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Everything you need to know about dyeing your hair for the first time

Top five things we wish we’d known!

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Switching up your color for the first time can be intimidating, whether you're going for a bold new look or a subtle change. With so many colors and techniques available, making the best decision for your hair might become overwhelming. For many of us, making any change to our appearance takes a lot of consideration.

But it doesn't have to be a scary experience. With some preparation and our list of tips and tricks for dyeing your hair for the first time, you can achieve the hair of your dreams in no time.

Here are the things we wish we'd known before, during, and after dyeing our hair.

How to know what color to dye your hair

Before dyeing your hair, choosing your color is one of the first and most important steps, and we have a few tips that can help you pick the perfect shade.

Know your skin tone

Understanding your skin tone can help you pick the ideal shade for your new look.

In a nutshell, cool skin tones suit cool ashy hair colors, warm skin tones look best in warm hair colors (like golden blondes), and if you’ve got a neutral skin tone, most hair colors will suit you (lucky you!).

You can get an idea of your skin tone by looking at the veins on the inside of your wrist - blue veins indicate a cool undertone, while green veins indicate a warm undertone. See both? You’re most likely neutral.

Still unsure? There are other methods you can use to determine your skin tone and pick your perfect color.

Understand your natural color

You might want to switch up your dark brown locks for a beautiful platinum blonde look. Just keep in mind that your natural hair color will play a big role in how quickly you are able to achieve your dream hair.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't take the plunge but make sure to follow our pre and post-dye tips for the best hair transformation results.

Test before you dye

Always do an allergy test 48 hours before you dye. Don’t worry, it’s easy to do!

  1. 1. Mix small, equal amounts of color and activator into a non-metallic bowl with a plastic spoon.
  2. 2. Apply a small amount of the mixture with a cotton ball or swab to the inside of your arm near the bend of your elbow.
  3. 3. Allow to dry and do not wash off over the next 48 hours.
  4. 4. If a rash, redness, swelling, burning or itching occurs, you may be having an allergic reaction. Stop using the product.

It’s also worth doing a strand test after your patch test. Just take a section from the underside of your hair and color it. Let it process for the full time on the instructions, rinse and blow dry – so you know if you love the color - or not!

Prepare to dye your hair

Once you've chosen your color, it's time to start preparing. Here are a few things everyone should know before dyeing hair at home (like how to avoid getting hair dye all over our furniture).

Dye on dry hair

Celebrity hair colorists recommend dyeing your hair when it is completely dry.

In fact, you should avoid a hair wash altogether for 24 hours before you start the dyeing process. This allows your scalp to create enough natural oils to protect it from any hair coloring-related damage. But just in case, be sure to read the instructions in the box since certain brands may require damp hair.

Get everything ready before you start

Being prepared definitely helps the hair dyeing process run a lot smoother. We like making a list of the most important things we need to grab before we start coloring our hair. On our checklist, we’ve always got:

  • • A mirror so you can check the back of your head and avoid missing any hard-to-see spots.
  • • Wipes are super useful to have on hand. If you accidentally get dye on your skin (don't worry, it happens to all of us), you should wipe it off ASAP before it sets. 
  • • Vaseline or any thick lip balm is perfect for protecting your skin. Apply it along your hairline on your forehead, ears, and neck.
  • • Towels or plastic bags to protect your floors from staining.
  • • Disposable gloves can help protect your hands while applying the dye and rinsing the color off.
  • • Two boxes of color (if you’ve got long hair, one box might not be enough). The last thing you want is to run out of dye midway through the process. And if you don't end up using the second box, you can always keep it for next time.

Don’t dye your hands, your clothes (or your hairline!)

After we've gathered everything, it is almost time to start dyeing our hair. With your checklist ready, don’t forget to:

  • • Wear plastic gloves (these often come with the hair dye).
  • • Cover your clothes (put on a towel or a plastic apron) or wear an old t-shirt.
  • • Put Vaseline around your hairline to reduce any dye on your skin.

Dye your hair like a salon professional

Now you can finally start the hair dyeing process! Follow our top tips for the best results:

  1. 1. Make sure to gently comb all your hair. Even a tiny knot can be difficult to untangle once you've already started dyeing your hair. 
  2. 2. Section your hair into four parts and start with one of the front sections to maximize color processing time.
  3. 3. First time coloring? Use the application method in the leaflet for first time colorers. If you’ve colored before, then follow the roots then wait method.
  4. Rinse with just water. Avoid overwashing your hair, and switch out your regular shampoo for color-protecting shampoo. You might also want to stock up on hair products made for color-treated hair.

Maintain your hair "post-dye"

To max out the lifespan of your hair color, choose a color-protecting shampoo and conditioner, use hair masks (once a week) and avoid too much heat (too warm water or heated hair appliances). It is also best to avoid heavy sun exposure. For UV protection, wear a hat or cover your hair when you're outside.

Washing your hair with lukewarm or cold water is a great way to ensure your new color doesn't wash out. Adding dry shampoo to your hair care routine is also a quick fix for when you run out of color-protecting shampoo.

For healthy hair, it’s also worth thinking about just coloring your roots next time and not your full head to avoid over-processing your hair – our Root-Touch Up product is super easy to use and gives great, natural results.

Looking for more tips on maintaining your color post-dye? Keep your color fresh with Color Gloss Up, or discover how to correct your color post-dye.

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