Everything you need to know to colour your hair at home

Top tips for dyeing your hair without messing it up

New Idea Contributing Editor / January 10 2017

The right shade can take years off your look, brighten skin tone, cover greys and add sparkle to your eyes. But when it comes to DIY colour, the biggest thing to remember is it’s not the time for a dramatic change. “It’s when you are trying to go too dark or too light that you end up with a problem,” says Grant Withnell, Schwarzkopf’s National Technical Educator. Whether you choose light or dark, if you stay within a couple of shades of your current colour, and follow our pro tips, you’ll be amazed at how a subtle shift can transform your look.

Before you begin...

Which colour? If you have a majority of grey hair, you need a permanent colour. If you have only a few greys and you’re new to colouring or a bit nervous, try a semi-permanent. “A semi is also great for shine,” says Tracy Hayes, Global Head of Technical Education for Fudge Professional.

Don't go more than two shades lighter or darker than your colour at home.
Harry Josh
Celebrity Colourist

Do a test! “It doesn’t matter if you’ve never coloured your hair, or you’ve been doing it for 10 years with the same formula, everyone should do an allergy skin test,” explains Withnell, adding that allergies can develop over time.

Your DIY dye kit

An old t-shirt: Make sure you can take it off with ease.

Two old towels: One to wear around your neck to protect your skin, and another slightly damp one you can use to wipe up any dye that might spill onto your skin.

A wide-tooth comb: Use it to comb through the colour evenly.

Hair clips: To section your hair.

Rubber gloves: To protect your hands.

And now here's your step-by-step guide to applying your at-home hair colourant correctly.


Check the colour

First, mix together a little bit of the dye and developer, then apply it to a tiny underside section at the back of your hair. Wait the length of time required on the formula’s instructions, rinse with water and shampoo, then blow-dry. If you’re happy with the shade, apply the rest. If you don’t like the shade, at least this way you won’t notice it. Better to be safe than sorry!


Begin with dry hair

After your colour test and once hair is dry, section it into quadrants, parting it in the middle from the forehead down to the nape of the neck. Make a horizontal part from ear to ear and clip up each quadrant so it’s neatly out of the way.


Start with your roots

Start at your roots as hair dye needs to stay on longer than the colour on your lengths. Unclip a back quadrant and, working in thin horizontal rows, squirt dye across the first inch of hair and rub in. Keep going until you’ve coated all the roots and clip hair up again. Repeat on the other quadrants.


Do your lengths

You may need to use a second box of dye. Working in 5cm sections, apply colour down to the ends, rubbing in with your hands or combing through. Leave it on as long as instructed. If you are using a permanent and it’s not the first time you’ve applied this exact colour, only work it through the ends for the last 10 minutes. Rinse, then shampoo and condition.

Still hesitant to go it alone? Here's where our Beauty Editors Get Their Hair Coloured.

For more hair tips from New Idea, check out newidea.com.au

Main image credit: Getty

Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.