Want to dye your hair at home? It can certainly save money by learning how to safely and effectively dye your hair yourself but it is important to carefully follow each step and be patient as you learn how to dye your hair.
There’s a reason hair dyeing is often done at a salon but with easy-to-use semi-permanent and temporary hair colours on the market, it is becoming common for people to dye their hair at home. In this guide, we cover all the basic steps of colouring your hair at home, from patch testing to applying the dye. For more detailed information about some of the steps, we have further information in our Hair Dye Guides.
How to dye your hair at home?
- Make sure you have enough hair dye for your hair length
- Set up your at-home hair dye salon with everything you will need before you begin
- Prepare your hair according to the instructions on your hair dye
- Carry out a patch and strand test to check for allergies and colour results
- Apply the hair dye to the tips of your hair
- Work the hair dye into the roots of your hair
- Comb through your hair to ensure full coverage
- Leave to develop
- Wash out hair dye as instructed, taking care not to get any on your skin
How to apply hair colour yourself?
To apply hair colour to yourself make sure to have a tint brush and bowl ready in order to minimise mess and make it easier to apply your hair dye. Some people like to use a mirror when applying dye to the backs of their heads. This can make it easier to see where you are putting your tint brush and to check that you have achieved full coverage. Combing through your hair once you have applied the hair dye will also help to achieve maximum coverage.
How To Dye Hair
To achieve the shade closest to what you see in the tub, we recommend pre-lightening your hair if your natural colour is brown, black, or red. Natural blondes will have truer colour results, due to the lighter 'base' colour. If you have dark hair and don't want to bleach your hair, we advise you to opt for darker, more pigmented colours, such as red, purple or green to achieve a richer, darker colour.
You should always perform a strand test a few days prior to dyeing your hair in order to check for allergies, establish development times, and see what the end colour looks like on your hair.
Hair dye may cause temporary staining to your skin and could permanently stain fabrics (Towels, Bedding, Clothing etc.), so we recommend using old fabrics during the dyeing process.
Do not use alkaline-based hair products on dyed hair, as they can affect the pH balance needed to obtain maximum colour absorption and retention. Products with no alcohol ingredients or with a slightly acidic pH will help to keep your colour fresher for longer.
- Manic Panic and many other types of temporary hair dye are not suitable for use on eyebrows or eyelashes. If contact with the eyes occurs, rinse the affected area and seek medical attention.
- For the best and brightest results, use on pre-lightened hair. Results may vary when hair dye hair colourant is applied to darker, untreated hair.
- The resulting colour will vary depending upon the porosity, texture of your hair, your base colour and the length of time you allow the colour to develop.
Guide On How To Dye Hair At Home
Step 1: Patch Test
Before applying hair dye (even if you have used it before), you should perform a patch test. This is an essential step to test for allergic reactions.
- Choose a small area of skin roughly the size of a penny for the test, preferably somewhere discreet such as behind the ear or in the inner fold of your elbow.
- Wash the test area with water and soap, then dab dry with a clean towel.
- Place a thin coating of your chosen hair dye upon the test area.
- Allow the dye to dry and leave it undisturbed and uncovered for 24 hours
- Examine the test area for any signs of irritation. If there is a reaction, then the product should not be used by that person under any circumstances.
For more information about patch testing and allergies, please see our full article, here.
Step 2: Strand Test
Next, perform a strand test to ensure you get the desired colour result. Apply a small amount of colour to a discreet section of hair (Such as an 'under section' from the back of your head) before applying the colour all over.
Step 3: Pre-Lightening
So that your hair colour turns out as bright as it appears in the jar or on the colour swatch, it’ll be necessary to pre-lighten your hair. If you’re going for light or pastel shades, this is essential. As with the hair dye, make sure to perform a patch and strand test with your bleach or toner. Once you are ready to apply the bleach, simply follow the instructions on the packaging and make sure to wash and rinse out all bleach residues with shampoo, as this can prevent hair dye from processing correctly.
Step 4: Shampooing
Ensure your hair is ready to be dyed by washing with a deep cleansing shampoo. Preferably, opt for a shampoo that is specifically designed to be used before dyeing hair as this will mean you won’t be adding any chemicals to your hair that may work against the hair dye. Do not use conditioner, as this will prevent the dye from taking to the hair.
Step 5: Prepare Your Home Salon
One of the key steps for how to dye your hair at home by yourself is to make sure you prepare everything you need before you start to help you avoid needing to run around the house looking for something. Make sure you wear protective gloves when you're applying any form of hair colourant, including lightener. This enables you to protect your skin and helps to avoid staining your hands. For a clean and neat finish, apply baby lotion or petroleum jelly around your hairline and over your ears.
Is it better to dye your hair wet or dry?
Make sure to read the instructions on your hair dye to determine whether you need to apply it to wet or dry hair. The semi-permanent hair dyes need to be applied to either wet, towel dry, or dry hair.
There are many different ways to dye your hair which will depend on which brand of hair dye you use. Make sure to research which hair dye gives you the results you want in terms of how long it lasts, what chemicals it contains, and what hair type it works best on. For this example, we have used Manic Panic hair dye which should be applied to dry hair.
Empty the required amount of hair dye into a plastic bowl (approximately half a jar for short hair, a full jar for longer locks. If you have thick or especially porous hair, we'd advise you to pick up an extra tub, in case you need extra midway through dyeing).
Using a tint brush, begin to apply the hair colour, starting around half an inch down from the scalp and working it evenly through, all the way down to the ends. Then, from the nape of the neck where the hairline begins, work upwards through the hair. Make sure all of your hair is saturated with colour.
Once the hair is frothy, this indicates that the dye has been thoroughly absorbed. Lighter shades of Manic Panic Colour may need extra combing to achieve maximum saturation and longer-lasting colour.
Leave the dye on for at least 30 minutes or longer to process. At room temperature, 30 minutes is the average time for Manic Panic Hair Dye to process. Infra-red heat lamps can reduce the processing time by about 5 to 7 minutes and can help towards deeper colouration. For resistant hair, it’s advised you cover the hair with a plastic cap and leave for an hour or longer to process.
Rinse hair with cool water, away from the face. No after-treatments are required with Manic Panic Hair Colour products.
Now you know how to dye your own hair, why not head to our Hair Dye Guides to learn about how to achieve specific styles such as dip dye and rainbow hair.
Please Note: Blue Banana hair dye information should be read alongside professional advice. Blue Banana makes no guarantee of validity and additional instruction should be taken from trained persons.