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A Guide to Dyeing Your Hair at Home

Updated on April 19, 2015

Things to Consider

Using a home hair dye kit is a great way to save some money. With salon visits costing as much as $50 a visit, you may be interested in using a $5 home dye kit.

Be warned that using home hair dye might not give you the exact color you want, and may create a huge mess, but be assured it’s not as hard as you might think and you should have good results if you follow the package directions exactly.

If you are looking for fancy effects like ombre or highlights, you are probably better off visiting a salon, but if you are just hoping to change your hair color by a few shades, or cover grey, home dye is a great choice.

Getting Started

Begin by purchasing the color of your choice. For best results, don’t try to change your hair color drastically. A color that is within a few shades of your natural color will work best.

Buy your kit at least three days prior to coloring your hair, because you will need to do an allergy test before you start. Follow the instructions on the package exactly when it comes to the allergy test. Dying your hair is a chemical reaction, and you do not want to have an allergic reaction in the middle of the process.

You may also choose to do a strand test, which is where you clip a small section of hair, and dye it with the dye left over from your allergy test. This can help you decide how long to leave the dye in your hair to get the color you want.

After your allergy test is complete, you’ll be ready to dye your hair. Be sure to wear older clothes. You also might want to place an old sheet, or similar fabric on the floor to protect it from any drips. If any dye does drip on a surface during the process, wipe it up immediately. Same goes for any that ends up on your skin. If you don’t remove it, it might cause irritation, and will probably leave a mark that will be hard to wash off.

Your hair dye kit will have come with developer and dye. You will need to mix these together to form the dye. Put on the gloves that came with the kit before you mix the dye. Be sure to work in a well ventilated area, again you are working with chemicals, and don’t want to breathe in more than necessary.

If you have long hair, use clips to split it into sections before you start dying.

The Dyeing Process

The kit’s instructions probably say to start at the roots of your hair, but I recommend you start with the tips, especially if you have dyed your hair before. The roots will take longer to accept the dye, so to get a more even color, start there. Squeeze a little dye into your fingers and stroke it evenly through your hair. Keep working in sections until your reach the top of your head. Don’t use a huge quantity of dye on the top of your head because this hair will accept the dye quickly and may end up brighter than the ends of your hair. Don’t rub dye into your scalp either. Not only is this unnecessary, it will probably cause irritation.

You will basically end up with your hair being a wet, stringy mess. This is exactly what you want. If you have long hair, you may want to clip it up into a bun or ponytail while you wait for the dye to work. Dump your excess dye down the drain as it will expand in the bottle if you leave it in there.

Finishing Up

I usually leave the dye in my hair for about 25 minutes, but this may vary depending on what your hair color was, what color you want to end up with, and how much grey you have. I would always suggest to stay on the side of caution and rinse it out a little too soon, rather than too late.

Usually, the dye has dried a little, and it will take some time to rinse it out. Work slowly with warm water. You will want to work the water through your hair until the water is completely clear. When all the dye is gone, thoroughly saturate your hair with the conditioner that came with the kit and let it sit for at least three minutes. Then rinse out the conditioner and you are done!

Hopefully, you got the exact color you want, and are glad to be able to dye your hair at home and save a ton of money.


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