Coloring Your Hair at Home – 5 Things You Need To Know

Flexirod Set on burgundy natural type 4 hair

Are you looking to dye your natural hair at home?

Whether you are looking for the best hair color for grey hair or thinking about how to dye your hair blue, you need to choose between doing it at home or at the salon. The latter is always a tad more expensive and involving. It isn’t a wonder then that natural hair sistas often choose to do it at home.

If you do opt for coloring your hair at home, here are 5 things that you need to know beforehand:

1. You Should Probably Rethink Going to a Professional

I know. I know it’s counter-intuitive but it’s worth thinking about.

Once you choose the type of hair dye you want for your natural hair, think about going to a professional colorist if you are using permanent color.

You may already be wondering, “How bad is dying your hair at home?”

The truth is that, it isn’t that bad. However, there are many opportunities for error. With permanent color, you would need to re-color your hair to rectify any mistakes on the shade, hue or overall color after the process. This would subject your natural tresses to yet another grueling process which could cause damage, setting you back on your healthy hair journey. Additionally, you might end up damaging your hair on the first try if you’re not keen on the process. Finally, hair dyes that contain ammonia could cause serious health issues if not applied under favorable conditions in the right environment.

It is not worth risking all of the above if you can get a professional to do it.

2. Read Through the Instructions before the Process

If you are like me, sometimes preparation can feel like a drag. You pick up your box dye, read the instructions and swiftly proceed to implement them before you can change your mind. This is only for anyone who is willing to have the process backfire.
The right thing is to read through the instructions at least two times before applying your hair color.

Colored 3-bun faux hawk
Colored 3-bun faux hawk

Why is it necessary? Are box hair dyes so bad that you must take extra precaution?

Absolutely not! The thing is, you may not know how to color hair professionally but you can follow instructions to the letter to achieve amazing results. Reading through the instructions helps to familiarize with the steps, precautions to take and any additional tools you may need.

You can also check out this post for other helpful tips to take before coloring your hair.

3. Be Prepared with the Right Tools

Can you imagine planning to do a flexirod set but only having bobby pins in your stash?
It doesn’t make sense, right? In the same way, how to apply hair color yourself requires that you have the right tools first. Do you need a bowl and brush or will the applicator bottle suffice? This is determined by the number of colors, shades or hues that you plan on applying.

You will also need gloves, a face mask (probably), Vaseline or any other petroleum jelly and some old newspapers. These help in application, to prevent stains if the dye spills and to protect yourself from any fumes.

4. Do a Patch Test Well In Advance

Again, if you are like me, you just want to get the process over and done with. I’m usually the resident ‘lazy natural’ and prefer to avoid extra steps that might incite me to quit before the process is done. Do better than me because this is not the right way to do it.
The right thing is to do a patch test. If you read this post, you might already have inkling about this. A patch test is crucial because it:

  • Helps to guide you on how many minutes you should leave the dye on to achieve the desired color results
  • Might expose underlying allergies or adverse reactions to the dye’s ingredients

With this, you might then ask, “What is the safest hair dye brand?” in a bid to reduce the chances of adverse reactions upon dye application.

The answer is not as simple as it seems. Whether you are using Garnier Olia hair dye, Loreal box dye or Clairol hair dye, you will still need to do a patch test. Sure, these hair dye brands work well for natural hair. However, ingredients and various components react differently depending on your skin, allergies and sensitivities.

Others may then ask, “What is the healthiest hair dye?”

This question focuses more on how the dye will react to your hair. Personally, I prefer hair dye brands that do not contain ammonia. Clairol Textures and Tones, Shea Moisture and Crème of Nature (ammonia-free) are some brands that I have personally interacted with. Each of these is a no smell hair dye because it doesn’t have ammonia. Apart from the pungent and choking smell, the ammonia dries out my hair and I’d rather eliminate it from my ingredient list as I’m looking for the best professional hair color brand.

5. Hope for the Best Expect the Worst

Sometimes you do everything right yet the results are nowhere near what you were aiming for.

Flat Twists and Two Strand Twists on Type 4 Natural HairFlat Twists and Two Strand Twists on Type 4 Natural Hair
Flat Twists and Two Strand Twists on Type 4 Natural Hair

Once you choose to color your hair at home, you almost automatically have to use a box dye unless you are a professional. For box dyes, the indicated shades and models can be especially misleading for African women.

  • First, if you don’t bleach your hair beforehand, the color is likely to be an extremely faded version on your black hair
  • Secondly, leaving the color on a few minutes more or less gives varying results. Choosing the exact time indicated on the box might not yield your desired results
  • Thirdly, you might get the shade of color you wanted only to discover that it clashes with your own skin tone

In short, the struggle is real so adjust your expectations. For me, it’s not just about knowing how to apply hair color yourself. Yes, you need preparation and points 1 through 4. However, recognize that it may not work out as perfectly as you envisioned it. Take your results and work with what you have to move towards what you desire.

Parting Shot

Now that you know more about what you need to do before coloring your hair at home, we need to quickly address an age-old question:

Does Salon Color Last Longer?

Yes and no. Yes, if and only if, the professional has their own color formulation. These tend to last longer before you have to do a touch up. No, if the colorist uses a box dye. Box dyes have their own formulations and therefore specific instructions. The color fades at the same rate before you need a touch up.

The key to having your colored hair last longer isn’t only in whether or not you go to a salon. The secret is to invest in good products: shampoo and conditioners which do not accelerate the fading process with every wash.

LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW: HAVE YOU COLORED YOUR HAIR AT HOME BEFORE? WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE? WOULD YOU ADVICE OTHERS TO TRY OR AVOID IT? 🙂

3 thoughts on “Coloring Your Hair at Home – 5 Things You Need To Know

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