Tips for colouring your hair at home like a pro

Our guide makes box dyeing your hair a whole lot easier.

Don’t wash hair for 2-3 days
Here’s a tip that will help make the process smooth when you’re colouring your hair at home. Colourists often suggest that you prep your hair by not washing it for two to three days before colouring it. Working with two- to three-day old hair means you can make the most of the natural oils in your hair and scalp. The natural oils will act as a barrier and give your hair and scalp an added layer of protection from the chemicals present in the hair dye.

Do a strand and patch test
It might be tempting to skip these tests in your hurry to revamp your hair, but don’t. You don’t know how your hair and skin will react to the hair colour formula. To do a strand test pick a section of hair that’s underneath so that it can be hidden. A section that’s about ¼-inch thick should do the trick. Clip the rest of your hair up. Mix the colour activator and colour together, follow the steps on the box and apply the hair dye to the section. Wait 24 hours to see if you’re happy with the results. For a patch test, apply a coin-sized amount of the hair dye on the skin behind your ear. Leave it on for 48 hours. If you have no itching, burning or any other reaction to the dye then go ahead and use it on your hair.

Use Vaseline on your hairline
It can get a bit messy when colouring your hair at home, and some of the dye can get onto your face. Use Vaseline or any lip balm to stop it from dyeing your skin and leaving you with strip of colour. Glide the balm all along your hairline as well as around your ears and the base of your neck to protect your skin. Skipping this step might leave you with stains that could take days to go away.
Photograph: moogiesmurfette/Instagram

Get all your tools out
Before starting, lay out all the tools you are doing to need for the process. Carefully read through the instructions so you know you’re not missing out on anything and are clear about the steps. By laying it all out, you’re making sure you have everything you need to do the job well and don’t have to stop halfway to get something or get distracted and missing areas or leaving the dye on for too long.
Photograph: shayladventure / Instagram

Add extra gloves, brush, and a shower cap to the list
While the box comes with a pair of hand gloves for protection during application, we suggest you have another pair on hand to protect your hair from stains when you are rinsing the colour off. Also, use a bowl and brush to mix the dye and apply the colour rather than squeezing from the bottle. The brush method is more precise and more likely to give a salon-like finish, as opposed to the bottle, which can be messy. Additionally, include a shower cap in your list of tools and use it to cover your hair and prevent any drips or accidental stains/transfers during the dye process.
Photograph: carliannlowry / Instagram

Protect your ends
This is a handy tip for those looking to only touch up their roots. Sometimes, accidentally, the ends also get coloured when you’re touching up your roots. This can happen during application or when you’re rinsing off your roots, as the colour is running through your hair. The ends of your hair strands are more porous. So they tend to pick up colour quickly. To stop this from happening, apply conditioner to the ends of your hair and protect them from any accidental dyeing.

Lead photograph: lorealmakeup / Instagram