Your Guide to Finding the Best At-Home Hair Color

Aly Walansky
Woman dyeing her hair

Alain SHRODER/Getty Images

Hairstylists don’t often like to recommend an at-home hair color – they prefer you to go to their salon! But, if you kindly ask enough questions, they will spill on their favorites, because they’d rather you not wind up with a hair disaster. Choosing the best at-home hair color is all about finding the one that fits your own hair’s needs and then carefully following the directions!

Best brand to take out all the guess work:
“I recommend eSalon, a site that personalizes a color for your touch-ups and then ships it to you with all the necessary supplies to do your color at home,” says AJ Lordet of Pierre Michel Salon. This makes it a lot easier than standing in a store aisle trying to match your hair to a color on a box of dye which is not always the result you get depending on your undertones, and the pricing is around the same price as a dye in your local drugstore would costs you.

Luxurious color:
Kim Laudati of Kim Laudati Skin Care is all about Clairol Age Defy. “The home kit is super easy to follow and the dye itself is very thick, making for easy control during application. I kid you not, this dye was exactly as rich and beautiful as the majorly expensive one I had received in the salon months before!” Laudati says. “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have found this! The color is deep and gorgeous; I get compliments all the time, and many women ask me on the regular if my hair is real or extensions! For less than $20, I’m hooked.”

MORE: How to Make Your Hair Color Last

Most forgiving option:
If you color your hair at home, Oscar-winning hairstylist Mitch Stone advocates always using a cream coloring product. He is a big fan of L’Oreal’s Excellence Creme. “Cream products run less and are more forgiving,” he said. “Depending on what you’re doing – if you’re just changing color or doing a little root touchup – I would always suggest using a semi-permanent color providing you’re not covering more than fifty percent grey,” he said. “If somebody is really grey, then of course you need to use the permanent color.”

Follow the directions:
Almost as important as what you use, Stone said, is how you use it. “The biggest thing you need here is patience,” he said. “You want to get it on so that the color is even, so you don’t want to rush it. Breakage of the hair happens when people color over and over the hair that’s already been colored over. The best approach is to get it on the roots, wet the hair a little on the ends, and once the color is processed after 20 or 30 minutes, wet slightly again then get into the shower and shampoo. Use the color mixed with the shampoo and lather the head inside the shower or in the sink for another few minutes. Add on a paraben and sulphate-free conditioner and leave it on for a minute before rinsing off.”