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How to Colour Hair at Home: At-home Hair Colouring 101

Everything you need to know to get the best results from your at-home hair colour application.

As exciting as switching up your hair colour can be, sometimes squeezing in an appointment at your hair salon or splashing out on a hair colour treatment just isn’t in the cards. But if you’re itching to learn how to dye your own hair, dying hair at-home is now easier than ever thanks to all the new innovative hair colouring formulas hitting beauty aisles. Whether you’re going blond, attempting ombré highlights or longing for a rich brunette shade, follow these 10 simple at-home hair colour tips to get flawless, salon-worthy hair colour in the comfort of your own home.

#1. Choose the right hair colour shade

There are a few aspects you should consider when picking out a hair colour. Whether you’re choosing a permanent hair colour shade like L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference highlights with L’Oréal Paris Féria or a bold temporary hair colour shade using L’Oréal Paris Colorista look closely at the results on the back of the box to determine which one is the best fit for you. In addition, you want to pick a shade that best compliments your skin tone, so take a few extra minutes to do some research before grabbing a box.

#2. Buy two hair dye boxes

There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through your at-home hair colouring session and realizing that you’ve run out of hair dye. If you don’t want to be forced to send a trusty friend an IOU message, think ahead and pick up two boxes. Doubling up on hair dye is essential to ensuring that you have a smooth and mishap-free experience, particularly if you have thick or long hair (think shoulder length or longer).

#3. Second-day hair is best

While it’s perfectly all right to dye your hair after it’s been freshly blow-dried, second-day locks are best for colouring. The natural oils on your scalp that develop throughout the day help to act as a barrier to protect your skin (this is especially important if you have sensitive skin), which might become slightly irritated from the dye. While a little grit in your hair is good, keep in mind that there shouldn’t be a lot of product in your locks as that may prevent the dye from penetrating properly.

#4. Prep your hair

For the most effective dye job, your strands should be in their best possible condition. Dry, dehydrated hair will soak up hair dye quicker than healthy, hydrated hair, so show your strands a little TLC and use a deep-conditioning treatment or a hair mask pre-colour. This will nourish your hair and help to minimize patchiness.

#5. Power in numbers

While dying the front parts of your hair is simple, sometimes getting an even amount of product on the back sections of your head is mission impossible. Ask a friend to help you with those hard-to-reach areas so you aren’t left with an uneven dye job. They will be able to ensure that all the dye is applied evenly and no spots are left uncoloured. If you must go it alone, double up your mirrors so you can get a good look at what’s happening on the back of your head.

#6. Do a strand test

Even though doing a strand test is recommended on the box, most people forgo this step to get quicker results. While it can be hard to wait it out, doing a strand test will give you a clear idea of exactly what you’re in for in terms of your new hair colour. That way, there are no surprises when you pull off the towel. And if you have sensitive skin or you’re prone to irritation, before going in and applying the hair dye all over your scalp, a strand test will ensure that you’re not headed for an allergic reaction.

#7. Be prepared

Before you pop on the gloves and get to work, go through the steps of your hair colouring sesh and take out all the necessary tools so you’re not left scrambling to reach for a comb once your hands are covered in slippery hair cream. Lay all of your tools and directions out in front of you to make for a seamless, stress-free experience. And don’t forget to change into an old T-shirt and dig out your old towels so you don’t have to toss your fave blouse after you’re done.

#8. Follow the directions

This one’s simple: Follow the directions on the box to a T. While it seems obvious, it’s surprising how often the directions get skipped over when it comes to at-home hair dye. The professionals who wrote them know best, so don’t cut any corners.

#9. Section your hair

In order to get the most even, professional-looking hair dye job, make sure you have sectioned off your hair into equal-sized pieces before you get started. In the salon, the most common technique is dividing the hair into four parts, two in the front of the head and two in the back. In addition, take a brush and thoroughly comb out any knots and tangles to avoid patchy sections where the dye won’t sit properly.

#10. Post-dye hair care

Now that you have your gorgeous new colour, make a few small changes to your hair routine so that all that effort doesn’t go to waste. Spritz a sun-friendly heat-protectant spray onto wet locks before hitting the hot tools (or going outside in the summer); it will help protect your hair colour from external aggressors like pollution, UV rays and damaging heat. Swap out your regular shampoo for a colour-safe one, and give your locks a little TLC with a weekly hair mask to amp up moisture and prevent hair breakage.

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