At-home hair dyes… Yay or Nay?

December 3rd, 2014


Truthfully, I have a very love-hate relationship with dying my hair.  On one hand, I love my blonde color and think that blonde hair fits my personality. 

But, oh my gosh… the ups and downs of maintaining that color sometimes make me crazy.

I’ve had a back-and-forth relationship with dying my hair since midway through college, when I discovered the hair dye aisle of CVS and didn’t look back for about two years.  In those two years, my hair went from purple-black to bright orange, depending on the month.

And if you’re currently thinking, “Hmm, this story sounds fishy.  ‘Purple-black’ and ‘bright orange’ don’t actually sound like particularly attractive hair colors.”

Well, you would be right.  They were not.

But, hey, how was I supposed to know?  I’d grab a kit off she shelf, pay for it, and go home and slather it on my entire head, like it was a bottle of shampoo — and, not surprising, when I’d rinse the color out, my hair would be flat and one-dimensional.

Eventually, I got sick of it: my hair never quite looked right, so I dyed my hair back to what I best remembered as my natural color and left it alone for a while, until all the dyed parts eventually naturally grew out.

And for about two more years, I was back to my natural brunette.  No at-home color kits, no trips to the salon.

And then… I started itching to dye again. 

I started thinking… about going blonde.

And you see that photo above?

That photo, right there, is my first shot as a blonde on Sugarlaws.

Looks pretty good, right?  See, this time, I had my hair color done by a professional.  And, not surprisingly, it made a huge difference.  The shade of blonde in the photo above was completely different from anything I’d had before — natural and full of depth and tone. 

And now, apparently, I know why. 

The answer is below (that’s me, the first time I highlighted my hair):


See, in that picture, you can see clearly that the colorist is using a different treatment for the roots and the lengths of my hair, which is how salons color hair.  But those at-home kits?  They just use a single treatment for your whole head, which is why your color ends up flat and wig-like. 

It makes sense, right?  Your roots (which are new, undyed hair) take in color completely differently from the lengths of your hair, which have probably been colored dozens of times.  So when you’re coloring your hair, you have to treat them differently.

But one thing I don’t love about salon-colored hair?  It’s pricey and time-consuming.  It can’t be done at 9pm when the baby is finally asleep, which is pretty much my only free time these days.  On the other hand, when I think about that head of orange hair from my college days, I’m still nervous to try at-home kits again. 

So that’s where I am now: I’d like to try an at-home kit, but I’m nervous about the results.  I wish I could get salon techniques at home, particularly being able to treat the roots and lengths separately, when I color my hair at home.

I want to hear from you guys: Do you color your hair yourself, or do it at the salon?  Any at-home coloring tips for me? 

Tags: hair · sponsored

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 C // Dec 3, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    What I do is dye it at home myself 2-4 times, and then go to the salon to get it done well and cover any possible home-done damage, and then the cycle continues (kind of the same thing w/ my eyebrows…have a pro thread them a few times a year, but maintain with a tweezer myself in between). I find it works for me…worst thing happens, you color it at home, it’s horrible, and you go to the salon the next day to fix it, no biggie! hehe

  • 2 Amy // Dec 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Be careful! I tried foil highlighting my own natural light brown hair after years of professionally getting it foiled. I was just going to do a bit here and there to brighten it up,but unbeknownst to me, I was “overlapping” the sections already dyed (I thought I was only getting new growth, but apparently not). After 2-3 times foil highlighting on my own, my hair began to break off around the front, which were the pieces I was highlighting. I think dying your hair on your own (strictly using dye, not bleach) is fine, but DO NOT attempt to highlight with foils and bleach to achieve blonde highlights on your own. It SEEMS good proof and the initial affect is nice, but ultimately, you don’t know what you are doing with that bleach and may end up really damaging already fragile hair. So no to at home foil highlights…I’ve been trying to grow out what kind of looks like a mullet now with all my broken pieces.

  • 3 Stacy Dill // Dec 3, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I have been dyeing my hair at home for YEARS. However, I do not lighten. Regardless, here is my advice for whatever it is worth: Get a professional dye job three times/year or quarterly. Time it with a good cut or trim. Ideally make it a pampering day out for you ( and a friend, maybe?). In the interim, at home just do the roots. Use excellent hair products and occasionally or as your hair requires use oils: coconut, olive, argan) on the ends primarily.

  • 4 Sunski // Dec 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I’ve been highlighting my hair at home for the last couple of years – previously having had it done professionally – but now trying to save money.  I’ve had really good luck with Clairol’s Frost & Tip kits.  The kits include a plastic cap and a sort of crochet hook-type-thing that you use for pulling strands through the cap.  You apply the color to the outside of the cap, so only that hair gets colored. 

    Over time, I can start to get too blond – highlights on top of highlights.  Then I buy just the highlighting caps from amazon and use them to create lowlights instead, using a dye close to my natural color.

    Caveat: I think this works for me because I’m just adding lighter blond highlights to my already dark blond hair.  If you want all over your head to be a different color than it currently is, my method doesn’t work.

  • 5 rob van heeckeren van brandsenburg // Dec 15, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    helloo ladys

  • 6 Caitlin // Jan 1, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Years ago, when I started coloring my hair frequently I switched over to Naturtint (available at Whole Foods) to avoid the nasty chemicals and damaging ammonia in most hair colors. An unexpected bonus was that the natural color has much more dimension then standard box colors. I’m sure this depends on your natural highlights and hair color, but I’m impressed with the look of all the colors I’ve tried from that particular brand. Sidenote: due to the lack of ammonia I am not sure if you can lighten hair with these products! I was always transitioning from brunette to red and various other brown tones.

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