Tips for Successfully Dying Your Hair Yourself at Home

While we usually focus on earrings and piercings, we’re going to shift our attention to something else in this blog: hair dye.

The artist in all of us wants to explore the canvas that is our bodies. Piercings, jewelry, tattoos, fun hair, and your sense of fashion are all wonderful mediums through which to express yourself.

Coloring hair

Quarantine has fueled many of us to explore new outlets. You’d be lying if you said you hadn’t considered giving yourself bangs one boring weekend while stuck at home! If you plan to go even further and dye your hair, then it’s important to do it the right way so as to avoid regrets. Below are our tips for first-time DIY hair dyers.

Bleaching Your Hair: DON’T Do It Yourself

If there’s one thing we must warn against, it’s bleaching your hair at home. Surely, you’ve seen the accidents that can come from these DIY initiatives: the chemicals can burn off chunks of hair or render it totally dry, frazzled, and straw-like.

Certain cities have relaxed quarantine restrictions allowing hair salons to open. If you have the means to get your hair bleached professionally, then that will be the first step to later coloring your hair at home successfully. If you have a sensitive scalp, seek out a salon that uses all-natural products. Avoid salons that speed up the bleaching process using heat, as this can really damage your hair.

Hair salon bleaching

If money is a concern, then here’s a tip: skip the toner. If you want to be blonde, that’s not something you should skip, but if you plan to color your after getting it bleached, then you might be able to get away without getting your hair toned.

Toner is a treatment that removes the yellow/orange brassiness from hair after bleaching. It will give your hair a more natural-blond look, but it can add around $30 to your treatment. Blue and purple hair dyes help to neutralize this yellowness, while red or orange colors will just cover it up – you’ll likely be able to skip the toning if these colors are your end goal.

Bleach and tone hair

We know that just because we say “don’t do it!” doesn’t mean you’ll follow our advice. So, if you absolutely insist on bleaching your hair at home, be sure to do your research…thoroughly. Below are just a few important things you should know.

  • For starters, box bleach kits don’t allow you as much control with dying. They’re typically meant for lightening hair that is already pretty light, so they may not get the results you’re looking for. For this reason, you’ll want to go to a beauty store and buy actual hair bleach and developer.
  • For hair developer, start with level 20-30. Higher levels of developer are stronger and could damage hair when used without experience.
  • Before bleaching hair, make sure your hair does not have product in it, but also make sure it has not recently been washed. The natural oils in your hair will help to protect your hair and scalp from damage.
  • Remove your earrings before bleaching. Metals could be affected by the chemicals used in hair bleach.
  • Wear gloves made for hair bleaching! You can also find these at your local beauty store. The chemicals in hair bleach can irritate and damage your skin.
  • HAVE A FRIEND HELP. You need another set of eyes and hands to see what’s going on on the back of your head and to make sure all parts of your hair are evenly covered in bleach.
  • Start from the ends and bleach the roots last. Heat speeds up the bleaching process, and the heat from your head will cause your roots to bleach faster than the length of your hair.  For this reason, you want to apply bleach to the length of your hair before applying it to your roots.
  • If you really must bleach your hair at home, start by bleaching just a strand to see how your hair takes it. How long does it take for the strand to lighten? Keep this amount of time in mind before doing your whole head of hair so you don’t over-process it.
  • Once the bleach is evenly applied, put a plastic bag or shower cap over your hair and check on the color every 10 minutes. The plastic bag will trap your head-heat in your hair to help the process go more quickly.
  • Our number one tip? Just have a professional bleach your hair. We are not suggesting that you do it on your own, as you can damage your hair and skin if it is done incorrectly.

Now For The Fun Part: Adding Color

Pink dyed hair

Once your hair is light enough to take on added color, you can get to dying it. If you had to bleach your hair, make sure to let it rest for at least 1 week before adding color. This will prevent your hair from becoming unnecessarily damaged.

We recommend starting with a semi-permanent dye. You can find these at your local drug store or you can buy them online. Our favorite online choice is Manic Panic. Semi-permanent dyes will provide color that will last for weeks to months, depending on the darkness of the color and how often you wash it. Semi-permanent dyes can wash out naturally (or with a bleach wash, if necessary) after a while.

Orange dyed hair

Hair dyes on the “warm” end of the color spectrum are more likely to wash out without issue than colors on the “cool” end of the spectrum. Warm colors include purple, pink, red, and orange. On the opposite end of the spectrum is indigo, blue, and green. These will be more difficult to wash out naturally.

Blue men's hair

Keep in mind that everyone will have different experiences with these colors, and different dye brands will have different effects on people’s hair, so these color rules are not necessarily steadfast.

Before dying your hair, be sure you’ve washed and dried it, but abstain from using conditioner. Any added product can make it harder for the color to be taken in by your hair.

The Magic Of Conditioner

There is a caveat, however, when it comes to conditioner, and it is this: it’s actually an awesome way to make your hair dye last longer. Hear us out – when you mix a white conditioner with your hair dye, you thin out the hair dye but are also able to cover a lot more of your hair without spending a ton of money on dye.

Blue dyed hair

The dye will take longer to get into your hair follicles if you use this method, but if you’re willing to sit with the dye on your head for 2-3 hours, then the color will ultimately end up looking just as vibrant as it would have otherwise, and you’ll only need to use half the amount of hair dye to achieve this look. We typically use a 1:1 ratio of hair dye to white conditioner.

Dying long hair can require using a lot of product, so diluting the hair dye with white conditioner can be a great way to make the product last and to add nutrients to your hair while it processes. Be prepared to sit with the hair dye and conditioner concoction on your head for 2-3 hours to allow it to take. Wear a plastic bag or shower cap over your hair to prevent it from rubbing off on furniture and to trap the heat in to allow it to process more quickly.

Conditioner is also used to create pastel colors. If you want to achieve a pastel look, then use this conditioner technique but leave it on your hair for less time – probably closer to 45 minutes.

Dying pastel hair

Maintaining Your Color

Make your hair dye last longer by shampooing and conditioning it in cold water. The cold water helps to keep the hair’s follicles tight, preventing the dye from washing out readily. Warm or hot water will open the follicles up, and the dye will fade much faster.

Maintaining hair color

Avoid washing your hair too frequently, and opt for dry-shampoo in between washes. This is a good practice anyways, as over-washing your hair can cause your scalp to over-produce oils to replace the ones you wash away.

Switch to shampoo and conditioner that does not include sulfates. Sulfates are a hair detergent that make the shampoo sudsier but also strip the color away more quickly. The more natural your shampoo, the longer your color will last.

Style That Never Stops

Getting excited about the idea of coloring your hair? Great! Here are some more ideas to inspire your creativity.

Add color to ombre

Dyed ombre hair

If you already have partially-bleached hair, then adding color may be just the thing to freshen up your look! Make sure to tone the hair as must as possible before applying bleach by pre-washing with blue or purple shampoo.

Color splits

DIY hair color

Don’t stop at one color! Get creative by integrating two or more colors into your hair. You can dye the left and right halves different colors for a bold look. Or, dye the top and bottom layers different colors for a fun surprise that only reveals the bottom color when you wear a ponytail or run your fingers through your luscious locks.

Don’t forget the whole look

Dying hair yourself

Now that you have fun hair, you can do fun things with it! Buy scrunchies and clips that match your hair color to really allow it to take center stage. Get some eyeshadow that complements the color and top it off with some earrings to match.

On The Note Of Earrings…

Looking for fun and colorful ways to complement your new hair? Check out our cute earring collections at! While you’re there, you may want to check out our monthly earring subscription box. Get 50% off your first month when you use code BLOG. 

Written by Megan
Written by Megan

Megan is a writer and digital marketer living in the Pacific Northwest who subsists mostly on coffee. As a lover of travel, cat fostering, and cocktail making, she has a hard time deciding how to spend her free time (and usually just ends up watching Netflix).


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