How to Color Your Hair at Home
DIY color kits can help you say bye-bye to the salon, and hello to savings
Coloring your own hair may be a daunting task to some, but for others, it’s a great way to save some money while getting the beauty boost you’re looking for.
If you’re thinking of a radical change, don’t take matters into your own hands-you need a professional to help determine a shade that will work well with your complexion. But covering grays and lightening up just a bit has never been easier.
Welcome to the world of haircoloring without an appointment…
Choosing a color
Honestly, I’ve never really been able to tell if I have a “warm” or a “cool” complexion, but the pros agree that fair skin and light eyes constitutes “cool,” while darker skin and dark eyes are “warm.” Red and gold look great on those with warm skin, and ashier blond and brown are better for cool skin tones. But if you have light hair and dark eyes (or vice versa), what should you do? Stick pretty close to your natural color when selecting a do-it-yourself hair color and you should be ok. (This also helps it grow out more naturally, so you can stretch the time between coloring.)
Once you settle on a color, buy a few boxes, since anyone with thicker or longer hair may need more. If it’s your first time trying at-home coloring, definitely do a test section before applying to all of your hair. Take about a half-inch from above your ear, apply the color, and wash it off after half of the time the box says to leave it on. Then dry the test strands, look at them against a white towel. If you like the color, reapply color to the test strands and leave it on for the recommended time and check again.
Coloring yourself can get messy, so make sure you wear an old shirt and pull out a few old towels that you won’t mind ruining. (The pros recommend a button-down so you can get the shirt off easily before stepping in the shower to rinse.) Then use a Q-Tip to put Vaseline or baby oil along your hairline and around your ears to prevent staining your skin. Now, follow those instructions, and you’re on your way!
Products to try
Salon results without the salon price: A big thank-you to Frederic Fekkai for launching a line of at-home haircolor that rivals professional treatments. $30, beauty.com
Test-drive before committing: Clairol’s Natural Instincts color washes out in about a month, so your hair can gradually return to its original color without obvious roots. $8.99, drugstore.com
Base color and highlights: Get a blend of perfectly matched base color and highlights with L’Oreal’s Couleur Experte. $14.99, walgreens.com