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How to Dye Hair at Home

Box Dye Do's and Dont's

In this article weíll look at how to get the best results from box dye at home.

How to Dye Hair at Home

A new hair colour can completely transform your look, but you might not have the time or money to go to the salon. If you wish to change your hair colour from home, itís important you know how to do it properly to get the best results. Read our article below for top tips to help get a salon quality hair at home.

Preparing to dye

One of the easiest ways to ensure a good result from your home dye job is preparedness.

Find the right colour

When choosing which colour you want, pay attention to the chart on the box rather than the model. The chart will show how different hair colours will look after using the dye.

Decide how long you want to keep your colour

There are 3 main types of hair dye: permanent, demi-permanent, and semi-permanent. They all have different lifespans, but some are more suited to certain tasks than others.


Permanent hair dyes use ammonia and hydrogen peroxide to penetrate deep into your hair strands. This means the colour lasts a long time and fades very slowly. Permanent hair dye will need to be touched up every 4 to 6 weeks as your roots grow.

Some permanent hair dyes donít contain ammonia, but they will contain something to act in the same way. For example, the Garnier Olia range uses a blend of oils including a variety of natural flower oils instead of ammonia.


Demi-permanent hair dyes will usually last around 3 Ė 4 weeks. However, you are less likely to have noticeable roots as they grow out. While theyíre unlikely to cover up grey hairs, demi-permanent dye is ideal to add extra depth to your natural hair colour.


If you fancy a short-term change, semi-permanent hair dyes are the best option. These dyes last up to 15 washes, as they only coat the hair with colour rather than penetrating the hair with chemicals.

Donít wash your hair

Once youíve decided on the perfect box dye, you need to prepare your hair to be dyed. Waiting for 3 days after washing your hair is a great way to protect your scalp while colouring. This way your natural oils will protect your skin from the chemicals in the dye.

Protect your hairline

Right before youíre about to dye your hair, take a few moments to put something like Vaseline around your hairline and on your ears. This will protect you from accidentally staining your skin.

Dying your hair

The box dye youíve chosen will come with a detailed set of instructions. Make sure you read them carefully before getting started to make sure you have everything youíll need nearby. Youíll need to mix up your dye, normally by adding developer to a bottle of colour and giving it a good shake. Then, follow the instructions carefully!

2 common mistakes people make are not sectioning the hair or applying enough dye. To ensure an even colour, you need to separate small sections of hair and really coat it with dye. Hair dye isnít shampoo, so you canít expect it to work by trying to massage it through. Each strand needs to manually coated. And donít be afraid to really load the dye on your hair. Adding too little hair dye will affect your result, but thereís no such thing as too much.

After your dye has processed for the amount of time specified in the instructions, rinse it out as directed. Then, use a conditioner. If you skip this step, the hair cuticle is left open and the colour will continue to develop. This means that the colour you were happy with when you stepped out of the shower could turn much darker. Your dye kit should come with some conditioner but if it doesnít, make sure to use your own.

Fixing mistakes

So youíve rinsed and dried your hair and itís not quite the colour you were hoping for. Donít panic! You have some options.

Itís too light

If the colour is lighter than you wanted, applying the same colour again can help to darken it up. Youíll need to wait a few weeks before fixing it, as even the healthiest hair wonít appreciate multiple dyes in one go, but all is not lost. However, the next time you dye your hair, youíll want to leave it to process for slightly less time. Check your hair every 5 to 7 minutes until you reach the colour you want.

Itís too dark

If the colour has come out darker than you were expecting, a clarifying shampoo could help to lift some of the pigment. Unfortunately, to do this successfully, you need quite a harsh shampoo. Look on the ingredients list for sodium lauryl sulfate. Normally this is one to avoid, but to lighten a dark dye job itís just the ticket. This should be followed with a deep conditioning treatment to restore your hair.


To keep your new do looking itís best for longer, check out our article 7 Top Tips to Prevent Coloured Hair from Fading.