How to save hundreds of dollars at the salon and color your hair at home-a step by step guide

It all started when I was 15. I was out with my best friend shopping at Target with money to burn{those were the glory days!}. Somehow I ended up in the hair dye section and picked up a box. 

I was walking the aisles of my daughter's jr. high a few weeks ago and man, I'm telling you, that time of life is full of experimentation with one's looks.  So it's not surprise, that I started playing around and started changing the color of my hair.

I can remember only two times in my life that I have actually paid someone to dye my hair for me and each of those times I couldn't believe how dang on expensive it was. 

Now instead of experimenting with my look and changing the color of my hair, I am dying my hair to cover the grey. 

Either way, with 22 years of experience and probably thousands of dollars saved, I am here to offer my expertise and give you a step by step guide on how you can dye your hair at home. I promise, it's not that scary!

There are a few things that I splurge on. A good hair cut is one of them. I found a hair dresser that I love, and while I do stretch out my appointments with her as her prices continue to go up, I will no longer go to a walk right in place because, well, nobody has time for a bad haircut!

When I first started seeing Stacey she asked me who dyed my hair. I told her I did and she said "girl, keep doing what you are doing!"  So I have. She's had a few different shampoo girls, who have all asked me the same thing {and agreed with Stacey!}, so I know I must be doing something right. I have learned a few things through the decades and want to share them with you.

O.k. are you ready?

Start by heading to your nearest drug store. I'm not partial. I go to where ever has a sale AND a coupon. I don't like to pay more than $3 for a box of dye {and usually get it cheaper--sometimes free!} though even at full price, you are still saving yourself a ton of money over a salon dye job.

If you have hair longer than shoulder length you should probably consider buying 2 boxes of hair dye. I no longer make dramatic color changes, I just color to cover my grays, so I only used 1 box this time since I kept with my natural hair color.

You are looking for permanent hair color. It can get super overwhelming in those aisles, so take a deep breath and think of all the money you are saving!

I have tried lots of brands and no brand over another sticks out to me as being better.  They are all similar so you really can't go wrong.

Once you get home, make sure you have about an hour set aside. I know this seems like a ton of time, but think of all the time you spend at the salon. It takes me 15 minutes to drive to my salon, 15 minutes home and then the time in the chair...I'm practically making up time by doing this at home!

I have a special button down shirt I wear when I do my dye job. You will get messy. Especially if it's your first time. I pick up the throw rugs in my bathroom and make sure I have clothes on that I don't care if they get ruined. Anything you wipe up or drip on with your dye will get stained if not cleaned immediately. You may want to have a roll of paper towels handy for any clean up afterwards.

I have been doing this for so long that I rarely read the directions fully, but I do still glance at them. Your box will have gloves, dye , the activator and some conditioner or rinse included. I have never opened a box where the things weren't clearly labeled. 

You will almost always have to mix the activator with the dye. Pretend you are in chemistry class. It's fun. I always start by putting on my gloves. Read the directions on your particular dye. Once you pour the dye in, you will put the lid on, cover the tip with your finger and shake it up to mix it.

I always start at my part and then every quarter inch or so I make a line from the front of my head towards the back. Once you have covered the whole front of your head from one ear, over your forehead to your other ear, you are ready to get the back of your head.

I bend over and tip my head forward and using the same line technique from the base of my neck towards the middle I make a line of dye.  You don't want to rub the dye in, but you can pat it down so it isn't dripping with your other hand.

While your head is tipped over, pull your hair together and squirt the dye on your ends. There is no line pattern to doing this, you just want to make sure all of your hair has been covered.  This is when a second bottle of dye can come into play if your hair is long.

After I make sure all of my hair is covered with dye, I wrap my hair into a top knot on top of my head. It will stay in place without you needing to secure it. You just want to make sure your hair and the dye won't be touching your skin or anything else as you move around and wait for the dye to sit.
Look at the clock, start a timer, whatever you need to do to figure out how long you have until you can hop in the shower. All dye is different. This particular dye only needed to sit for 10 minutes. I start the clock as soon as I am finished with my last squirt.

I put the bottle of dye, the gloves and all the trash into the box that it came in and throw it away together. That way, you aren't leaving leaky bottles of dye in your garbage can. I may or may not know from experience.

You will have dye on your face and on your ears.  I've done this for lots of years and still can't figure out how I can be less messy. You just are. So take that paper towel or toilet paper or baby wipe, whatever, and wipe down your forehead {even if you don't see dye}, your ears {pay attention to the back and the folds of your ears} and your neck. The dye sort of shows up like invisible ink when you aren't expecting it and nothing says home dye job like huge splotches of dye on your skin for days.

I also take this time to look around on the floor or counter to see if I dripped. I almost always do. Wipe it up before it stains. It's as easy as swiping it with a wet paper towel.

All cleaned up? Now go grab a magazine and pretend you are at the salon. Just don't lean back on your couch!

Once your time is up, hop into the shower. Start by washing out your hair until the water runs clear. This sometimes takes a little while, but hang in there.  If you don't wash all the dye out, and rush before the water turns clear, you will come out of the shower and leave dye on your towels and clothes. Just be patient. 

I super duper love the conditioner that comes with hair dye. I don't know what it is, but that stuff is magical soft goodness that always leaves my hair in great shape. After your water runs clear, skip your normal shampoo/conditioner routine and only use the bottle that came with your dye. This will help set your color. It usually has to be left on for a few minutes, which is totally cool because you can take that time to wash your face, shave your legs, whatever.

Once you get out of the shower, style your hair as usual. 

Most people don't think they can get highlights from using a box dye, but check out those highlights. 

Some final last words:

Don't try making a huge dramatic change in color on your first time {like going from dark brown to blonde}. It may not work out well and will not leave you thinking you are capable of a home dye job. 
Promise me. One time I tried it and ended up with these tiger stripes. Not awesome.

You can totally do this and save tons of money. I dare you to give it a try!  And then report back and tell me how it went.  Even better, tag me {@holycraft} in an after photo on Facebook or Instagram. I would love to see it.

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