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Avoiding at-home color blunders

Following several bad hair color experiences as a young teen and a few breakdowns after my mom tried to help me with boxed color, I was on my own. Blue, pink, blonde: I’ve done it all. Throughout the process, I learned a few tricks of the trade to survive a scary one-on-one battle with at-home hair color.

Electric colors may not be for everyone, especially those of us who hold jobs that require us to interact with clients every day. But if you’re like me and want to add some spice this summer to your hair color, then keep these tips in mind so your shock of color doesn’t shock your senses.

Get ready

You never know where a speck, or blob, of hair dye may land, so keep in mind it’s not a good idea to wear your new dress, even if there is a towel over it. Change into an old pair of shorts and a loose fitting tank top that you can easily take off once it’s time to rinse. I like to keep these pieces of clothing around for future hair adventures.

Prepare your bathroom

Get rid of any rugs, and pull your shower curtain as far away from where you will be applying color as possible. Hair color can easily be wiped up with soap and water, but it’s much harder to get out of fabric. Grab an old towel that you don’t mind getting dirty, and keep it around for your next dying project. If your bathroom has a window, open it – hair dye can be quite stinky. And for you pet lovers – lock all dogs, cats or bunnies out of the room – you don’t want to accidentally give your Dalmatian any red spots to match the black ones.

Don’t dye your face!

Grab some Vaseline or lotion and rub it along your hairline. The barrier over your skin will protect it from absorbing the dye, which can be very embarrassing if you’ve got plans within the next 24 hours. This is especially essential if you are using dark or red hair color.

Time to apply the color

Make sure to read the instructions on the hair color box regarding specific times and hair preparation. Most hair color boxes call for unwashed hair, so the color can hold the best, but either way make sure you haven’t applied a lot of product. Start by applying color to your roots. I find it easiest to squeeze some of the dye directly into your palm – with a glove on, of course – and then comb your fingers through your hair. Pay close attention to the recommended time on the box – otherwise you may end up with a color that is a far cry from alluring and spunky.

Clean up time

Despite the Vaseline or lotion on your hairline, you may get a few colored spots on your face, neck or ears. Shampoo or makeup remover will diminish those mishaps and leave your skin flawless. If you’ve splashed color on your bathroom vanity or floor, wipe it up right away with a towel and some household cleaner – those that contain bleach will work best on white surfaces. If you miss anything, it will show up once it dries, and may be harder to clean up, so be vigilant.

At-home hair color may seem like a big, scary task, but it’s just like painting a wall. If you don’t like it, you can always return to your natural color.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing