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At home coloring is okay, I promise

Whether you’ve a few gray hairs that you want to hide, your hair is looking a little dull or you just want a serious makeover, a good dye job can be a miracle worker.

For some reason, I’m much more open to trying a new hair color than I am to giving a new cut a whirl so I’ve spent hours sitting around a salon in a smock with my head full of thick, gloppy chemicals more than I’d probably like to admit.  And while I love the results that my favorite hair dresser gets, I’m not so crazy about the amount of money I have to shell out and the amount of time I have to find in my schedule to sit in her chair.

The appeal of the $10 hair dye at CVS, Walgreen’s or Target is just a little too strong sometimes. And the truth is, you can get really good results with a simple bottle of Clairol from the drugstore – if you do it right. I’ve been the victim of some pretty tragic at-home hair dying disasters, so I know all the ways it can go wrong. If you’re thinking about coloring your own hair, here are some tried and true tips to ensure that you wind up with perfectly colored tresses that’ll make your stylist proud.

Don’t Do Too Much

Most at-home hair coloring problems result from trying to do too much. If you want to change your current color by more than two or three shades or want to highlight red, brown or black hair, it’s best to let a professional handle it.  You should also skip box color if you have extremely dry or damaged hair, which needs a little more TLC than you can give it at home. When you’re picking out a box dye at the drugstore, it’s important to choose the right formula too. If you’ve got grays that you need to cover or you’re going for a bold shade that fades quickly like red, a permanent dye is your best bet. But if you just want to freshen or brighten up your hair, a permanent formula may do more harm than good. Instead, use a sheer gloss to add shine and a subtle tint to your hair.

Read Instructions

Dying your hair seems like a simple process – mix the dye together, apply it to your hair and let it sit for a while – so it’s tempting to leave the instructions in the box and plow ahead. But if you want beautiful, shiny color that looks like the shade on the packaging, you should read that annoying little pamphlet so you know exactly how to use the product. Pay special attention to the amount of time that you’re supposed to leave the dye in – you may think that it’s better to leave it on longer to get some really intense color, but you can actually wind up damaging your hair.

Ask for Help

Dying your hair at home can be super messy – I have the stains on my bathroom walls and carpet to prove it – since those protective gloves can make you a little clumsier than usual. If possible, ask a friend or family member to help with the coloring. That way, you won’t have to worry about missing a spot in the back of your hair or splattering dye all over your walls as you try hit the hard to reach spots. (Yes, it’s  happened to me … more than once.)

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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