Whether you’re enhancing your natural color or changing it completely, hair dye is nothing short of transformative. It doesn’t just change the way you look, it changes the way you feel. But if you color your hair yourself, you know that it comes with a whole host of problems—or it did until now.
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.
1. 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 make a trip to the beauty supply store for those special makeup removing wipes—or you could mix a tablespoon of olive oil with a blob of whitening toothpaste, apply it to a cotton ball and rub away. Even the most tenacious dye stains don’t stand a chance against this gentle yet effective concoction.
2. 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 3 to 4 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 a 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.
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 color 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.
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.
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.
6. DIY your own color-refreshing gloss.
Instead of buying an expensive color-refreshing gloss that might give your hair a weird tint, make your own quickly and easily. Mix a teaspoon of color with the corresponding amount of developer (this is usually a 1:1 ratio, but sometimes 1:2—check the instructions to be sure), then pour it into a plastic application bottle and mix with a big squirt of shampoo. 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.
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.