In normal circumstances, we’d recommend you skip the at-home hair color and leave it to the pros (especially if you’re throwing bleach into the equation), but times are not exactly normal. With so many of us taking matters into our own hands and going the DIY route at the moment, we understand why you might want to go through the hair-dyeing process at home. That said, if you’re not a professional, there are plenty of opportunities for DIY hair coloring to go wrong, which is why you should listen to hairstylists when they offer up their expertise on how to make the task easier for all of us.
Brad Mondo, New York City-based hairstylist and founder, CEO, and creative director of XMONDO Hair, recently shared a video via YouTube with a few helpful tips on what to keep in mind when you’re coloring your hair at home. Check out Mondo’s tips in the video above, and read ahead for a breakdown.
Tip #1: Start With Dirty Hair
If your hair is oily from skipping a wash day or two, or even if you’re dealing with a little bit of product buildup, you might be tempted to shampoo before the process to start with clean hair. But according to Mondo, that’s actually not the best idea, since when you wash your hair, you’re creating tiny abrasions on your scalp that the dye or bleach you use can then easily slip into once you start the coloring process. “This is going to make coloring your hair very painful,” he said. “If you’re using bleach, that bleach is going to seep into those little, tiny cracks in your scalp, and it’s going to sizzle and burn.”
For bleaching in particular, Mondo recommends you try not to wash your hair for several days so there’s enough product buildup and oil secretion to protect your scalp.
Tip #2: Brush Your Hair, and Section It Off
Whatever you do, don’t try to color your hair or add product to it while it’s tangled; the product is bound to be unevenly distributed. Try to brush out your hair and detangle it, and once it’s tangle-free, Mondo recommends dividing it up into four sections to make things easier. “Part your hair in the middle all the way back, down to the nape of your neck. That’s your first section, those are your two,” he explained. “Then go to the apex – you can find the apex by laying the comb on your head and finding the highest point of your head – [and] make a section from the apex to behind the ears.”
Tip #3: Pay Attention to the Developers You’re Using
Not all developers – the liquids that you mix with bleach or dye to activate the color – are created equal. Lots of hair dyes work with developers that come at different volumes: 10, 20, 30, and 40. In the video, Mondo explains that 10-volume developer is normally used for anyone trying to permanently darken their hair since it doesn’t have any lightening effects – it just helps deposit the color.
On the other hand, 20 volume helps to darken or lift the hair while also covering up gray hair, while 30 and 40 volume can both lighten naturally dark hair by a few levels, though ideally if you’ve never lightened your hair before, you shouldn’t go above 30 volume.
Tip #4: Don’t Do Your Roots First
To avoid what Mondo calls “hot roots,” which occur when the color applied to your roots develops more than the color applied to your ends, he advises people to not start coloring or bleaching their hair from the roots. The heat from your scalp can cause the color to develop faster, meaning you should always start coloring from the ends up.
Tip #5: Be Careful When Rinsing and Cleansing
Because dyeing your hair can cause your head to emit more heat, it might seem tempting to rinse out the product with cold water, but this might actually cause your cuticles to be shocked, which can later lead to breakage. Once you get to the cleansing stage, make sure you’re gently massaging your scalp as opposed to scratching it with your nails; it’s already been through a lot, so it’s best to not cause any more stress.
Tip #6: Take Proper Care of Your Hair Afterward
The work doesn’t just stop at coloring your hair; you also have to take care of it in the aftermath so that, as Mondo notes, when you apply more color later or go back to touch it up, it’s in a healthy condition to take more color.