Hair Dyeing Tricks

Using the right tools makes a difference.

Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc/Digital Vision/Getty Images

At-home hair dyeing can easily turn into a disaster. But it doesn't have to be that way. With a few tricks and tips on the proper techniques, the whole process will be much easier and you'll end up with a good dye job every time.

Choose the Right Color

If you want to make a radical change, say, going from chocolate brown to platinum blond, don’t do it all at once. Start with dye that's one or two shades lighter than your natural color. When you need to renew your color, choose a dye that’s two more shades lighter. Lighten your hair by two shades each time until you achieve the color you wanted. If you're going from light to dark, try the same method in reverse; choose dyes two shades darker. Slow and steady wins the race.

Choose the Right Tools

Hair dyes in boxed kits come with squeeze bottles to help you apply the product. But you're better off heading to a beauty supply store and picking up a bowl and a brush designed to be used for dyeing hair. Squeeze the dye into the bowl. Use the brush to apply the dye; you'll have more control and can spread the dye more evenly over your hair. Both the bowl and brush are reusable; just wash them out after each application. You should pick up some alligator clips, too. Use a comb to section your hair in four equal quadrants and then pin each section up with the clips.

Reach for the Petroleum Jelly

Hair-dyeing is a messy process and the dye will generally drip down your hairline. It's awkward to have to keep wiping your skin with a wet cloth to remove the stain as you're trying to dye your hair. Staining isn't permanent but it definitely lasts a few days or longer. Apply petroleum jelly all around your hairline and ears and you'll be stain-free.

Follow Up

You're wasting your money if you don't do everything you can to keep your color looking vibrant and fresh. If you've gone blond, choose shampoo and conditioner that helps control brassy highlights. Otherwise, pick up shampoo and conditioners made for color-treated hair. Don't forget to deep-condition your hair once a week to keep it healthy and shining.

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