Dyeing your own hair is a big commitment. It can require a lot of money, patience and time. Over a year ago, amidst the stress of finals week, I cracked — and as a result, decided to dye my own hair on a whim. With the help of three roommates, three boxes of hair dye and a week later, the deed was done. It was a mess. Nearly everything that could have gone wrong with my hair went wrong. Lucky for you, I already dealt with the drama so you won’t have to. Here are five things I wish I knew before dyeing my own hair.
1. It’s not a clean process
Even if your dye is a light shade, it will get messy. Have towels, a comb, brush, gloves and a wipe ready to go. In my opinion, a trip to the salon is worth the hassle of cleaning up the mess. I still have stains on my bathroom floor. Hair dye stains everything it comes in contact with so watch out and keep that towel handy!
2. The exact color on the box might not match the outcome
A box of dirty blonde hair dye turned my naturally ashy-brown hairred. The shade wasn’t too far from my hair color, but the chemicals clashed with my hair. Most boxed dyes contain bleach or ammonia that can react differently with your hair (Read the ingredients first!). Bleach in particular can make brown hair appear red. Two more boxes of hair dye later and the auburn traces are still here, and don’t appear to be going anywhere.
3. It might take multiple times to achieve the color you want
Going darker may be easier than going lighter, which is a process. Drastically changing your hair all at once can cause serious damage. Brown to blonde will require multiple sessions to get the color you want. If it still doesn’t work,and you hate your new color, remember that the only way to go back to your natural color is to grow it out.
4. But once you do, maintenance is key
On average, hair grows about half an inch every month. So, if you plan on keeping the color you’ll have to touch up your roots every 6-8 weeks. If you decide that this is a one-time thing and maintenance isn’t for you, I hope highly-contrasted hair is. Once it grows out it won’t grow already blended into a beautiful ombré or balayage. In my case, it’s choppy, uneven and brittle. In the end, I still had to go to a salon to make it salvageable. Hair does not always grow out evenly. After everything, dyeing your own hair won’t end up being that cheap. If maintenance is out of the question for you, try highlights. They require the least amount of care and will still look gorgeous! Sometimes just a subtle change can alter your entire look.
5. You’ll have to change your routine
With or without touch-ups you’ll have to maintain your manes in other ways now. Dyes can change the texture and strength of your hair, so as your hair changes so will your routine. Toss the clarifying shampoos you may normally use –– they will make your newly colored hair fade! Color treated shampoos and conditioners are essential to keep your hair shiny, vibrant and true to its shade. If you went lighter, try a purple shampoo to avoid brassiness. But regardless of color, there’s one thing you need to conscious of –– heat. Now that your hair has withstood considerable damage from the dye, you need to treat it as such. Steer clear of high heat temperatures and keep that straightener low. If you’re using a temperature above 400 degrees Fahrenheit on your color treated hair, you’re causing serious damage to your already distressed locks. Also keep in mind other factors that can alter your hair, like direct sunlight and pool chlorine. You took the plunge to dye your hair, so the least you can do is take care of it.
If after reading this you still decide that dyeing your own hair is right for you, take these five things into account before starting the process.