Colouring your hair at home is not for the faint-hearted.
In fact, instead of asking how to colour your hair at home, maybe ask yourself if you should colour your hair at home?
Most professional stylists will tell you, no.
Annnnnd probably proceed to scold you about 'colour banding', and 'drying' and 'harmful chemicals' and all of that extremely important stuff.
While ideally colouring would always be left to the professional, a trip to the salon just isn't always in the budget or the time schedule.
Sometimes we also just lazy.
To be honest, I also know a lot of women who just prefer the way they colour their own hair.
And as someone who has left more than a few salons after telling the stylist how much I love the particular shade of yellow, they have somehow made my naturally white-blonde hair, only to later cry in the car - I GET IT.
Sometimes you just have to do it yourself.
But, you must also do it correctly!
Whether you're after home highlights, an all-over-colour or a brighter blonde, there are a few common steps when it comes to how to colour your hair at home.
Using the right tools to colour your hair at home is equally as important as using the right colour kit.
In fact, the wrong tools can be the difference between healthy revived locks and well...
Old school aluminium foil is still the go-to for many pro hairstylists, so this is what you should use for a DIY job too.
In fact, the only difference between the foil used in salons and foil in your kitchen draw is; in salons, it's pre-cut.
It is just plain old foil.
But unfortunately, you'll have to cut it into strips yourself.
The reason I suggest this is because one, you probably already own it and two, it is a heat conductor.
This means it helps the hair lighten faster.
To spread the colour onto the hair, you can use whatever brush comes in the kit if you chose to.
However, toothbrushes and small paintbrushes also work.
Their small bristles pick up the right amount of colour and allow you to spread it easily.
They're also flexible meaning the dye will not be applied too perfectly, creating a more subtle, blended look rather than harsh streaks.
Image credit: @sittingprettyhalohair
Prepping your locks prior to dying your hair at home is imperative to the end results.
While I usually skip washing my hair for a few days before seeing my stylist (apologies for whatever you find in there), it is ideal to DIY dye one day after your last wash.
This way your hair is clean, but not freshly washed.
Make sure your hair is dry and wear an old zip-up hoodie or button-down shirt so you don't have to pull anything over your hair.
Also, keep plenty of towels around.
Image credit: @sittingprettyhalohair
To avoid all of your hair falling out, scolding your scalp or, any other tragedies, always do a strand test.
I cannot stress this enough.
This is not only for your own safety, but it will also help you see how long to leave the colour on for and help you achieve the best end results.
Apply a small amount of colour to a section of hair for ten minutes and wipe it off.
If the hair has reached the desired colour, continue to do the rest of your head.
If not, apply again to the same section and check the development every five minutes until the desired colour is achieved.
Note the total processing time and proceed to do the rest of your hair.
Pro tip: If you're just touching up your roots, cover the mid-lengths and ends of your hair with a coconut oil hair mask. This will prevent the colour from leaking down and seeping into other parts of your hair.
Colouring your hair at home to achieve highlights is risky business.
You can go from subtle, sun-kissed goddess to striped tiger-king, real quick.
So it is extremely important to get it right!
@jessamyhairartistry custom coloured the MEDIUM halo
There are many different at-home hair colouring kits, so make sure you chose one specifically for highlights.
All-over-colour hair kits won't lift or lighten pigments, they also won't remove the older dye, rather just build on or mix with to create a weird, dark hybrid colour situation.
If you ever tried to give yourself blonde highlights in high school, you know what I'm talking about.
All over colour also has a much creamier consistency than highlight kits, which can run into other sections of hair and create a blotchy look.
You should also choose a highlight kit which is suited for your current hair, not the hair you're trying to achieve.
If you have brown hair with a red base and you want blonde highlights, grabbing the first box you see that reads "bright blonde," could have some pretty dire results.
Think fluorescent orange.
Look for boxes which specify "for brown hair," "for blonde hair" etc.
Now that you've chosen the correct kit, prepped your locks, done a strand test and changed into a hoodie; it's time to begin.
Oh, by the way, don't forget the towels.
When colouring your hair at home for highlights it is super important that you keep the strokes consistent with specific sections of hair.
Start by parting your hair as you normally wear it.
Start with the sections which frame your face as it doesn't matter if these sections develop for a little longer.
In fact, it's actually more flattering to have a few lighter pieces around your face.
Place the colour onto your chosen tool, take an inch wide section and start the colour a few cms away from the scalp.
Pull the colour downwards in a consistent sweeping motion until you reach the end of the section.
Work you way backwards to the middle of your head gradually thinning out the sections to half an inch as you go.
Once you reach the back and under-layers of your hair, you should be applying dye to quarter-inch sections of hair.
Pro tip: don't be too neat with it. Natural highlights are not uniformed, and placing them too perfectly will create them early 2000s tiger stripe streaks we've all tried so hard to forget.
**Side note, does anyone know how to delete your old Myspace? Asking for a friend...
@dominiquelissa wears the THICK halo in col. Light Brown 6.
@caseyjamess_ wears the THICK halo in col. Dark Blonde + Beige Blonde 613/10. Styled by @alanamevissen
So it is very important to help restore moisture.
Once you have left the colour on for the correct amount of time, it's time to rinse.
Shampoo your hair thoroughly ensuring all dye has gone bye-bye and then use deep conditioning treatment.
Leave this on for five minutes, minimum.
Sounds like a dream right?
Toning is actually key when it comes to highlighting your hair at home.
This helps to counteract the colour leaving it more blended and natural-looking.
Choose a toner according to your natural hair, the colour of your kit and the overall look you're trying to achieve.
For example, a gold toner helps to tone down icy blonde, and vice versa. And icy toner will help beat brass and a green toner takes the red tinge from brown.
Ok, what I mean by that is, don't trust the picture on the box.
In real life, the colour will always end up much lighter than pictured.
This is because the developer in at-home hair dye kits is much stronger than the one's salons use, and usually, the model's hair on the box has been done by a professional, at a salon.
Shocking, I know.
Therefore the colour will develop a lot faster, resulting in much lighter locks.
So, instead, use the chart on the back or top of the box which indicates what the colour will look like on different shades.
As I mentioned, packet dye develops FAST.
So you need to know when to go lighter and when to go darker with your colour kit.
If you're using permanent dye, I'd suggest choosing a shade which is slightly darker than the colour you're wanting to achieve.
However, semi-permanent dyes do not contain developer, meaning they get darker and darker the longer they're left in your hair. So go a lighter shade.
Always buy two packets of dye, even if you have thin or short hair.
Trust me its better safe than having a half dyed head.
This is especially important if you have thick, coarse hair or hair which is past your shoulders.
Combine the two packets in the plastic bowl before you begin.
Pro tip: always use a plastic bowl to mix your colour. A metal one will oxidise the dye and cause it to change colour.
@elidaze wears the THICK Halo in Col. Medium Brown #4
The texture of your hair is an important thing to consider when it comes to learning how to colour your hair at home.
The texture of your hair will affect the way the colour-dye develops and how the colour turns out.
Colour absorbs quicker in curly, frizzy or coarse hair and usually results in a cooler, ashier tone.
So you should choose a dye which is warm yet lighter than your natural locks.
Colour isn't as easily absorbed by thin to medium hair and usually results in a warmer tone.
This means you could end up with copper, red or orange tones.
Dyes which are light such as beige, or champaign blondes yet still slightly darker than your natural locks are more suitable.
Your hair sections that is!
As with styling, sectioning your hair is super important when it comes to colouring your hair at home.
If you don't section your hair correctly your colour will turn out patchy.
Split your hair into four sections, two in front of the ears and two behind them and clip them to keep secure.
Work from front to back.
Pro tip: when you're adding the colour to your hair, avoid the ends. The ends of your hair are dry enough without having dye applied directly to them.
Instead, when there is about three minutes left before rinsing add two pumps of shampoo and some water to the dye bottle and give it a good shake.
Rinse this through the ends of your hair so they can get a tinge of colour without being exposed to the harsher stuff.
Once you've applied the dye you'll probably be tempted to wrap your locks up and leave them until the timer goes off, but keep them down.
Leaving your hair down ensures that the formula stays even and doesn't spread to different sections of hair.
Again, this creates patches.
Leaving your locks down until it's time to rinse creates an even, natural and blended all-over-colour.
Before you rinse your dye, add a small amount of water to your hair and massage it through.
Once your locks are moving, rinse it thoroughly and shampoo.
Lather, rinse and repeat and finish with a super hydrating conditioner.
@dani.shreeve wears the THICK halo in col. Medium Brown 4. Styled by @tahliajayde_mua
Well, the first step for how to colour your hair blonde at home is,
I'm kidding, it can be done, but straight up, this is a huge risk.
Going blonde, or blonder is an extremely delicate process so if you're a home dye rookie, I'd probably steer clear - or at the very least use a semi-permanent dye.
I'd advise not to dye your hair any more than one to two shades lighter than it already is.
If you're wanting more than that, seek professional help because bleach does not F*#K around.
But if you're just wanting to lighten things up a little, here's how to do it.
But make sure you start with a strand test!
I already said it, but it is especially important when bleaching your hair.
So STRAND TEST.
@amandaaston wears the THICK halo in col. Cream Blonde 20C. Styled by @amandatua_hair
Do everything the same as the all-over colour section- except work from back to front when applying the colour.
Leave a small amount of formula in the bottle, you'll need this later.
Pro tip: keep the solution one inch away from your roots to keep it more natural-looking.
Once the colour is covering all sections, massage it into your hair so that all strands are evenly covered.
Even coverage is the key here.
Serious, nothing says bottle blonde like patches people, so massage, massage, massage!
the THICK halo in col. Cream Blonde 20C Styled by @taylahelizabethhair
Let the dye sit for as long as the strand test indicated you should, but check it every five minutes.
Don't just pop on some Netflix and forget. That's a one-way ticket to Bald Town my beauty!
Seriously, if you over-bleach your hair you might as well just shave it off because it's gonna fall out anyway.
So make sure you check, check and check it.
If you see tinges of red, don't worry, this is normal, it just means the hair is lightening.
The leftover formula from earlier is for your roots.
While I did say leave them for a more natural look, it is important the contrast isn't too stark.
So, when there are about 10-15 minutes left on the timer, apply the remaining colour to your roots.
Rinse a small amount of dye from a hidden section and check the colour.
If it's correct, you're ready to rinse it all.
If it's not, apply more dye to that section and leave it for an additional five minutes. Continue until you reach your desired colour.
We're ready to rinse, but this isn't quite as easy as it sounds.
Bleach can be a B*^@# to get out.
So if you're having trouble rinsing the colour add a bonding repair treatment, (I love Olaplex) to help strip the bleach.
Shampoo your hair twice using two different shampoos.
A clarifying shampoo for strength and repairing.
And a blond shampoo to help lock the colour in.
Toner is the key to a beautiful blonde.
Find the right kind of toner for the type of blonde you want to achieve.
Once you have rinsed the bleached, and you've shampooed and rinsed that out too, towel dry your hair.
Apply the toner for the specified amount of time and rinse thoroughly.
Your locks will be super fragile after bleaching so be gentle with them for a few days.
Also, follow up with a hydrating treatment during the week, just not right away. Let the colour set first.