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Real talk for a second, as great as it can be to head to your colorist for a new hair hue or to cover pesky grays, the price tag isn’t quite so great. Not to mention, sometimes you just can’t go to the salon. That’s where coloring your hair at home comes in. We get it—using permanent hair color on your strands can be intimidating, but when you’re equipped with the best at-home hair color kit and a few helpful tips from the pros, it doesn’t seem so scary, after all. Want some guidance? That’s why we’re here! Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to dye your hair all on your own.
STEP #1. PICK YOUR HAIR COLOR KIT
The first and most important thing to take into account when learning how to color hair at home is to purchase the right at-home hair dye kit for your needs. If you’re looking for a permanent hair color, we recommend choosing a shade from the L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color line, which has a liquid formula that will be easier to spread when coloring, as opposed to gel formulas. Whichever hair dye you do end up choosing, be sure to follow the instructions provided to mix your color.
Editor’s tip: Not sure if permanent hair color is your thing? Here’s The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Hair Dye.
STEP #2. LAY OUT YOUR INSTRUCTIONS AND GET READY
Like we said, you’ll want to follow the instructions that go with your hair color kit. If you’re going with a Superior Preference shade, the first step in getting ready is to do a skin allergy test. Mix one part color and one part developer, and apply onto your elbow with a cotton swab. Wait 48 hours to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction; then it’s time to really get going.
To prep for coloring, put on your gloves, then twist off the top of the developer (number one) and pour the color gel (number two) into it. Put the cap back on the developer, place your finger over the tip, and shake well to mix.
STEP #3. SECTION YOUR MANE
Don’t start immediately pouring dye onto your hair. Next, it’s time to section your hair. Sectioning your hair will make it easier to color your strands at home, because it will give you more control. Part your hair as you normally would, going all the way down the back of your head and effectively splitting your hair into left and right sides. Clip the right side out of the way.
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 your ends. Essentially, you’ll be dividing your left section in half. Clip those sections out of the way and repeat on the right. In total, when you’re done, you should be left with four sections.
Editor’s tip: Section your hair in front of a mirror so you can see your sections from all angles!
STEP #4. START AT YOUR HAIRLINE
Remove the clip from one of your front sections of hair. This will be the first section you color! Your hairline is one of the first things someone will notice about your hair, so it’s important to pay special attention to it. Hold the hair back and take your time applying hair color directly to your hairline, then blend using your gloves. Apply your hair dye to the part too.
STEP #5. FINISH YOUR HAIRLINE
Let down the remaining front section and apply the dye to your hairline and part just as you did in the previous step. Take care to saturate your part to ensure every inch is covered! Be sure to revisit your hairline and part on both sections and gently pat the color to make sure it is evenly distributed, and you haven’t missed any spots.
STEP #6. WORK ON YOUR PART
Leaving both front sections hanging free, begin to create sections down your part that are about a ¼-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 out of the way.
Editor’s tip: Got a bit of hair dye on your forehead? That’s all part of learning how to dye your hair. Use a dark, dry towel to wipe it away! If it won't budge, turn to our article on How to Remove Hair Dye from Your Skin for guidance.
STEP #7. START ON 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!
Take a diagonal, almost horizontal, section starting at the top of your back section. This should be approximately at the center of your part. Color along the root, spread with your thumb, and continue down the back of the section until you 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.
STEP #8. REPEAT THE PROCESS
Continue coloring your roots at the back of your head, sectioning diagonally and alternating between the left and right sides when you’re about a third of the way down the section. Pay extra attention to the hairline along the nape of your neck, since this will be on full display whenever you wear your hair up!
STEP #9. COLOR YOUR LENGTH
The hard part of figuring out how to color hair is done! And if you just needed a quick root touch-up, you can skip this step. On the other hand, 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. To do so, work 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. Don’t be afraid to over-apply—your hair should be as saturated as possible to ensure even, all-over coverage.
STEP #10. WAIT IT OUT
Follow the instructions and leave the hair dye on for the allotted amount of time. Once time is up, hop in the shower and rinse out the hair color until the water runs clear. Follow with the included conditioner. Leave it on your strands for five minutes, then rinse. No need to shampoo this time around!
Editor’s tip: When it comes to washing and conditioning your hair in the future, look for a sulfate-free, color-safe system, like the L’Oréal Paris EverCreme Deep Nourish Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverCreme Deep Nourish Conditioner.
You officially know how to dye hair like a pro! Ready to show off your new color? Consider styling your new ‘do with one of these 7 Super Easy Ways to Get Heatless Curls.
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