dark brown hair that you want to dye a sunny blonde, you’re going to end up with a muddy mess if you use a box. That weak sauce developer can only do so much!
Instead, if you’re looking to make a big change, get thee to an online beauty supply store where you can buy dye and developer separately. This means that you’ll be able to get the developer strength that will actually work to give you your dream hair color. Bonus: the dyes sold in beauty supply stores are usually professional quality, which means you’ll also get a richer, longer-lasting color.
Hair dye devotees trust this strong, volume 30 developer from L’Oreal Paris to evenly lighten their locks
2. Remove dye stains from skin.
Anyone living that bottle brunette life knows how annoying those dark dye stains left around your hairline and on your neck are. Sure, you could order these special dye-removing wipes—or you try mixing a tablespoon of olive oil with a blob of whitening toothpaste, apply it to a cotton ball and rub away. This gentle yet effective concoction might be just what you need, depending on the stain.
If you’re not into DIY-methods, these best-selling wipes dissolve away all stains and smell great. Plus, you nab 100 of them for less than 10 bucks..
3. Get the right amount of product.
This is probably a little “duh,” but if you have hair longer than your shoulders (or if it’s very thick), make sure you have twice as much hair dye on hand. Whether this means buying two boxes or mixing up a double batch of developer and dye, you just want to be sure you don’t run out halfway through. Having a half-dyed head is so not the look.
This two-pack of box dye will help ensure you have enough to work with.
4. Cover your roots…with makeup.
We’ve all been there: life gets so busy that you don’t have enough time to redo your color, and crazy visible roots are the result. To hide them temporarily, blend those suckers in with eyeshadow.
If your roots are darker than the rest of your hair (blondes, we see you), focus on softening the harsh line between your natural color and the dye. Take a powder eyeshadow the same shade as your roots and, using a fluffy, medium-sized eyeshadow brush, gently stroke the color about an inch out from your roots. This will help blend the two colors together in a really natural way.
If your roots are lighter—or a different shade—than your dyed hair, use a powdered eyeshadow the same color as your dye job. After styling your hair, gently brush the shadow anywhere that your roots are visible, making sure not to get too much color on your scalp or skin.
Once you’ve hidden or blended your roots, seal the shadow with a fine misting of light-hold hairspray. Your roots are neatly concealed, and will stay that way until you brush (or wash) the shadow out.
For stubborn grays, a targeted hair powder like this one from Style Edit binds with your hair for maximum, long-lasting coverage.
5. Metal is not your friend.
Using a metal bowl, mixing spoon or clips to hold back your dye-slathered hair? That’s a serious no-no. The metal and the developer can interact, causing the color to oxidize and change. In rare instances, this reaction can be so severe that hair breaks off—and nobody wants a chemical haircut. Use all-plastic everything when you’re coloring, and your hair will thank you.
This plastic three-piece set comes with everything you need to safely color your hair at home.
6. Invest in a color-refreshing gloss.
A toning gloss is a semi-permanent color that helps reduce unwanted tones. Simply shake it up, then apply to damp hair. Let it sit for ten minutes, then rinse well and condition. Voila! Your color is perfectly refreshed.
Don’t balk at the price tag, because this product actually functions as a hybrid semi-permanent hair dye plus gloss and conditioning treatment. Basically, it’s your one-stop shop for at-home color maintenance.
7. The best home brow- and lash-dyeing advice…
Don’t. We’re serious: never ever under any circumstances should you do this yourself. Your eyes are so precious, and the risk of damaging them with chemicals is just too high. Go to a professional if you want this done. If you can’t, there are a myriad of better ways to groom your brooms at-home than apply hair dye to them.
This non-permanent formula is the safest way to match your brows to your locks.