Monday, April 20, 2020

How To Dye Your Hair at Home

Hi, my name is Kristina, and I've been dyeing my hair myself for twelve years. What?! Sometimes even I forget, but I'm not really a redhead. Freaky.

I started off dyeing my hair myself in college (oh no, I just aged myself) and initially chose box dye because I'd seen friends have issues with brighter colors fading really quickly after going to the salon. And, let's be honest, I could barely afford my life even working two jobs in college, there's no way I was paying to have someone color my hair.

I wanted to share some tips for doing hair dye at home in case you are starting to get desperate after 6 weeks of quarantine. 

Before we dive in, my main tip is DON'T DYE YOUR HAIR AT HOME. Especially if you usually go to a salon. At-home hair dye is completely different than salon dye, and your hair can have weird reactions when you go back to the salon after using a box kit at home. I've heard horror stories about terrible hair breakage and weird, unexpected colors. At home hair dye is also much more damaging to your hair, and after twelve years of using it, my hair won't grow more than a few inches past my collarbone.

I know you're desperate, but might it be better to just throw your hair in a ponytail for the next month?

Okay, now that my PSA is out of the way, here are my top tips for coloring your hair at home: 

1. Choose a realistic color

With at-home dye, there just is no way you're going to make a drastic color change. You can go a few shades darker, or maybe one or two lighter. Now is not the time to try something crazy. Yes, I dye my hair red and it works, but my natural hair color has red tones so the color "sticks" better according to my hair stylist. By the way, this is the box dye that I have used for years! I use color C74, Power Copper. Definitely don't use this if you plan to go back to the salon, a stylist specifically told me that I'll have to use henna for a while to wean my hair off of the chemicals in it before trying to dye it in a salon. (EDIT: another stylist reached out to me and said DON'T USE HENNA!!! It's the only thing they can't dye over in the salon.) 

2. Prep your hair correctly 

If your hair has any product in it, the color may not stick correctly. Any product is blocking the hair shaft from fully absorbing the color. Also, since the dye is so damaging, you don't want to apply it to a squeaky clean scalp - a little oil is better for protecting those strands! When I know I'm going to be dyeing my hair, I try to wash my hair at least 24 hours in advance, and I don't apply any products to it. I also try to let it air dry to give it a break from damage!

3. Protect your bathroom

Hair dye is no joke. I got a drop on the vanity in my parents' bathroom years and years ago and they still haven't managed to get the stain out! Seriously think about how porous / susceptible to stains the surfaces in your bathroom are, and cover anything that could stain with an old towel. And definitely move any rugs or towels out of the dye zone (you'd be amazed how far the splatters can go!). When I lived with roommates, I designated one shirt to wear every time I dyed my hair so I wouldn't ruin all of my clothes, but now I usually am just naked to avoid any issues.

4. Follow the directions to the T, and think about back-up plans

Do NOT go over the amount of time you're supposed to leave dye in your hair. If you aren't good about remembering things, set a timer when you start the dye so you don't leave it in too long. Add the ingredients to the dye in the correct order, and don't leave the dye in a sealed container or it could explode! 

Think about plan b too. I always have a second box of dye on hand just in case I make a huge mistake (like the time I left a brown line all the way around my head) or in case one box isn't enough for your hair. It might also be handy to think about what you might do if your water gets cut off. This is a long shot, but once my aunt put dye in her hair, and when she went to rinse it out it turned off she didn't have any water! Long story short, she had to put her head in the toilet. Yikes! 

5. Avoid shampooing as long as you can! 

Box dye needs a long time to "set" in your hair, even after you rinse it out. I've noticed before that if I shampoo too soon, the color at my roots fades a lot faster than the rest of my hair. I try to let my hair rest without shampooing for at least three days after I dye it to make sure the color really sticks. Thanks to quarantine, I managed to go a full week without shampooing the last time I colored my hair! 

Are you dyeing your hair at home? Good luck! 

Follow along with everything Kristina does via Bloglovin!

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