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Coloring Hair at Home

Category Coloring
When dyeing hair there are a number of things to keep in mind so you get the results you want. This guide is about coloring hair at home.
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Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

January 13, 20125 found this helpful

I tie a plastic bag around my hair instead of using a shower cap when I dye my hair. Since bags are free, I don't buy shower caps anymore to let my hair set for 20 minutes when the dye is setting. Also using the plastic grocery bags comes in handy when you are on a trip and forgot the shower cap.

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Just put all your hair on the top of your head, put the bag over it and tie it tight in the bag like we used to tie a scarf over our rollers in the old days. Be creative and use different colors if there is more than one person in the home who will be using them. When done, just pull off, tie shut with all the dye bottles, gloves, and box inside and throw away. No more mess and no more bills for caps.

By Kathy from Jefferson, LA

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February 1, 2010

When coloring my hair I usually use an old towel clipped tight around my neck to keep the color from my shirt. I am a retired beautician and have the plastic apron but they get hot. Here is what I came up with that is way more comfortable and saves a towel.

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Take an old t-shirt, lay it out flat and cut it out like a dickey only longer. I will make my next one the full length of the t-shirt so I can tuck it in the waist of my pants when I go to wash the color out. This one I had to clip to my shirt which worked OK.

Slit the 'dickey' up the back so you can overlap the two edges to adjust to your neck. Place a clip on your shoulder out of the way. Much more comfortable than that tight clip at your neck or that plastic band and you can throw it away or wash it reuse.

Of course you want to cut up the rest of the t-shirt for rags, lint free dust rags. The sleeve fits tight over a broom for gathering cobwebs.

By Latrtatr from Loup City, NE

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By 3 found this helpful
June 3, 2009

First off, it has been years since I last paid someone to color my hair. I have done my own and saved money doing it. But, I needed a way to remind me when I last colored my hair.
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I wear contact lenses and the boxes have a space to write when you have begun wearing new lenses. I decided to put this method to use with my hair coloring. I now write the date I colored my hair on the box front. All I have to do is look in the bathroom cabinet and see whether it is too soon to refresh the color.

I wait from 3-4 weeks depending on how fast my hair grows. See my photo. This works great for me as I always try to keep several boxes on hand since I buy them when I find them on sale.

By Southeastgeorgiapeach from Jesup, GA

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By 4 found this helpful
November 21, 2011

When home coloring your hair, cut a neck hole and arm holes in a large trash bag to protect your clothing.

By Monica from Cortez, CO

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By 4 found this helpful
May 28, 2015

It takes my breath away thinking about how much money we can spend at beauty salons. I stopped going to get my hair dyed years ago. Now I simply buy my own at my local grocery store. I spend a fraction of the amount I used to. Not only that, I don't have to worry about not being able to get a convenient appointment time. :)
Try it, you will not be disappointed. You will also have more money in your piggy bank!

Source: Self

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By 0 found this helpful
September 5, 2007

I have long hair and after making several messes on the floors, walls and countertops when using home hair color, I have two tips that have helped me to keep things neat.
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First, take newspapers and spread them out on the floor and counters, making sure that some of the paper hangs over the edge of the counter. Then you can assemble the coloring materials on top the paper without worrying about spills and accidental glops.

To protect your clothing, make a smock by taking a large leaf and lawn garbage bag, turning it upside down and cutting a crescent in the center for your head, and two on each corner for your arms. Slip it over your head and it will protect your clothing from spills and misses. When you rinse your hair out, lay the bag on the newspaper to let any spills dry and when you are done, fold it up and put it in the cabinet for next time!

By Mary from Ocean Springs, MS

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November 26, 2007

Just got a compliment on my hair color from a professional stylist with whom I shared my use of hydrogen peroxide for highlights and a mixture of red and blonde colored shampoo and conditioner.

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January 2, 2007

Use A Shower Cap When Coloring Hair. I use a thin shower cap - like the kind you get free in motels/hotels to cover my hair when I apply colored shampoo to tint it. (Got that from a hairdresser who did that and put me under the dryer.)

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 1 found this helpful
April 22, 2010

My hairstylist told me I should always use the same type or brand of hair color on my hair. I've been doing my own hair for years and always got whatever the best deal. It was usually free with coupons and sales.

Any suggestions on a brand to stick with? Cost isn't that much of any issue as I am sure I can find whatever brand for a great price.

Thanks.

By Mindy

Answers

Anonymous
April 23, 20100 found this helpful

It depends on what kind of hair color and what color you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to cover gray and lighten or darken? Do you like to use permanent, semi-permanent or demi-permanent?

And, yes, you should stick with the same brand because they are all chemically formulated differently. If you would share more info I would be happy to help you. I was a hairstylist for 35 years and so were both of my parents.

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February 21, 2006

I want to color my hair at home and i noticed on the box it says in BOLD print to apply on dry, unwashed hair.

What if there is gel and hair spray in my hair. It's not a lot, but I am thinking that might hinder the color?

Paula from GA

Answers

By guest (Guest Post)
February 21, 20060 found this helpful

I HAVE BEEN COLORING MY HAIR FOR YEARS. IF YOU HAVE PUT GEL ON IT OR HAIR SPRAY. I ALWAYS WASH AND DRY MY HAIR THEN COLOR IT. THIS HAS ALWAYS WORKED FOR ME. BUT SOMEONE MAY HAVE BETTER ADVISE THAN I ....

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 21, 20060 found this helpful

You are not supposed to wash or brush your hair before you color because it tears up the scalp, and the color is then more likely to cause a rash or bad reaction. It is best if you wash it the night before then color in the morning if that is possible.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 21, 20060 found this helpful

I never wash my hair before I color it and I use hairspray and mousse both in it. I've never had a problem with it not turning out right.

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Anonymous
February 21, 20060 found this helpful

I always did my hair color before I showered and washed my hair as the instructions said (for years) and my hair always came out the color it was supposed to. I shower every day so there was only 1 day build up of the mousse that I use. (I now use aloe for my hair instead of mousse). I would follow the directions......

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 21, 20060 found this helpful

The natural oils on your hair help the dye do its job. Unless you use a lot (and I mean a lot) of gel and hairspray, it won't affect the final results. If your hair is crispy, you should probably brush it beforehand to make it easier to apply the dye.

I've been dying my hair at home (except for a few years during the 1990s boom economy when I got it done at a salon) for more than 20 years.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 21, 20060 found this helpful

You can put the colour over your hair gel and it will work very well because hair colour sticks better to slightly dirty hair. I have been doing my hair for 20 years, so I know for sure it works.

You aren't supposed to wash it beforehand because it washes the oils necessary for the colour to stick well. Also, the colour is supposed to be like a shampoo for your hair and then you condition it afterwards.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 21, 20060 found this helpful

Well, most people here agree not to wash your hair first. Maybe you shouldn't wash it first, but wet it down. When I color my hair I wet it down, wring and comb it out, then apply the dye mixture. I find it spreads into my hair much easier that way and I don't miss anything. I don't have as many tangles to comb out when I'm through and the color always looks fine and lasts. Use your own discretion. Another hint: hair color will adhere more strongly to the ends of your hair because it is more porous. If you don't want your ends to be darker, apply some conditoner to the ends. This will help to even your color out.

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February 21, 20060 found this helpful

My sister is a stylist and dirty dry hair is best, though
not slick and grease-y. My ONE tip from experience
is if your natural hair is brown with reds in it and you
decide to dye your hair DARK BROWN not dark auburn, bronzed brown or anything else ...
DARK BROWN turns hair BLACK. This is my first oops
in the self dye I have had in 20 years of coloring off
and on during the years. My hair looks gothic black,
oh well ...

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February 22, 20060 found this helpful

my stylist always colored my hair if i had hairspray or something in it. my one tip is, if your a dirty blonde, DONT use an ash blonde color. you'll turn green. a nasty looking green at that.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 22, 20060 found this helpful

Hey guys,

Thanks for all the advice. I went ahead like you said and put that color on my unwashed hair. It turned out nice...It really did act like a shampoo and washed away the residue when i put the conditioner that came with the color on it...

THANKS! : )

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 22, 20060 found this helpful

i've done both, coloring at home and had it done in the salon. i don't believe the "advantage" to coloring dirty hair is better color reception, i think that's just a sylist convenience. however, structurally, i do believe in the advice my stlylist gave me re getting the most out of deep conditioners may also apply to colorings: she asked me the following question, " which absorbs more moisture quickly: a dry sponge or a wet sponge?" the answer is a wet sponge b/c it's already prepared to accept moisture. so the advice re pre-wetting your hair prior to coloring is sound. also, on the same logic, the advice re pre-conditioning your ends to avoid them over absorbing the coloring is also sound on the same priciple.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 21, 2017

My hair will not dye and I want it blonde. How can I achieve those results?

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May 25, 2006

I have never colored my hair before but I think I would like to. I want to do it at home with a product that is not permanent. I do not want to have dark roots showing. My hair is dark brown with reddish highlights and I would like to make it a little lighter than what it is now.

Can anyone suggest a GOOD product that won't dry out and ruin my hair and leave my hair with a good color and in nice condition?

Thanks,
Michelle

Answers

By guest (Guest Post)
May 25, 20060 found this helpful

Revlon colorsilk was recommended to me a number of years ago by a professional hairdresser. It is very gentle to my hair which is fine and dry. Hopes this helps

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May 25, 20060 found this helpful

PLease go to a hair supply store like Salleys the ladies will tell you what to buy and how to do it, and it's what the hair salons buy. Trust me on this its the only place i go for hair color.. texascow AT hotmail.com

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 25, 20060 found this helpful

I am a licensed cosmetologist in IL and I would like to let you know that the ladies at Sallys are not usually educated on any hair service. And not very many newer hair stylists use sallys products. There are many more improvements in products at a real beauty supply store open to only professionals who have had extensive training on the use of hair coloring chemicals. They can be very dangerous, storebought or salon use. Please dont put your hair in their hands. You said you wanted to go lighter, but be temporary or semi-permanent so you dont have to live with something u dont like for forever. With a color product like that you cannot lighten, but you can change tone or go darker. A product that will lift the level-degree of lightness or darkness (lighten)-uses peroxide (usually) to remove "your" pigment from the hair shaft. Therefore if you take it out it is not temporary unless you add it back in with a coloring product. It is smarter to go to a salon and explain your needs, but it is definately expensive. If you want I can help you e-mail me at beatyfamily AT charter.net and good luck!

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May 26, 20060 found this helpful

Hi Michelle, I am a salon owner as well as a hairstylist. Trish gave you some good advice, the ladies at Salley's can always help you choose the right product for your hair. What I can tell you is that you can't lighten your hair with a product that isn't permanent and here is why. Any product that has the power to lighten your hair does that by removing the color and once it's gone it's gone. It is a permanent thing until you put a darker color back on. So you could still lighten it a little like you want to do and when you get tired of it you could just darken it back up to your natural color, which wouldn't hurt your hair at all. If you go someplace like Salley they can help you pick the right product to do what you want and the right product to get you back to square one later on. Something I would suggest is maybe doing some highlights to get the lighter color, they grow out nicely without giving those harsh dark roots and you wouldn't necessarily have to bother with darkening it back up later on. If you have any questions you can email me at elainabellarosallini @ yahoo.ca (remove spaces)
Pam

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May 29, 20060 found this helpful

My sis is a licensed cosmo. and I do my own hair.
I use Garnier product found in drug stores or WAlMART. I use a Chestnut brown color very pretty
shade and has not damaged my hair. Follow directions or call the 800 # on the box for more tips/advice. Just keep it conditioned and my one
oops was the time I decided to go DARK brown and
WOW it turned BLACK and did not suit me at all.
I have brown hair and like the Chestnut Brown color
from Garnier or clariol is anothe great one to use.
Good luck have fun and enjoy!

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 15, 20060 found this helpful

I recently bought some offbrand hair color for $1, the every day price at Save a Lot grocery store. The only color it comes in is blonde, but if you are brunette like I am, with lots of grey it worked just fine for me. All it did was lighten it up some and covered the grey hairs which was my goal. I had been paying $3 at Dollar general for hair color, and then lucked onto this. I find none of them last very many weeks anyway, so this at the $1 beats them all.

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April 24, 20060 found this helpful

I have reached the age where I will need to start coloring my hair. I am considering using "Just for Men". One of the FAQs mentions that gloves are supplied to avoid staining the hands. I am bald on top. How do I stop the product from staining my scalp? Also, since I have less hair than the average man, can I use the product for two applications?

I have emailed "Just for Men" twice without a reply so if anyone can recommend an alternate product I will be glad for the advice.

Thank you,
Mark from Indianapolis, Indiana

Answers

By guest (Guest Post)
April 25, 20060 found this helpful

As a woman that has colored my hair for years, I can tell you that it is hard to keep the color stored once you have opened it. With coupons and sales you should be able to get the product for little or nothing.
Also, most of your questions should be able to be answered by phone. The product will have an "800" number to call and even get some coupons for the product. I hope this helps!

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 25, 20060 found this helpful

I have baby fine, short hair. I always threw away more hair color solution than I used. Several years ago I got smart. I realized that the hair color solution doesn't "keep" because the two ingredients have been mixed together! Check the two containers in your haircoloring kits. Although the containers are in different shapes they contain the very same amount of liquid! I screw off the caps ( don't snap off or break off any "tips"...just unscrew the container lid or cap). I have a set of plastic (not metal !) measuring spoons and a small glass (not metal!) bowl that I use. I pour out EQUAL amounts from each bottle (measured in my measuring spoons) into the glass bowl and mix with a plastic spoon. For example...use 2 Tbsp. of color and 2 Tbsp. of activator. Tightly cap the remaining products (unmixed and in their original bottles) and use the next time. I can get three uses out of one kit! Just don't use any metal spoons, bowls etc. when doing this as the metal can have a chemical reaction with the solution and who knows what that might do!!! If you've had your hair colored at a salon......... if you can watch.....your hairdresser will pour an amount of "color" into her applicator bottle from a big bottle......and then add another ingredient I'm calling the activator from another big bottle. This is what you'll be doing too, only your "big" bottles are smaller! :>) I might add that I always used hair color for women, not men, but I assume that the ingredients are the same. The marketing technique is just a little different. Any stray haircolor stain on my skin always comes off when wiped with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol.

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April 25, 20060 found this helpful

I helped a guy I know touch up his hair - & applied some men's gel color sparingly with a toothbrush - and left becoming snowy areas at the temples. Don't think you can totally restore your color, especially if it was dark - you should just touch up - otherwise your hair will look harsh and definitely dyed. The best advice I ever heard about coloring is to do it messily - as no one's real hair color is EVEN. to avoid getting on your skin - apply petroleum jelly to the bald spot and around your face first - & get someone to help you with the top - It is a sort of artistic job & I must say that my effort turned out very well.

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 25, 20060 found this helpful

Wayward haircolor can, frequently, be removed with alcohol on a cotton ball or washcloth.

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April 26, 20060 found this helpful

Clairol is a great product and call the toll free number for expert help.
If you want to try it yourself allow time for this.
If your hair is dark you need to try a shade lighter
however if your hair is naturally dark brown and you
use dark brown it will turn BLACK.
use it sparingly and I use cheapie baby wipes to
keep it off face, neck the new gel colors are great
for keeping mess away.
Becareful hair products can stain walls, sinks and
clothes so have area clean and protected with newspapers. If this is your first color you might
want to try a hair salon then you can get the idea
and tips.
Good luck let us know how this works for you.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 5, 2008

I just dyed my dark brown hair red the other day with Herbal Essence's Deep Red #44. The results turned out rather purple and not the deep red that i was hoping for. The hair color I want is similar to Julianne Moore's. Could you post some recommended hair dye (brand and color) that would work over my first dye job and give me good results?

Hi! from Seattle, WA

Answers

June 5, 20080 found this helpful

You are probably going to have to strip the color out of your hair and then redye it to get rid of the purplish results from your recent colring. I have dark brown hair and when I want to go with a drastic change in my hair color I have to bleach it, then dye it the color I am wanting. There are several brands of both products avaible, look with the hair dye to see what is avaible in your area.

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Anonymous
June 9, 20080 found this helpful

As a retired hairstylist of 30 years, I would suggest you pay a professional to mend your problem and not mess with your hair color on your own again. At this point there is no way for a stranger to help you fix the mix without seeing your hair up close and personal. If you try stripping your hair and re-deposit color on your own without knowing levels, tones, etc., you might well end up with a further horror story :-(

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June 10, 20080 found this helpful

Check out clariol.com or the 800 number. My sister once dyed her hair a strange color and they were the only ones that could help her. It doesn't matter what kind of dye you use, they will help. GOOD LUCK!!

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 23, 20080 found this helpful

My natural hair colour is dark chestnut brown "with natural highlights" (ie. some grey!). At the moment it is a very vibrant 'nuclear red' - think of a stoplight and you are in the right ballpark.

The retired hairdresser here basically gives you the best advice, but for the future, if you want the colour that's on the box and it's lighter than yours, prelighten it and then use a vegetable based colour on top. I'm sure there are better ways than that but that's what I do.

Unfortunately it's not a permanent dye and it's about 3 weeks before I need to do the roots. I get my dye from a website (in the uk) called beeunique.com. their service is excellent btw - and there is also a picture gallery on the site showing you the possible results (including mine!).

All the best

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By 0 found this helpful
April 30, 2017

I colored and conditioned my relaxed hair and all the color came out. What did I do wrong? I used a semi permanent hair color by Clairol and Tresemme conditioner.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 16, 2015

So recently, about a month ago, I got my hair dip dyed blue. I had to use bleach as my hair is naturally a very dark brown. It has now unfortunately turned a weird ash greeny-grey colour and I really want to put a purple on the end of my hair now. I am wondering what product I should use. Would a colour remover work or would I have to go full on bleach to get it back to a light enough colour to put more colour on?
Many thanks.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 19, 2010

My question is about changing black hair to a variegated color of red, dark brown, and very light brown. I read several postings about lightening hair color. But I am not sure the answers fit my question. Do I need to first bleach the hair and then apply different hair colors? What are the easiest ways to achieve the result?

Thank you for helping.

By ZiZi from Boston, MA

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By 0 found this helpful
May 17, 2016

I am naturally a red head and I have been thinking about dyeing my hair. I keep seeing this new trend called opal hair and I'm in love. But my mother says that if I dye my hair it will never grow back to my natural red hair again. She says it happened to my cousin, but I don't know if I should believe her or not. If I dye my hair will it grow back my natural color?
This is a picture of my natural hair, I do have blonde in it from where I bleached it and put purple in my hair just over a year ago.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 6, 2016

I am looking to color my hair dirty blonde, but I am relatively inexperienced. So if someone could tell me what hair color I should use, what technique, and how I should care for my hair after it, it would be great. Thanks.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 5, 2016

Back in November I used a semipermanent hair dye to color the ends of my hair dark turquoise. It is now March and my hair has faded to a kind of greenish color. If I purchase more of the semipermanent dye in dark turquoise will that be all I need to get my ends back to the vibrant color that it was before it faded?

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By 0 found this helpful
September 19, 2015

I tried to go from a dark brunette to blonde using Clairol "born blonde" and the result was blond roots and the remainder is fairly dark orang(ish). I need to fix this asap! Do I need to go to a professional or just reapply the stuff? If I just reapply how long do I wait?
Thanks in advance!

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By 0 found this helpful
August 8, 2015

I started coloring my hair at home and noticed that the box came with gloves that were kind of loose. My question is: What other kind of glove could I use and reuse? Something that would be safe and not rip up my hair? I was thinking of those rubber ones from Playtex? Or would they be too hard on the hair and rip it? Any ideas greatly appreciated.
Thanks.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 4, 2015

I colour my hair at home and it comes out OK. I am colouring to hide grey. I am still on semi permanent. I will evaluate continuing when it stops working for me. I am only doing the roots and I don't get that long before root re-growth. I am using Lorel Casting semi perm. I kept the bottle of mixed product in my cupboard with the intention of doing a little touch up in about 3-4 weeks. Has anyone here tried this or is it dangerous? I don't want to end up with green hair, although that is unlikely as my hair is black, or worse a nasty scalp injury.

Thanks for reading!
X Jen

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March 1, 20150 found this helpful

I have naturally dirty blond hair. I dyed the tips bright red with Kool Aid. I want to dye my hair dark brown with a kit I bought from a local drugstore. I've done some research, so the kit I bought is top rated. Will my tips look weird if I dye them brown?

By E. J.

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February 14, 20150 found this helpful

I'm a dirty blonde that decided to dye my hair pink for Halloween. Now my dark roots are coming out and I want to dye my hair black. I'm afraid that it won't work out naturally. Will I have to bleach it to get it back to its natural blonde in the summer time or will it naturally come out?

By wild flower

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December 12, 20140 found this helpful

It has been 2 weeks and my roots are starting to show. Is it safe to reuse the remaining hair dye?

By JLH

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By 0 found this helpful
October 11, 2017

I had blonde highlights and I dyed my hair dark brown from a box hair dye, but I noticed the day after that where my highlights were blonde it has a dark grey color, how can I fix that? Do I just re-dye it with another brown dye?

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By 0 found this helpful
November 14, 2015

I just redyed my hair and touched up my roots. The formula from Sally's says leave on roots for 25-35 minutes. I left it on 20 and applied it to the rest of my hair to freshen it andn left it for another 10. The hair on my roots didn't take to the dye as well as the rest of my hair. Should I have left it on longer than the required time, and when can I redye the roots to match?

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By 0 found this helpful
September 25, 2015

May I dye my hair and then my ends in two different colours? I wanna dye my full hair blond and then my ends pastel pink. Is it still possible to do that on one day or is it too dangerous for my hair?

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By 0 found this helpful
July 1, 2015

I want to dye my hair a burgundy color. My hair is already a dark brown/black-ish color. I'm just worried that it won't go back to normal. So my question is, will it?

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By 0 found this helpful
June 18, 2015

I have natural dirty blonde hair. I do not want to permanently dye my hair, but I want to semi dye it. I did research and it said that it should come out with a couple of washes. I want to dye it a light brown and still have my blonde hair come back the same after a couple of washes. Will my hair come back the same if I use semi permanent dye?

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April 14, 20150 found this helpful

This is going to seem very petty, but here goes. My roots could really use a touch up, but I have poison ivy going on 2 weeks now. Since it is an immune system response, would it be safe to color my hair or might I enter the ninth circle of hell? The package instructions always advise doing a patch test before every application, so maybe this is the time to follow the directions. Anybody have experience with this particular issue?

By Marne

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April 8, 20150 found this helpful

I tried dyeing my hair red, like ginger, but it only dyed the roots and the rest is still brown. I went out and bought two more boxes. I need two because my hair is long and thick, and tried it again, but it stayed the exact same. Is it a good idea to go buy blonde dye to get rid of this nasty split colour?

By Brianna B.

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February 23, 20150 found this helpful

My hair is dark brown, I dyed it black with Ion permanent hair color to match my extensions. Now the black has faded to a color similar to my natural hair color, but it has red tones in it. How do I get the red tones out of the hair dye (which is now brown but was once black) or can I get the color removed? Will the color remover turn the dye brassy?

By Katy

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By 0 found this helpful
February 18, 2015

The colour will not stay on my hair more than 3 days. What is the reason and how can I fix that problem?

By Supriya from Khopoli, India

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