7 Tips for Avoiding Mishaps with Your at-Home Hair Color Kit ...

Using an at-home hair color kit is my preferred choice, simply because I rarely have the time or the urge to spend the money on a salon treatment. I know, I know; stylists advise against this, but the truth is that if you're careful and skilled, you can still end up with a gorgeous color. You may need a friend and it's entirely possible that, if you're not used to coloring your own hair, you'll have a little faux pas every now and then. Still, if you follow these tips, you'll avoid any mishaps with your at-home hair color kit, save some money, and get to enjoy a stunning head of hair.

1. Buy More than One Box

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Here I speak from experience, but let me say that it depends on you, your hair, and what you know about it's behavior. I've got thick hair, so even when it's short, I generally need two boxes of color. Full disclosure: after not coloring my hair for a year, I recently went red for autumn, and because I've got a short bob, I decided one box would be enough. It was not, I ended up with a slight cheetah print – all because I didn't trust my knowledge of my hair. If you don't end up needing both boxes, don't worry – you'll have it for root touch-ups. Just cover your bases, so you won't have to run out for a second at-home hair color kit with a hat covering your hair.

2. Choose Your Shade Wisely

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Experimenting with your hair color is lots of fun, but you still need to choose your shade wisely. If you're a blondie dying to go red, that's awesome – just pick a shade that complements your skin tone and eye color. Think about those colors that rarely look good on anyone, too – like burgundy. I once had to lie to a close family member and tell her that burgundy suited her, but it didn't. Don't put people in that position; choose something that makes you look gorgeous, no matter what color spectrum you want.

3. Know Exactly What You Need

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You need lots of things to successfully color your hair. More than one box, gloves, cream rinse or Vaseline, brushes and foil if you're doing highlights. Doing your hair at home is kind of like cooking, in that it's a good idea to have all your ingredients handy before you start. You don't want to get stuck without something important.

4. Have Some Skills (or Use a Friend's)

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If you're doing your own highlights or lowlights, you'll probably want a second person to help. That way, you have a second pair of eyes making sure that you're all lined up and even. All-over coloring requires some skill as well, so you can get every single strand. You don't want to miss your roots or some pieces underneath. It might be best if you have a friend cover your tracks. At the very least, you need two strategically placed mirrors.

5. Slather Those Roots (Sometimes)

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Speaking of your roots, slather them good – most of the time. When you're doing all-over color, make sure you get your roots and your hairline, especially around your ears and temples. Remember, however, that with something like highlights, you have to leave some space, usually a quarter-inch or so, rather than applying the color directly on the roots.

6. Protect Everything

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Remember the cream rinse and Vaseline thing? You need something to smear around your hairline and the back of your neck. That will keep drips, dribbles, and smears of dye from staining your skin. However, you need to protect everything else as well, especially if you have nice walls or floors. Throw down some towels or newspapers, and cover your shoulders with a towel, too. Never dye your hair wearing any clothing you really like either.

7. Don't Wash

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When you dye your hair dirty, the color sticks better. It adheres to the natural oils in your hair, which makes for a more vibrant color. You don't have to go days without washing your hair; you can even apply it the night after an early morning shower. Just don't try to dye squeaky clean hair if you want really vivid results.

Of course you don't have to go the DIY route; if you enjoy getting your hair done professionally, go to it! However, if you're lacking cash or time, don't be afraid of the hair color aisle; those boxes can work just as well if you're careful. What do you prefer, visiting your salon or using an at-home color kit?

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