Top tips for dying your hair at home

I had blond hair as a child and then somewhere in my teens it turned into a dull mousey brown. So when I was 16 I started dying it and, apart from a brief spell when I was pregnant with Toby, it hasn’t been its natural colour since! I’ve been every shade of red from copper to dark auburn, I’ve been dark brown, plum and the lightest of blond. But having your hair dyed in a salon can be an expensive business and so for the last 15 years or so I’ve been doing it myself. I’m still no expert but I thought it might be useful to some of you if I shared my top tips for dying your hair at home.

Top tips for dying your hair at home

Choose your dye

First up you need to choose your dye – there are literally hundreds to choose from and it’s not always easy. I tend to use a semi-permanent colour which is supposed to last 28 washes. I usually dye my hair every 6 to 8 weeks. Using a semi-permanent colour means it tends to fade out evenly rather than leaving me with noticeable roots. I usually use L’Oreal Casting Creme Gloss – at the moment I’m using Berry Red but I’ve tried most of the red shades they do.

Patch Test

I’m naughty and don’t bother with a patch test but if you’re using a new brand of dye, or you’ve never dyed your hair before you really should follow the instructions in the pack to check you don’t have a reaction to the dye.

Buy latex or vinyl gloves

Buy latex gloves

This is probably my number one top tip! Trying to dye your hair using the massive flappy plastic bag gloves that you usually get in the pack is impossible! I use latex gloves – you can get them in packs, usually in the first aid section of the supermarket or chemist. Although saying that the last pack I got were actually marketed as being for wearing while doing car repairs!

Vaseline your hairline

This is my number two top tip – before you start apply a thin layer of Vaseline all along your hairline and around your ears. This stops the dye staining your skin and makes it really easy to clean up any rogue splodges. I just use one the little pots that you get to use as lip balm.

Start at the parting

Start at the parting

When it comes to actually applying the dye I start at my parting. I squirt a line of dye along the parting then push a thin slice of hair up over it. I work my way over to one ear, then the other way across to the other ear. Then I do the same at the back and finally put a good splodge or dye on top of my head and massage it all in as if I am shampooing it. Having short hair does make this easier but I used to use the same technique when I had long hair too.


Wipe off any dye on your skin

Once your hair is fully covered use some tissue to wipe any excess dye off your skin – I always seem to get it on the top of my ears somehow! The Vaseline means it will come off easily at this stage but if you leave it, it will stain your skin.

Set a timer

The next thing to do is to set a timer and wait. I use the countdown timer on my phone. I may have been known to rely on keeping an eye on the clock and end up with rather over-dyed hair when I’ve been distracted by something. So set a timer!

Rinse & condition

When your time is up you need to rinse, rinse, rinse. I kneel at the side of the bath and use the shower head to rinse my hair. Just keep rinsing until the water runs clear (if you’re using a red dye it might look like there’s been a bit of a massacre in there – don’t worry, it washes off!).

After rinsing I always use the deep conditioner you get with the dye. It seems to set the colour somehow. I usually use it once a week for the few weeks after dying too, as long as I remember.

Don’t panic!

Rinse and condition - don't panic yet!

After rinsing your hair can sometimes look nothing like you expected. I remember having my hair dyed for my wedding (one of the only recent times I’ve had it done in a salon) and when the dye came off it was the most dramatic shade of orange I have ever seen! Once is was dried though it was fine, so when your hair is still wet don’t panic if it looks a bit peculiar.

Dry and style

My finished colour

The last thing to do is dry and style your hair as usual. Or if you’re me then blast it with the hairdryer and hope for the best.

Dry and style

Do you have any top tips for dying your hair at home?  Or any home hair dying disasters? I’d love to hear them so please leave me a comment if you do.


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One thought on “Top tips for dying your hair at home

  1. Great tips…I have been dying my hair for about 20 years. Eek!
    I have stopped leaning over the bath to rinse it out. My poor back can’t take it anymore. I just go in the shower.I was worried the first time it would dye my skin but so far so good. hehehe

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