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How to Color Your Hair at Home With Box Color

The Dos and Don'ts of Coloring Your Hair at Home

The models above have gorgeous, velvety brown hair. And if you guessed that this color came from hours in an expensive salon chair, you'd be wrong. Colorist Marie Robinson colored their hair for the Spring 2012 Naeem Khan show with Clairol Perfect 10 (some of which she picked up at a nearby drugstore during a last-minute run). "Coloring hair at home isn't as scary as people think," she says. "A lot of people don't realize how easy it can be." Here are the dos and don'ts of unboxing your color.


  • Stay close to your original hue. "Whether you have virgin or previously colored hair, stick within two shades of your hair color," Robinson says. Bigger changes, like going from brunette to platinum blond, are best left to professionals.
  • Perform a patch allergy test. Trying a new hair color can be exciting, but hold off until you've done the allergy test described within the kit. Usually, this involves dabbing a bit of dye on your skin 48 hours before you wish to color your hair.
  • Go for silver or gold. "You can tell what colors work for you by looking at jewelry," Robinson says. "If you look better in silver or platinum, you'll look better in ash tones. If gold is more flattering, try reds or caramels."


  • Don't paint your hair. "A lot of people try to paint their hair rather than putting the color on the scalp," Robinson explains. "But you can miss regrowth or grays that way." Instead, massage color into the scalp, and the hue will migrate up the hair shaft.
  • Don't color your entire head. "As I tell my own clients, it's more about doing a retouch," Robinson says. "You're not going to get the best results if you keep pulling color through."
  • Don't leave the color on longer than necessary. To get the best hue, follow instructions to a T.
Join The Conversation
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
@dash, Jaime nailed it. Marie explained that if you keep pulling the color through all of your hair, you're re-coloring some of the same parts over and over. So the color doesn't match the roots in the same way.
dashsuede dashsuede 5 years
Thanks, Jaime. I thought reapplying the color all over the hair would freshen it up because color fades. But I shall keep this tip in mind if I ever get the courage to color my own hair.
Jaime-Richards Jaime-Richards 5 years
@dashsuede, I think she means that sometimes all someone might need is just a root touchup. Often, when you try to color both your roots and the rest of your hair, the rest of the hair part can look a little muddy. This is usually because color might have been applied to that area multiple times. But for the roots, that's all uncolored hair, so it takes the color better. Hope that makes sense!
littlemunchkin littlemunchkin 5 years
@Annie Awww ur so sweet, thanks Annie!
dashsuede dashsuede 5 years
- Don't color your entire head. "As I tell my own clients, it's more about doing a retouch," Robinson says. "You're not going to get the best results if you keep pulling color through." I don't get this.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
From your photo, though, it seems like you have no need to. You have very pretty hair.
littlemunchkin littlemunchkin 5 years
I have never ever coloured my hair...I'm too much of a wuss!
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