Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Home Hair Colouring: How to?

In the interests of saving money (all the more for the shoe fund) I have spent the last couple of years dying my hair at home.

Actually my hubby has had the job of slathering on the permanent colour, since I'm not at all convinced I wouldn't get dye all over the bathroom if I tried to do it myself.

I've nearly always dyed my hair, from light blonde to a rich red, and more recently  its natural brunette.  But with greys coming through at the roots so fast I needed to re-colour after 5 weeks, £50 a time at the hair salon was too expensive.

In this time, of home hair colouring; at a more reasonable £6 a time; I have learnt a few key tips I thought I'd share:

1.  Always do a strand test

I know it's boring.  I know it's difficult to arrange to do and wait for the results and only then get cracking with your own colouring.  Particularly as, once you've opened the bottle for the strand test, you have to use the colour within 24 hours usually.

It's also a 'do as I say, not as I do' one, because I never, ever do the strand test. But that's only because my mother's been dying my hair various shades of orange since I was 13 years old*.

Even so, each brand is different, so you should really test each one before you try.  Please don't risk it, especially if you've never coloured your hair before

2. Don't stray too far from your natural shade when home colouring

In general, those with light, pale and freckled skin will suit cooler hair shades; from platinum blonde, through strawberry blondes to light browns.  Darker skin tones will be better able to pull off darker hair.

You need to factor that in when choosing a colour; along with the colour of your eyebrows.  If your hair is substantially darker than your eyebrows it can overpower them.  At the other extreme, very dark eyebrows will stand out a mile (particularly if not well groomed) if teamed with platinum blonde hair.  Unless you have aspirations to colour the eyebrows as well (not a good plan at home by the way) then don't go too far from your natural shades.

3.  Protect your clothes and any furniture

We do this process sat on the sofa in the lounge.  I cover one end of the sofa with an old, dark blue towel, specifically allocated to home colouring duties only.  It's now got some lovely staining on it!

I also change into old clothes that I don't mind getting stained and place another old towel around my shoulders.

I keep meaning to invest in one of those capes that they make you wear at the salon, but just don't seem to get around to it.

4.  Protect your glasses

I wear glasses.  If I start colouring my hair without putting contact lenses in, I suddenly find that I am sat there, with nothing to do, for 40 minutes whilst the colour works it's magic.  Often I want to read, or watch the TV.  But I can't put my glasses on for fear of staining their arms.

The solution?  Take 2 plastic sandwich bags (or nappy bags), and place them over each arm.  Secure with sandwich bag ties.  It's not a handsome look; but you've got purple (it always seems to be purple) gunk all over your head, a towel wrapped around you and your scruffy clothes on.  Good looks are not on the agenda at this point.

5.  Get rid of any staining at the temples quickly

When you've applied the colour (obviously following the instructions on the box to the letter) and have waited the requisite length of time, you will need to rinse it off.  HOWEVER, if you have the colour on your forehead and around your temples you need to pause for a moment for this little task to stop the colour staining your skin in those areas.

I may seem to go off track here, but stay with me.

You know you can use a ball of blu-tack to get other remnants of blu-tack off a wall without scraping?  You simply press the ball against the scrap and it sticks and pulls off the scrap.

Well, hair colour works the same way.  If you get some around the edge of your temples, you can, whilst wearing your plastic gloves (obviously), rub that area of skin gently with the colour that's on your hair.  Give the area a little massage.  Then you can rinse off the colour and the colour should pull any staining off the skin.

It won't necessarily have got it all off, but it will have taken most and loosened the rest.  So when you've finished rinsing the hair and shampooed with a mild shampoo (children's shampoos are good after colouring as they are nice and mild and don't try and strip the colour back out!), you can then rub any remaining staining on the skin with a wet wipe.

Yes, those wet wipes come in handy for all sorts of things.

If you don't get the staining off with the wipe now, you may be stuck with it for a while, so scrub any reluctant bits hard!

I hope that was helpful.  Good luck!  

*She'd like to claim it was red, but my school colleagues would disagree.  And did.  Ruthlessly.


  1. I think over the years I have dyed my hair about 300 times, and only two of those were in a salon. I find home treatments so much more cost effective.

    Your advice is great, and I'm sure it'll come in handy for anyone attempting this!

    One thing I would add to your list, regarding getting the colour off your skin: vaseline. Before you colour, put a bit of vaseline all around your hairline (forehead, behind the ears, cheeks, etc). The colour won't even stick to the skin then. You can quickly and easily wipe it off once the colour is on.

    Also - if you don't want to lose a towel or invest in a cape, a bin bag with head and arm holes in it will work very well to cover you up while you colour. And you can throw it out afterward.

    :) Anyway, some great tips here. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Genius! Love the bin bag idea. Though I'd chuckle so much hubby would have trouble applying the colour!

    I will try the vaseline next time to. Great tip.

    Thanks for commenting.


  3. A strand test was my always priority testing to my hair if it was suitable or not. And then I proceed to personal rules on coloring then I just forget the things that I could spoil around so thanks for reminding it on your post. Sincerely appreciating.

    1. Glad to be of help. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :-)


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