Crowdsourcing: How Do I Dye My Hair At Home And Not Make A Complete Mess Of It?

I am finally dyeing my hair this weekend. I say finally because I bought some Manic Panic dye about four months ago (or whenever we still had snow) and it is still sitting in my bathroom unopened. I was intending to dye my hair sooner, but I procrastinated since I was worried about doing a DIY dye job/I pretended I was too busy reading Game Of Thrones to do much else. There was one time I was just about to dye it (I swear) then one of my friends dyed her hair, not just the same color, but the exact same shade. Awkward.

After seeing Sam’s awesome dye job, I am committed to dyeing my hair this weekend, but I’m still nervous about botching things up. I have dyed my hair once at home, and that was with a L’Oreal Feria Wild Ombré kit. The dyeing process was fine, and I really liked the look. What worries me this time, is that I am dyeing my entire head, so things are a bit more complicated. I have to make sure that I cover my hair evenly, and not miss any pieces.  I have long-ish, thick, medium brown hair and I’m also convinced I’m going to run out of dye and that I’ll need two boxes. Sorry if that sounded like a humble bag, but it is a stupid irrational fear I have. It makes no sense considering my hair is just past my shoulders, not my butt.

I don’t want to say what color I’m dyeing my hair, but *teaser* let’s just say I’m going to be joining the crazy hair-colored group soon. Don’t worry, I’m not attempting some drastic transformation at home. (Though I would love to try Kesha‘s pistachio green color.) I’m trialing a color that is supposed to last 48 washes, that will give me a touch of rainbow hair without going full-on pastel.

So after my long-winded essay, what I’m in need of are some tips for dyeing my hair at home. I’m already planning on doing a patch test, and I’m going to wear crappy clothes/my PJs, so I don’t risk ruining anything I like. I’m going to wear gloves and put Vaseline around my hairline so I don’t get a dyed forehead (that’s not the look I’m going for). I was debating about whether I should use a brush a la a professional hair dresser, or use the applicator and disperse it with my gloved hands? What do you recommend? Any tips and tricks would be appreciated.

Stay tuned for the before/after photos next week. I promise I will post them, no matter what my hair turns out looking like. Wish me luck!

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    • Jenni

      Ask a friend for help! Even just for honesty! I knew a girl who used to do it on her own, skip steps because she was doing it on her own and come out with such a boxed-looking dye job.

      • Samantha Escobar

        Yes! Having a friend helps so much; that way, you’re way less likely to miss spots.

      • Heather C

        That is my fear, patchy hair color. Ick.

    • Samantha Escobar

      COVER EVERYTHING. The way I used to do it was to put plastic wrap or bags on the counters and floors, then crappy old stained towels overtop them. This really, really helped with splatters. Also, get a plastic hair cover to put over your head while the dye is in it and then another towel around it to make sure it doesn’t leak. I’m paranoid about making messes with dye, haha.

      • Heather C

        Me too. Would a shower cap work or just good ol’ plastic wrap?

      • Michelle

        i have used plastic wrap! mostly to keep the heat in to set the dye even more (however, it’s awkward as hell without help to get it on your head)

      • NYCNanny

        Plastic wrap can work, but depends on what mind of dye you’re using. When I use henna (an aburn color), I wrap my head in Saran Wrap to bring out more red.

      • Samantha Escobar

        I personally prefer a shower cap or one of those specialized hair dye caps! They’re really really cheap at Sally’s!

      • Allison

        I must be a lucky one Sam, the 2-3 times I’ve colored my hair I just did it topless (woo!) but didn’t put anything else down for application or waiting it out, and only got a little spot on the shower curtain while I was rinsing. I’ve only ever used foam color though, which seems less messy?

      • Samantha Escobar

        Girl you are so lucky! Or just way less naturally clumsy/messy than I am. I tend to spill everything at parties, work, etc.

      • Allison

        Oh no I am plenty clumsy, I have 4 bruises on my legs and no idea where they came from. Probably tables, chairs, my car, etc.

    • Michelle

      I second what Samantha just said, cover EVERYTHING. i still end up with little flecks of color on my bathroom wall at times. Use LOTS of vaseline around your hairline, on your ears, the back of your ears as well, and completely behind your ears on your head, and on your neck. there is no such thing as too much in this case. i like to use an actual soap (made with fats and lye, there are some fancy ones out there) to get the vaseline off after – it really does a better job than a shower gel in the shower.

      i usually have someone check my coverage, especially the back and sides. i just use gloved hands, i’ve tried brushes, but i can’t seem to master them :/

      after you’re rinsed, have a friend help you check around your hairline, skin, ears, neck etc for any spots of color that snuck through. Nail polish remover and/or rubbing alcohol will usually get this off. i use it on my hands too – if you dont use gloves when you rinse, your hands will be funky colors.

      Your tub: your dye may stain it. The only thing i’ve found to ‘fix’ this is using tile-x as soon as i can to clean the tub. bases are your friend to remove color.

      • Heather C

        So many tips, thank you! Rubbing alcohol solves most of life’s problems.

    • NYCNanny

      Once I dyed my hair in a hotel (don’t ask), and ended up f’ing up ALL the bathroom towels and a lot of the sheets. I had to pay for them. Sad.

      Cover everything. Use your shower head to clean up shower ASAP!!

      • Heather C

        Dyeing your hair in a hotel would seem like a good idea in theory, because you wouldn’t have to clean up the mess…but it sucks you had to pay for the (probably) 8,000 thread count sheets. Did your hair turn out nice though?

      • NYCNanny

        Lol. It was ok vacation and it was really just henna. I totally
        Cleaned up afterwards, but f’ed up the sheets. Hair turned out so nicely!! Thx.

    • louga

      As a person who used to dye my brown hair black at home for 4 months, my advice is use the brush a la professional, as in separate and cover all your roots with dye, then spread over all of your scalp with gloved hands. Obviously, take as much time as you need, i always used to rub the dye 10 minutes extra after i felt finished, just to be sure that it was everywhere.
      Then as others said it’s always good to have someone check for you.
      Also if you’re planning on leaving it on while you do other things, the thing that worked for me was double shower cap plus thin yet long hair tie on the hairline.
      Good luck with it, can’t wait for the pictures !

      • Heather C

        Thanks, for all the tips. The hair tie trick is great, I would not have thought of that.

    • LouLou

      - go out to the store right now and buy a second pack. if you think you might need two, chances are you will, and a spotchy dye job is no good
      - get a friend to help. They’ll make sure that you don’t miss any spots and can help in case you have an allergic reaction
      - wear a shirt you don’t care about, cause a strand of hair, no matter how tightly you think you topped you knot, will inevitably fall onto your shoulder
      - have a snack, plate of food ready for you for after you’ve applied the dye, cause you will be tired and hungry, and you’re gonna need more fuel to keep going
      - also have Bob’s Burgers (or any good show) Netflix on standby for the waiting period
      - a good blow dryer will make a world of difference

      • Heather C

        Thanks. Food and television are very important things to consider. I am doing it after lunch, so hunger won’t ruin my precision.