How To Dye Your Hair At Home | The Easy Guide for Beginners.

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Those pesky greys are poking through, your roots are glowing or you’re thinking about dyeing your hair an awesome new color?

Don’t have the time, the money or inclination to visit the salon? At times like these, you want to know how to dye your hair at home, by yourself, like a pro.

That’s why we’re here to save the day with everything you need to know and do to get salon-fabulous hair at home!

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Can I dye my hair at home like a pro?

You’ve got a great new look in mind, but you can’t get to the salon right away.

Maybe it’s your busy schedule or maybe you just don’t want to spend a lot of money on getting your hair dyed in a professional setting. We get it!

The good news is that it’s easy to dye your hair at home, by yourself and save some time and money while doing so.

If you want to dye your hair at home like a pro, you need the right tools and a lot of patience. Let’s go!


  • Use a tint brush to apply the hair dye – especially for your roots and hairline.
  • Use barrier cream – and cover all bathroom surfaces around you.
  • Take your time. Don’t rush any stage of the process or you’ll end up with patchy coverage.
  • Follow the instructions carefully – leaving hair dye on for longer is not always a great idea.
  • Keep checking your color – wash it off if it starts to go darker than planned.

How to dye your hair at home.

What you need.

  • Clarifying shampoo to remove dirt, debris and styling products from your hair. 
  • A hair dye kit that will give you all the tools you need to apply it like a pro.
  • Gloves.
  • A hairdressers cape or old t-shirt to protect your clothes. Towels will get stained and keep falling off.
  • A barrier cream to prevent the color getting on your skin. (Vaseline will do!)
  • A wide-tooth comb to separate your hair and comb through the dye.
  • An excellent color-safe shampoo.
  • And excellent color-safe conditioner.
  • A heat protection spray to protect your color before drying.
  • An excellent hair dryer that’s suitable for colored hair.

And your hair dye of choice!

hair dye tools

How to Dye Your Hair At Home Step by Step.

Set the scene.

24-48 hours before you plan to dye your hair, shampoo your hair TWICE to make sure all dirt and debris is removed.

This makes sure the hair dye can really penetrate your hair but also gives you hair a chance to build up natural oils that will protect it.

On the day, you’re going to need to set aside anywhere between 1-1.5 hours to color your hair at home from start to finish.

Whatever dye you choose contains magic-making chemicals that work wonders on coloring your hair, but whiff a bit too. So make sure you apply it in a well ventilated room.

It’s better to dye your hair when it’s dry, rather than wet, to let the hair color penetrate your hair without any barriers.

Don’t skip the strand test. Especially if you are new to hair dyeing! Follow the instructions on the box of hair dye to test for any allergic reactions with a patch test, irritation or color dodginess.

Put on your hairdresser’s cape to protect your clothes, crack out your hair dye kit and your chosen box of hair dye, cover any surface around you that might get dye on it and put newspapers on the floor.


Step one: Apply barrier cream.

Coat your hairline, forehead, ears and neck with your barrier cream (petroleum jelly like Vaseline will do) before applying dye to your hair.

Applying this coating will make and hair dye easier to rinse off and it won’t stain your skin.

Open up your hair dye and mix the color and developer together as instructed. Pour the mixture into your hair dye bowl from your hair dye kit.

how to dye your hair at home

Step two: Section your hair.

Use your comb to separate your hair into 4-8 sections, depending on thickness. Clip each section with using your clips from the hair dye kit.

how to dye your hair at home

Step three: Apply the hair dye.

Using your brush, work the hair dye into your hair depending on what you’re wanting to achieve:

  • For previously dyed hair – work the dye into your roots first. Follow the guidance on your hair dye instructions.
  • For hair that isn’t already dyed (virgin hair) – work the dye into the whole of your hair, starting at the roots and painting down to the tips, making sure the hair is totally saturated.
how to dye your hair at home

Step four: Let it develop.

Pop your hair up in a shower cap to prevent it from touching and staining anything. You can also wrap your hair in a towel to contain heat which will help the color to process.

Leave the dye in for the amount of time specified on the box hair dye instructions.

If you have particularly stubborn greys to cover, you can leave the hair dye in 10 minutes longer to ensure it really takes.

If you feel any burning or itching – rinse it off straight away!

how to dye your hair at home

Step five: Rinse.

Once your time is up, rinse your hair with warm water in the shower or over the sink. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.

Don’t panic if you see a lot of color rinsing out – it’s all part of the process!

Wash your hair after coloring twice and condition your hair. Leave it in for 5 minutes to really set your color.

Your hair is wet, so the color will appear darker at first. Time to dry it!

how to dye your hair at home

Step six: Style and dry!

Spritz your hair with your hair heat protection spray to protect your color before drying.

Make sure you do this every time you dry your hair or use heated styling products from now on.

Dry your hair as usual and admire your new colored locks!!

Watch and learn. How To Dye Your Hair At Home Without Ruining It!

Here’s a great tutorial by our favourite celebrity colorist that shows you how to dye your hair at home without ruining it!

YouTube video

How to dye your hair at home FAQS

What hair dye should I use?

With so many shades, brands, and types of hair dye out there, it can be hard to know which at-home hair dye you need.

Really, there three main types of hair dye you’ll need to decide on:

Temporary Hair Dye

If you’re just looking for a temporary change in hue, then temporary hair dyes are perfect for you.

They come in all sorts of shades and can easily be washed out after a few washes.

Not only that, but they are also gentler on your hair than permanent dyes, so if you have delicate locks then this could be the option for you.

Try Manic Panic in colors like Mermaid Blue and Vampire Red for an eye-catching look that won’t last too long!

Semi-permanent Hair Dye

Semi-permanent dye is a great option if you want something more long lasting than temporary dye but don’t want to commit to anything permanent.

Semi-permanent colors will last around 6 weeks and gradually fade out over time until they need to be reapplied.

One of our favorites is Clairol Natural Instincts in colors like Cocoa Swirl or Honey Blonde.

Permanent Hair Dye

Permanent hair dye is ideal if you want something that will stay put until your next salon visit or root touchup.

It’s also a great option if you want to make big changes such as going from dark brown to light blonde or vice versa.

Permanent colors last anywhere from 6 weeks up to 3 months depending on how often you wash your hair and which products you use afterwards. The work by lifting the hair cuticle and penetrating your hair shaft with pigment.

We recommend L’Oréal Paris Excellence Creme in colors ranging from Jet Black to Lightest Cool Blonde for the ultimate transformation!

Should I choose permanent or semi-permanent hair dye?

The type of hair dye you choose for your home hair dye job, depends the color results you’re after – from permanent, semi-permanent, even demi-permanent and temporary.

The main differences between permanent and semi-permanent are:

Can I dye my hair at home by myself?

If you’re new to coloring your own hair, you may be wondering how to dye your hair by yourself.

The good news is that at-home hair color and off the shelf box dyes have come a long way and, provided you follow all the top tips in our guide, it’s easy to color your own hair at home!

If you need to lighten or bleach your hair first, it can be trickier. A successful home hair dye job depends on your natural hair color or hair base to begin with.

Lightening your hair yourself isn’t hard but it’s a process and you’ll need to make sure your hair is in good condition to avoid any breakage.

When it comes to application – the hardest bit is reaching the back of your head to get good coverage.

That’s why using a good hair dye kit that contains all the tools you need to make your life easier is essential. Or you can simply ask a friend to help you out!

Is it OK to dye hair at home?

It’s OK to dye your own hair at home if you’re well prepared and know what you’re doing!

There’s always going to be an element of risk or worry that you’ve done it wrong or chosen the wrong color.

If you want to go for a drastic change, it’s best to head to your local salon for at least a consultation.

Your hair stylist can assess your hair texture, color and condition of your hair as well as things like your skin tones and natural coloring.

They can also work out what colors suit you and if your hair condition is up for it.

But it is easy enough to learn how to dye your own hair. Knowing what color you can dye your hair at home is the first part of getting it right!

What colors are best to dye my hair at home?

Although dyeing your hair at home is perfectly do-able, you’ll want to save any major hair color changes like balayage or highlights for the salon. 

Changing your hair color from one color family to another – say from ash brown to platinum blonde – can require multiple processes, which are best left to a professional colorist.

When dyeing your hair yourself, stay within two shades lighter or two shades darker, of your current color.

If you have dark hair, you’ll need to be extra careful in choosing your colors – you can’t lighten color with color!

Check out the latest Hair color ideas for ideas and inspiration!

hair color ideas pinterest board

What hair color suits me?

Finding out how to dye your hair involves knowing which hair colors suit you.

This means thinking about what suits your skin tone, pigment, the condition of your hair and even how brave you are!

Luckily we have a quiz for that! Take our quiz to find out the type of colors that will suit you! Just click the image below!

Which Hair Color Suits You?

You can also try on some virtual hair colors with the Best hair color changing apps you need to use this year!

Is it best to color dirty hair?

It’s best to wash your hair before you dye it so that the color can give an even coverage to the whole of your hair without leaving any patches.

Leave a couple of days in between washing your hair and dyeing it is really only recommended when bleaching your hair.

This is because the natural oils that build up on your scalp protect it from the hydrogen peroxide in bleach that can irritate your scalp.

If you’re just grabbing a box dye and pepping up your color, only clean hair will do!

What happens if I shampoo my hair after dyeing?

There was a time when it wasn’t recommended to shampoo your hair straight away after dyeing your hair.

Nowadays, as long as your using a color-safe shampoo, it’s totally ok to shampoo your hair straight away.

In fact, it’s a good idea to do it to really rinse out all the color pigment that’s left over and sitting on your hair.

When the water runs clear, you’re done!

What happens if I don’t like my new hair color?!

Firstly, don’t panic!

Head over to our brilliant guide How to remove hair dye at home to take care of it. You have options.

How do I care for my color-treated hair?

Once you have the gorgeous, colored hair that you love, you need to look after it to keep the color lasting and luscious.

Normal shampoos will strip your color. Use sulfate-free shampoos to keep your color locked in.

The same goes for using specially formulated colored hair conditioners which are gently on your color. Once a week, use a good deep conditioner or hair mask to really moisturise and nourish your hair.

And always follow our great advice in How to keep look after colored hair and keep it luscious for longer.

Parting words.

If you want to dye your hair at home – we believe in you! You can do it yourself at home and we’re here to help.

It’s all about how to get great results with your DIY hair colour experience – from choosing the right colours and products, through to styling techniques that will make your locks look amazing even after a few washes.

We know what we’re doing (we’ve been honing these skills forever) so we know that YOU can do it!

The only question left is… are you ready to dye your hair at home?


  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!

  • Enza Piazza, Hair Stylist & Color Consultant

    I’m Enza Piazza, your go-to hair stylist and color consultant with over 23 years of professional salon experience bringing vibrancy and life to hair of all hues. My Italian roots from sunny Sicily infuse passion into every snip and color, a passion that’s been recognized with top honor awards including bridal and party hair at the National Hairdressers Federation’s Championships. After training in Surrey, UK’s most prestigious salons including Head Master Academy, I embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and set up Enza Hair Styling, offering tailored hair care for 13 years, and treating each client like family. Away from the salon, I cherish moments as a proud Nonna to grandson Joseph and as a playful companion to my Jack Russell, Bo.