The Worst At-Home Hair Color Mistakes

Aly Walansky
woman dyeing hair

Alain Schroeder/Getty Images

It feels very tempting to save the time and expense of salon visits by doing our own hair color at home. This can be a great option and when done right, you may look so fabulous, people will think you had just been to your favorite stylist. However, beware: There’s a lot that can go wrong when attempting to do at-home hair color! Below, we discuss the worst at-home hair color mistakes you can make, so you’ll be on the lookout (and know how to fix them).

Uneven application:
“Product build-up is a common mistake when applying at-home hair color. This will result in uneven coloring as some areas get darker than others,” says Cassie Lemunyon, a colorist at Suede Salon Spa and Body in Marlton, New Jersey. Often, the ends will get too dark and the roots too light. Avoid putting color uniformly all over your head unless your hair happens to be virgin (lucky you!). You’ll get a more even result if you apply to areas that have never received color first, and then those you are retouching, after. The never-colored hair will need more processing time.  If you are retouching color and your ends haven’t faded, you may end up not applying any color to that area at all.

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Choosing the wrong shade:
A mistake blondes – who desire a lighter look – often make when coloring their hair at-home is selecting the wrong color. They end up with brassy orange hair, says Lemunyon. Take a photo of your hair in natural light and consult with your professional hairstylist. They can give you an idea of what shades may work for you and which ones may not be a great idea. When coloring at home, try to stay within a few shades of your natural color. You’ll have less chance of error!

Not getting professional advice:
To avoid at-home color mistakes, visit your stylist. Based on the texture of your hair, the amount of gray you have and your natural hair color, they can determine which color will give you the results you want when doing an in-between visit touch-up. This takes the guessing game out of selecting the right color, says Lemunyon.

Your color may change:
Sometimes, store bought color can vary or be discontinued depending on how popular the color is or isn’t. This means you’ll need to choose a new color and may not choose one that blends with your former one, says Garry Gemma of Gary Patric Salon. Treat each and every color application like the first time out and do an assess and consult before proceeding.