advice for the home colorist

1} If you have "virgin hair" (hair that has never been dyed), choose a color that is only a shade darker or shade lighter than your natural color. Hair that has never been dyed before tends to soak up color, so you'll want to play it safe with something not too drastic.

2} Always use semipermanent dye. Permanent fades just about as fast but is harsher. I like to use ammonia free dye, which doctors will tell you is safe to use even while pregnant

3} If you want a natural looking red, choosing a color with the word "copper" in its name is always safe.

4} "Auburn" and "cinnamon" are sometimes safe. Unless you get Garnier Nutrisse, their colors are always on the unnatural look, for reds.

5} "Berry," "Red", "Pomegranate" and "Intense" will result in usually a more purple or fake-red looking color. Which is fine if that is what you want! But not fine if you just want a subtle color.

6} With permanent or semipermanent, its best to wait at least a month between coloring your hair.

7} If you have naturally lighter hair or have previously lightened your hair, your new dyed color will fade faster. Blonde doesn't hold dye as well as other hair colors, but it is the easiest color to dye over.

8} Black and dark brown hair is harder to do any drastic changes to, unless you bleach it.

9} When dying your hair at home, make sure to keep a rag on hand to get any spots that might drip on the bathroom floor or sink or whatnot.

10}  When a beginner, it is best to have someone on hand to help you dye the back of your hair.

11} Do the roots first, and work down. Follow the directions.

12} Don't shampoo for at least 24 hours after dying your hair, it will remove the color if you do.

13} To preserve your color: use color saving shampoo and conditioner, try to limit the use of hair dryers and curlers, and rinse your hair with warm to cool water right before you get out of the shower.

14} If you end up hating your color, there are several options--visiting a salon, growing it out, cutting it off or fading it then redying it.

15} L'oreal Color Oops works great for getting unwanted color out of your hair. (When I tried to go back red after dying my  hair dark brown, I had ended up with magenta roots and purple ends, so I used color Oops to get back to an even light-brown before proceeding with red hair dye.)

16} Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo will also fade your color quickly (just make sure to use conditioner after you shampoo). Any clarifying shampoo will fade color.

17} Clairol Brass Free Brunette gets rid of any red tones from your hair. Its gentle and left my hair feeling great.

18} To go back to your natural color, let the current hair color grow out about an inch. During this time, use a shampoo to fade the dyed color. Once you can see your roots, dye your hair a neutralizing tone (a tone opposite on the color wheel--for example, to get rid of red, I would use an ash color). Use a semipermanent dye. You might have to dye it again every other month or so until your hair fades back to natural. ( This is what I'm currently doing)

19} Another great way to blend your dyed hair with your grown-out hair is adding highlights or lowlights. 

20} If you are thinking about dying your hair, you should. Dye is a fun and easily changed way to try out a new style; less commitment then a pixie cut and sometimes a more dramatic change. Plus, in the end its just hair.


  1. Great tips. I've only ever dyed my hair once (junior year of college) and, unfortunately, dyed hair isn't for me. It looked terrible (but I DID try to go blonde without bleaching first - thus the orangey hair I sported for months). I did what you're doing now to get back to my natural color. Just grew it out, then dyed it every couple of months to match the roots. It was a hassle in my mind, though, so that's why I've vowed not to mess with it again. If I ever did try to mess with it again, I would never attempt blonde again. I'd love to try red. But I probably never will because I literally lost two years of my life trying to grow out the dye last time and it was too much maintenance for me. =( Still, I love the idea of it and always will.

  2. blonde is the hardest to get rid of because that lightened hair won't hold dye as well as your natural hair will--it basically does just have to grow out.

    red honestly isn't so bad to get rid of--its hard to keep because it washes out so easy. if i were going to dye your hair a red, i'd choose a semipermanent medium auburn, something exactly your current shade with just a tint of red. since its the same shade just a different tone, you'd just have to let it fade out, not have to grow out.

    you'd look cute as a redhead by the way!

  3. You really think the color would just fade out? I didn't realize that - I thought that pretty much if I ever dyed my hair again, I'd have to grow the whole thing out. Maybe I need to get more information on that, then! My main thing is that I just cannot deal with growing out a whole head of hair again. :P

    Well, and right now, I'm trying to grow out my bangs because my hairdresser butchered them, so I would have to wait until I get that mess behind me.

    Oh, hair... :P

  4. usually its just blonde or black that you have to all-the-way-grow-out. you just have to make sure to pick the right shade (very very important!!!). karen has hair about the same color as yours and everytime she's put red tinted "lowlights" (?) in it, they've faded out faster than she wanted them to.

    growing out bangs is a beast. last time i got my hair cut, she cut them so that they are the perfect thickness and length to always flop directly in my eyes. no more bangs for me, ever ever ever.