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Color Your Own Hair

Updated on August 31, 2016

Having been endowed with dishwater (dirty) blond hair, I began coloring my own hair when I was 13 years old. I have had my share of color mishaps and have enjoyed the experience of wearing many hair shades from greenish to purplish blond hair. Unfortunately, this was before these shades were acceptable like they are these days. We seem to learn the most from our mistakes, so here are some tips I have garnered along the way.

Salons vs. home hair coloring

Many people think I am crazy to color my own hair. Well, I think they are crazy to spend over $100 per visit to have someone else do it, plus the hours they spend there (time is money, right?). Hair coloring kits have improved over the years, and are still much more affordable than going to a salon.

If you spend enough money on the right coloring mix, and follow the rules, you can reap the same rewards you do in a salon, but for much less money. If you only buy those hair coloring kits that are the cheapest, you will probably get just what you paid for.

My Tips for Coloring Your Hair

Tip 1: It is best to start with a color that is close to your own shade. You could also try going one shade lighter or darker to see how you like it.

Tip 2: Do not wash your hair before you color it. It is best not to wash it for at least 12 hours before coloring.

Tip 3: If you have never used hair coloring before, test it on your skin to make sure you will not have an allergic reaction. I have never had an allergic reaction to many different brands, but it is a possibility.

Tip 4: Once you have purchased a reputable hair color kit, make sure you read the instructions carefully. Each hair color brand has written in detail how to mix the color.

Tip 5: Also, make sure you read how long you must leave it on your hair for the optimum benefits. I have learned that hair color goes through different stages as it processes. If you wash it out before it has time to go through the appropriate stages, you may end up with green or red hair (like I have!). Generally, salon colored hair takes much longer than hair coloring kits you can purchase. It is best not to leave yours in for an extended time since it may damage your hair.

Tip 6: If you find that you love your newly colored hair, save the box top so that you can get the same brand and color next time.

Tip 7: If you feel uncomfortable doing it by yourself, invite a friend over that colors their own hair and make a party of it. You could make a girls night of it with movies and treats. That way you can do each others hair and share in the work and fun.

Tip 8: Wear appropriate clothes. You should wear something that buttons or opens in front and that you do not mind ruining, since hair color can also dye your clothes if it drips on them. Old robes are great.

Tip 9: Use old towels to cover your rugs and floor. You may just ruin that pretty bathroom rug of yours if you don't. Also, an old towel on your shoulders also helps.

Tip 10: Use vaseline or rich moisturizer around the hairline to keep dye from getting on your skin. The dye can also color your skin, so use something that will keep it off from your ears, neck and face. You can also keep baby wipes close by for mishaps.

Tip 11: If you have gray hair, choose a color that will cover it. Some kits say that they cover gray, but your will learn from experience which ones are telling the truth. Some suggest you leave it on five to ten minutes longer for resistant gray hair.

Tip 12: Use all the color until each strand is saturated. Don't be stingy. Make sure it is distributed evenly through the whole head of hair.

Tip 13: After coloring, jump in the shower and rinse it out. It is easier than bending over (sore neck) into a small sink. It is much easier to get it all out, too.

Tip 14: Give yourself a facial while you wait for your hair coloring to finish. Apply a mask, tweeze your eyebrows, or do your nails. Why waste the time just sitting there?

Tip 15: If you just want to color the roots, divide your hair in sections and apply only to the new growth. That way you will not damage the ends of your hair. There are some product available just for touching up your roots rather than using the full hair color kit.

Tip 15: You will probably want to color your hair every six weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows.

Tip 16: If you have very long thick hair, you may need two boxes of color.

Tip 17: Look out for coupons for your favorite hair coloring kits and save money.

Tip 18: Some women have their husbands color their hair. Not sure I am quite up to that yet. Maybe you can bride him by telling him how much it will cost at the salon if he doesn't. You could offer him a massage in return.

Tip 19: If you want to touch up gray temples in between colorings, save a little bit of the color and developer in separate ziploc plastic bags, mix before applying and do just the gray parts.

Brands I have used:

Clairol Natural Instincts - Makes your hair shiny and bright. Not as harsh as some other brands.

Nice and Easy - Easy (like it says) to use and nice!

L'Oréal Excellence or Preference Foams - they are easy to apply and do not drip like some other brands.

Revlon Colorsilk - good for covering gray hair.

Garnier Nutrisse - also good for covering gray hair.

If you are one that loves to have plenty of highlights and lowlights, a salon job may be the best for you, but there are also kits that you can use to put your own highlights in. I have hair some success with this.

Herbal Essences blonde highlighting kit is easy to use and you just paint it onto the strands you want lighter.

Some highlighting kits have caps that you have to pull your strands through. I did not enjoy this very much and it takes too long. Only if you are having a girl party, it may be fun to do.

I have heard that those with dark hair like using Feria Chocolate Cherry dye.

Well, there you have it. I am sure you might have a few of your own tips. Otherwise, go to the salon and keep on spending those big bucks.


Submit a Comment
  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    haha! you are right, PenHitsTheFan! Too funny. Aloha!

  • PenHitsTheFan profile image

    Amy L. Tarr 

    7 years ago from Home

    That first picture cracks me up. It looks like Rainbow Brite and Punky Bruwster had a baby.

  • carriethomson profile image


    7 years ago from United Kingdom

    Hey elayne great tips!! youve inspired me to go for it! Do you know any natural dyes!! i have heard that coffee can dye your hair brown!! would like to know more about it.


  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Glad you enjoyed it midnightbliss. Thanks for your positive comments.

  • midnightbliss profile image

    Haydee Anderson 

    8 years ago from Hermosa Beach

    this is a wonderful hub, fun and with lots of useful tips in DIY hair coloring.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks fashion. Glad that you appreciate and enjoyed it. Aloha!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    This is interesting and informative article.Thanks for a useful hub.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    It is difficult to get it all by yourself. Hope you can get a friend to check to be sure you soaked all of the sections well. To another dishwater blonde - aloha! and best of luck coloring.

  • cestmonvie profile image


    8 years ago

    Ha Ha dishwater blonde here too; it was like we were meant for hair dye. Also do you have any advise on how to make sure you dont miss spots? My latest disaster involved some reddish brown dye on what had been almost white blonde hair, looks great except just behind my crown where i think highlights would be a polite way of saying i missed some spots.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks crystolite - I guess boys can do it as well - I do see quite a few hair dyes used on men lately in interesting patterns.

  • crystolite profile image


    8 years ago from Houston TX

    Funny and interesting tips for crazy girls who wish to color their hair.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Why thanks itsoksam. Glad you like them. Thanks for commenting.

  • itsoksam profile image


    8 years ago from UAE

    These styles look quite gorgeous

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    That's great JLClose! I like what you said - it is just hair! Luckily it grows back out and hopefully it will grow back - I have had my time with falling hair (too much hair falling out) and then I used Mane and Tail Shampoo which helped it come back. Now I have too much again - never satisfied with our hair, are we? Thanks for the comments.

  • JLClose profile image


    8 years ago from OreGONE

    These are great tips. I, too, have naturally dishwater blonde hair, and I also dye my own at home. Just the other day I had a friend ask me for the number of who does my hair. :0)

    Anyone who has done a box dye kit has probably had an experience with colors gone wrong... The good thing is, it's just hair. You can cut it, dye it, fry it, and it all grows back! It may take a few years, but at least it's not permanent!

    Great hub.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks Wooded. Hope your touch up went well.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    It's actually time for a touch up today - I love tip #19 - Thanks!

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Glad you have found the brand you like best. That says something when you are afraid to switch. I guess I have tried so many, that is why I get all different colors. Loreal is also my fav. Thanks Pamela99.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Thanks for all the hair coloring tips. I color my own hair and always use Loreal with good results. I almost hate to try something different since this one has worked so well. Thanks for all your tips.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks for your addition to the hub LianaK. Glad you liked the tips.

    So happy you enjoyed it Jeannieinabottle. I like your hubname. I agree with your comments.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 

    8 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    This is a really cool hub. I color my hair all the time. I also prefer to color my own hair. Why pay that much money for someone else to do it? I can buy Natural Instincts on sale and with coupons for about $5 a box. It looks just as good as anything from the salon.

  • LianaK profile image


    8 years ago

    Have also had both good and bad experiences with dying my own hair :). Thanks for the fun and informative information. Love all the different tips that you provided.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Glad to hear GPSWorldTraveler. We were out of the tsunami area so we just went upstairs in our little townhouse and prayed a lot that we would be fine. Thanks for your comments, even though they were more about Hawaii. Aloha!

  • GPSWorldTraveler profile image


    8 years ago from Washington State, USA

    Funny, yet informative article - thanks. By the by currently in Kauai - did you have to move to higher ground? It was an amazing experience, can't say enough about the kindness of the locals - the scariness of the situation sure was of set by the compassionate generosity of the community!


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