If you’re in need of a color makeover, but lack the funds for a salon visit, give yourself a professional color job at home by following this helpful hair color advice!

Start with the Right Materials

Model with two-tone hairYour hairstylist doesn’t just open a box of color in the salon, slap it on your locks and then hope for the best and neither should you. For a truly professional finish, you’ll need to gather the right materials at home.

A towel or a cape to cover your shoulders and back. If you’re going to be coloring your own hair regularly at home then it’s worth looking into getting a plastic cape like you’d wear at the salon. Look for salon outlets that sell directly to salons and the public in your area, or find one online.

A plastic dish and color brush just like your hairdresser would use. These can also be easily bought from salon outlets or online and make it much easier to apply color than trying to squeeze it directly from the bottle onto your strands. The brush will ensure you get even coverage and will allow you to “paint” the color around tough areas, such as your forehead, ears and the nape of your neck.

Vaseline and a damp cloth. Use the Vaseline along your hairline to stop color from sticking to your skin, and the damp cloth to quickly wipe up any dye that gets spilled onto your skin or your surroundings.

The right dye. As for the formulation of hair color to use, semi-permanent hair color is the safest option to use at home. For a no-fuss application, try a non-drip formula or one of the many new foam options available.

Before You Color:

Model with light blonde hair Check the hair color will match your skin tone. Some brands lists whether the color is suitable for warm or cool skin tones on the box. If you’re not sure what is right for you, give our Find Your Perfect Hair Color consultation a try. It will give the right options based on your skin tone and your natural hair color.

Test the dye. A strand test may seem like a waste of time, but it could stop you from making a color mistake. If the shade turns out a lot darker than expected, or if your new color mixes badly with your current hair color and you end up with pumpkin orange hair instead of the subtle copper you wanted then you’ll be glad you did it. Same principle applies to skin sensitivity tests. It’s better to know you may be allergic to the dye by testing it on a small patch of skin before slathering it all over your head.

Don't double up on processes. Don’t color your hair, especially if it’s a permanent formulation, if you’ve recently had your locks chemically straightened or permed. Wait at least two weeks between processes or you’ll risk really damaging your locks.

Wash your strands the day before you’re planning to color and ensure it’s a deep clean for the best results. Use a detoxing shampoo to ensure there’s no trace of styling product build up in your hair.

Work out your application plan. If you’re just covering re-growth or refreshing your color then you’ll need to follow a different color plan than if you were dying your hair for the first time in a while, or coloring your locks a completely different/brand new color. Knowing how long to apply the color for and where to apply the color specifically in your locks before you start will help to create a better application and end result.

Remember to cater to your hair type and condition. There’s a reason why a specific hair color, such as chocolate brown, can look so rich and vibrant on one person, or dull and dark on another. Hair type and condition play a big part in how the same shade will look on different people so ensure you keep that in mind. If your hair is fine or has had a chemical process such as bleach or a perming solution applied to it at some point then your shade may look much lighter or brighter than expected.

Buy enough dye for your hair length. One box is enough for short and even some mid-length locks (depending on the thickness of your hair), whereas much longer or thicker hair may require two or even three boxes.

After Color Care:

Model with black hair Hold off on washing. After rinsing the color from your hair and applying the treatment supplied with the dye, restrain from washing your hair again for at least 48 hours.

Change to color-friendly shampoos. If you’re not already using a special shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair, switch to one now. It’ll care for and nourish your locks and help stop your color from fading too quickly.

Limit color fading and hair damaging processes such as heat styling when you can, and opt for nourishing hair treatments regularly (at least once a week) to keep your locks and color in tip-top shape.

To see how you'd look with the salon hairstyles pictured in this article, click on the above images to try the virtual hairstyles with your own photo!