8 Simple Tips for Better Hair Coloring at Home

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by Robin

(Image Source)

I am keeping my eye on the prize.  We've shared our family's Vision Statement and the how's and why's behind it (you can read more here).  Currently, our Vision Statement is:

Once we are debt-free we will celebrate 

by going on a family trip to Costa Rica. 

We are getting so close!  Our vision is helping us guide our daily decisions about where our money is going.  

One of those places we've deliberately chosen to keep our spending small is in clothes and hair and beauty stuff; the ways we decorate our bodies.  

One choice I'm making is to colour my hair at home.  I hate it.  I truly hate it.  But not more than I'd hate shelling out more than 50 clams to have someone do it at a salon.  

It's not the process that I dislike, really, it's quite simple and doesn't take very long.  What I detest is that it has come to this: I need to regularly colour my hair to cover grey.  

I didn't expect to have to start doing this at 30.  Covering my grey makes me feel old and frumpy - but not older or frumpier than I would feel if my grey temples looked back at me in the mirror every day.  Seriously, I would look like Mitt Romney's little sister.  The "Elder Statesman" look doesn't inspire me.  

The most frugal choice would be to embrace my silver highlights.  You need to decide for yourself where you draw the line.   My line is grey in colour.

I've scoured the internet looking for tips for successful home hair colouring.  Good tips are out there, I usually glean one good tip for every article I read.  I've collected some great tips here to help you get to the root of your hair colour at home... 

Tips to Successful Home Hair Colour:

1) Figure out your skin tone before choosing a colour:

This post from Women's Health has the best tips I've seen for choosing a home hair colour.  This step intimidates me the most, I tried their tip:

"If you're going for allover color: Put on a white shirt, remove all traces of makeup, and drape a white towel over your hair. Stand in front of a well-lit mirror and take a good look. If your face looks pink or red, you've got cool undertones. See peach, olive, or gold? You're warm. If obvious colors aren't glaring back at you, or if you have hints of both, you're neutral"

So THAT's how you figure out your skin tone!

2) Some shades look good on everyone.

Best Health shared if you can't decipher your skin tone, neutral or warm tones work well on most everyone.

They also shared the same tip I saw over and over, keep within 2 shades of your natural colour for a home colouring.  Any more drastic change is likely best left to the professionals.

3)  Company sites can be helpful.

Total Beauty suggests you check your hair colour company's website for tips to choosing a colour.   Many offer online and telephone support.

4)  Don't wash your hair before you colour.

This article from Best Health taught me that hair needs to be a bit oily to hold the colour well, so don't wash the day you colour.  

Luckily, I have never washed my hair before I colour, but not because I listened to my inner hairdresser.  I'm just lazy.

5)  If your colour turns out too dark, all is not lost.

This tip I hadn't heard before, but Total Beauty shared how to rescue a too dark dye.  Apparently, if the colour turns out too dark you can save it by washing with dish detergent a few times.

6)  You can't be too tidy.

This tip is mine.  This is a messy job and it's best to prepare your clothes and space as best as you can.

I have an old shirt and towel reserved especially for hair dyeing.  They are covered in drips and stains.  Imagine the clothes I would have ruined if I didn't have these.  That would get costly.

7) Use the right tools.

This is a tip made my colouring work out so much better!  Almost every article I read recommended using a hair coloring bowl and brush like they use in salons.   Apparently, the colour goes on more evenly, which can only be a good thing.  Worth the investment of a couple of bucks.  It's now part of my regular routine.

8) Make rinsing more comfortable.

Are you like me and have to rinse your colour by leaning over the edge of the bathtub? Ouch. It's so awkward!

I've made it a bit more comfortable by using this great gadget left from when the kids were babies. It helps the water to flow further out into the tub - so I'm less likely to hit my head and don't need to lean over at such a back-breaking angle.

Do you have hair colouring tips?  I am eager to learn more - please share below!


  1. Vaseline along your forehead, ears, and face so errant splatters don't dye your skin! :)

    1. Hey, Wry Girl - thanks for the tip! I've read that one and wondered how it works for people. I've meant to try it, but didn't trust myself to just keep it on my skin and not wipe it on the old grey's. Thanks! :)

  2. I have also begun coloring my hair at hoome because of early grey (32). I have to do it every 4 weeks or so. I also love the tip about the brush and bowl. Totally going to do this for my next dye job!! Thanks!

    1. Your colour looks great in your photo, you must have some skills, Andrea! Thanks for your comment!

  3. Great tips. I don't use traditional colour rather henna. I got weirded out about colouring with hair dye when I was warned about dyeing my hair when I was pregnant. I use a warm red henna but have also used a Mahogany and a black. They are more of a tint- almost like a semi-transparent stain ;) i find it easier to get a suitable colour since its almost like adding a tone to your existing colour, and my greys cover well (so far anyhow); they look like natural highlights as they turn out a little lighter than the rest my hair. Works for me but man, so true, I haaaaaate doing it. For me henna does take a long time- you have to leave it on a long time (I find it hard to set aside that time to not leave the house) and rinsing out is a pain.
    I love your family vision statement; you're going to looooove Costa Rica. We met quite a few Canadian ex-pats; after that trip, I wanted to become one, too.


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