Avoid These 5 At-Home Hair Color Mistakes

Are you committing one of these common mistakes when using at-home hair color? Have no fear — our expert colorists are here to swoop in and save your shade! Get ready to love your new look.

Don't Go by the Picture on the Box

Those glossy glamour shots on boxes of at-home hair color may catch your eye with a brilliant shade, but it's vital to keep in mind that the color may not necessarily turn out the same on you. "The color you end up with depends on your current hair color and can also be affected by any processing you may already have done to your hair," explains Jet Rhys, the owner of Jet Rhys Salons in San Diego. In general, you'll be safe if you select a neutral or warm shade. When in doubt, select a lighter color than you want, because while you can always go darker, removing color isn't always as easy.

Don't Color Outside the Line

Stains on your scalp and hairline are a red (or brunette or blonde) flag signaling that your color came from a bottle. To avoid telltale dye from splattering onto your face, apply Vaseline or Aquaphor around your hairline. Reserve a button-down shirt or robe and a couple of old towels to your hair color sessions so you don't ruin any good clothes! And if you end up with blotches of dye on your skin, use an oil-based makeup remover to break down and wipe off the pigment.

Don't Apply Dye All at Once

Spreading the color from roots to tips all at once may seem like the logical approach, but that's exactly the wrong thing to do. "If you cover your whole head for the full processing time, you'll end up with a very inky color," says Ian McCabe, master colorist at Nival Salon and Spa in Chevy Chase, Maryland. "Natural-looking hair color means the ends should be slightly lighter, so when retouching color, pull color through the ends only for the last five minutes of processing." Brunettes should especially make sure their ends are a bit lighter — to prevent the dark color from overwhelming their complexion.

Don't Cover Gray With One Shade

If you're covering gray, you may need two different colors. "Gray roots are like an entirely different canvas that may not take to color the same way as the rest of your hair," says McCabe. "For example, a redhead may end up with pink roots and red ends if she uses the same box of color on both areas." Use a deeper shade on gray roots to better blend your hue and create a subtle color variation that looks more natural. You may also want to experiment with demi-permanent hair color on roots, which fades slowly, after about 30 washes, and doesn't require the commitment of a permanent hair color.

Don't Just Wash and Go

The way you treat your hair the 48 hours after you color it can have a significant impact on your results. "Water and color are not friends, in the sense that water fades color, and hot water furthers the problem by opening the cuticle, so rinse with cooler water," advises McCabe. Immediately apply a conditioning mask to replenish moisture lost during coloring, and leave it on for 20 minutes. Refrain from washing your hair for 48 hours after coloring so the pH level of the strands can be rebalanced and natural oils can build up again. Washing sooner can prematurely fade color and cause severe breakage of strands because the hair is weakened just after being dyed.

5 Common Hygiene Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Do you need to shower every day? Wash your hands with scalding-hot water? Here's the dirt, according to health experts.

Which Collagen Sources Should You Try?

From powders and gummies to foods and topicals, here’s a list of collagen sources ranked from best to worst.

Potentially Toxic Chemicals Called PFAS Are Common in Cosmetics, Study Finds

Lab tests suggest that more than half of cosmetics sold in the United States and Canada may contain high levels of the chemical. U.S. legislators recently...

6 Places You're Missing When You Apply Sunscreen

No matter how thorough your SPF routine, these are the spots experts say are often overlooked.

Ask a Castle Connolly Top Doctor: How Aging and Gravity Affect Your Skin

A renowned plastic surgeon, recognized as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor, discusses the factors that affect our skin’s appearance, and how patients can ...

California Bans 24 Toxic Chemicals From Personal-Care Products: What to Know

A bellwether state for federal efforts, California just became the first in the nation to ban certain chemicals from cosmetics and personal-care ingredients...

What Are the Benefits of Fish Oil for Your Hair?

Eating more whole fish with omega-3 fatty acids may help strengthen your tresses, but there’s limited evidence that fish oil pills will do the same.

Read more on: hair, beauty