Although most of us might have aspirations to spend an entire day having our hair dyed and generally being pampered, the reality is that more often that not we just don’t have the time, or the means. So, whether we want an Insta-esque hair colour transformation, or just to cover up those pesky greys, a home hair dye kit is usually the only option. But, when the teenage memories of bathroom sink-based Revlon box dye disasters is still all too fresh, how can you get dyeing your hair at home right instead of horribly wrong?
We turned to expert colourist and founder of his eponymous home hair dye range, Josh Wood, for the tips and tricks you need to know to faux a pro hair colour at home.
How To Dye Your Own Hair
How to choose the right home hair dye colour for you
‘First of all, identify a result you can realistically achieve at home. My advice is that at home isn’t perhaps the right time for an overhaul, don’t try something that is more “technique” driven (like highlights or balayage).
‘It’s very important to make sure you are aware of what your original colour is, the colour you are colouring, the colour you want to be, and roughly an idea of how grey you are. That will help you gauge not going too dark, and not ending up with a root colour that is lighter than the body of your hair.
IF YOU’RE DYEING GREY HAIR…
‘If it is grey hair that you are covering, it’s pretty simple to cover using a permanent colour kit, always start at the greyest point of the hair, only colour the roots and then refresh the ends with a gloss.’
IF YOU’RE DYEING ROOTS…
‘If you’re just focusing on covering the roots to prolong the time between salon appointments or if you have regrowth, I much prefer to refresh the ends of previously coloured hair and not leave the colour on as long because it’s already coloured,’ explains Wood. ‘It gives a much more natural effect and doesn’t dry your hair.’
IF YOU CAN’T GET TO A HAIRDRESSERS FOR A CONSULTATION…
‘I’ve created an online consultation that will guide and advise the right colour for you. It will ask questions in real-time with regards to your hair and your current regime. It’s completely free and available on your phone too, so you can even do it in-store!
‘This is why we have our live chat on www.joshwoodcolour.com (available 9am-7pm everyday – we have extended hours in light of the current situation), online consultations, DM on Instagram or email uploading an image.’
How to dye your hair at home
1. Before you start, make sure your hair is properly brushed through so that any knots are teased away. It helps the colour distribute evenly and makes the whole process less messy.
2. Divide your dry, unwashed hair into four sections and apply generous amounts of barrier cream around your hair line to prevent staining.
TIP: IF THE KIT YOU’RE USING DOESN’T COME WITH A BARRIER CREAM, TRY APPLYING A LIGHT LAYER OF VASELINE AROUND YOUR HAIRLINE AND OVER THE TIPS OF YOUR EARS.
3. Put the gloves on. Squeeze your colour into the activator and shake vigorously until well mixed.
4. Start at the roots and apply in rows along your scalp, working from front to back. Then, apply the remainder of the colour down your hair lengths.
5. Massage the colour in with your fingertips to ensure all hair is evenly coloured.
TIP: IF YOU’VE CHOSEN A SIMILAR SHADE TO YOUR CURRENT HAIR COLOUR AND WANT A MORE NATURAL LOOK, DON’T BRUSH RIGHT TO THE VERY ENDS OF YOUR HAIR AS THESE SHOULD NATURALLY APPEAR SLIGHTLY LIGHTER.
6. Leave on for 30 minutes (for Josh Wood Colour) or as directed on the box.
7. At the end of the developing time, use a stain removing wipe to remove any traces of colour from your skin.
8. Keep the gloves on and rinse off the colour with warm water until the water runs clear. Massage around the hairline to remove staining.
9. Finally, shampoo your hair, rinse and apply a deep conditioning colour treatment (normally provided with the kit) to lock in your colour and deep-condition your hair, then rinse off.
Why should you apply dye to dry hair rather than wet hair?
‘If you use a permanent hair colour the water in the hair will dilute the potency of the coverage and deposition, plus having slightly dirty hair if covering grey roots really helps to protect the scalp a little during the colouring process.’
Does the method for dyeing your hair at home change depending on the colour you choose?
‘No, this is a pretty universal way to colour your hair if you’re just covering roots or blending in greys.’
How to dye your own hair if you have afro textured hair
‘The process is exactly the same,’ explains Wood. ‘I’d always recommend locking in colour and adding hydration with a hair mask after using your permanent kit.’
How to dye your own hair if it’s already coloured
‘If you just need a root touch-up as your hair has been coloured with a similar shade in the last 8-12 weeks, and only the root regrowth is visible, or you want to protect the ends of your hair from over-treating or becoming too dark I’d suggest the following steps:
1. Start at the roots and apply in rows along your scalp, working from front to back.
2. Massage the colour in with your fingertips to ensure all hair regrowth is evenly covered.
3. Wait for 20 minutes.
4. For a freshly coloured salon finish, apply the rest of the colour to the lengths for 10 minutes before the end of the developing time.’
How much hair dye do you need if you have very long or thick hair?
‘If you’re just covering roots you should have more than enough to cover regrowth of up to eight weeks in one kit. If you’re starting afresh or changing your colour, you may need two.’
Should you do a patch test before dyeing your own hair?
‘You should always complete a patch test 48hrs before each application of a permanent hair colour,’ advises Wood. ‘It’s possible to develop allergies over time, and it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
‘To do this, mix a small quantity of your chosen hair colour and colour activator together and apply this to a little patch of skin behind your ear – think 5p size.
‘Leave this for 48 hrs (try not to get it wet if possible) and if you have no adverse reactions, you’re good to go.’
How long does permanent hair dye last?
‘Depending on how quickly your hair grows, this can be anything between 3-10 weeks. You can always use a root concealer to cover any regrowth in-between your permanent colours.
‘Alternatively, you can refresh your colour with a ready-made gloss (or mix one using the Josh Wood Shade Shot and Everything Mask). It’s super simple to apply and helps boost the colour.’
How can you help the colour last as long as possible post dye?
‘Once you’ve invested time and money in your colour, you should make sure your hair is in premium condition to protect your shade.’
– PICK THE RIGHT SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER FOR YOU
‘Use a shampoo and conditioner that is specifically created for your desired hair colour as different ingredients will be required for different hair colours. My shampoos and conditioners for brown hair contain turmeric and saffron to make brunettes vibrant, whereas my blonde shampoos and conditioners contain natural anti-oxidants to keep blonde hair healthy and shiny.’
– HAIR MASKS ARE A MUST
‘I’m also a big advocate of regular hair masks. These should be applied a minimum of once a week to help prevent fade and improve hair texture.’
What are common hair dye mistakes to avoid?
‘Most people tend to over-dye their hair, particularly the ends; I think it’s a way of people trying to ensure complete grey coverage. You should never apply colour to the roots and ends at the same time. Letting colour develop on the untreated hair at the roots longer than the previously treated hair will give a much more natural result – your ends should always appear slightly lighter.’
Why is ammonia-free hair dye better?
‘I believe that the kindest the formula can be for hair, the better the result. Ammonia-free products also tend to fade less than products that contain ammonia, too.’
This article originally appeared ELLE UK.