How I Color My Natural Hair at Home (Without Damage)

I have always loved colored hair. I find that my twist-outs and other natural hairstyles are popping when my hair is colored. I also find that it’s a simple way for me to track how fast my hair is growing because I color it from roots to ends and let it grow out over a year before coloring it again. The downside to this is that I never get to retain length. But that’s a story for another day.

I always color my natural hair at home. Although this isn’t advisable, I prefer having control over my hair. That way, if I mess it up, I have no one to blame but myself. By the grace of God, it’s always turned out okay. By okay, I mean my hair hasn’t fallen off my head and that’s a win! 😀

Since we covered some basic things to do before coloring your hair in the previous post, we’ll just dive into how I do it.

  1. Cleansing and Conditioning

I shampoo and condition my hair 48 hours before coloring my hair as recommended by the instructions that come with the dye. For the two days, I spritz my hair with water to keep it moisturized but I don’t seal it with oil or hair cream. This is a personal preference because my hair easily gets product buildup and starts feeling heavy and weighed down. I also like to think of my strands as a fresh canvas, free from any product before applying color.

During this process, I also ensure that my hair is thoroughly detangled and kept in a low-manipulation style like chunky twists or braids.

  1. Preparation for Color

On the d-day, I:

  • Open the curtains, tie the blinds to one side, open all the bathroom and bedroom windows to ensure there’s free flow of air
  • Lay down newspaper pages on the floor to protect the bathroom tiles from accidental spills
  • Apply Vaseline around my edges, the tip of my ears and the nape of my neck to avoid coloring other areas of your face and neck
  • Comb my hair out and section it into four, holding each section with a butterfly clip
  • Wear gloves to protect my hands and fasten them at the wrist with a rubber band so they don’t slip off

I then move on to the next step.

  1. Preparing Your Colorant

By now, I have read the instructions more than three times. You should have done a color strand test and allergy test way before getting to this point.

I run through them one last time as a precaution to ensure that I know what I’m doing. I’m naturally a planner so I like to feel prepared.

This time, I used two different shades of color from Creme of Nature: Red Hot Burgundy for my roots and Intensive Red for my ends. Each box had its own kit although they’re all in one picture:

Each also included a conditioner sachet and one had argan oil:


There are two ways to mix color:

  • In The Bottle

This is the simple way but it requires more precaution. First, I cut off the tip of the bottle that has the developer. I then remove the top/ cap and pour in my color. I replace the top/ cap, cover the (cut off) tip with my index finger and shake the bottle thoroughly so the developer and color are mixed. I then remove my index finger. I can now use the bottle to apply the color from roots to tips.

This method is less messy. However, you have to be careful not to shake the bottle before cutting off the tip as the bottle could explode. This is because pressure builds inside the bottle. With this method, missing even one step could end ruining the whole process for you.

  • In an Open Bowl

This is the messier way because it gets dye on so many things that you have to clean afterwards: the brush, the bowl, the sink if there are any spills, etc. I used this method this time because I was using two different shades of color.

For this, I pour the developer in the bowl and follow up with the color. I mix/ stir the color until it’s thoroughly mixed. For stirring, I use the brush I’ll be using to apply the color. Once it’s properly mixed, it is ready for application.

The downside to this is evident if you are using dye that has ammonia. The pungent fumes will almost knock you out, especially if you aren’t in a well-ventilated room.

  1. Color Application

When I color my natural hair, I commit fully. It’s all or nothing. That’s why I start at the ends and work my way to the roots. It’s always advisable to finish by coloring the roots because the heat from your head helps your hair take to the color faster. That said, I started with my roots this time around because my hair was black and I knew it would need more time to take to the ‘burgundy’ shade which was darker than the ‘intensive red’ I was using on my ends.

The process is simple:

  • Apply the color to a section
  • Rake it through my hair ensuring that all strands are coated
  • Clip the section with my butterfly clip
  • Repeat until all four sections are coated with color
  • Wear a shower cap and wear a beanie (wakenya tunaiitanga Marvin :-D)
  • Let it sit for about 45 minutes to an hour (although the instructions recommend 25 minutes)
  • Rinse it off with lukewarm water
  • Condition my strands then carry on with sealing and styling

Wrap Up

I’ll admit that this sounds like a whole lot of work although it isn’t. I still advocate for going to a professional colorist. I guess this is what they call preaching water and drinking wine. Having a professional color your hair comes with less risk although it still doesn’t guarantee perfect results.

Before vs After

I was pretty happy with my results the first few days. However, I’ve definitely encountered some hurdles/ speed bumps since then. We can delve into that when we look at how to take care of colored hair in the next post.

PS: I realize that having a video tutorial would compliment the written procedure….

0 thoughts on “How I Color My Natural Hair at Home (Without Damage)”

  1. Bella looks amazing! Much as I’d love to pimp out my hair I simply can’t. I did a henna treatment recently and it DRIED my hair I can’t imagine what inorganic color will do to me!

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