Coloring your hair at home is tricky business. Between picking a high-quality color, like Clairol Nice 'n Easy, and ensuring you're not making a mess, it can be quite the experience — especially if you're a first-timer. But when done correctly, you can get salon-worthy color for a fraction of the price. That's an automatic win in our book.
If you're thinking about touching up your grays, refreshing your shade, or making a color switch altogether, we've rounded up a few useful tips from our very own editors who have been there, done that. From accidentally excluding chunks of hair to assuming that the color on the box would be the same once applied, learn from their hilarious mistakes and follow their advice so you can have the most seamless experience possible.
Turn it into a fun afternoon with your ladies
"In college, I used to color my hair at home exclusively. The issue though, is that I have lots of hair . . . like, four boxes of dye worth of hair. So whenever I wanted to change my look, it became an all-hands-on-deck situation where my roommates and I would pick out movies and set up shop in the kitchen. I would work on the front part of my head, while the two of them would work on the back, and we would watch a movie while my color set. We turned a time-consuming task into something fun!" — Brinton Parker, assistant editor, trending and viral features
Always do a strand test first to make sure the color is what you envisioned
"My first foray into coloring my hair was with some ubertrendy temporary dye in 2006. It was totally targeted at teens, and I wanted to experiment with black hair without committing to the permanence. Turns out, there were some serious purple undertones and I had deep violet hair for a couple of months. Pretty chill." — Dominique Astorino, assistant editor, Fitness
Be careful when you rinse out your hair
"I tried to redye my hair myself, since the color had faded. I did everything right during the coloring process — wore gloves, put petroleum jelly to protect my face — but my entire body was basically covered in dye afterwards. Especially my hands. My tip? Use WAY more precaution than you think you need, especially in the shower. Next time, I'm keeping my gloves on and spending more time rinsing my hair properly to ensure the dye is removed." — Eleanor Sheehan, assistant editor, News
A second set of eyes never hurts
"When I decided I wanted to be a brunette, I figured out quickly that I could do it affordably and on my own at home. But, doing it completely on my own presented some challenges. I tended to miss obscure places in my hair that I couldn't see, like spots on the back of my head. So, to solve this, I would have a friend or roommate around while I was coloring my hair to make sure I didn't miss a spot. This was critical to achieving even color throughout my hair, and it ended up being more fun to do it with a friend anyway!" — Elizabeth Biersch, editorial intern, native
Don't be afraid to make a change
"Nowadays you wouldn't flinch seeing rainbow hair, but when I showed up to my tiny school with a bold new look in the mid-'90s it became a heated topic of discussion. I knew it would be a brave move (especially at a school with a dress code), but with the blessing of my awesome parents, I just went for it. It made me realize how much I valued personal style and being able to stand out. I would encourage anyone who's on the fence about hair dye that a little change can sometimes go a long way." — Joanna Douglas, editorial director, native
Sometimes, it can turn out better than you ever imagined
"Somehow switching my color over and over again didn't damage my hair and one time I ended up with a weirdly cool color that I ended up sticking with for a bit. It totally wasn't what I expected or what I was going for, but I really loved it, and that's one thing I love about changing up my color. You can try so many new and cool things — maybe something you never knew you wanted — and you might stumble upon something amazing." — Hedy Phillips, copy editor
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