Tips for Dyeing Your Hair at Home

It is perfectly rational to want to make a drastic change to your appearance during this uncertain time. It’s hard to tell when the next time you’ll see anyone outside of your household is; there isn’t much to do besides homework and going for random walks throughout the day; and you’re probably looking for a creative outlet. 

For a lot of people, that outlet has come in the form of brightly colored hair. Stores are selling out of hair dye, everyone on social media is posting about their new neon looks, so why not give it a try? But first, here are some key things to know before attempting to rock a bright hairdo.

If your hair is not blonde, or light in any way, you will have to bleach it in order to dye it a lighter color- that is a permanent change that can only be reversed by dyeing your hair back to your desired natural color. Anything that is permanent is likely to damage your hair. 

Bleach damages your hair significantly by opening the cuticles in your hair, causing it to have a rougher texture after the color is lifted. Bleach can make it easier for your hair to absorb moisture, but if it’s overdone it will also release the moisture faster. This makes your hair dry and difficult to style. Bleaching also damages your hair by causing breakage. The chemicals are also strong enough to burn your skin- so it’s a good idea to wear gloves and rub an ointment like Aquaphor or Vaseline around the edge of your hairline in case any excess bleach or dye drips onto your head or face.

It’s a good idea to see how your hair reacts to certain chemicals, bleaches and dyes on a strand test before you coat your entire head. Usually doing a test on a small piece of hair in the back of your head and waiting 24 hours to see the results is an easy way to do this. Dangerous chemicals including ammonia and peroxide can be found in bleach and certain dyes that promise permanence or a longer lasting look. 

There are many products that can be used in order to ease the damage caused by bleach and dye such as Olaplex and the b3 Brazillian Bond Builder, though some products by these brands are exclusively available to licensed professionals.  And you still may not want to dye right after you bleach in order to give your hair time to fully heal and react- some brands recommend a two week waiting period between bleach and dye. It's also a good idea to wait two weeks before using any heat to prevent further damage.

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

Dyeing your hair a fashion color is actually a lot less of a big deal once you have light hair. A lot of brightly colored hair dye is semi permanent, meaning that after a certain amount of washes, it will fade. Some colors fade faster than others– pinks and red go a lot quicker than blues and purples. Some brands last longer than others. 

The brand Arctic Fox boasts a maximum of forty washes before their color is entirely faded, while other brands like Lime Crime will not last as long and sometimes require colored conditioners in order to maintain. The longevity of the dye also depends on how light your hair is– the blonder the hair the more open it is to receiving dye, and the way you treat it. Washing your hair in cold water is not fun, but it will prolong the vibrance of your hair a lot more than hot water. 

Color safe shampoo and conditioner are also helpful when trying to maintain a brighter look, and can be found for cheap prices at most stores that sell hair supplies, like Target.

Luis Quintero Luis Quintero / Unsplash

If you’re looking to just have some funky colors during the quarantine and eventually go back to normal, semi permanent dyes are a safer option. If you’re looking for a more permanent look without wanting to completely compromise the health of your hair, a colored shampoo or conditioner might be a better option.  The brand Overtone offers many shampoos and conditioners that deposit color in your hair as it moisturizes and maintains overall hair health. 

In all, dyeing your hair can be a really fun way to express yourself creatively and a great way to temporarily ease the boredom of social distancing. 

Sources: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Photo Credit: Her Campus Media Library