Young woman with dyed brown hair on log

Every hairstylist will tell you that it’s not advisable to dye your hair at home. You could easily damage your hair or end up with less than desirable results, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. However, in these trying times, DIY hair color is almost unavoidable. Because you deserve to have hair that makes you feel beautiful and confident, here are some tips on how to dye hair safely, on a budget.

Pick a Color

Dyeing your hair on a budget usually means using box dye, which is a one-size-fits-all approach to hair dyeing. Compared to the service and technique that you get from a salon, box dyes don’t adjust to your hair type, hair porosity, and current color and tone. This is where you come in. But first, choose a color.

Typically, box dyes can only take you up to two shades lighter than your current . It’s easier to go darker, although there are precautions just the same. It’s best to pick a color that’s one shade lighter than your desired result because many of them appear lighter on the packaging. Don’t expect it to look exactly like the shade on the box because that image is ‘shopped.

If you’re opting for a darker route, choose a deeper shade in the same tone. Avoid black because you can never go back to light-colored hair — well, maybe you will at some point, but not without .

Choose a Formula

It helps to choose a formula that’s easy to work with, like bubble or foam hair dye, which usually has fewer chemicals. It’s also much easier to apply and is less messy (no dye splashes on the floor!). Try to watch out for ammonia, too. Some box dyes contain ammonia, which raises the pH level of the hair to help lift the hair cuticle to remove or deposit pigment. If you can, choose an ammonia-free hair dye, which is gentler on the hair. 

What about henna, you might ask. Henna is a plant that has been used as hair dye for thousands of years. It has antifungal and antimicrobial properties that can improve the health of your hair and scalp. Pure henna dyes are usually free of chemicals, which can be damaging to the hair and scalp. However, some people can be allergic to henna dyes, too. Ultimately, it depends on your preference and tolerance. However, you must do the patch test as instructed to rule out allergies.

Prep Your Hair

Even if you’re just going one shade lighter, it’s still essential to prep your hair for the process. This means pampering and nourishing your locks to make them as healthy as possible, and therefore more resistant to stressors, such as chemical hair dyes. This is especially true if you’re bleaching your hair beforehand. 

Whether your hair is already damaged or not, try using a reparative and nourishing conditioner to improve your hair’s condition. Cream Silk Triple Keratin Rescue Ultimate Repair & Shine Ultra Conditioner contains keratin actives that revive damaged locks, restore moisture, and tame frizz. You could also use a deep conditioning mask twice a week for stronger hair. 

Prevent Stains

Before coloring your hair, stain-proof yourself and your surroundings. Apply on the back of your ears, the nape of your neck, and near your hairline. Unless you have a salon cape, wear a shirt that you wouldn’t mind staining, particularly one with a wide neckline or buttons. If you’re new to DIY hair dyeing, you might want to protect your floors, too. Try doing the procedure away from fabrics such as beddings, sofas, curtains, and cushions.

If you’re nervous about dyeing your hair at home, you can also try a temporary spray. Temporary options like the TRESemme Root Touch-up Spray, which comes in Dark Brown, Light Brown, and Black, are a terrific solution when you just need to cover your roots in between salon trips. You can also wash it off easily when you shower.

Dyeing your hair exposes it to harsh chemicals that can cause damage. However, hair color is fun and if you want to do it, you should. Just make sure to take the necessary precautions and follow instructions on how to dye hair properly. After coloring, continue protecting your hair with nourishing products to prevent damage and dryness.