How to dye your hair like a professional at home

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Jacqueline Kilikita
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How to dye hair at home like a professional

While it’s best to wait for salons to reopen, here are some tips that can help you make the colour change at home…

Whether you’re after an Olivia Palermo-esque balayage or you just want to keep on top of your roots, there’s no denying that many of us long for a much-needed hair colour appointment.

But thanks to a handful of new innovations in home hair-dye, you can switch up your shade while we wait for lockdown restrictions to end. Plus, with all the new hair colour trends for 2021, it’s time to play around. And if you’re worried about any colour disasters, our foolproof guide to removing hair dye (that actually works) will sort anything out.

Here’s exactly how to embrace a new shade in the comfort of your own bathroom…

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How to choose the right home hair-dye colour

The cinnamon highlights that look amazing on Jessica Alba’s skin tone might not have the same desired effect on you, which is why it pays to take your skin tone into consideration when cherry-picking a colour.

Those with warmer skin tones suit rich golden browns, honey blonde and caramel tones, while platinum blonde, ash blonde and jewel tones complement cooler skin – but that’s not to say that those rules strictly apply. If in doubt as to whether a colour will suit you, consider trying it on with a wig or do some social media research to find others that look like you rocking your desired hue.

Still finding it difficult? Look to the Josh Wood Colour range. Renowned colourist Josh might be unable to take your call himself, but hold the line, because he’s employed a digital consultation chatbot instead. Answer a few quick questions and within minutes you’ll get a prescriptive guide to the shades and products you need in your life. Genius. 

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How to protect your scalp

Don’t make the mistake of washing your hair beforehand. Not only will your strands be too slippery for the colour to grab on to, but you’ll be eradicating any natural oils from your scalp, and they are necessary for protecting against any irritation. If you react to hair-dye, the professionals suggest rubbing a little coconut oil into your scalp before applying the colour. 

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How to ace your colouring technique

Choosing the perfect shade is one half of dyeing your hair at home. The other is nailing your application technique. Roots, be gone. 

1. To make the process a little easier for yourself, clip your hair (which should be bone dry) up into sections before going on to mix your chosen colour.

2. Slip on your gloves and mix one part colour with one part developer using the bowl and brush which should be provided with the kit you choose.

3. Immediately apply the well-mixed dye directly to the parts of your hair you want coloured, using swift, firm strokes. Start at your hairline, swipe backwards and don’t forget to massage into the roots and into the hair strands for even deposition.

4. Wait the recommended time and rinse the colour off with warm water. Follow with a shampoo, a deep conditioning treatment and rinse again. Simple. 

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How to make your hair colour last 

If you want your look to last, it pays to shake up your haircare routine. We’re talking heaps of moisture to nourish your colour, to counteract any brittleness and to impart a shampoo-ad shine. 

  • The Shampoo: Pureology Fullfyl Colour Care Shampoo


    Sulfate free and packed with densifying ingredients to restore damaged hair, this ultra-moisturising shampoo cleanses from root to tip without stripping your colour.

    Shop Pureology Fullfyl Colour Care Shampoo at Amazon, £18.44

  • The Conditioner: Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Care Conditioner

    This creamy hair conditioner combines grapeseed oil with vitamin B5 and sunflower seed extract to breathe life and vibrancy into lacklustre strands, all without weighing hair down.

    Shop Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Care Conditioner at lookfantastic, £14.40

  • The Hair Oil: Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil

    Best afro hair products: Charlotte Mensah

    Not only does this smell divine, but it nourishes each and every strand from the inside out. Expect a super-soft feel and a mirror-like shine when used as a hot oil pre-shampoo treatment, or on wet or damp hair.

    Shop Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil at Space NK, £48

  • The top-up mask: L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Blondifier Masque

    Purple shampoos can be very drying on the hair, so more and more brands are bringing out mask versions to nourish stressed strands while correcting any brassiness. This one works to counteract yellow hues in bleached honey, platinum and grey hair while smoothing down the cuticle in between salon visits.

    Shop L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Blondifier Masque at lookfantastic, £11.25

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The best at-home hair colouring kits to have on your radar 

  • Josh Wood Permanent Hair Dye

    If you’ve ever taken a celebrity picture into the salon to show your colourist the shade of blonde you’re lusting after, chances are Josh Wood might be the man behind it. However his talents are no longer reserved for the A-list thanks to the Josh Wood Colour range.

    A comprehensive at home hair colour collection that ticks off everything from box hair dye to root touch-ups and semi-permanent glosses that are akin to hitting the refresh button on your existing tones, it’s all about achieving and maintaining your best ever dye job - plus it’s the box dye that gave our beauty editor the most compliments ever.

    Shop Josh Wood Permanent Hair Dye at Boots, £14

  • Bleach London Plex Bleach Kit


    This professional standard bleach is specially formulated with anti-breakage bonding technology, but still manages to lighten hair up to six levels from dark to super light.

    It’s ideal for fine, afro, and curly hair types that usually suffer the most damage from the lightening process. “My hair’s quite fine and fragile, and after years of using box dyes, this one stands out from everything else,” says Stylist contributor Ava Welsing-Kitcher. “I use it on friends and family too, and nobody can believe how quickly it lightens while still maintaining the integrity of the hair.”

    Shop Bleach London Plex Bleach Kit at Bleach London, £11

  • Clairol Nice’n Easy Colour Care

    Instead of using PPD and PTD (most commonly the cause of irritation and allergies in hair-dye), Nice’n Easy’s box-dye is formulated with a breakthrough molecule that was created specifically to lessen the risk.

    That’s not all. It’s also supercharged with damage-blocking technology (so you can forget about parched ends) and the ammonia smell that is synonymous with at-home dye has been swapped out with a fresh floral scent to make the process a little less suffocating.

    Shop Clairol Nice’n Easy Colour Care at Superdrug, £6.49

  • John Frieda Precision Foam Colour

    Instead of a cream, John Frieda’s Precision Colour harnesses an unctuous foam to ensure not a single strand of hair is missed. You can forget about forehead stains, too. The formula boasts 100% grey coverage (if that’s what you’re after) and leaves hair glossy, not flat.

    Shop John Frieda Precision Foam Colour at Boots, £9.99

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