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Dyeing Your Hair Yourself, And Having It Work!

Updated on November 3, 2015
relache profile image

Raye has many body mods, SFSI training, former CFR-D creds, and a decade-long stint as BellaOnline's body art editor, under her belt.

Here's my solid purple hair, which most often happens somewhere between the spring and fall equinoxes.
Here's my solid purple hair, which most often happens somewhere between the spring and fall equinoxes. | Source

DIY Hair Dyeing

Here is a whole lot of advice and information about how to do your own hair coloring.

Please note: I am not a professional hair stylist, have no formal training and am not responsible if you read something here and then ruin your own hair... got it?

I'm a proud, third-generation, home hair colorist. My grandmother stuck to a particular shade of blonde nearly her whole life. My mom did her hair herself when I was very young, and then switched to having it done professionally when she and my dad got more established and she could afford to not do it herself. When I was in high school and wanted to color my hair, she did mine for me, passing along a lot of knowledge along the way, which I then took off to college and shared with others in the dorm bathroom. Presently I'm having a second phase of "technicolor" hair, and helping my mother grow out decade of hair coloring to find out just what color her natural hair is now.

Hair Stain Remover Wipes

Manic Panic Dye Away Hair Color Remover Wipe for Skin Quantity of 6
Manic Panic Dye Away Hair Color Remover Wipe for Skin Quantity of 6

If you are doing anything with technicolor hair stains, these wipes are your new best friend! Fix drips and oopsies fast with no fuss.


Avoiding Home Hair Dye Disasters

Make sure you have time - The most mistakes and hair disasters happen when people rush. It just starts a snowball of hair hell, so if you really can't take as much time as you might need, don't color your hair that day.

Read ALL the instructions and MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THEM - Most people mess up their hair by trying to do something they think they understand but don't really. If you have a question and the answer your brain comes up with is "I don't know..." it means you need to stop what you are doing and get better advice or help.

Do the patch test - There's a reason that home hair dye kits tell you to do a patch test. It's in case you are sensitive to the chemicals in the product. It's really worth having a small spot of rash on your arm if it means you don't lose all the hair on your head. The most common sign that you are having a problem is a burning sensation. Dyeing hair should NOT be uncomfortable. If it stings or burns, rinse the dye off immediately!

If you mess up, stop and get professional help - If you accidentally dye your hair some hideous color, just stop and go get it fixed professionally. A lot of people compound one mistake with another and then wonder why their hair turns to straw or breaks off or falls out.

Get the proper tools - Beauty supply stores can provide all that you need: plastic bowl, dye brush, cream to protect your hairline and gloves.

Grey hair - Hair that has gone grey will act differently from non-grey hair, so be sure to use products made especially for it if that's what you are trying to color over.

Don't dye your hair black and then try to dye it blonde - Seriously, the worst stories I hear are from people who dyed their hair really dark and then decided a few weeks later that they didn't like it and tried to then dye their hair something really light. This is a really good way to either turn your hair green or damage it so badly it breaks right off.

Red, which I like to do from the fall equinox until the spring.
Red, which I like to do from the fall equinox until the spring. | Source

Types of Hair Dyeing

Temporary - often done by using a vegetable dye, this type of hair coloring is non-permanent. It makes a color deposit on the hair fibers that will wear off after a few weeks. There are a few different types of dye that fall into this category. One are the technicolor stains of which I am so enamored. Semi-permanent most often means it is supposed to wash out in 8-12 shampoos. Demi-permanent is supposed to last for 12-24 shampoos. As with all hair color, your mileage may vary.

Permanent - This type of hair dye most often involves using some form of bleach to strip off or lighten the natural hair color and then a new color is deposited on the hair. Most often, this type of hair dye has to be grown out and then cut off. If you mess up, there are color removers that can take off the color deposit, but then your hair will be the color that resulted from the bleaching. Care must be taken if the hair is dyed repeatedly, as this can burn or damage the hair fibers.

Highlighting - this refers to partial coloring of the hair, applying a color which is lighter than the natural color. Highlights can be subtle (frosting or tipping) or more bold (striping or chunking).

Lowlighting - this refers to partial coloring, where a darker color is applied to add depth to the appearance of the hair. Lowlights are a good way to help the transition if you've had dyed hair and are trying to grow it out and go back to your natural hair color.

Henna - derived from a Middle Eastern plant, this is a permanent form of hair color that does not involve bleaching, and results in a reddish change in color. Mixed up, henna paste looks and smell a lot like some sort of bird doo-doo.

Watch Someone Dye Their Hair At Home

Hair Color Disasters (and what you can try to do about them)

Horrible Burning Sensations - if you ever are dyeing your hair and find that you are experiencing a terrible burning sensation or other discomfort, stop right then and there and rinse off your hair. Chemical burns can result in broken hair or scalp damage and that will take months to heal or grow back.

Hair came out too light - Either the color you applied was darker than you imagined, or your hair might be a bit tougher to color and was resistant to the process. This if often best fixed by seeing a professional, but if you want to give it a go at home, you can try a second round of dyeing with the next lighter color, or just dye some highlights so that you aren't really frying your hair.

Hair came out too dark - This is often best and most-easily fixed with time. All hair colors fade over time, so it's best to put up with the new color and let it fade out over the next few weeks. If it's really bad, use a color remover and then re-dye with something not as dark.

Hair Dye Comments and Contributions

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    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      Lots of great information. I have made most of the mistakes you mentioned, so I know a thing or two about "living" with it. I have been using henna for the past year and love the results. I have dark hair with lots of grey. The henna seems to only bond to the grey hair (which is OK), providing more depth to my hair color. I like it a lot.

    • By Lori profile image

      By Lori 

      6 years ago from USA

      I love your purple hair ! The pink is cool too. I have never paid anyone to dye my hair. I love the thicker formula that one company put out and I use that. Being thicker it's less likely to run down your face !

    • lovelypaper profile image

      Renee S 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      I love to color my own hair and have tried a few different shades. Great hub.

    • Helen Straw profile image

      Helen Straw 

      8 years ago from Tasmania

      Great hub on hair coloring, so many details. Excellent for someone who wants to color their hair at home!

    • Jane@CM profile image


      9 years ago

      I've been doing my own hair since my husband got laid off. I was ready to spend the $$ until I read this. I will go to the beauty supply store and get the proper tools, maybe they can also advise me on how to cover this nasty Grey stuff that is taking over my head.

    • stars439 profile image


      9 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      good article

    • relache profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      halleyhoops, brown hair has a red base, which is why if you don't strip the natural color and use a toner to get rid of the red, it's always going to have those tones as the dyes fades.

    • halleyhoops profile image


      9 years ago from west palm beach

      i don't know if you could help, but because i have green eyes i my hair-base on the red scale (as opposed to the blue scale like people with brown eyes). even though i have naturally very dark brown hair, when i wash my hair after i dye with a color that is blue based or cool or ash it it always fades to red. without stripping my hair with redout or whatever, i was wondering if you had any ideas (besides letting it grow out)?

    • charanjeet kaur profile image

      charanjeet kaur 

      9 years ago from Delhi

      Relache that is sure an awesome pic of you, Personally have preferred Henna due to its natural ingridients and it just does its job perfect. Works for me.

    • starme77 profile image


      9 years ago

      Turned my hair purple more than once! Thax for the Hubb

    • relache profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Well, if you over-strip your hair, it will add a dry, flyaway, brittle texture....

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      9 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      haha, i like that, too. cool drawing as your profile photo too! so, if you henna too much, you get orange hair, right? does dying hair really add texture?

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      9 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Great hair coloring hub,thanks for input. creativeone5

    • BigGirlBlue profile image


      9 years ago from Eastern Ontario, Canada

      I realize this is about hair coloring and all but I love that photo of you in the corset with sword in hand. Awesome!


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