Dying our hair has always been a way of self-expression that many of us take to to do just that. With aisles full of boxed dye and professionals costing hundreds of dollars, here we will go over how to dye your hair in the healthiest way possible.
It all starts with a DIY horror story…
When I was younger, maybe 13 or so, I had dirty blonde hair. Now, this was a time when every girl I knew was either begging their parents for all over blonde hair or at least a handful of blonde highlights to make them “fit in.” Ironically, at this point in my life I wanted the exact opposite, I wanted to stand out. I didn’t want to be just another blonde girl in my middle school. This is when I had the brilliant idea to dye my hair.
Now, being as young as I was, I knew my mom would not be cool with me changing up my “beautiful blonde” locks she adored. So being the rebellious teen I thought I was, my best friend and I went to the local grocery store with the intentions of changing my hair to a pretty light brown.
Now, take my advice, if you can afford to, go see a professional, especially if you have a specific look in mind that you are trying to achieve. Dying your own hair very rarely turns out how you expect it to. I have dyed my hair a countless amount of times from box dye all by myself—and if you must—I will share my tips on how to dye your hair yourself more effectively without completely ruining your locks and your look.
Flashback to the grocery store, my friend and I had picked out a stunning warm brown color called “SPICY.” In retrospect, the name on the box makes a lot more sense for what happened next. This is where paying attention the colors actual name is crucial. Too eager to wait, we ran into the bathroom put on old clothes and started mixing up the concoction to slather all over my head.
Now, if you have dyed your hair yourself before, you already know that the color of the goo you rub into your scalp may not always be a color that makes sense with what color you are actually dying your hair (some blonde dyes are purple, browns dyes are black, black dyes are brown, etc.). Well, not two minutes after we had successfully covered my entire head did my best friend look at me scream at me to get in the shower immediately. Obviously that scared me, so I jumped in the shower rinsed it all out and towel dried my hair. When I finally mustered up the courage to look into the mirror—I was shocked.
My hair was Ronald McDonald red – FIRE red. As red as my face got when I saw my hair was the color of a tomato. Lesson learned, SPICY was red in disguise. I was so scared as I did not tell my mother what I was doing, all I knew is I needed to not have this fiery color on my head when my mom saw me.
So I broke the second rule of dying your own hair: dying it again immediately after you have already colored it once. This is a major no no. Why? Well because the chemicals in hair dye damage and dry out your hair, so dying your twice in the same day compounds the damage to your hair and does not give it time to recover. Lesson learned the hard way; I decided to try and dye my hair a dark brown to cover up the fire on my head. To no ones surprise, my hair turned so dark it was almost black and my hair was now fried as if I had burnt all the ends of my hair with a lighter.
Safe to say my mother was beyond pissed off when she saw the final results. She has always been partial to my blonde hair so when she saw the black/brown mess that was on my head she immediately scheduled me an appointment with our family hair dresser to throw some highlights on my head to start to transition me to blonde.
A lesson learned (and repeated more gracefully)…
This horror story of hair dying tragedies would be enough to stop anyone from ever touching their hair again, but as some of you might understand, dying my hair turned into an addictive way to express myself. From that day until now, my hair has been every color you can imagine at least partially. Pink, blue, purple, black, red, yellow, orange, brown, turquoise, rainbow, bleach blonde—you name it, I’ve had it.
My story above may have made it seem like I am against dying my hair, but let me tell you it is the exact opposite. I LOVE dying my hair; I love changing up my hair color every chance I get. Through my experiences with hair dying-the good and the bad, I’d like to try to help you make the healthiest and safest decisions when it comes down to changing your hair color.
Let me make sure to say, dying your hair is not for everyone. If you like the healthy natural hair color you have, by all means keep it! If you are considering dying your hair, buckle in because I am about to tell you all the ways to keep it from being a disaster (I know, I’ve had plenty).
How To Dye Your Hair in the Healthiest Way Possible
So first things first, if you are itching to change the color of your mane and have the means to go to a salon, by all means do it. A good hair stylist will be able to accommodate whatever look you are trying to achieve in the healthiest possible way.
If you are stubborn or a poor college student like myself and think you have what it takes to DIY—I won’t hold it against you (seeing as that has been my method of choice for years).
If it is your first time dying your hair yourself there are somethings you need to consider before you go all dye happy:
1. It is a really good idea to have a trusted friend with you. It’s even better to have someone who has dyed their hair before and has an idea about what they are doing.
2. There are millions of colors and coloring options that you can chose from… so do so wisely. Chose what is best for you. Ombré, peak-a-boo highlights, all over color, under-layer color, all over highlights, random strips of colors, designs, a peak-a-boo strand or two, and chunky highlights are just a few options you have to choose from. Realistically speaking it is your hair, do what you feel will make you happy!
3. Picking out the right color is essential—especially if you have a particular look in mind. This is where I have messed up a few times.
When picking a new color, you need to consider the color of hair you currently have. If you have black hair and you want to dye your hair red—there is a good chance if you try dying it without previously bleaching it, it will not turn out like the unrealistically gorgeous locks blowing in the wind on the box. Research what you are trying to achieve and how people realistically got there.
Another flub many people make is trying to go blonde from a darker hair color. If you have any warm tones in your current hair color at all, it does not matter how much bleach you use—your hair will most likely turn orange. Going blonde is the most difficult due to the natural pigment in darker hair colors.
**If you are using any type of bleach at all, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE research on ways to do it so you don’t fry all of your hair off. Bleach is VERY harsh on hair and there are other safe and effective ways to go blonder without such harm to your hair.**
4. Make sure when you and a friend are mixing the colors and what not that you read the directions carefully. I can not tell you how many times I have watched my friends squeeze the aftercare shampoo tube into the chemicals supposed to be dying my hair. Big mistake.
5. Take your time. Dying your hair is not a race and if you are trying to achieve a specific look it is important to make sure you take the necessary steps to get there. Including but not limited to separating your hair into what feels like a million sections.
6. If you are deciding to go a more outlandish color—make sure you consider your employment status. Many employers will frown upon their employees having bright blue hair. This is why being in college is a great time to play around with hair colors before you have to take a more serious color as your own.
7. Make sure to do the test strip first. This is where my impatience hindered the success of my hair dying. I was always so excited to dye my hair I never really considered the reason they tell you to do a test piece of hair is to make sure the color you want is achieved.
This is especially necessary if you are attempting to move more than one or two shades away from your current hair color.
8. Make sure you really read and follow the timing instructions on the box. That is there to help you, not to hurt you or waste your time. If you know you have super thin or super thick hair, research what amount of time would be healthiest for your hair.
Keep a vigilant eye on the clock or set a timer on your phone so you don’t over do it.
9. Wash out all the color! I cannot tell you how many times I have been so eager to get out of the shower to see the color that I did not end up rinsing out all the color and my pillows, sheets, and clothes got super stained.
Hair dye is meant to dye, not to wash out, so keep that in mind when you are dying your hair. It gets messy and it does not come out of anything easily if at all.
10. Make sure to deep condition your hair weekly. This is important because it will revive any pieces of hair that may have been damaged when you were dying it. It also is just healthy for your hair in general.
So whether you are dying your hair a cool shade of purple or are just sprucing up your brown locks with some blonde for the summer — just remember these tips and tricks to get the healthiest look!
And just for fun, here are some looks I’ve had throughout the years; I really have had every color of the rainbow :