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Dyeing your hair can give you an instant refresh and can lift your mood too. Experiment with a new color or liven up your usual style. Dyeing your hair doesn't always have to involve a trip to the salon. Save time and money by learning how to dye your hair at home. You may feel nervous about doing a good job with dyeing your hair, but there are tips and tricks that can help. If you prepare well and follow instructions carefully, you can change up your look quickly and easily.

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Choose your hair dye

Decide in advance what look you are going for. Do you want to update your usual color, or do you want to try something different? Be sure to check whether your hair dye is permanent or semi-permanent. Spend some time looking at pictures online or in hair magazines to get an idea of which colors you like. Factor in your skin tone and eye color to get a shade that will suit you.

Hair dye colors choice board Artem Makovskyi / Getty Images
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Prepare your surroundings

By its very nature, hair dye can stain surfaces, so you need to take extra care when applying it. It is best to apply the hair dye while you are in the bathroom, so you have surfaces that can be wiped and water easily available to rinse the hair. Laying out some old towels can help stop drips from landing on the chair or floor.

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Get your hair ready

Ideally, your hair needs to be clean but not too clean. Wash your hair the day before you plan to dye it so that it is free from products. If you wash your hair on the day you dye it, you strip it of natural oils, and the dye may not take to your hair as it should. You want to have some natural oils present in your hair but without the dirt and grease that can build up after a length of time without washing. Conditioner can prevent hair from absorbing the dye as it should, so it's best to avoid conditioning before you dye it.

Woman wash hair shower clean southerlycourse / Getty Images
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Protect your clothing

When dyeing your hair at home, spills and drips can happen. Make sure you are wearing old clothing that you don't mind getting stained. Drape an old towel around your shoulders for added protection. You can hold the towel in place with a hair clip. Dark-colored clothing and towels will help to hide stains if you do experience any drips.

Caucasian woman with short hair dying her hair red in front of mirror in her own bathroom.

Final preparations

Before you start to apply the hair dye, brush your hair thoroughly to get rid of any tangles. This will help separate your strands of hair and will help you apply the dye evenly. At this stage, it can also be helpful to apply petroleum jelly to the ears and around the hairline so that dye doesn't bleed onto the skin, causing staining. Some hair dye sets include a conditioner that you can use for this purpose.

Back view of beautiful young woman in white undershirt combing her hair and smiling while looking into the mirror in bathroom

Mix the dye

Once you have carefully read the instructions and put on the gloves to protect your hands, it's time to mix the dye. Your box dye will provide the necessary ingredients to make up the dye mixture. Mix the two together, following the instructions exactly. You will usually be provided with a small bowl for mixing, but if not, any clean bowl will suffice. Some kits also contain a developer. Follow the instructions to mix this with your dye.

mixing hair dye ingredients. preparation for staining

Apply the dye

Divide your hair into four sections, holding them with large hair clips to keep them separate. Dyeing one section at a time helps to make sure you spread the dye evenly and catch every strand. As you start applying the dye, you may need to separate the sections even further, especially if your hair is especially thick or long. Use the brush provided to spread the dye. If there is no brush supplied, use a gloved hand. Be sure to coat every strand of hair for an even result.

Hair dye brush home artursfoto / Getty Images

Leave the dye to work

It's essential that you follow the instructions at this stage. Leave the dye on your hair for the amount of time stated. You might be given a time range with minimum time and maximum time to leave the dye on. Make sure you follow this. The longer the dye is on, the more intense the color, usually. If you are covering greys, you may need to go with the maximum time. Be careful not to leave the dye on for longer than suggested, or you will dry out and damage the hair.

Timer hair dye home TokenPhoto / Getty Images

Rinse your hair

When you have allowed the recommended time, rinse the dye out of your hair. Take your time to rinse thoroughly, cleaning the skin around the neck, hairline, and ears to make sure any leaked dye is removed. As you rinse your hair, you will see colored dye running through the water. This is normal and to be expected. Continue to rinse until the water runs clear. Follow the instructions on when to shampoo your hair. After shampooing, use the provided conditioner on your hair.

Woman rinse hair home dye skynesher / Getty Images

Dry and style

Dry and style your hair as you usually would and enjoy your new look. The dyeing process can dry out the hair, so consider using a nourishing treatment in the days or weeks after using your home dye kit. Dispose of your home dye kit carefully after use. You can look forward to avoiding expensive trips to the salon by dyeing your hair in the future.

Woman dyed hair home CoffeeAndMilk / Getty Images

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. The information on this Website is not intended to be comprehensive, nor does it constitute advice or our recommendation in any way. We attempt to ensure that the content is current and accurate but we do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. You should carry out your own research and/or seek your own advice before acting or relying on any of the information on this Website.