Learning How to Dye Your Hair at Home: The Pros and Cons

Woman dying her hair

The great debate: Bite the salon bullet or learn how to dye your hair at home?

It goes without saying a DIY ‘do would save you oodles of money versus a jaunt to the salon – but will your tresses look as good? On the one hand, there are plenty of at-home color options available that could look ah-mazing… but on the other, one wrong move and your co-workers could mistake you for a traffic cone.

Do you take the chance and learn how to dye your hair at home, or do you continue shelling out the big bucks? Here are the pros and cons:


You Save Coin
A new hue equals having to go to the salon regularly for maintenance and touch-ups. Learning how to dye your hair at home is a much less expensive way to maintain your new look. At-home treatments are anywhere from $4 to $20 – which is usually the cost of one highlight at a salon.

It’s Uber-convenient
You don’t have to make an appointment, which means you can dye your hair in your own time and on your own terms. Feel like a makeover at 3am? No problem-o! And let’s not forget you can strut out of your bathroom with new hair in under an hour, as opposed to the half-day you’d spend at a salon.

It’s a Straight-Forward Process
At-home hair color kits are super straightforward and contain everything you need to get the job done. The directions are clear, concise and many kit providers have a help line to call if you have questions before and during the process.

You Call The Shots
How many times have you gone to a salon, told them how you want your hair to look, only to have them act like they’re listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher? Too many. Learning how to dye your hair at home equals the exact look you want – every time.


You’re Not a Trained Professional
There’s a reason why professional colorists are so in-demand (and you know, expensive): They know their sh… stuff. This is why the highlights and lowlights they give you look completely natural, unlike the stripes you imposed upon yourself at 3am.

Drastic Changes at Home Are a Big No-No
If you’re looking to make a big change, like going from blonde to red, or from super-dark to super-light, it’s best to make these changes with a professional who knows the inner workings of your hair type. Stick to one or two shades lighter or darker than your natural hair color when going it alone. Otherwise…

Mistakes Can Be Costly
That $4 box of color you bought could cost you several trips to the salon (and a ton of dirty looks from your stylist). Your best bet, in these instances, would be to make your drastic change by going to a professional, then learning how to dye your hair at home afterward to maintain it.


If at-home coloring is the direction you want to take, here are a few added pointers to keep in mind:

Buy the Proper Tools
For a more precise application, go to a beauty supply store like sallybeauty.com to buy the paintbrushes and plastic bowls used by professionals.

If you’ve never used at-home color before, take a practice run by using the tools and swapping your hair dye for conditioner.

Deep Condition
One week before you dye your hair, give it a deep conditioning treatment. If your hair is damaged, the dye won’t adhere as well (kind of like slapping paint on a cracked wall).

Don’t Wash Your Hair
If your scalp is too clean, hair color can feel uber-uncomfortable, so make sure to wait a full day after your last shampoo.

Do a Strand Test
Gather a small section of hair above your ear and leave the color on for 15 minutes. Check the results to make sure you like the color before doing your entire head.

Protect Your Skin
Spread a natural oil like jojoba, coconut or almond along your hairline with a Q-Tip before applying your color to prevent it from irritating and staining your skin.

Have you learned how to dye your hair at home?

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Image: Hollywood_PR

Krissy Brady

Krissy Brady is a women’s health + lifestyle writer who’s so out of shape, it’s like she has the innards of an 80-year-old. Instead of learning how to crochet, she decided to turn her emotional baggage into a writing career (genius, no?). You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (you know, if you want).