Yasmeen Sewnarain
3 minute read
23 Jun 2020
10:08 am

Expert advice on how to dye your hair at home if you’re still scared to visit a salon

Yasmeen Sewnarain

Put the applicator down and read this first. We found expert advice on how to safely dye your hair at home.

Picture: iStock

If you prefer to stay home and take the do-it-yourself approach when it comes to colouring your hair, there are a few things you need to know first.

Hairstylist and owner of Hello Hair Fourways Tamsyn Reynolds, who has over a decade of local and international experience, provides some tips on how to dye your hair at home like a pro.

Is it safe to colour your hair at home?

Reynolds recommends doing a patch test 24 hours prior to application if you have suffered from any allergies to hair colour in the past.

Mix a small amount of the colour and developer then apply behind your ear. If you don’t get a reaction within 24 hours, you’re good to go.

“Another great way to ensure safety is to ask your stylist to mix up your usual shade for home application, that way you know you are using a product you’ve tested beforehand.

“We, for example, are charging half our usual rate for a colour kit. That way you are guaranteed professional results, along with a consult.”

Picture: iStock

Pick the perfect shade

Reynolds says to imagine your hair on a scale from 1 to 10 – level 1 is black, 5 is medium brown and 10 is white. Anything higher than level 5 is light brown to blonde, and lower is dark brown to black.

“An important thing to know is that box shades are typically warmer than you think. So if you prefer a more natural shade without the red or gold reflect try and choose a shade with a cooler reflect.”

She suggests looking out for words such as A/1, cool and frosted, or playing it safe by going for a natural level 5.

Another tip is to choose a shade that’s slightly darker when applying permanent colour, and a shade lighter for semi-permanent colour.

Keep your skin clean

The trick to preventing dye from staining your skin is to create a barrier on your hairline.

“We use coconut oil to line our client’s skin before we apply colour so it doesn’t absorb into the skin and stain. You can do the same thing at home using coconut oil or Vaseline.”

Picture: iStock

Should your hair be clean or dirty?

In her experience, Reynolds says hair with a thick layer of oil might not absorb the colour as well, so dye your hair within two or three days of washing it instead of a week.

Application tips

Reynolds suggests the following tips to achieve salon-worthy results:

Buy two boxes if your hair is long or thick. Curly hair also tends to absorb colour quicker.

Sit somewhere where you can easily wipe off any mess you may make.

Cut a circle in a bin bag and place it over your head to protect your clothes.

Section your hair for a better canvas to apply to.

Focus mainly on your hairline and parting.

Picture: iStock

If you’re only touching up your roots, don’t put too much dye over the line of your previous colour as this can create colour lines.

Don’t twist your hair into a bun – rather let it hang down until the timer is up to avoid patchiness.

Emulsify the product: add some water to your hair before rinsing, then massage your roots and hairline. Shampoo as usual.

Always condition after you’ve coloured because it’s important to seal your cuticles that have been left open by the developer.

Take the pressure off as some of you are doing this for the first time. No one will notice if it’s not 100%.


  • Address: 42 Witkoppen Rd, Fourways, Sandton
  • Instagram: @hellohairfourways
  • Website: www.hellohair.co.za

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