A trip to the salon can be very expensive, but with some tips for using permanent hair color, you can get professional results at home for a fraction of the cost. At every step, even before you mix the color, there are things you can do to make sure you get the shade and hair quality you want. At-home kits are best used when you’re covering grays or changing your color by one or two shades; for more drastic changes or highlighting, you may want to consider going to a professional colorist.
Healthy hair will absorb color more easily than dry, damaged hair, so take the time to do a deep conditioning a few days before you plan to color your hair. Wash your hair the day before you color, but not the day of. Washing the day of will strip your hair of its natural oils, and accidental fingernail scratches on your scalp can become irritated when the dye is applied.
There are a few things you’ll want to get together before you actually begin the coloring process. Collect some old towels you won’t mind getting stained, and opt for an old button down shirt instead of a tee shirt; you won’t have to pull a button down over your head while it’s still covered with dye. Make sure you have petroleum jelly to prevent accidentally staining your skin. A comb and four large hair clips are essential for sectioning hair, ensuring that hair is covered evenly and completely. Hair coloring kits come with gloves, but the quality of those gloves varies dramatically, so it’s not a bad idea to have some sturdy latex gloves on hand. A mixing bowl and brush will give you more even coverage than applicator bottles, but it’s not absolutely necessary to have them. A kitchen timer is easier than checking your watch, and a plastic shower cap will help color to take, especially useful when covering grays. A hand mirror makes it possible to see the back of your head, so you can check to make sure you’ve covered it fully.
Apply petroleum jelly around your hairline, being careful not to get it in your hair, which can interfere with dye penetration. Don’t forget your ears and the back of your neck. Pick up and remove any bathmats, towels, or other items you don’t want getting stained. Comb your hair into four sections, two on top and two in the back, then use clips to secure them until you’re ready to apply color. Be sure to read the instructions for your specific product, as different brands and even different colors will have different directions. Mix all of the contents together (even if you’re only doing a touch-up) to ensure you’ve got the proper ratio. Loosen one section and, using the comb, lift a small portion and brush color on both sides. Continue until that section is done and then repeat with the next. Be sure to fully color areas around your face. Once all areas are covered, put on the shower cap and set the timer. Rinse hair when timer goes off until water runs clean, and then wipe off petroleum jelly.