How to dye your hair like a professional at home

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Jacqueline Kilikita
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Thanks to a slew of new innovations in home hair-dye, you no longer need to take whole a day off work to switch up your colour. Here’s how to make the change at home…

Whether you’re after Olivia Palermo-esque balayage or you’re inspired by the pastel hues that radiated from the catwalk at Marc Jacobs’ SS19 show, there’s no denying that switching up your hair colour can be an incredibly lengthy process. Who has a good three hours to spend in the salon in between work meetings, HIIT and Friday night drinks? Definitely not us.

But thanks to a handful of new innovations in home hair-dye, you no longer need to take whole a day off to make the change. With all the new hair colour trends coming this autumn, it’s time to switch things up. 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…

How to choose the right home hair-dye colour

The cinnamon highlights that look amazing on Jessica Alba might not look so great 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. 

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. 

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. 

The Hair Oil: Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil

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.

The top-up mask: Redken Blondage Express Anti-Brass Mask


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 in just five minutes, counteracting yellow hues in bleached honey, platinum and grey hair while smoothing down the cuticle.

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

Josh Wood Home Colour

Josh Wood Colour

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 last year’s launch of 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.

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 junior beauty writer 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.”

Clairol Nice’n Easy Colour Care

The Nice’n Easy box-dye was given a make-over last year, and it’s now better than ever. Instead of using PPD and PTD (most commonly the cause of irritation and allergies in hair-dye) it 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.

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. 

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Main Image: Cortney White