You know that you should practice self-care, but when you’re in the throes of parenthood, sometimes it’s just not possible to get those extra hours (or even minutes) to make it happen. Still, as you’re helping your kiddos brush their teeth, you might get a glimpse of yourself in the bathroom mirror and notice that your roots are really, really visible. And if you don’t have time to hit up your hairdresser, you might think about taking matters into your own hands — literally. But if you’re asking yourself if you should dye your hair at home, there are some things that you might need to know before you break open that drugstore dye box.
Drugstore Dye Might Not Give You The Same Results As A Salon
Unless you have some previous experience with at-home hair dye, dyeing your hair isn’t as simple as it might seem. And unfortunately, it might not give you the same result that you’d get from a salon visit. “Drug store colors do not have the same amount of ammonia and peroxide and will not cover grey 100 percent,” says Patrice Vinci, a movie and celebrity stylist and owner of Patrice Vinci Salon in Boston, MA. “At best it will help blend grey hair and hold you over until your next visit.”
If you have a stylist, you might want to reach out to them ahead of time to see what brands, levels, and shades would work best for you. This benefits both you and your stylist because then they can keep track of what you’ve done to your hair. “Please ask your colorists what they would recommend,” adds Lindsay Loo, a Wella Master Color Expert and hairstylist in NYC. “I know my clients’ formulas and know what I can have them use to ‘push’ their color out and how I can blend it when we return to our time in the chair.”
Sure, it has a strong smell, but hair dye can do more than produce an offensive odor. “Professional hair color has more ammonia and peroxide in it than store bought,” says Loo. “So if it gets in your eyes or mouth by accident, it can be dangerous.” Be sure to take your time with box dye so that it doesn’t accidentally drip onto your forehead or down your face.
Drugstore Dye Isn’t Easy To Wash Out
After you dye your hair at home, don’t assume that you can slip into the shower to wash all that dye out, either. “Washing permanent color out has to be done in an extremely thorough way,” adds Vinci. “We train our salon assistants for weeks, often months, on how to shampoo color out correctly. If any color is left on the scalp it can lead to irritation and burning, and worse if someone has an allergic reaction.”
Drugstore Dye Can Cause Streaking
It also isn’t enough to dump the dye on your head and hope for the best. You’ll have to see where previous color has been placed to steer clear of giving yourself zebra stripes, says Vinci. “The application is complicated although it looks easy, and you have to be careful not to overlap color which creates bands that will have to be fixed by a professional,” she says. So if you have more than one color in your hair (like a balayage effect), you might want to avoid dyeing your hair at home altogether.
Here’s What You Can Use To Color Your Hair Instead Of Drugstore Dyes
For many moms, seeing the roots is the, well, root of wanting to dye your hair at home. If you’re seeing your natural hair color coming in at the root and want it to match the rest of your hair, you can opt for colored root sprays, suggests Vinci. “Root sprays work great, come in all colors, and are easy to apply on dried hair.” All you need to do is aim and spray on desired areas to cover grey hair. Vinci suggests using Oribe and Rita Hazan for root coverage.
And no matter what color roots you’re rocking, there are alternatives to using hair dye if can’t commit to one color. “You can use hair powders, tinted mousse, temporary color (comes in a lipstick like or mascara applicator), or dry powders,” adds Loo. These options can work so that you don’t find yourself in a hairy situation.
With so many potential problems with dyeing your hair at home, there are also benefits to using boxed hair dye, too. “Drug store colors are also easier for clients to apply themselves at home, most are liquid in form and easier to wash out,” adds Vinci. Since they’re designed for non-professionals to use at home, some might even come with their own shampoo to make washing out the dye easier.
Still, if you’re determined to dye your hair at home, this is what you need to know, depending on the current color of your hair.
Here’s How To Color Your Hair If You’re Blonde
Blonde hair can be one of the most difficult shades to dye at home. Whether you want to manage your current shade or go lighter (or darker), you might inadvertently do some damage to your locks. “Whether you are a highlight, double process, balayage and everything in-between when it comes to lightener, this one you have to leave to the experts,” Loo says. But that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with greys, either. “To make your blonde look its best, both warm and cool toned, get a shampoo and conditioner that will keep your hair tonally maintained until you can get to the salon,” she says. One of Loo’s favorites: Davines Alchemic System, which works to brighten and intensify your color.
Here’s How To Color Your Hair If You’re A Redhead
Gingers might find the same challenges that blondes would when trying to dye their hair at home. “Like blondes, I wouldn’t recommend coloring your roots in between unless you intended to stay red for at least over a year,” says Loo. If you’re planning to stay red for the long haul, then you can consider using drugstore dye, but as Loo points out: “Red is the color that can be quite challenging to remove from the hair if you do decide you don’t want to be a redhead anymore.” For root coverage, you can use a semi-permanent color (like Wella colorcharm Demi Permanent Cream Hair Color) that allows for easy corrections if need be.
Here’s How To Color Your Hair If You’re A Brunette
Of all the hair colors, brunettes fair the best when using hair dye. While you can let your roots grow in, you can also use product that will mask and maintain tone to tide you over for a while. The Great Cover Up by Madison Reed works to cover gray roots and can even fill in brows, too.
Of course, getting your hair done at a salon by a professional can be the best choice. But when you need to dye your hair at home, be sure to take your time and follow all the steps carefully. That way, you can cover up your roots and avoid a truly hair-raising situation.