How to dye hair at home: We’ve got you covered from DIY colour to root fixes
Tips on how to prepare your hair, use box dye and touch up roots
If you do go the DIY dye route, these tips and products will help to ensure the best possible result
“It’s only hair.”
This is an arrangement of words that has never been sincerely uttered by a woman whose hair is getting her down. You might be one of the many of us cringing at the sight of roots in our colour-treated hair, knowing we can’t get to the professionals we rely on for the foreseeable. Yes, there are bigger things to worry about, but if covering or concealing roots makes you feel a little more in control under the circumstances, it can only be a good thing. If it doesn’t, hopefully you can find something else that does.
Box dye is a minefield, so there was nothing else for it – I called Josh Wood, founder of London’s famed Josh Wood Atelier salon and founder of the Josh Wood product range. Wood has worked his colour magic on heads belonging to the likes of our own beloved Saoirse Ronan. If you’re a celebrity or a beauty editor and you want impeccably believable colour, you go to Josh Wood. Unusually for a high-end colourist, Wood also developed a range of affordable at-home colours for grey coverage.
If you can hold off on box dying, do. It will likely take a professional colourist several visits to get you back to where you were if you do choose to dye your hair at home, and there are plenty of temporary root-cover products that can help. If you do go the DIY route, though, Wood’s tips will help to ensure the best possible result. Now that his salon has temporarily shut, you can avail of a free video consultation service with its expert stylists at joshwoodcolour.com before you make the attempt.
First, manage your expectations, says Wood. “You won’t end up with the sort of diverse, technical colour you’ll get from a professional using techniques like balayage or babylights, but you will get root coverage. If you’re looking to change shade, this isn’t something that can be achieved to a high standard with box colour, but there are some temporary fixes that will make you feel a bit better for now. So, you can certainly cover grey, but unless you’re a professional, highlights and bleaching are probably off the table”.
Thankfully, Wood says “blonde with deep roots, Debbie Harry style, is sort of cool again, so you can get away with a bit more brown root if you don’t have a hard line between your roots and your colour.”
Wood says opt for a shade lighter than you think you are, in case the dye adheres more than anticipated and darkens your regular tone, which is common with box dyes (you won’t look too fair).
You can also minimise this by shampooing and deeply conditioning your hair before dying, to make it less porous and thirsty.
Always start applying the colour wherever you are greyest, only brushing through already-coloured areas for 10 or so minutes at the end. If you have blonde highlights and want to colour the roots with a brown shade, leave the deep conditioner on ends while you dye the roots – this prevents it being absorbed by the ends when you wash the dye out.