Home hair dye

Home Hair Dye Hacks You Need To Know

Published 25th May 2021
Share this post

With hairdressers across the country having closed their doors for months during the national lockdown, many of us have picked up box hair dye and settled into the bathroom to colour our own locks instead, but do you always get the right results? Regardless of whether you’ve become an at-home hair dye convert or you’ve had your fair share of colour catastrophes, we’ve assembled some top home hair dye tips to help perfect your hair colouring process.

From taking the time to do a strand test to bleaching your hair without compromising the strength of your luscious locks, our hair care hacks are chock-full with helpful tips and tricks for achieving a salon-quality colour. So, prepare to wave goodbye to bleach baths that leave you with brassy streaks and box hair dye jobs that give you lack-lustre locks, we discover how you can avoid all kinds of common hair dye disasters without paying salon-worthy prices!

Always start with a sensible strand test

strange of hair

Before you get carried away with crafting your new ‘do, we highly recommend doing a strand test to give you an inkling of what’s to come! Simply take a small (and inconspicuous!) section of hair from the back of your head and apply your chosen dye. Ensure it’s fully saturated to prevent unsightly banding and leave it for the required developing time to transform your locks.

While this can make the process of colouring your hair even longer, it’s a sensible step that can stop disaster from striking and affecting your whole head. Particularly important if you have damaged, previously dyed, or grey hair, a strand test can prevent you from causing irreversible damage - especially if you’re using a permanent hair dye. Not only will testing a strand of your hair give you an idea of the finished look, but it’ll also give you an opportunity to test for potential allergic reactions to the ingredients in the dye.

Even if you’ve used the same brand or shade of hair dye previously, doing a strand test each time you colour your hair at home is the safest way to begin the process as the list of ingredients are always changing in these home kits. Alternatively, try doing a patch test with your hair dye by placing a small amount of the solution behind your ear or on your inner elbow. If any irritation or negative side effects occur within the next 24 to 72 hours, avoid using the product completely.

Take some time to prep your salon

prepare your hair salon

While this next home hair dye hack isn’t directly related to your hair, it certainly makes a huge difference when it comes to enjoying and correctly following the process. Before you empty out the contents of the hair dye box, you’ll need to transform and protect your bathroom, throw on some old clothes/cover your current outfit, and ensure you have everything you need to update your hair colour.

By way of illustrating, you’ll need to be able to see the back of your head with ease while sectioning and dyeing the hair to achieve the best colouring results. If you don’t have a willing friend or family member on hand, then you’ll need to position yourself between two mirrors. Ideally, at least one of the mirrors should be adjustable to help you find the most comfortable angle. This way, you’ll be able to look forward to see the back of your head without straining or having to guess that you’ve used enough hair dye in the right areas.

This will help to prevent patches of uneven colour and make the whole process much smoother! Not to mention, covering your bathroom floor with an old towel can also help to reduce the amount of cleaning required after you’ve finished. Typically, box hair dye is applied using an applicator bottle which can be messy if you choose to use it directly on your hair. Especially important if you’re dyeing your hair a darker colour, some hair dyes can be incredibly frustrating to remove and, in some cases, can even leave stains!

Pay extra attention to your ends

split ends

Typically, the ends of your hair have suffered the most, so it’s important to take good care of them - especially when you’re using box hair dye to refresh your roots! Regardless of whether this damage has been caused by constant hair colouring or heat from your hair dryer, straightener, or curling wand, these ends often have higher porosity which causes them to hold onto more moisture, unlike your fresh, ‘virgin’ roots.

The porosity of your hair matters because, during the dyeing process, these porous ends will retain more of the colour, often leaving them darker than the rest of your hair. To stop this from happening when topping up your roots, we suggest lathering your ends in an abundance of conditioner. Not only will the nourishing conditioner help to strengthen any fragile ends, but it’ll also prevent them from soaking up excess colour as you transform your roots.

If you want to apply colour to the ends of your hair as well as the roots, it’s widely recommended that you leave some of the colour until the end after tackling the majority of your head. Simply mix this with two squirts of shampoo to dilute the solution, apply to the ends, and leave it to develop for just a few minutes before you wash out all the hair dye. The best way to achieve an even hair colour, the porous ends will quickly absorb the colour, leaving behind stunning shine and plenty of pigment before they over-develop and become too dark. Plus, the minimal amount of hair dye ensures it won’t cause breakages or long-lasting damage to your weak ends for healthy and good-looking hair!

Bleaching? Leave the roots ‘til last

hair roots bleaching

Now we’ve covered how to dye your ends, it’s time to tackle the tricky roots! Unlike the porous ends of your hair, roots are right next to your head, which means the heat from your scalp can speed up the bleaching process. Many professional hairdressers use techniques like foils and steamers to optimise the effect of the hair dye by trapping heat and opening up the hair cuticle for better absorption.

At home, you can do this with nothing more than a hair dryer and a foil covering! However, the issue commonly referred to as ‘hot roots’ can occur when you bleach all your hair at the same time. While it may be tempting to start with the roots and continue down the length of your hair, this method is risky if you’re trying to become a blonde bombshell! So, if you’re trying to figure out how to dye your hair evenly with roots, you’re in the right place!

As previously outlined, the roots develop faster, which means inexperienced home hair-dyers run the risk of being left with bright blonde roots but darker mids and ends if the colour is applied at the same time. To achieve an even hair colour, you should therefore wait to transform those roots until you’ve covered the midsection of your hair. If you have particularly weak or damaged ends, you should also leave the hair dye to develop for a very short period of time on this part of the hair, too.

Keep up with your hair care routine

hair routine

A step that many hair dye enthusiasts forget is the aftercare! Once you’ve achieved a glorious, healthy colour, you’ll want to retain that healthy shine and eye-catching pigment for as long as possible! One way to do this is to wash your hair as infrequently as possible to stop the colour from quickly fading. If you choose to dye your hair a brighter colour such as red, orange, or blue, occasional washing will help to slow down the inevitable fading process that can leave you locks looking lacklustre. For those days when your hair's a little on the dirty side, try using a dry shampoo instead of going the whole hog in the shower. A simple way to combat greasiness, add a bit of body, and freshen up your locks, dry shampoo is the perfect in-between product to protect your colour and keep you looking glorious. 

Alternatively, you could also use specially formulated shampoo and conditioner that’s been specifically designed to help lock in your new colour. Conditioner is incredibly important to this process, as it forms a protective barrier that prevents the hair dye from washing out. Many home box dyes come complete with a small tube or packet of conditioner that they always suggest using immediately after you wash out the hair dye.

Another way to keep your home hair dye job from looking faded is to look after the condition of your cuticles. Regardless of whether this means religiously using a heat protector spray or switching your hairdryer to blow out cool air instead of hot air, there are many simple products and steps you can take to add much-needed strength and shine to your hair. From moisturising hair oils to deep conditioners, there’s a huge range of hair treatments that are suitable for maintaining your new hair colour.

Don’t forget to protect your skin!

protect your skin hair dye

Finally, if you frequently dye your hair, try putting conditioner around your hairline to protect your skin. Not only will this stop dark shades of box hair dye from staining your skin, but it’ll also prevent bleach from irritating the sensitive skin on your face for a far more enjoyable experience. Plus, it’s also a good idea to have some baby wipes or face wipes on hand to help further tidy up the hairline and wipe away any excess dye once you’ve finished. 

By following our hair care hacks when updating your hair colour, you’ll be able to achieve a professional-standard finish without paying those premium salon prices. Although using hair dye at home may require more time and effort on your part, having healthy and gorgeous-looking hair is certainly worth dedicating more time towards perfecting your home hair dyeing method. For more top tips on colouring your hair at home, check out our dedicated selection of hair dye guides and blogs. Packed with all the info (and inspo!) you need to get your hair colour journey underway, you’ll be rocking a brand new look in no time at all! 

With lockdown restrictions easing, how will your locks look?

Share this post
Delivery Address

Sign in to view all of your delivery addresses


Enter your delivery address


Wait! You've left
something behind...

You'll only get instant Cashback at OnBuy! Enter your email below and we'll send you a copy of your basket to save you time later.

No thanks, I'm alright for now

By entering your email address, you'll automatically be added to our database, where you can enjoy personalised Cashback offers and early access to our best deals. You can opt out of our emails at any time and we'll never share your details with anyone. Check our Privacy Policy and T&Cs to find out more.


Before you go...
Remember, you'll only get instant Cashback on everything at OnBuy!

Want access to personalised offers and the highest Cashback rates? Sign up to our emails below.

No thanks, I'm alright for now

You can opt out of our emails at any time and we'll never share your details with anyone. Check our Privacy Policy and T&Cs to find out more.

This page has expired.

Please refresh the page to continue shopping.

Refresh and continue