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Thinking about changing up your hair color? If you’ve never dyed your hair at home before, you may feel daunted by the task of trying to do blonde hair, brown hair, or red hair at home. But coloring your hair at home doesn’t have to be as difficult as you imagine. It’s all about having a few key tips in your back pocket—and finding the best at-home hair color kit to suit your needs. Keep reading for our guide to at-home hair color for newbies. (And once you’re done brushing up on the basics, check out our 10 At-Home Hair Color Tips for a Gorgeous New Hue.)
Before deciding on a new hair color, take your undertones into account. If you have warm undertones, consider opting for a warmer hair color (like golden blonde), whereas if you have cooler undertones, pick a cooler hair color (like medium ash brown). Neutral undertones? That means you can pull off just about any hair color! If you’re not sure what your undertones are, we’ve got an easy way to figure it out. Just look at your wrists. If your veins appear green, then you have warm undertones. If your veins appear blue, then you have cool undertones. If they’re somewhere in between, you’re neutral! (For more on this, read How to Determine Your Undertones.)
When it’s a dramatic hair color change you’re looking to create, it’s important to understand that you won’t be able to achieve that in a day. For that reason, it’s best to be realistic when you’re coloring your hair at home. Don’t go more than two shades lighter or darker than your current hair color in one sitting. Keep in mind that if you’re going lighter, you’ll need to bleach your hair first. For seriously dramatic hair color changes, such as going form dark brown to platinum blonde, it’s best to visit a professional colorist.
Before making a major hair color change, you might want to try your new look on first. You wouldn’t buy your wedding dress without a quick peek in the mirror before your big day, so why should you switch from one end of the hair color spectrum to another without a preview? Given today’s technology, there’s really no excuse. So, download one of the many hair color apps on your phone and take a selfie to try on any number of hair colors and styles before rolling your sleeves up and DIY dyeing. You can also use a temporary hair color spray, like the L’Oréal Paris Colorista 1-Day Spray, to take a new hair color for a test drive. Need some help narrowing down your hair color options? Read our hair color guides How to Get Rose Gold Hair, How to Go from Red Hair to Blonde Hair, and The Best Blonde Hair Colors Every Skin Tone, for some inspiration.
Once you’ve settled on a hair color, it’s time to figure out how, exactly, you’re going to dye your hair. Take your pick from our at-home hair color options. Choose from the L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference, L’Oréal Paris Excellence Creme, and L’Oréal Paris Féria.
Walking down the hair color aisle, it’s likely that a certain hair color will catch your eye, you’ll grab a box, and head to the checkout. But one box of hair dye might not necessarily be enough to color your entire head of hair. As a general rule of thumb, the thicker and longer your hair, the more hair color you’ll need. If your hair fits into either of those categories, make sure to throw an extra hair dye box in your basket just in case you need it.
Last but not least, our hair color tips don’t stop at the dyeing process. After you’ve successfully dyed your hair all by yourself for the first time (congrats!), it’s a good idea to switch up your hair care routine in order to maintain your newfound look. That means using a system of shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask formulated for colored hair. Try the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Intensive Protecting Shampoo, L’Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Intensive Protecting Conditioner, and L’Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Repair and Protect Balm.
Ready for your next hair color lesson? Head on over to our article, Hair Color Theory 101.