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How to Dye Hair at Home in 7 Easy Steps

Follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll be coloring your hair like pro in no time.
December 06, 2023

As glamorous as a new hair color may be, the cost and upkeep isn’t always so attractive. That’s where coloring your hair at home comes in and proves to be the perfect alternative with a much friendlier price tag, not to mention maintenance that can be done on your own schedule. If you’re a hair color novice, it may sound intimidating at first, but with the right at-home hair coloring kit, dyeing your hair at home can be convenient, affordable and most importantly — successful. 

Check out our step-by-step guide on how to dye hair at home for the best results — you’ll be an expert at DIY hair color in no time. 

How to Color Your Hair at Home in 7 Easy Steps

Before you even attempt to dye your hair at home, always read through the instructions included in the box. Once you’ve completed that, you can start the color process. Check out our guide to walk you through each step of the process. 

1. Pick the Hair Color Kit

Purchasing the right at-home hair dye kit can make coloring your hair at home a much easier process. If you’re looking for all-over, permanent hair color, we recommend choosing a shade from L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color, which has a liquid formula that easily spreads while coloring the hair. 

We also like L’Oréal Paris Feria Multi-Faceted Shimmering Permanent Hair Color for its multi-dimensional effect that prevents your hair from looking flat and lackluster. It comes in trendy shades, like Chocolate Cherry, and it’s also a great option for bolder shades like copper, navy blue and platinum blonde. 

If you’re trying to conceal gray hairs, try L’Oréal Paris Excellence Créme Permanent Triple Protection Hair Color. This hair color kit has a non-drip cream formula for mess-free application and offers 100 percent gray hair coverage. 

If you’re looking to weave dimensional highlights throughout your mane, try L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Balayage At-Home Highlighting Kit. The kit includes an expert touch applicator to mimic the hand painted strokes that are so synonymous with balayage highlights

Editor’s tip: If you have long, thick hair, it may be beneficial to pick up two boxes of hair color to ensure that you don’t run out mid-way through the coloring process. 

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2. Brush and Section Your Hair

First, brush through your dry hair to remove any tangles before you start applying color. Then you’re going to section off your hair — this will make it easier to color your strands at home because it will give you smaller sections to focus on. 

Part your hair down the middle, going all the way down the back of your head and effectively splitting your hair into left and right sides. Clip one side out of the way. Then, starting about midway down your part, use your comb to create another section that goes from your part, down the back of your ear and to the ends of your hair. 

Clip those sections out of the way and repeat on the other side. When you’re finished, your hair should be divided into four even sections (you can create more sections if your hair is particularly long or thick). 

3. Color Your Hairline

Remove the clip from one of your front sections of hair. Hold the hair back and take your time applying hair color directly to your hairline, using your gloved fingers to gently blend in the dye. 

Let down the remaining front section and apply dye to the rest of your hairline and part just as you did in the previous step. Saturate your part with dye to ensure every inch is covered. 

Editor’s tip: We recommend revisiting your hairline once you’ve finished coloring your front two sections of hair because if you miss a spot, it’s going to be highly noticeable. Gently pat the color with your fingers to ensure it is evenly distributed and you haven’t missed any spots.

4. Work on Your Part

Leaving both front sections hanging free, begin to create sections down your part that are about a quarter-inch thick (the thicker the hair, the smaller the section). Along your part, color at the root, spread the hair dye with your thumb, and then fold that section of hair to the other side. 

Repeat and tilt your head as needed until you reach your ear. Flip your hair back over, then repeat this process on the remaining side of your part. Clip your front sections of hair out of the way.

5. Saturate the Back

Take out the clip from one of your back sections of hair and begin by coloring along the remaining half of your part. Don’t be afraid to over-squeeze the dye, as it’ll be more difficult for you to see what you’re doing at the back of your head. It’s better to work with too much hair dye than not enough — using more dye won’t make the color more saturated but not using enough could leave you with a patchy result. 

Take a horizontal section approximately at the center of your part in the back section and color along the root, spreading the dye with your thumb and continuing down the section until you've done a third of the section. Clip the strands you colored out of the way. For the back, you can take slightly larger sections since you’ll be over-saturating. 

Repeat on the other back section, clipping it out of the way once done. Repeat this process, alternating between the left and right sides. Pay extra attention to the hair along the nape of your neck, since this will be on full display whenever you wear your hair up.

If you’re having trouble with the hair on the back of your head, use your fingers to lightly massage the dye into your roots. This will help to spread the hair color, ensuring that you won’t have any dry spots. 

6. Color Your Length

If you just need a quick root touch-up, you can skip this step, but if you’re coloring your hair for 

the first time or looking for an all-over color change, now it's time to focus on coloring your remaining length. 

Working with sections that are about two inches in size, apply the color and spread from root to tip using your fingers. Start at the front and work your way toward the back. Continue to do this until your entire mane is saturated. Be generous with the dye — your hair should be as saturated as possible to ensure even, all-over coverage.

7. Set a Timer 

Follow the instructions and leave the hair dye on for the allotted amount of time. We recommend setting a timer on your phone so you don’t forget. Once the time is up, rinse out the hair color until the water runs clear. 

Follow up with the conditioner included in your at-home color kit, leave it on your strands for five minutes, then rinse. Finish by drying and styling your hair as usual. 

When it comes to washing and conditioning your now color-treated hair, look for a sulfate-free, color-safe duo, like L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Bond Repair Shampoo with Citric Acid and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Bond Repair Conditioner with Citric Acid to strengthen your hair and preserve your color.

Next: What to Do When You Find Your First Gray Hair

Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier

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