A Basic Guide To Hair Dye


If you are courageous enough to dye your own hair–kudos. It is an enormous undertaking. It can also be bit scary the first time. But if you follow our steps, you’ll achieve the results you desire and won’t come out of it with green hair (unless that’s what you’re aiming for!).

Research is key.

You need to have a basic understanding of the different types of hair dye and how they can chemically alter your hair. The four most common types of dye are:

  • Permanent: Permanent hair dye contains strong chemicals, such as ammonia or peroxide, to penetrate your hair cuticle and deposit the color. While it’s results aren’t actually permanent, they do last longer than any alternatives.
  • Semi-Permanent: Semi-permanent hair color contains less ammonia (sometimes none at all) than permanent, and is gentler on your strands.
  • Demi-Permanent: Ammonia free, demi-permanent hair color deposits the color on the outside of your cuticle and doesn’t penetrate the hair shaft. You have to re-apply frequently to keep the wanted results.
  • Bleach: Also known as an oxidizer, bleach is the only way to achieve light colored hair (unless it’s natural). It basically “strips” the pigment from your hair, so that hair color can be deposited. It is the most invasive form of dye, and should only be administered with caution. It will leave your hair dry and brittle if you’re not careful.

Determine if your hair is healthy enough.

Under no circumstances should you ever dye damaged hair. This is because, unless you’re using henna or natural dye, hair dye in itself is damaging. The strong chemicals penetrate your cuticle and reduce your hair’s elasticity. Your hair is never as strong post-dye, therefore you need to start with healthy hair. If your hair snaps easily when combing or brushing, that is a sign of a compromised hair shaft.You should put off dyeing until your hair is in better condition.

Choose your perfect shade and brand.

Everyone is different, and therefore will process hair color differently. You must first determine your natural color to figure out how dye will effect your hair. There are also other factors involved such as skin tone, undertones, eye color, and wardrobe.

How to apply hair dye:

  • Do a strand test.
    Once you apply the dye all over your head, there is no going back. Even if you rinse it right away, your hair will have been chemically altered. So, make sure start with a strand test to see how your hair will react to the dye. Take a small section of hair and apply the dye as advised. Wait the allotted time and see if you like how the color is processing. This is also the time to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction to the dye.
  • Follow all of the instructions.
    Most experts advise against using “box” dye. This is because that box dyes are formulated to work on the masses and it’s better to get a custom color mixed by a professional. Whichever route you decide to take, follow the instructions completely, exactly as they are written. There will be special instructions for previously dyed hair, virgin hair, etc.

Make sure you maintain your newly-dyed hair.

As stated earlier, dyed hair is more prone to damage. Once your hair has been dyed, you must use shampoo and conditioner designed for color treated hair–they are sulfate-free and help aid against fading. But don’t shampoo your hair right away! Wait a couple of days to make sure your dye has set and will not wash out with a quick shampoo. You may also want to consider limiting heat styping in order to prolong your hair’s health.

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Kendi is a city girl living in a country girl’s body. She’s a Journalism Major who hopes to land a job with an online magazine post-graduation. In the meantime, Kendi is trying her hand at freelance writing. When she's not tapping away at a keyboard, she’s probably laughing at her own jokes, singing off-key, and obsessing over Harry Styles.

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